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Endowment

Dear Friends:
Faith moves mountains one shovel at a time. And even though it takes time to remove some of the mountains blocking our paths, the process still represents a miracle. When we announced the BYU Singers Endowment quite a few years ago now, we knew it would be one of those one-shovelat-a-time miracles. Consider the miracles we witnessed your year(s) in Singers as we rehearsed and then performed some of the most difficult pieces in the choral repertoire. But even more importantly, consider the miracle of 40+ people coming together each year, from all sorts of places and experiences, to produce a unified expression of beauty and faith that has touched people all over the world. More and more, the world needs the sort of gift we continue to offer: a compelling, unified voice of peace, hope, faith, and beauty. I am determined to help Singers exert this influence as strongly as we can in order to combat the shrill hate, despair, and vulgarity of the world. Such a vision requires strong financial backing, which is the miracle of the BYU Singers Endowment. As the time of my retirement approaches, I feel increased desire to see the Endowment fully funded before I am no longer a current Singer. In recent weeks I have doubled my monthly contribution to the Endowment. Will you carefully consider how you might financially support this great mountain-moving effort? Your greatest support certainly is your continuing faith and prayers in behalf of each new edition of BYU Singers. But every single dollar contributed represents another shovel of the mountain to be removed. Much love,

Dr. S.

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Some Alumni Thoughts about the BYU Singers Endowment


David & Pam Winters Back in the late 1980s on one of those tour bus rides, Dr. Staheli and I talked well into the night about the mission of BYU Singers. It was a thrilling conversation and one that I will always cherish as we dreamed of the all the good that BYU Singers could and would do in the world. That evening I remember making a commitment to do my part in supporting the divine purpose of BYU Singers. One of those commitments was simply to make a donation to the BYU Singers Endowment Fund each and every year. That was something that Pam and I discussed early in our marriage, and it was important for both of us. We knew that there would most likely be some years where the contribution would be fairly lean. Now as we look back over the last many years, we realize the amount wasnt really that important, but keeping our commitment was. By making that contribution each and every year, weve had skin in the game so to speak. Even though twenty three years have now passed since weve been a part of the choir, our interest and commitment in the divine mission of BYU Singers still shines brightly in our hearts. Way back in those early days, Dr. Staheli set a goal of raising $1,000,000. Through generous contributions of fellow Singers alumni, the endowment has grown in excess of $625K. We have many, many more alumni now, so reaching that remaining $375K should be much, much easier than the first $375,000. If you havent committed to making a donation each year to BYU Singers, I hope that you will consider doing so now. I promise that for Pam and me, it has made all the difference in feeling connected and invested in BYU Singers and its divine mission two decades after having sung in the choir. Much love to all of you fellow Singers and builders of Zion. Chris & Vanesa Read Landscaping our yard can wait It will get done when the time is right. Yards will pass away, but the things that we learned in Singers wont. To this day, the time that we spent in Singers has been a life changing time in our lives. Its part of our core. Not only did we learn what excellence in music was and how to attain it, but we had excellent spiritual mentoring. And our daughter is now getting it, which is even more wonderful! Because its hard to describe what being in Singers means until youve actually experienced it. Thank you, Dr. Staheli, for all that you have done and continue to do to further the work of our Heavenly Father. And for all the time that you have taken to show your love and concern for your students. We wish that we could give even more, but are happy that we can contribute something. And every little bit counts, I guess.

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Uses of the BYU Singers Endowment


1. To help local presenters secure appropriate concert venues when BYU Singers tour that will better allow the choir to accomplish their greater mission. the enormous difference made by a venues acoustical properties. It is important to remember that BYU Singers do not rely on electronic means to communicate their sound. The choirs singing is designed to communicate directly from soul to soul and heart to heart without the impediment of a microphone or electronic amplification.

Experience has taught us that the choice of venue greatly determines the success of any BYU Singers concert, whether in the U.S. or abroad. Venue has everything to do with make-up and size of the audience. For budget reasons, we have most often sung in LDS church buildings while on tour. Yet when booked into venues associated with excellent concert offerings, we have drawn larger, more broadly based audiences in terms of religious background and cultural experience. We seldom see non-LDS choral musicians at a concert in an LDS venue, while we frequently see professional choral musicians, often of distinguished reputation, at a concert in a venue offering prestigious classical concerts.

2. To help with the financial backing required so that BYU Singers may accept the prestigious performance invitations which continue to be extended in ever-increasing numbers.

An easily understood issue associated with venue is that of acoustics, which has everything to do with the overall sound of the choir in concert. We hope to sing well, even in the challenging circumstances of a hall with little or no reverberation, referred to by musicians as ungrateful. Our concerts are about sound beauty of sound, and the manner in which that sound affects the hearts and minds of all participating in the concert audience and choir members alike. We are convinced that even the least experienced concert-goer can easily discern

Good examples of these sorts of opportunities are demonstrated by BYU Singers participation at national and regional conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, the bi-annual conference of the National Collegiate Choral Organization, and the upcoming conference of the National Bible Association. Sometimes these performance opportunities can be combined into our set touring schedule, as was the case with the invitation to represent the U.S. at the International Symposium on Choral Music in Sydney, Australia. But most often, such invitations are in addition to our touring schedule.

