Mass. Cultural Council Invests $50K in New WGBH Singing Competition
Local public broadcaster also launches crowd-funding campaign to support Sing That Thing!
BOSTON, Mass. (August 19, 2014) – WGBH Boston’s newest local series, Sing That Thing!, received a generous $50,000 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) today to cover a portion of the new series’ production costs. The MCC grant is the first of its kind in that it supports a production for broadcast television.
The grant was part of a $10.3 million spending plan approved today by the MCC to support nonprofit arts, humanities and science organizations, local cultural councils, education and youth programs and working artists across the Commonwealth. In approving the grant for Sing That Thing!, MCC cited WGBH’s outreach to Massachusetts’ choral organizations, including several hundred choirs and groups that MCC does not currently have relationships with.
“Sing That Thing! builds on WGBH’s strong foundation as the leading arts broadcaster in New England and encourages people and communities to participate in music making,” said WGBH President and CEO Jonathan C. Abbott. “We are very excited to have the generous support of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.”
“WGBH is respected locally and nationally for its celebration of the arts. The MCC is committed to restoring funding for the arts, sciences and humanities in Massachusetts, and we are very pleased to include support for our local public broadcaster in our efforts,” said MCC Executive Director Anita Walker. “Sing That Thing! will shine a spotlight on amateur singers and choirs and provide an entry point for musical education for viewers of all ages.”
In addition to the MCC grant, WGBH also launched a crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo earlier today, an innovative pilot approach to help complete the production budget of the new series. The production team, led by executive producers Liz Cheng and Patricia Alvarado Núñez, aims to raise an additional $50,000 to complete the new series. The Sing That Thing! Indiegogo campaign follows on a recent campaign WGBH’s American Experience launched for the “First Days Story Project” that will complement its film “The Last Days of Vietnam.”
The Sing That Thing! campaign is WGBH’s first crowd-funding campaign to support an ongoing local broadcast series. Investors in the local crowd-funding campaign can claim incentives that range from tweeted thank you messages from the production team and host, tickets to the studio tapings of the series and exclusive backstage experiences throughout the production season. The Indiegogo campaign ends on October 18.
“Public broadcasting’s programs were the original crowd-funded films and series, produced with support and funding from community members and ‘viewers like you,’” said Cheng. “Sing That Thing! is a show for anyone who enjoys music of any kind. With such a broad reach, it presents an exciting opportunity to experiment with a social-funding platform like Indiegogo.”
Sing That Thing!, hosted by Boston Children’s Chorus’s acclaimed artistic director Anthony Trecek-King, will highlight as many as 50 choirs competing against each other in four divisions – high school, college-enrolled, adult small group (8-16 members) and adult large group (17-60 members) – over the course of 11 episodes. The series will premiere on December 5 on WGBH 2 and feature a number of local judges from Boston’s esteemed arts organizations.
Local choruses and other choral groups are invited to register and participate in the “Super Singing Weekend” taped auditions, which will take place at the WGBH Studios in Brighton on Saturday, September 27 and 28. Behind-the-scenes and performance footage from the auditions will make up the first four episodes of the new series. Choirs and choral groups will audition for one of 24 positions in the studio competition, to be taped on October 4 and 5. More information about registration and auditions is available at WGBH.org/SingThatThing.
The series’ premiere season will conclude with a final live concert with each of the eight finalists – two from each category – performing its rendition of an original composition commissioned by WGBH for Sing That Thing!.
Sing That Thing! is WGBH’s latest original local series. Other local series include WGBH News’ Greater Boston, Beat the Press, Basic Black and Open Studio with Jared Bowen, as well as High School Quiz Show, produced by WGBH Education, and Front Row Boston, produced by the WGBH Digital Studios division.In addition, WGBH produces more content for PBS than any other producers, including iconic public broadcasting series Frontline, Nova, Masterpiece, American Experience and Antiques Roadshow.
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web. Television channels include WGBH 2, WGBX 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH, Boston Public Radio; 99.5 WCRB; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. Find more information at wgbh.org.