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Oakham House choir told to disband due to lack of funding

By Valerie Dittrich

The Oakham House choir was told to disband by the end of the school year due to the lack of funding it received after the Student Choice Initiative was implemented, according to a press release. 

“Thanks to the Ontario government’s new policy that allows students to opt out of the fees that fund certain campus organizations, the 35-year-old, 80-member Oakham House Choir has lost all its funding from the Palin Foundation and has been told to disband at the end of this school year,” the statement reads. 

The choir—funded by the Palin Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that manages Oakham House and the Student Campus Centre—was established in 1984.

“The new rules specify that the money the Foundation receives from compulsory ‘ancillary fees’ can be used to support Oakham House and the Campus Student Centre, but not the choir that is based there,” the statement read. 

Made up of 80 members, the choir has been a part of Ryerson for 35 years, with their executive consisting of Ryerson students, who are elected by fellow community members. 

The choir put on two major concerts a year in off-campus venues and specialized in “large-scale masterpieces by composers such as Handel, Mozart and Beethoven.” Each concert was accompanied by the Toronto Sinfonietta, a professional orchestra. 

The choir was open to everyone on Ryerson campus, including staff and people from the larger community. Non-Ryerson members had to pay a membership fee. 

Vice-president and choir executive member, Joyce Fu, said in the press release that the choir was a place for “learning and performing beautiful music with a great group of people [and] is a wonderful and unforgettable experience.” 

“If the choir has to disband, no Ryerson student will ever have that opportunity again.”

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