The BBC Performing Arts Fund  is a charity funded through revenue from the voting lines of BBC One entertainment programmes such as ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, ‘Over the Rainbow’ and this year ‘The Voice’ will be raising money through their voting lines.  The fund has been running since 2003 and has already awarded over £3.8m worth of grants – seeking out and supporting aspiring performing arts individuals and community groups to enable them to achieve their greatest potential through the fund.

This week marks the start of  ‘The Voice’ live shows.  The artists compete against each other during several live shows on BBC One.  Ultimately just one competitor will be named “The Voice” – and will win a recording contract.  You can start voting for your favourite singer this week on ‘The Voice’ and from each vote, a minimum of 10p per call will go to the BBC Performing Arts Fund!

Kathryn and Reggie Yates, presenter of the The Voice UK, BBC One. Image courtesy of the BBC Performing Arts Fund.

On 19th March 2012 I performed at BBC Broadcasting House in a showcase event for the BBC Performing Arts Fund. It was a great evening celebrating the work of the fund and  showcasing the talent of past recipients.  The BBC PAF were also delighted to announce that this year they will be giving £450,000 towards the development of new music and new musicians through two new schemes:   Community Musicians and Music Fellowships.

There were also performances from Brukout, Cardboard Citz, and the Royal Academy of Music’s Musical Theatre Company. The showcase was presented by Reggie Yates – follow Reggie’s ‘The Voice’ Blog here.  It was a great experience performing as part of such a diverse programme and the cheers from the audience for all of the performances really conveyed the spirit and sense of celebration.

I was awarded a BBC Performing Arts Fund music education bursary in 2007 during my studies at the Royal Northern College of Music. I was delighted to be selected from hundreds of applications for an audition and I remember travelling to London for the audition which was headed by the Director of the Fund Miriam O’Keefe.

I’ll never forget receiving the phone call from Miriam to say that I had been successful in being awarded a bursary… I was just at the end of one of my singing lessons and  I was so excited to receive such amazing news!  At that time I was approaching the final year of my undergraduate studies and it gave me a renewed sense of direction to have the financial support from such a great organisation –  the timing was perfect to assist with the funding I needed for my postgraduate studies.

The Community Music scheme will support music groups from across the UK and launches in May. The Music fellowships scheme will open for applications in August 2012 – keep checking their website http://www.bbc.co.uk/performingartsfund for details.

I will always be so grateful to the BBC PAF for their generosity and support during my studies to the present day. I have met some wonderful people who really care about the future of young performers.    It was so uplifting to be a part of the event which marks the launch of brand new music funding opportunities for the new upcoming musicians and music communities.

Go for it!

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