Page 4 technique and quality required. We have seen satisfying results of this process in recent years, especially when these students are able to seek individual vocal instruction from a trustworthy teacher who can teach and coach the student in those initial weeks and months in Singers. Too often, however, we discover that a student, showing good potential, is not in a financial position to pay for such instruction. Imagine the difference a scholarship for voice lessons would make not just for the individual student, but for the entire choir, especially in terms of our performance ability and the speed at which we need to arrive at a high level of performance. 4. To assist needy members of BYU Singers with their tour payment. Such assistance would be give to membersof the choir who make a strong contribution to its success, but who do not possess the means to pay part or even all of the tour payment assess by the university.

3. Provide voice lesson scholarships for worthy members of the choir who fall below the desired level of vocal technique that is expected of members of BYU Singers.

To be clear, Dr. Staheli never wants to entice a person into participating in BYU Singers by offering a financial bribe. Such a situation has every chance of resulting in attitude and commitment problems. More and more we face the situation where, in order to organize a balanced choir, we must include promising students on the roster whose singing does not yet meet the desired level. As the number of high quality choral programs in secondary schools continues to slide, with more and more programs totally disappearing in schools, the level of choral experience and overall vocal ability of students auditioning for BYU Singers continues to decline rather noticeably. This means we have students who desire the BYU Singers experience arriving at auditions without the expected vocal technique and experience. These are often the best students auditioning, especially in the bass and tenor sections! So when students exhibit strong musical sensibilities and the promise of good vocal ability, along with the strong personal qualities we look for in individual BYU Singers, we sometimes accept them into the choir in order to balance the sections, hoping we can teach and coach these students into the vocal

While the cost of major tours is strongly subsidized by the university, each student is currently assessed $1000 for the tour. Students are also responsible for purchasing whatever matching tour clothes are required for the trip. Perhaps it is of interest to know that Dr. Staheli himself, while an undergraduate at BYU, could not participate in the touring choir even though he was fully qualified to do so. Beyond his academic scholarship, he had to support himself through his college education and simply did not have the means to pay the students tour assessment.

Page 5 Since the production of major video projects has been suspended by the university, at least for the foreseeable future, our means of getting our message out to the world is through free audio downloads and wellproduced videos on our YouTube channel. Our efforts here are severely limited because we lack the funding. 7. To help with special performance needs, which greatly add to the success of a BYU Singers concert. This includes special performance attire, stools, special instruments, etc. FAQs When was the endowment established, and who are its donors? Our endowment was established in 1991, and it has been growing steadily in the years since. We have had several major donations from Singers alumni and friends of the choir, and a steady donation stream from many alumni who have committed to donating a smaller amount every month. Together with compound interest on the principal, we are over 60% of our way to our goal of 1 million dollars.

5. To help with the increasing costs of printed programs that reflect the quality of the BYU Singers performance and tell the BYU Singers storyits history and mission.

Our tour program to England in 2012 serves as an initial valiant effort to accomplish this goal. The program was in color, featuring performance photos of the choir, photos of BYU and the Harris Fine Arts Center, and photos and brief bios of individual choir members. 6. To help fund special projects to further Singers mission. This includes recordings and videos released as a gesture of good will, hoping they will serve as a positive, beautiful response to the ugliness, vulgarity, corruption, and violence in the world.

Such efforts can also be enormously helpful in promoting concerts at home and abroad, in educating audiences to the beauties and ennobling value of the music we sing, and in furthering awareness of BYU Singers and the good they do and can yet do in the world.

Where is the endowment fund account held, and who oversees it?

BYU Singers Endowment Fund is in a BYU account, and is invested and overseen by LDS Philanthropies. Is there any precedent for this fund? The Jewkes Fund was established in the early 1980s for the use of the BYU A Cappella Choir, BYU Singers predecessor. While it generates a much smaller amount, monies from that fund have been used to

Page 6 help BYU Singers endeavors, allowing their endowment fund to grow. Has the Endowment Fund been used yet? No. All interest to this point has been reinvested into the fund, thus allowing it to continue to grow. Will the BYU Singers Endowment Fund be used while Dr. Staheli is still conducting BYU Singers?

Yes, there are plans to use the interest, available once annually, to facilitate the choirs appearance at the 2014 Western Division ACDA Conference. The fund will also help in many of the ways outlined above as the choir prepares to tour China in the spring of 2015. What will happen to the fund once Dr. Staheli retires?

The fund was established to help BYU Singers or the current touring choir. Just as the uses of the interest have been determined by Dr. Staheli thus far, the next director of the touring choir will have control over the interest generated. The principal will remain intact to furnish the interest used. http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/singers-alumni-hymn-project

All photos in this special Endowment document are of alumni (some younger than others) singing in the Wednesday night rehearsal/recording sessions. Photos by Devin Anderton & Craig Butler.