At Cathedral Music Trust, we know the vital role that church choirs play in developing the UK’s outstanding choral and organ music heritage through their music-making and musical training.

Cathedral Music Trust is therefore delighted to be working in partnership with The Royal School of Church Music to launch The Church Choir Award in 2022. We created the award to recognise and develop excellence in choral music-making by church choirs, and to give them the opportunity to innovate and enrich their music-making.

Overview


The Church Choir Award is open to choirs which demonstrate high choral standards and an aspiration to go further but do not usually qualify for Cathedral Music Trust's main grant programme.

Choirs are invited to apply for up to £10,000 for a specific, innovative or enriching project which will develop their work. Award holders will also receive one year's affiliation to RSCM and one year's free access to RSCM's new, soon-to-be-released Voice for Life digital training programme.

Read on for more information.

Key dates

Tuesday 19 April 2022
Application window opens

1pm Tuesday 10 May 2022
'Lunch and Learn' workshop on applying to the Church Choir Award

Friday 27 May 2022
Application deadline

End of July 2022
Announcement of successful applicants

 
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Applying to the Church Choir Award
a seven-minute introduction

Watch our video to find out more about this new award and for tips on how to write a good application

You are also welcome to attend our Lunch and Learn Webinar at 1pm on Tuesday 10 May for more information and the chance to ask questions.

Register

Who can apply to the Church Choir Award?

A choir can apply if:

  • It is part of a place of Christian worship of a recognised denomination from the UK, a UK Crown Dependency or the Republic of Ireland
  • It regularly performs cathedral-style choral repertoire in a liturgical context
  • It sings at least one choral service most weeks during term time (e.g., Evensong, Matins and/or Eucharist) and other services throughout the year
  • It demonstrates a commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion
  • It cannot fund the entire project from existing resources
 

You can use our eligibility checker to see if you are eligible to apply. Please give an answer to every question. You are welcome to talk to us if you would like to discuss your eligibility for an award.

Singer in a workshop

What can I apply for?

The Church Choir Award is open to choirs which do not usually qualify for Cathedral Music Trust's main grant programme, but which demonstrate high choral standards and an aspiration to go further.

Choirs are invited to apply for funding for a specific, innovative or enriching project which will develop their work.

Examples might be additional training for choristers (e.g., helping them work towards RSCM awards), imaginative recruitment campaigns, projects involving the wider community (such as schools), an expansion of the number of weekly choral services, establishing an additional choir (such as a training choir or youth choir), developing the skills of your music leaders (through a recognised professional-development programme) or providing opportunities and training for young organists.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and we welcome imaginative ideas. Remember that you need to demonstrate in your application how your choir, congregation and the wider community will benefit from the programme and how the programme will help your choir to 'do more' or 'do better'. We also ask that you explain how you will continue the work of your project once the grant has been spent. This may involve showing that you intend to continue fundraising to maintain the activity and/or demonstrating how the skills and experiences acquired by your project's participants will continue to benefit the choir in the longer term.

Voice for Life Digital Logo

How much can I apply for?

You can apply for up to £10,000 of project funding, 20% of which can be for associated capital costs (such as the purchase of music). You will be required to submit an itemised budget showing your proposed income and expenditure and we ask that you apply only for what your project needs rather than simply asking for the maximum amount. We anticipate that most projects we fund will have a duration of one academic year but we are happy to consider two-year projects if you make a strong case for the benefits of this. We expect the majority of applications to be for projects costing between £5,000 and £10,000.

The award will cover up to 90% of the project's expenditure. Applicants are expected to supply the additional 10% (or more) of the project's cost from their own resources or alternative sources of funding. This means that, if the total cost of your project is £5,000, you can apply to us for £4,500 and you will need to find the additional £500 from other sources of income. You should demonstrate in your budget that you either already have the funds in place, or that you have a robust plan to raise the funds (for example, by putting on a concert or organising a sponsored event). We will consider contributing to larger scale projects (i.e. with costs significantly greater than £10,000) if you can demonstrate that a substantial part of the additional funding is already secured.

Recipients of a grant will be awarded one year's free affiliation to the RSCM and one year's free access to RSCM's new Voice for Life digital training programme. We are keen to support projects that make active use of this valuable resource.

Before completing the application form, we strongly recommend that you look at the assessment criteria. We will use these criteria when deciding which applications to support. We anticipate receiving many more applications than we can fund and will favour those which clearly demonstrate how the assessment criteria will be met.

Choristers

How do I apply?

All applications must be submitted via our online application form.

When you submit your application, you will be asked to include:

  • A budget for your project
  • A video recording of your choir (ideally, a link to a YouTube or Vimeo video)
  • Examples of your current repertoire
  • Short biographies of the music leaders working on your project
  • Your most recent audited accounts

We also request that your application is signed by the Incumbent or Priest-in-Charge.

The deadline is 23.59 on Friday 27 May. Applications will not be accepted after this date.

Choral Scholars

How is my application assessed?

Your application is assessed by a committee made up of representatives of Cathedral Music Trust and the RSCM.

The committee considers each application against a number of criteria. Applications which most closely meet the assessment criteria will be considered for funding. 

It should be noted that we expect to receive more applications that meet the criteria than we are able to fund. This means that it is unlikely that we will be able to make awards to all the applications which score highly in our assessment. 

Please note that assessment scores and the deliberation of the committee will not be made public.

View our assessment criteria


Apply online

If you have any questions about your eligibility for the award and our assessment criteria, please do get in touch by email [email protected] or telephone 020 3151 6096. You are very welcome to discuss your application with us in advance of submission.

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