Sunderland Symphony Orchestra


menubase3.jpg (4687 bytes)


Year Ending 31st December 2013

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 2013.

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


Membership matters

   There was a total of 36 members (28 playing members, 4 non-playing members and four patrons), compared to 39 the previous year. 

   Tom Patton, Christine Gill, Tom Kitchen and John Feechan left the orchestra, and we thank them for their service and friendship.

   Fiona Cockling joined the clarinet section and John Lennox (Vice President) returned home from Sri Lanka.

Annual General Meeting - Wednesday 20th March 2013.

  The existing committee members were re-elected and Dr. Chris May re-appointed as auditor.


   Concert programmes continued to offer different themes in order to provide

music which would appeal to as wide a cross-section of the public as possible,

as well as providing a challenge to the musicians.

   In March, the Spring Symphony Concert featured the Grieg Piano Concerto with Alison Gill, from Hartlepool, as soloist. A Steinway piano was hired in for

the occasion. Also on the programme was Symphony No. 8 by Dvorak - this

being only the second time the orchestra has performed a complete symphony.

   The orchestra received an invitation to perform a ‘Last Night of the Proms’

type of concert in the Herrington Country Park, Sunderland, as part of a weekend long series of events to mark ‘Armed Forces Day’, in June. A decision was made to regard this as our Summer concert and to cancel the previously arranged date at West Park Church, which should have been on the previous Saturday.

   Performing in a marquee (which was also the beer tent) against a background of fairground noise was far from satisfactory.

   The October concert followed a different format to that previously used, and featured eight of the orchestra’s members as soloists (or duettists), performing with orchestral accompaniment.

   In December, the Christmas concert featured the ‘Castletown Community Choir’ from Castletown, Sunderland. The choir had approximately 60 members: There were 40  children from the Castletown Primary School, together with teachers and parents.

   The orchestra extends grateful thanks to the visiting musicians who played in each concert, when there were otherwise vacant desks.

Musical Director

   Ray Farr, our Musical Director for the last four years, announced his intention to stand down from this position following the Christmas concert. Ray has served the orchestra with distinction, and the event was marked by him being presented with an inscribed vase at the end of the Christmas concert. We wish him every success in his new role as Associate Conductor of the Grimethorpe Colliery Band – one of the most prestigious and well known brass bands in the country.

   Taking over from Ray, is Paul Judson, who currently plays bassoon in the orchestra, and who has been acting as Assistant Conductor for some time. Paul is a founder member of the orchestra, and made his career in the army as a Bandmaster. 

Filming of concerts

   One of our Patrons, Peter Andrews, recorded the October and Christmas concerts on video, so as to give us some record of the events.

   The recording of the October concert was put on to DVD and made available to the members. Several of the soloist’s performances can be viewed on ‘YouTube’.

   It is hoped to place some suitable excerpts from these recordings on the orchestra’s web site in due course. 


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

Financial matters

   The orchestra still has difficulty in persuading a small number of ‘members’ to pay their subscriptions.

   The Sunderland City Council continued to support the Society through the Community Chest, but other grant applications were unsuccessful.

   An arrangement with the local Co-Operative Society whereby customers voted for the charity of their choice (from a list of three), provided a very welcome sum of £420.00 from the total of £1000.00 available. We thank the Co-Op for providing the opportunity to assist us in this way.

The orchestra’s web site

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


   The Sunderland Echo gave only minimal publicity regarding our concerts.

   A ‘Facebook’ page was opened on the Internet and is supervised by tuba player Colin Harding. Whether this will prove to be of any benefit to the orchestra has yet to be determined. 

Sunderland University

   The orchestra again collaborated with the Sunderland University. This time, some music was recorded as background for a documentary film which was being produced. Photography and recording took place in West Park Church and involved seventeen members of the string section together with the Musical Director. The Film Director and the composer of the music were present and photographed with the players.

Salon Orchestra

   A ‘Salon Orchestra’ has been formed from within the membership, to offer a function entertainment service, with the aim of being available to play at corporate and other events. Paul Judson is co-ordinating and leading this group.

   The first performance by the group was at the Castletown Primary School, Sunderland, as guests at their ‘Castletown Christmas’ concert.


   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 year.


David E Mills, Joy Lowther, Brian Naisby,

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

Click here to return to Annual Reports Index

Copyright © 2010 D E Mills