On the 10th of December Somerville College Choir will leave for Goa and Mumbai, working in partnership with charities Songbound and the Karta Initiative to teach classical songs and carols to disadvantaged children.
The 30 students will also hold an exclusive performance for local children around the country, as well as performing at the TATA Theatre in Mumbai’s National Centre for Performing Arts, making them the first Oxford University student choir to perform in India.
On their trip, Somerville students and tutors will take part in university-related workshops organised by the Karta Initiative, a charity that aims to encourage disadvantaged students from developing economies to apply to top universities.
Speaking to Cherwell, the chapel’s director of music, William Dawes, said: “We are really looking forward to meeting the children that the Karta Initiative is working with, to give them a glimpse of the Western choral tradition and some insight into life at Oxford.
“By closing the distance between them and our university, I hope that the Karta children will be encouraged in their ambitions: whether that means applying to Oxford – we do offer a range of scholarships for Indian students – or seizing opportunities closer to home.
“I want our singers to return to Oxford mindful of the incredible opportunities that they have had so far and inspired by what outreach work can achieve.”
The Somerville Choir has attempted to raise donations for the trip in a number of ways, for example, organising a “24-Hour Music Marathon” concert from 12th-13th October and setting up a crowdfunding page, with donor rewards including a selection of photos from the India tour, a conducting lesson taught by Dawes and a choir concert exclusively dedicated to anyone pledging £5000 or more. Their efforts succeeded in raising almost £11,700 from 96 backers.
The Choir will perform in three venues in India from 13th-15th December and are set to return on the 18th.
Updated 6/12: The Choir managed to secure the funding from Somerville JCR, so the referendum did not need to take place.