interview by Henry Southern
The Oxford Gargoyles, Oxford’s premier jazz a cappella group, are embarking on their debut tour to Hong Kong and Macau from March 20th to April 2nd. We sat down with their Tour Manager, Sam Galler, to find out more.
UACUK: What made you decide to tour Hong Kong and Macau?
SG: The Gargoyles have had a longstanding tradition of traveling to the United States, where we have strong relationships with many terrific collegiate a cappella groups at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, and UPenn. This year, we wanted to try something different, and after discussing it with the leadership of the group, we all decided to take a chance and plan a tour in a completely new place.
This tour has only been made possible by a lot of hard work from the group this year, and we are so thrilled to have the opportunity to share our music with people in Hong Kong and Macau.
UACUK: What are you most looking forward to during the tour?
SG: I am most looking forward to our 10+ school workshops, where we will be able to share our passion and enthusiasm for our music with local youth. We will be listening to choirs and learning from each other, and I think this will be a really special part of our tour. We are very fortunate to be working with a variety of schools in different areas of the city, including local schools, international schools, primary, and secondary schools.
UACUK: We are aware that you have recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the tour. Why did you decide do this and why FringeBacker?
SG: We are so excited to go on this tour, and really want to share our excitement with other people who would like to support our group. We also wanted to find a way to include people both in the UK and in Hong Kong, so we decided to try out crowdfunding and see if we could use it as a way to include supporters in our adventures and experiences we sing and travel. So we decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign — FringeBacker offered strong bilingual and international customization, and we have been very happy to have support from their team.
We have done our very best to come up with things that people might really like to get in exchange for supporting us, and will offer limited edition postcards, T-shirts, and concert posters to those who back our trip!
UACUK: Do you think that more collegiate a cappella groups will undertake crowdfunding?
SG: Yes, crowdfunding can be a very helpful thing for small groups with big ideas. Collegiate a cappella groups like the Gargoyles owe so much to the support of their supporters and fans, and platforms like FringeBacker simply make it easier for them to conduct fundraising campaigns to launch new projects.
UACUK: What are your plans for when you get back?
SG: After we return to Oxford, we get to enjoy Oxford’s best season, the Spring. At Oxford, it is called “Trinity” Term, and for those who don’t have exams, it is an amazing time to be here. We are singing at many garden parties and balls, and will be preparing more exciting music for our annual run at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh this coming August!
UACUK: That all sounds very exciting! Thank you very much for talking to us!
For more information and to support The Oxford Gargoyles’ tour, visit their FringeBacker campaign page.
Follow the Oxford Gargoyles on Facebook or on Twitter at @oxfordgargoyles.