Sunderland Symphony Orchestra


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Year Ending 31st December 2012

Established October 1999. Charity Registration Number 1082431

Co-Founders and Vice-Presidents:

John A Lennox, Mark Greenfield, Winifred Lundgren


   The Executive Committee present their report with the financial statements of the orchestra for the year ended 31st December 2012.

   The Committee met regularly during the year to deal with the necessary business.


Membership matters

 There were 32 Members and 4 Patrons.

    New members:

    Ged McCormack has joined the violin section so as to relax from his work as an architect.

   Clemence Chenevas-Paule, who comes from France, is undertaking research in the Pharmacy department of Sunderland University. She joins the violin section of the orchestra.

    Jessie Hetherington joined the horn section.

    Brian Arrowsmith joined as a Patron.


   Severine Chanduloy (Violin), Ditte Goard (Violin), John Feechan (Trumpet) and Alan Lackenby (Trumpet) ceased their membership during the year, and we thank them for their services.

    Rev. Stephen Hazlett joined the orchestra during year 2000, playing first violin.

    He was Chairman of the orchestra for three years from March 2006 to April 2009.

    He has left the Sunderland Minster to take up a new post as Chaplain to the Port of Rotterdam with the Mission to Seafarers, and as Priest-in-charge of the local English-speaking church.

    At the June concert, he was presented with a framed photograph of the orchestra in appreciation of his services and his friendship.

   We will miss him and his sense of humour, and wish him all the best for the future.

   John Lennox (Vice President) has returned to Sri Lanka for a further term.

Recruiting posters were displayed throughout the town, including most departments of the University and the Sunderland City Library. Every student in one faculty received the poster by e-mail. These measures resulted in limited success.  


   Concert programmes continued to adopt different themes, in order to try and  attract wider audiences.

In March, the concert presented a variety of music with an Irish theme and was held on St. Patrick's Day. Soloist on the Irish Harp was Ruth Corry, from Belfast, who is a competition winner and well-known throughout Europe. Soprano vocalist was Eleanor Penfold, from Surrey, also a competition winner who has performed in major European venues.

   'Music from Stage and Screen in June attracted our largest audience to date, even though the date

and time coincided with a huge ‘Tattoo’ in the town, sponsored by The Lord Lieutenant of the County. However, we were given free publicity in the Tattoo Programme for our October concert, for which we were very grateful.

   A ‘Festival of Music’ was held in Sunderland’s Mowbray Park on a glorious Sunday afternoon in June - a ‘Prom’s Picnic’ at which the orchestra played to a very appreciative audience of about 200. Guest conductor for the occasion was Miss Bryony Rickard from Durham University. Bryony also took the Wednesday rehearsal prior to this concert.

   Once again, much of the music played during the year, had to be hired, and The Sunderland City Library and the Liverpool City Library were particularly helpful in obtaining several pieces for us on ‘Inter Library Loan.’  Music purchased for these concerts was obtained by means of a grant from The Sir James Knott Trust. 

   In October, the concert - ‘Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Promenade Concert’ - presented appropriate music, with Rachel Orr once again appearing as soprano soloist.

   The Christmas concert featured the Sunderland Millfield Songsters of the Salvation Army - one of the premier songster groups in the country. The concert finished with the Songsters and the orchestra performing together in two choruses from Handel’s ‘Messiah’. Another record audience.

Guest conductors

   The orchestra players find great benefit from occasionally playing under the batons of different conductors.

   Dylan Huw Thomas, from Durham University, again deputised for Ray Farr, when a conducting engagement elsewhere meant that Ray was unable to be with us on a Wednesday night.

   Eric Kolk from Holland, who had earlier won the European Conductor's Competition, came to take the rehearsal on one evening, in order to gain some additional conducting experience.

Annual General Meeting - Wednesday 21st March 2013

    Election of officials

  The existing committee members were all re-elected and Lynne Dakers was co-opted to the committee.


   Two editions of the orchestra's newsletter were produced during the year. These were distributed to interested parties and were available for viewing on the web site.

Financial matters

   The new method of allowing the annual subscription to be paid in three instalments did not prove to be as successful as expected. Two members failed to pay any membership subscription, despite numerous reminders, and some others, although monies were  promised, had not been paid by the end of the year. This problem has taken a lot of committee time and the answer has yet to be determined.


   The Sunderland City Council continued to support the Society through the Community Chest.

   Grants were received from the Sir James Knott Trust and the Sunderland Lions Club.

   An application to the Arts Council for funding was unsuccessful, but a revised application is being assembled.


  Attempts to find a new sponsor for the orchestra met with no success. Enquiries are ongoing regarding this matter.

Orchestra library

   The music in the library has been completely catalogued, and most missing parts replaced.

The orchestra’s web site

   This continues to be a popular source of information with the public, judging by the number of queries and comments received.


   Once again, The Sunderland Echo gave only minimal publicity regarding our concerts.

   The Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Iain Kay,  graced our October concert with his presence.

   The committee agreed that a ‘Facebook’ page be opened on the Internet, hopefully as an additional means of gaining public exposure.

Sunderland University

   The orchestra collaborated with the Media Productions Department of Sunderland University in April, regarding the production of a documentary. Filming took place in West Park Church and involved members of the violin and percussion sections of the orchestra.


   The Orchestra once again extends grateful thanks to all the people and groups who have supported its activities over the past year. The volunteer help given by so many is greatly appreciated. Special thanks must be given to the members of West Park Church for help given in many ways throughout the yea

Honorary Members

   Right from its inception, the orchestra has relied upon a small team of dedicated helpers who give of their time and skills voluntarily to ensure that each performance runs smoothly.

   The additional staging, which enlarges the area upon which the orchestra sit, has to be erected and dismantled for each concert; security and disabled access at the side entrance behind the orchestra needs to be supervised; ‘Front of House’ – tickets and programmes - has to be manned; food and refreshments, upstairs, are provided for the orchestra on concert days; downstairs, refreshments for the audience are served during the intervals.

   The Committee decided that having given more than ten years service in these capacities,

Ken Smith, Sylvia Smith, John Shipley, Keith Galbraith, Margaret Wallace and Christine Naisby should be recognized by being made Honorary Members of the orchestra.

   Mark Greenfield, Vice-President and one of the three co-founders of the orchestra, presented commemorative certificates to the above named during the Christmas Concert.


David E Mills, Joy Lowther, Brian Naisby,

 Peter Chapman,  Kathleen A. Mills, Sue Sweeney, Lynne Dakers.

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Copyright © 2010 D E Mills