Sunderland Symphony Orchestra


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Year Ending 31st December 2015

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 2015.

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


Membership matters

  There was a total of 39 paid-up members at the end of the year (30 playing members, 4 non-playing members and 5 patrons), compared  to 43 the previous year.  There were also  6 honorary members.

  A number of members left the orchestra during the year: Deborah Affleck (oboe), Rebecca Topping (cello), David Robinson (violin), Megan Robinson (violin), Vanessa Parson (Bassoon). We thank them for their service and friendship, and wish them well.

  We welcomed the following as new members during the year: Dr. Jim Moodie (Violin), Dan Lawrence (French Horn), Americo Dos Santos (Clarinet), Kate Dimmock (Flute), Francesca Sensier (Clarinet).

  One member, Phil Jackson, married Claire during the year and we give them both our best wishes.

Annual General Meeting - Wednesday 25th March 2015. 

  The existing committee members were re-elected and Dr. Chris May re-appointed as auditor. Membership fees for the forthcoming year were held at the same level as for the present year.


  Concert programmes continued to offer different themes and to feature orchestra members in the soloist role.

  The March concert was entitled 'Music from across Europe', and featured Phil Jackson (Trumpet) as our baritone soloist.

  In June, the summer concert featured Sheila Rayson and Laura Payne playing a flute duet, and Brian Naisby soloing on the percussion.

  In the October concert, the orchestra leader, Judith Thompson, was violin soloist.

  The St. Andrew's Operatic Society was the guest choir in October, with their Musical Director, Philip Hall.

  Guests at the Christmas concert were a local close harmony group the 'Westland Singers' from Sunderland, led by Teresa Dewhurst and accompanied by Paul Dewhurst.

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

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

Christmas Carol Service

  Eight members of the orchestra provided orchestral accompaniment for the Christmas Carol Service held by the Monkwearmouth Christian Fellowship in their church on Fulwell Road, Sunderland. The church was full and the atmosphere friendly and welcoming. Although this was arranged on a voluntary basis, the Church was so delighted with the playing that they gave the orchestra a substantial donation.

Musical Director

  Paul Judson has continued to provide entertaining and original programmes for the enjoyment of the audiences. Paul frequently re-writes or arranges parts to make the music more attractive to both players and listeners, and has proved to be the ideal person for the MD’s role.

Deputy Leader of the orchestra

  The committee appointed Ged McCormack as Deputy Leader of the orchestra, and thanks him for accepting this demanding role.

Civic involvement with the orchestra

  The Deputy Mayor & Deputy Mayoress of the City of Sunderland (Councillor Barry Curran and Mrs. Carol Curran) were present at the March concert, and were very impressed with the performance.

  The Deputy Mayor stated that it was his wish to advertise the assets of the City during his forthcoming year of office as Mayor, should he be re-elected in May, and felt that the orchestra was worthy of his support. Thus the Deputy Mayor requested that he and the Deputy Mayoress  become Honorary Patrons of the orchestra for the year, subsequent to their becoming Mayor and Mayoress in due course.

  The local elections went as hoped, and the concerts were honoured with a civic presence at each performance thereafter.                                                         

  At the request of the Mayor, the October concert was entitled ‘The Mayor’s Charity Concert – The Last Night of the Proms’, and helped to promote the  three charities chosen by the Mayor to receive Civic support during his year of office.

  The Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland, together with the Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayoress, and Sunderland’s three Aldermen were present, with a Civic party numbering 40 dignitaries, which included the Lord Lieutenant of the County, The Mayors of Peterlee, Seaham and South Tyneside, the Civic Head of Northumberland County Council, the Vice-Chairman of Durham County Council and a number of councillors, chief officers, former mayors and representatives of the three charities.

  Thanks go to our Vice-Presidents, John Lennox and Mark Greenfield, and Patron Mrs. Alice Arrowsmith, for acting as hosts to the Civic party.

  An audience of about 200 was the largest for the last six years.

  We greatly appreciate the contacts made as a result of the Mayor's support, and the greater exposure the orchestra has had in many directions.


  Two editions of the orchestra's newsletter were again 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, and all grant applications for funding towards running costs were unsuccessful.

  The Sunderland City Council once again supported the Society through the ‘Community Chest’ with a grant for the purchase of music.

  A number of anonymous donations were received during the year, to further the work of the orchestra, including one of £100.00, one of £150.00, and one of £1,000.00. These are all greatly appreciated.

Future of West Park Church

  No formal offer to purchase the building has yet been made, even though the asking price has been reduced.

  Following the use of Ewesley Road Methodist Church for the March concert, negotiations with the owners of West Park resulted in the orchestra being allowed to continue in residence and to use the building for subsequent concerts. This is being negotiated on an approximately three monthly basis. We are very grateful to the church authorities for this.

  One firm offer of alternative accommodation has been received, but the instrument storage would be on a higher floor than the rehearsal area.


  Publicity continues to be a problem.

  The orchestra’s web site has continued to be a popular source of information with the public.

  The ‘Facebook’ page continues to receive much acclaim for the quality of photographs and the video clips. Many thanks to Lloyd Watson for his work and enthusiasm. The address of the page has been modified slightly to make it more user-friendly.


  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 ex-members of West Park Church and the support team for continued help given in many ways, to facilitate the smooth running of each concert.



David E Mills, Joy Lowther, Brian Naisby,

 Peter Chapman,  Kathleen A. Mills, Lynne Dakers.

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Copyright © 2010 D E Mills