The Executive Committee has great pleasure in
presenting the FIRST Annual Report of the Society.
The City of Sunderland Council invited
each Ward of the City to celebrate the Millennium in a manner of its own choosing,
and provided a sum of £2000.00 for each Ward for this purpose. Councillors John Lennox,
Win Lundgren and Mark Greenfield of the Thornholme Ward felt that a more permanent mark of
the Millennium was desirable than, for example, the holding of a street party. Thus was
born the idea of forming a Symphony Orchestra for the City.
discussions, a Public Meeting was held on Friday 1st October 1999, at which a
decision was made to form an Orchestral Society, with a view to forming a full Symphony Orchestra for the City within five years. The
following appointments were made: Chairman/Secretary- John Lennox; Treasurer - John Allen;
Musical Director - Rupert Hanson. Regular meetings were then held on Monday nights to plan
the way ahead. It was agreed that the West Park United Reformed Church should be the
headquarters for practices and concerts, due to the excellent location adjacent to the
Transport Interchange, and the availability of suitable accommodation. The first concert
'Welcome to Christmas' was a 'Thank You' to the West Park authorities, and was closely
followed by the first major concert, both held in the church. All regular attenders at
meetings up to Christmas were given membership cards and the status of 'Founder Member'.
No membership fees were requested.
First Annual General
Meeting and Executive Committee
At the first A.G.M. on 27th. March 2000, a constitution was approved and a
Chairman - David E. Mills; Vice-Chairman - Mrs. Brenda McCluskey Resigned
January 2001; Correspondence Secretary - Miss Louise Pickering Resigned September 2000;
Treasurer - Mrs. Pamela Jones Resigned August 2000; Membership Secretary - Mrs. Sheila
Hannay Resigned November 2000; P .R. & Publicity - Rupert W. Hanson; Fund Raiser - No
appointment; Minutes Secretary - Miss Charlotte Bagley Post not taken up; Holding Trustees
- John A. Lennox, Mark Greenfield, Mrs. Win Lundgren, Rev. Steven Orange.
The Committee took a little while to settle down and fully grasp the
responsibilities and commitment of the various posts. As expected, a number of changes of
personnel occurred. The Committee is in no hurry to fill the vacancies, being prepared to
wait until the right people can be found. During the year, Miss Heather Peel and Ian
Alderson were co-opted on to the committee:- Heather subsequently became Membership
Secretary and Ian became Orchestra Manager: Mrs. Kathleen Mills took over as Treasurer. It
is hoped that eventually, the Committee will be composed largely of non-playing members of
the Society, enabling the musicians to concentrate on playing.
It was decided not to INSIST on a membership
fee for the first year, but to INVITE one; £10.00 for Members: £25.00 for Patrons: any
higher sums for Sponsors. The Society thus had three sponsors, five patrons and thirty
five members. About thirty two regular attenders and players elected not to contribute.
For the year Jan - Dec 2001 each 'MEMBER' has received a written request for a membership
fee and it is hoped that all will pay. In the future, reminders will go out in December
for the following year. A suggestion that a weekly subscription be paid was not initially
followed up. Membership fees at the current level are not sufficient to cover the basic
running costs of the Society. Major funding during the year came from three sponsors -
Ford North-East Dealers, The City of Sunderland Council and the Lee Sykes National Centre.
These generous donations are gratefully acknowledged. The Society continues to seek
sponsorship/funding from a number of sources.
The Elders and Members of West Park
Church have made the Society very welcome and have bent over backwards to
accommodate our needs, and have given us the sole use of a room on the premises. We
gratefully acknowledge the excellent relationship which has developed between the Society
and the Church.
The Year's Programme
Two concerts were given by the
full orchestra (average 60 players).
For those concerts, a number of experienced musicians were 'bought in'. The remaining 21
performances were all given entirely by our own members. This was an outstanding
achievement and the Society acknowledges the drive and enthusiasm of the Musical Director
in achieving this outstanding programme. A full list of venues and details is attached. In
addition the Society sponsored visits by the Burnt Hickory Youth Choir from America, and
from the Hetton Silver Band. Eight outdoor performances in Roker and Mowbray Parks,
together with the concerts in Auckland Castle and Morpeth provided good publicity and
Fund-Raising for Others
The concert in the Empire Theatre
enabled £1200.00 to be given to the R.N.L.I. The
Morpeth concert raised money for 'Breakthrough' and the Auckland Castle concert raised
money for the North-East Christmas Appeal of the Salvation Army (Every seat sold).
Links have been
established with the asylum seekers resident
in the town and two concerts were played at the Park Hotel for their
benefit. Several members of this community now meet with the Society and
are showing interest in learning to play instruments. Two gentlemen from
Iran have regularly been our 'roadies' helping to move music stands, move
Practice night was
changed from Monday to Wednesday during the year,
and this has resulted in an overall increase in the number of playing
Early on in the
year, an Academy was established to train and encourage young musicians.
From the start, this was intended to be
self-funding but unfortunately income was significantly lower than
expenditure. The problems were identified, and have been addressed and a
similar situation will not arise again. Numbers attending were not as
numerous as had been hoped for, there being an average attendance of seven
to eight rather than the hoped for attendance of forty to forty five.
Registration as a Charity
Formalities were completed during the
year with The Charity Commissioners,
and the Society became a Registered Charity on 20/09/00 with a
Registration number 1082431. In order to achieve this status the
constitution needed changing and so a Special General Meeting had to be
called to approve the required alterations.
David E. Mills,
Rupert W. Hanson ,
Kathleen A. Mills,
Heather E. Peel,
here to return to Annual