Sunderland Symphony Orchestra


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Year Ending 31st December 2014

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 2014.

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


Membership matters

   There was a total of 43 members at the end of the year (34 playing members, 4 non-playing members and 5 patrons), compared to 39 the previous year.  There are also 6 honorary members.

   Sue Sweeney, Jane Boyd, Donna Hitcham, Mark Nixon and David McCourt, left the orchestra, and we thank them for their service and friendship.

   Deborah Affleck (oboe), Phil Jackson (trumpet), Joyce Brown (cello), Rebecca Topping (cello), Victoria Perrett (trumpet), David Robinson (violin), Megan Robinson (violin), Caitlin Williams (viola) and Adam Wilkinson (violin),  joined the orchestra, and are welcomed.

Anne Wilkinson is welcomed as our regular tea-maker on Wednesday nights.

   Two members were married during the year – Kathryn Boal (viola) is now Kathryn Maclaren and Sheila Brownlee (flute) is now Sheila Rayson.

   Donna Hitcham (Clarinet) and husband Stuart are now proud parents of Charlie James. Our best wishes go to all of them.

Annual General Meeting - Wednesday 26th March 2014

   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.

   The March concert featured ‘Popular Concert Classics’.

   In June, the theme was ‘Music from Stage and Screen’, with orchestra members Fiona Preston (oboe) and Jane Boyd (alto saxophone) performing the solos.

   The  October concert was a traditional ‘Promenade Concert’, with Rachel Orr (soprano) as guest soloist.

   The orchestra received an invitation to perform the opening concert at the Norton Music Festival, in September. This took the form of a  ‘Last Night of the Proms’  concert in St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, Norton-on-Tees.

   In December, the Christmas concert again featured the ‘Castletown Community Choir’ from Castletown, Sunderland, who gave a superb performance, under the baton of their musical director, Caoimhe Ni Chomhrai.   Orchestra member Fiona Cockling (clarinet) also performed as soprano soloist. The attendance of 176 was the largest audience at one of our concerts during the last five years.

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

Musical Director

   Paul Judson completed his first year as Musical Director, and brought his own distinctive style to the orchestra. Through his contacts with many local music groups and education establishments, we were able to ‘borrow’ music and musicians at very little or no cost. This saved a considerable amount of money. Through Paul, the orchestra was also enabled to join a number of music libraries.


   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 web site.

Financial matters

   The orchestra still has difficulty in finding a major sponsor.

   The Sunderland City Council once again supported the Society through the ‘Community Chest’.

  The  timpani drums, xylophone and drum kit, funded through the Council’s ‘Strategic Initiative Budget’ (SIB), and through the Co-Operative, were all purchased, and are in regular use. 

  The Sunderland Lions Club helped with the purchase of covers for the new timpani. 

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.

Future of West Park Church

  West Park United Reformed Church has been our home since a public meeting in October 1999 decided to form an orchestra for Sunderland. Unfortunately, the church was  closed on 17th October 2014, following a period of uncertainty regarding its future. The congregation was merged with another URC nearby and the building put up for sale.

  The URC (Northern Province) Synod Trust Ltd has allowed the orchestra to continue using the building pending its ultimate sale, on the understanding that the licence to operate therein is terminable-at-will by either party, from January 1st 2015.

  New premises are being sought for storage of music and instruments, and rehearsal facilities, should the new owners of the building be not able to allow the orchestra to continue in residence. With this in mind, an alternative venue has been booked for the March (2015) concert (Ewesley Road Methodist Church).


   The Sunderland Echo gave only minimal publicity regarding our concerts, but published an excellent article regarding the problems facing the orchestra should the new owners of the West Park Church not be able to allow the orchestra to continue in residence. The article included two photographs.

   The ‘Facebook’ page was re-opened by a friend of the orchestra, Lloyd Watson, following a period of quiescence, and we are grateful for his help and expertise.


   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, Lynne Dakers.

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Copyright © 2010 D E Mills