My name is Ben Reason and I'm a singer from Wellington, Aotearoa
New Zealand. My passion is music and this year I am pursuing that
passion to London, UK where I've been offered an incredible
opportunity to study at the prestigious Guildhall School of
Music and Drama.
I need to raise a whopping $65,000 to cover my tuition fees and
living costs for the first year of my BMus (Hons) course. With
another three years to go, this is only a fraction of what the
overall cost will eventually be. The Guildhall School has awarded
me a part-scholarship to go towards tuition fees but I now need
your help to get me the rest of the way. This Boosted campaign,
along with the help of a generous opera-loving benefactor, aims to
raise the remaining $10,000 that I need to cover my first year
So who am I?
I was born and bred in Wellington, and attended Onslow College
from 2010 to 2014 where my (then undiscovered) musical ardour was
nurtured in the zany, collaborative community that I was welcomed
During this time, I sang and performed in an number of
ensembles, often writing music to be performed by these very
groups. However, I felt the most satisfaction when the dramatic art
form would meet with music on stage. In 2013, I found myself in an
environment where I could pour my heart and soul into a role,
storming the stage with all the bravado and anguish a 16 year-old
could muster as "Sweeney Todd; the Demon Barber of Fleet
After graduating from Onslow with an Excellence endorsement, I
went on to pursue private study with some of the country's
most distinguished musicians: NZ Opera principal répétiteur
and vocal coach Bruce Greenfield, renowned NZ baritone Roger
Wilson, as well as mezzo-soprano and head of Classical Voice at
NZSM Dr. Margaret Medlyn. In 2016, I was awarded a grant from
the Dame Malvina Major Foundation that helped enable my continued
A passionate chorister, I was a member of the New Zealand
Secondary Students' Choir which travelled to Malaysia and Singapore
on an international tour (2013/14), and have also been a
choral scholar with New Zealand's leading symphonic choir, Orpheus.
I have worked as a freelance singer and am currently a member of
the Freemasons New Zealand Opera chorus. To my delight (and
wonderment at my age), I was selected for the Wellington chorus in
their 2016 English-language production of Mozart's "The Magic
Flute" - my 'operatic début'. I have also recently finished
performing in their rendition of the iconic opera "Carmen", and
will sing in Bizet's "La damnation de Faust" with the NZSO later in
And how did I get here?
In June of last year, I packed up my bags and travelled to the
UK in search of an adventure. With the encouragement of my UK
teachers Paul Farrington and Tim Richards, I decided to take a
swing at some music schools. Working in a Bristol pub to fund my
lessons and travel costs, I was dubbed the 'singing bartender' as I
made use of the 600 year-old building's wonderful acoustics!
In November, I jumped head first into a month of auditions -
travelling the country to conservatoires in Glasgow, Cardiff, and
finally London. To my utter astonishment and joy, I was offered a
place at the Guildhall School the very next day and a scholarship
Where to now?
What is so exceptionally exciting about training my voice in
London is that I know how much of a personal journey it is going to
be. Not only am I building a greater understanding of the
instrument I already have, but I'm also creating an identity in my
sound and presentation that people will come to recognise one
I will be studying with UK-born baritone, répétiteur, and
conductor Robert Dean. In addition to his teaching work at the
Guildhall School, Robert has also been guest vocal coach at the
National Opera Studio, Glyndebourne, and at the Royal Danish
Academy in Copenhagen.
Guildhall has the resources, artistic community, and vocational
opportunities to promote musicians and actors to become the best in
their field. It's renowned international faculty and campus right
in the heart of a great city of culture are why I ultimately chose
it over two other UK conservatoires, where I was also offered
scholarships. You can find out more at: www.gsmd.ac.uk
I applied to study Voice at the Guildhall School of Music and
Drama because I want to continue to be part of an arts community
that will allow me to flourish and succeed in a lifetime love of
practice and performance.
Thank you so much for your continuing support, I hope you
will be able to share in this journey with me.
Noho ora mai
Opening on a Showcase and a Road Trip
7 DAYS AGO
It has been just over a week since I launched this crowdfunding campaign with Boosted and WOW, what a week it has been!
I opened on Friday to a number of early donors bumping me up to 14% in the first few hours, which quickly doubled to 32% by Saturday morning. The shock of seeing this while eating breakfast nearly made me spill my cereal all down my front - my lack of grace never ceases to surprise me.
On Sunday, I had the pleasure of performing for the folk at Rita Angus retirement home with Alicia Cadwgan, Mark Dorrell, and two marvellous students from Queen Margaret's College. I sang a selection of songs including RVW's "Whither Must I Wander" from his cycle Songs of Travel, and the sombre poetry of Fauré's chanson "En Sourdine"; both of which you will be able to hear at my fundraising concert at the end of this month.
Alicia and I also performed a couple of duets for the residents and friends: "Bei Männern" from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, and "Love Unspoken" from Lehár's The Merry Widow.
The showcase was set up by the Dame Malvina Major Foundation and I have them to thank for inviting me to sing. It was a real privilege to have sang with such accomplished musicians, and to have made some new friends along the way too.
On Monday, I hit the road with a couple of friends. We decided to take a road trip and drive up the North Island, through the beautiful National Park on our way to Auckland. Being musical folk, the sing-a-long's were an inspiration.
It’s been a wonderful opportunity to de-stress, recover, and take some time to reflect on how far I’ve come and to remind myself where I am going. With all my upcoming concerts, there’s lots of music to learn and change of scenery has honestly helped renew my excitement in it.
I’m so happy to have also had the chance to catch up with some old friends I haven’t seen since before I first left New Zealand to travel to the UK. Never leave it too long!
It’s our last night before heading back to Wellington and we’re in Tauranga. How lucky we’ve been to miss all the terrible weather, and my voice is feeling better than ever!
I am incredibly humbled by the generosity shown by those who have donated already. Just one week in and the campaign has now reached 75% of my initial goal. Thank you all for your kind messages of support and your interest in my journey so far. I am eagerly awaiting for what the next month has in store.