What does a celebrity patron bring to a charity? Famous names can generate a huge amount of interest for a charity, provided they are well matched to the cause. For long term support and to keep up media and public interest levels, a celebrity with a personal connection to your cause may well be the best match. One such example is the tenor Alfie Boe, who has just been announced as patron and music champion of BD Music Hub (Blackburn with Darwen Music Education Hub). This is a collection of partner organisations who work together in the North West of England to ensure that the children and young people of Blackburn and Darwen get as many quality musical opportunities as they can, both in school settings and in the community. Partners include BBC North, Blackburn Cathedral, Manchester Camerata, More Music Morecambe, and online instrument learning platform, Gigajm. Blackburn with Darwen Music Service is the lead organisation.
So why Alfie? Well for a start, he's a Lancashire lad and hugely passionate about music education, not always having had opportunities when young (his autobiography mentions him not being allowed to do music at school as he didn't play an instrument). In addition, his back story is one which resonates with many of the youngsters who would benefit from the programme, having been discovered singing in the TVR factory as a teenage. A successful audition for the D'oyly Carte opera company followed before Alfie went on to train at the Royal College of Music in London. A stint at the Vilar Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House came next, before the bright lights of La Boheme on Broadway beckoned.
Alfie openly speaks about how important music is in schools and how it is vital to give youngsters performance opportunities, both formal and informal - exactly what BD Music Hub are trying to do. Alfie is someone who has worked hard, taken the musical chances which came along and continues to be an inspiration for those who know him. As Music Champion, Alfie will act as a musical role model for the children and young people and inspire them to achieve.
This appointment adds to Boe's not inconsiderable charity commitments and sees the music related charities he supports rise to six (Blackpool Male Voice Choir, TF Willetts, Huddersfield Youth Opera and The Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts being four of the others). However, Boe's most well known charity affiliation is with Nordoff Robbins, who provide music therapy to vulnerable children and adults. Boe is an ambassador for the charity and each year helps raise money by asking fans to donate to Nordoff Robbins as a way of celebrating his birthday. This has been happening for four years now and thousands of pounds have been raised.
In addition, Boe tries to be at as many fundraising events as possible. Recently, the Nordoff Robbins choir sang at the Secret 7" project at London's Somerset House and Boe was on hand to sing with the choir (along with fellow singer Miel de Botton) and acting as cheerleader in chief:
Of his involvement, Boe said: "Today really showed just how powerful music can be, and just how important and beneficial Nordoff Robbins' work is. To see so many people come together through this shared experience was really wonderful".
To find out more about both charities visit:
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