Making Music costs Money!

In September 2021 we were able to return to rehearsals after an enforced break of 18 months and, in November 2021 and March 2022, we mounted two successful performances. Both were enjoyed by choir and audience alike, but the concerts don’t just happen!

In a recent post we highlighted the number of people behind each performance. In this post, Royston Choral Society Treasurer and soprano Caroline Franks looks at the cost of putting on our March concert in Ashwell.

Rehearsal costs

All choir members pay a subscription to sing in the choir and rehearse each Tuesday evening at Bassingbourn College. Our Musical Director and Accompanist are paid for their time, and including venue hire, each weekly rehearsal costs us £240, or about £3.50 per head. As each term holds between 10 and 14 weeks, you will see how those costs, plus our annual insurance and Making Music [a choral societies association] subscription account for pretty much all of our subscription income.

Concert costs

Concerts are our costly activity. We’ve just sung a wonderful concert in Ashwell - Mozart’s Requiem. It is a fantastic piece to sing, and we had a good audience, but the costs on the day of that concert amounted to £5,000 (90% paid for musicians and singers). At £15 per ticket, that equates to 333 tickets needing to be sold to cover the concert cost! In fact, we sold 160 tickets (with capacity at St Marys Church limited to 250).

Fortunately, we have an experienced fund-raiser in the choir! On this occasion, she was able to secure £1,500, but that isn’t possible every year, even for one of her ability to persuade granting bodies to part with their cash!

The upshot for our March concert is that we ended up with a net loss of £500, but we are already carrying a loss from the November concert of £1,200, and our summer concert will require specialist musicians, so is unlikely to break even.

This season is a special one, as we’ve come back from lockdown wanting to make an impact. Usually, we wouldn’t perform three concerts in a row that require significant outlay for musicians. We have reserves sufficient to fund this year’s losses, but we will need to address this as we move forward. We are committed to singing large works with orchestral support, but we will need to balance those with smaller scale works, and work ever harder to sell tickets.

RCS is a great choir, and choral singing is a wonderful pastime with multiple health and wellbeing benefits. With all the choir working to keep us sounding good and remaining solvent, we plan to be singing and performing for many years to come.

See here for an article of related interest.