The Executive Committee
pleasure in presenting the THIRD Annual Report of the Society.
Membership numbers were static, there being 5 Patrons (7 last year) and 34
members (30 last year). 25 members were playing members, most of whom were
regular attenders on practice nights.
As an experiment, a non-voting
category of ‘Friend’ was introduced during the year, at a reduced
annual fee, entitling the friend to receive copies of the Newsletter and
advance notice of concerts.
This resulted in 7 Friends being
The same groups as last year remained
affiliated (two of the groups had amalgamated):
The Sunderland Ladies Choir
The Sunderland Arts Club
The Usworth Youth Orchestra,
Song and Dance
Annual General Meeting
- Wednesday 6th March
Fourteen members attended the A.G.M.
post of Orchestra Manager was filled by Diane Scott-McGrath, but the posts
of Secretary and Fund-Raiser remained unfilled. The work of these posts
would continue to be undertaken by The Chairman and Musical Director
A new heating system has been
installed in the practice room and is functioning satisfactorily.
of the windows at the rear of the practice hall have been replaced by the
Church Authorities, eliminating the major source of cold and draughts.
total number of performances given this year was only five (see below,
excluding Empire Pit Orchestra), which was disappointing for many members,
although the general standard of playing was greatly improved. One of
these concerts was given at the Park Hotel, Roker, for a new intake of
concerts were given in the Parks due to the Council allocating the
bandstands to groups which had not previously performed there.
Durham Festival of Sport and Music
The Symphony Orchestra was engaged by ‘Rival Arts’ of
Newcastle to perform two major concerts in connection with this event, one
at Durham in June and the second at Corbridge in September. A substantial
fee would have been received by the Society for each concert. Music was
purchased and rehearsals were well under way when the whole of the music
side of the festival was cancelled by the organisers (Durham City Council
and Durham University) at short notice. (For full details and reasons see
CoSMOS Newsletter July/August 2002). ‘Rival Arts’ had provided an advance
payment on the booking fees, and this, together with a further sum
negotiated by the Musical Director fully compensated the Society for
expenses already incurred.
Opera for All
year the ‘Opera for All’ evening had an ensemble from the Orchestra
providing accompaniment as well as playing music from the operas. This
proved to be a huge success with the audience and will be repeated in the
future. Piano accompaniment was provided by two of our members, since the
workload had been found to be too demanding for only one.
hoped-for re-commencement of the Academy did not materialise, but a
limited amount of teaching was given on the clarinet.
The ‘Awards for All’ programme was
successfully completed and all objectives satisfactorily attained within
the allocated budget.
web-site is now
complete and sincere thanks are due to Mr Timothy Smith of Leicester for
the excellent workmanship put into the construction of the site from
information supplied by The Chairman. An agreement has been made for the
regular up-dating of the site.
computer system is
fully operational and is used for maintaining all records, and producing
most documents, newsletters and reports.
Towards the middle of the year the
notice board, provided by the ‘Awards for All’ funding was irreparably
damaged by vandals. The board has been replaced by one of modified design
which should prevent a recurrence taking place. Thanks are extended to the
manufacturers of the notice board for supplying the replacement at cost
Timpani have been put
to good use by Brian Naisby at every concert since their purchase.
Financial Matters and Sponsorship
Concerts It is evident
that without sponsorship, symphony concerts in Sunderland cannot yet
break even financially. Other concerts are able to make a small profit.
The Society owes a great debt of
gratitude to Rupert Hanson for the amount of time and effort he has put
into securing funding for the Orchestra and the Society. Our sincere
thanks are also due to the donors of the funds, without which the concerts
could not have been given.
sponsored the concert at the Empire Theatre in September by donating
£3000.00 plus the £946.00 hire fee for the Theatre. The Foundation also
sponsored refreshments for 60 pensioners at the Christmas Carol Concert.
gave £2000.00 to underwrite the setting-up costs of the Symphony
The Community Foundation
£2500.00 to facilitate the purchase of instruments and to cover tutor
The City Council continued to support the Society during the year. The
treasurer was involved in prolonged discussions with Council officials
regarding considerable confusion over exactly how much money had been
allocated to us. Cllr. Win Lundgren assisted by making enquiries ‘on the
inside.’ Eventually it appeared that £700.00, which we had already
claimed, had been incorrectly placed in our account. The Treasurer and
Chairman met with Council officials who eventually agreed to write the
money off and not to claim it back.
metal staging to provide a raised tier on the concert platform in the
Church, which had been borrowed from the Usworth School was donated to the
Society by the School on semi-permanent long term loan.
clarinet in ‘A’ was purchased.
valuable violin has been given to the Orchestra on long-term loan by one
of the Members.
Society continued its policy of purchasing music where possible, rather
than hiring, since this is a more cost-effective way of obtaining scores
for future performances.
Use of bad language/insulting behaviour
formal complaints were received by the Committee regarding the use of foul
and abusive language by one of the orchestral players, directed at Society
officials and in front of other members of the Society. The member claimed
that since at no time previously had that member been told that such
behaviour/use of bad language was unacceptable and that there was no
reference in the constitution or on the membership application form as to
exactly what standards of behaviour were required, that member saw no
reason for offering any apology. The guidelines in the Constitution
relating to such matters proved inadequate to achieve a resolution of the
problem; hence the Committee has proposed a change to the wording of the
Constitution to ensure that any further problems can be dealt with
Society once again extends its 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.
David E. Mills, Rupert W Hanson,
Heather E Peel,
Kathleen A Mills,
John A Lennox, Diane Scott-McGrath
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