Charity Concert Guidelines
If you have not organised a WMVC Concert for your organisation before, please see the following guidelines.
A SUCCESSFUL CONCERT
A successful concert is one where:
1 - You the charity organisers make lots of money for your charity
2. - The audience has a great time, is eager for more and wants to support your future events
3. - The choir also enjoys the event.
The guidelines below are based on our extensive and recent experience singing for over a dozen charities every year and are strong recommendations. We know what works and what does not work!
TIMING AND LOCATION
We try to spread our concert performances as evenly as possible throughout the year. In particular we perform quite a lot in Weybridge and have to be careful to avoid planning concerts too close together there. Bearing that in mind we especially welcome bookings elsewhere in Elmbridge and in other areas such as Kingston, Teddington, Staines, Chertsey, Woking, Leatherhead, Guildford, Dorking - and beyond!
There are many interlinked and sometimes conflicting factors which come into play when organising a fund-raising concert. The overriding one is, of course, finance, i.e. balancing the cost of staging the event against the income from ticket sales and any other associated sources (raffle, sale of refreshments, etc.) in order to finish up with a worthwhile surplus to swell the fund-raising coffers.
The main cost components will be:
Publicity (including printing of posters, flyers and tickets)
Donation to the choir (currently we ask for a minimum of £170)
Other possible ancillary costs (refreshments, raffle prizes etc)
Other considerations will be likely audience size - how many tickets can I reasonably expect to sell, and at what price in order to achieve the targeted surplus.
The ideal venue for a choral concert, of course, would be a high-ceilinged , un-curtained and un-carpeted hall to provide a splendidly ‘live’ acoustic, with a raised, tiered performance platform for a choir of 40 -50 singers so that the audience can see them all and they can all see their conductor; comfortable seats for the audience; a foyer area for ticket sales/collection and sale or distribution of fund-raising material; an adjacent assembly and changing area for the choir; separate refreshment and toilet facilities for choir and audience and adequate parking for all!
In reality these high ideals are unlikely to be achieved with the choice of public venues available for most local fund-raising concerts. However, it is helpful to bear them in mind when thinking about a venue for your event. The choice is often between public, school or church halls, or churches themselves. Most halls tend to have a flat, relatively low ceiling (although there are notable exceptions) which results in a rather dead choral sound, and a curtained ‘proscenium arch’ style stage which, unless large enough to accommodate tiered staging, tends to restrict the projection of the music – and makes it very hard work for the choir!
The choir possesses its own portable digital piano keyboard with amplifier and speakers if there is no suitable piano available for our accompanist at the venue. All we require is a 13-amp. power socket. We also have our own portable tiered staging for use in 'flat-floor' halls where there is none, or where there is only a flat stage with a proscenium arch (not the best position acoustically from which to sing). Our Stage Manager will need to visit your venue if we have not sung there before, in order to assess and agree with you and the venue manager staging requirements, parking, access for our equipment van and so forth.
The choir will also need a separate room or area in which to assemble and line up at the start of the concert and during the interval. Liquid refreshment for choir members during the interval is always greatly appreciated!
A NOTE ABOUT PERFORMING RIGHTS
The choir’s repertoire includes many items which are still within copyright and for which royalties are payable whenever they are performed publicly (during the lifetime of the composer / arranger and for 70 years after their death). Royalties are collected by PRS for Music (formerly the Performing Right Society) on an agency basis and distributed to the composers/arrangers concerned. In the case of concerts the collection of royalties is usually done by PRS granting a licence to a concert venue. There are two main types of licence, depending on the type of venue and the frequency of concerts performed there:
(1) Concert halls, theatres etc. with Box Office facilities for the sale of tickets, who regularly stage concerts and recitals. These are charged a percentage (usually 3-4%) of ticket sales for each event and are required to submit programme details so that PRS can assign and distribute royalties accordingly. If you hire such a venue for your concert it will usually pass such a charge on to you and will request a copy of our programme details, which we are happy to provide.
(2) Smaller Local Authority and other halls and leisure centres, churches and church halls who occasionally hire out their facilities for concerts will pay a fixed annual licence fee, the proportionate cost of which will be included in the venue hire charge which you will pay. No precise programme details are required; PRS for Music assess royalty payments in respect of all such venues on a sampling basis. Most venues in which we perform are licensed in this way. in which case nothing further is required on your part.
As promoter of a concert you are ultimately responsible for ensuring that a PRS licence is in place. If you are in any doubt as to whether your chosen venue is licensed, do check with them. If you require any more assistance or advice please get in touch with our Concert Secretary.
3RD PARTY LIABILITY INSURANCE
The choir is covered for 3rd Party Liability through its membership of Making Music (The National Federation of Music Societies).
Ticket price will need to be determined by the size and quality of the venue, likely achievable audience size, whether any refreshments are included, the total costs to be covered and the target surplus to be achieved.
For most of our concerts the ticket price usually lies between £7.50 and £15. At the top of the scale there is the option of a concessionary price for ‘senior citizens’, as long as these will not form too large a proportion of the total audience!
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