RCO launches Anniversary Circle fundraising initiative

RCO launches Anniversary Circle fundraising initiative

The Royal College of Organists has launched a major new fundraising campaign to coincide with its 150th anniversary celebrations.

The RCO Anniversary Circle was launched last month at an event in the City of London’s Mansion House.

The initiative aims to build a community of at least 150 new individual and corporate supporters of the College’s charitable work across education, outreach, examinations and scholarships.

RCO President Catherine Ennis said: “The College’s 150th anniversary is a wonderful cause for celebration, but beyond that we are determined to use the occasion to create the strongest possible platform for the continuance of our charitable work for many more years to come.

“The RCO is a unique charity with an important mission, but like so many charities it is not a rich organisation. We do not receive any Government funding and can only continue making our contribution to the musical life of the nation thanks to the generosity of around 2,000 members and a number of benefactors past and present.

“Our hope is that 150th anniversary will be an opportunity for those with an interest in the organ and in organ and choral music not only to celebrate with us, but also to consider supporting our work.”

The Mansion House reception and recital which launched the RCO Anniversary Circle featured performances by four organists who have engaged with the College in various ways in recent years in order to build their skills, broaden their experience, and work towards fulfilling their potential as musicians: Stephen Hargreaves; Elliott Neal (the youngest, aged just 12 years); Henry Websdale; and Jemima Stephenson.

Each played on the new Queen’s Organ by Mander Organs – a gift to Her Majesty the Queen in celebration of her Diamond Jubilee from the Lord Mayor and the Corporation of London. The organ is destined to replace the Snetzler organ in the Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey and will move there towards the end of this year.

In between each performance members of the RCO team spoke about the College’s charitable work across education, outreach, examinations, scholarship and bursary giving. Catherine Ennis passed on a message of congratulation from the College’s patron HM The Queen, and details of the College’s celebratory plans for 2014 were announced, including the 150 for 150 Recital Challenge and the launch of the RCO Anniversary Circle.

To coincide with the 150 theme of the anniversary year, Anniversary Circle supporters are asked to pledge an annual donation of at least £150, although pledges of sums over and above this are welcomed. To join the RCO Anniversary Circle, supporters can download a form from the website at www.rco.org.uk/download.php, or call the College on 05600 767 208.

Emphasising the central role of fundraising in the year ahead, Chairman of Trustees Mark Brafield concluded the event by saying: “More than anything, it would be lovely to think that ‘our’ 150th, or sesquicentennial, celebrations could be just another milestone, this time on the way to a (much easier to pronounce!) bicentennial or even tercentennial celebration long after we’re gone.”

More photographs of the RCO Anniversary Circle launch event can be found on our blog at blog.rco.org.uk

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