Helping musicians get through Covid-19

by Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra in Reading, England, United Kingdom


raised of £17,000 stretch target


76% 2 days left
This project will only be funded if at least £12,000 is pledged by 31st May 2020 at 11:59pm

To help self-employed classical musicians, who have very limited income due to Covid-19, by paying them now for a future concert in Reading.

by Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra in Reading, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

If we meet our stretch target, we can employ more musicians and choose from a wider selection of repertoire, using a 'romantic' orchestra with over 20 extra players.

The problem

As a non-professional orchestra, Reading's Aldworth Philharmonic engages freelance professionals to fill gaps in the ranks for our concerts, paying them the appropriate rate. Despite having to play alongside us amateurs, these tremendously skillful and talented musicians really enter into the spirit of our concerts and do a thoroughly professional job. We value their contribution as musicians and many have become great friends.

We know that Covid-19 has affected everyone in some form, with many people being furloughed or losing their jobs/income. We truly hope you're doing as okay as possible.

In the world of orchestral music, even musicians who play for established professional orchestras are, for the most part, self-employed - engaged as freelancers rather than being on a salary. With all engagements cancelled for up to six months and no financial aid available for the self-employed until June at the earliest, some musicians are experiencing extreme financial hardship.

The idea

When lockdown is lifted (by which we mean when *all* restrictions are eased - meaning that we're completely back to normal with no social distancing necessary), we'll all be keen to get back to the things we love doing, including going to classical music concerts. But it can take a lot of tie for big orchestras to organise artists, venues, programmes, rehearsals - and they can't start doing this until dates are known. That could mean waiting well over a month after lockdown ends before you get to hear a classical music concert.

APO wants to help these amazing musicians, many of whose income has literally dropped to nothing, get playing quicker - maybe 2-3 weeks after all the Covid-19 social distancing restrictions have been lifted, dependent on when Reading's Town Hall Concert Hall is available (which itself needs revenue to recover from the effects of the pandemic). Here's how we can do that.

The idea is to fund a end-of-lockdown celebration orchestral concert, for when *all* restrictions are lifted, not for APO to perform, but for an orchestra consisting of freelance professional musicians who have an association with APO, who are from the Reading area or beyond. The musicians will be paid as soon as the project is funded for an event that will happen at some point in the future, thus partly alleviating present financial pressures. If you think that £12,000 is a lot of money, consider that even with a very reasonable venue hire cost, each musician will only earn in the region of £200, including expenses, for their day's work (in line with Musicians' Union guidelines). Consider the number of hours of practice and preparation that go in before concert day, too.

The reason why the concert will take place in Reading is simply because it's APO's idea - and we're based in Reading!

What's in it for funders?

Normally, the quid pro quo for funding a concert is that you hand over your money and get a ticket to see the concert. Given that we're not sure when this concert will take place, it may be possible that you support this project without being able to use your ticket. If this is the case, you're welcome to transfer your ticket to someone else. You'll still have supported a really good cause. When the restrictions are lifted, we'll give funders at least two weeks' notice before the concert takes place.

And, of course, if you'd like to support to a higher level, we have some fantastic rewards beyond tickets to the concert.

Who will the musicians be and how much will they be paid?

The musicians will all be freelance professional musicians who spend most of their working hours or get over 50% of their income from freelance performance (some split their time evenly between performing and teaching). They will all be paid at least the minimum freelance Musicians Union rate (between £156-200), including porterage (a fee paid to those musicians who need to transport larger instruments) and travel (some of the musicians will come from within 15 miles of Reading, but some will come from further afield). If there is a surplus from the minimum amount needed, this will be split 80:20 between the musicians and the venue.

Where and when will the concert take place?

We're delighted to have the support of Reading Borough Council for this project, who have agreed to let us use Reading Town Hall's beautiful concert hall at cost price. Given that council-run venues will be hit hard, financially, we'll be splitting any funding above our targets so that some of the money goes to the venue. It seems only fair, given the support they're providing.

In terms of date, that's obviously something that's quite uncertain. As well as following government instructions and advice, we also need to be sure that everyone who wants to come feels safe to come. 

What will the programme be?

Until we confirm what size of orchestra we're able to fund, we won't be able to confirm the programme. However, it will be a nicely-balanced programme of classical favourites, with the odd surprise! And if you look at the rewards, you'll see that if you're feeling particularly generous, you can even help choose one of the pieces!

We ask project owners to honour their rewards wherever possible but please note that all pledges are donations and there is no guarantee that you will receive any rewards from the project owner. Please see Crowdfunder's Terms of Use for more information regarding rewards for pledges.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£200 or more

10 of 72 claimed

Sponsor a player

As per pre-concert talk, but with a total of four tickets and your name in the programme as having sponsored a specific position in the orchestra (e.g. principal oboe, or outside 3rd desk of second violins)

£10 or more

General donation (no ticket/s)

Donate whatever you like to the project, without any reward - just because it's A Good Thing. Please note that this is the only reward for which Gift Aid can be claimed, because the other levels offer a ticket. If you wish for your reward to include a ticket/tickets, please select a different reward.

£20 or more

General admission

General admission x 1 (unreserved seating) including a concert programme

£25 or more

Speedy boarding (stalls)

As per general admission, but with a head start for getting the best seats in the unreserved stalls through being able to enter the venue 15 minutes before general admission.

£30 or more

Speedy boarding (balcony)

As per general admission, but with a head start for getting the best seats in the unreserved balcony through being able to enter the venue 15 minutes before general admission.

£35 or more

5 of 50 claimed

Pre-concert talk (with speedier boarding)

As per speedy board (balcony), but with an even bigger head start thanks to an invitation to a fascinating pre-concert talk in the hall at 6pm.

£40 or more

General admission x 2

The same as the general admission level - except for 2 tickets.

£50 or more

Speedy boarding (stalls) x 2

As per speedy boarding (stalls) reward level, but with 2 tickets.

£60 or more

Speedy boarding (balcony) x 2

As per speedy boarding (balcony) reward level, but with 2 tickets

£70 or more

Pre-Concert Talk x 2

As per pre-concert talk level, but with 2 tickets.

£100 or more

2 of 10 claimed

Private online recital (15 minutes)

As per pre-concert talk, but with the additional ticket, and an exclusive 15-minute online recital from one of our amazing professional musicians, to which you can invite up to ten other viewers)

£150 or more

1 of 3 claimed

Conduct APO in rehearsal

This reward offers a pair of tickets with speedy boarding (in either the stalls or balcony), entry into the pre-concert talk and the chance to conduct APO for 15 minutes (please note this is a different orchestra to the one performing this concert - see in one of their future rehearsals, including a short preparatory conducting lesson with music director, Andrew Taylor.

£300 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Choose the encore!

As per pre-concert talk, but with a total of 10 tickets and the opportunity to choose which encore the orchestra performs (from a list of pieces lasting 2-5 minutes, supplied by the orchestra in advance).

£1,500 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Choose the second half piece/symphony

As per pre-concert talk, but with a total of 50 tickets and the opportunity to choose which symphony/second-half work the orchestra performs (from a list supplied by the orchestra)

£500 or more

1 of 1 claimed

Choose the opener

As per pre-concert talk, but with a total of 20 tickets and the opportunity to choose which opening piece the orchestra performs (from a list of pieces lasting 5-15 minutes, supplied by the orchestra in advance).

Let's make 'Helping musicians get through Covid-19' happen

Payment and personal details are protected