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Year Ending 31st December 2002

City of Sunderland Millennium Orchestral Society

Established October 1999. Charity Registration Number 1082431

  The Executive Committee has great 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 enrolled. 

Affiliated groups

  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.

  The 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 respectively.

Practice Hall 

  A new heating system has been installed in the practice room and is functioning satisfactorily.

  All of the windows at the rear of the practice hall have been replaced by the Church Authorities, eliminating the major source of cold and draughts.


  The 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 asylum seekers.

  No 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

  This 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.


  The hoped-for re-commencement of the Academy did not materialise, but a limited amount of teaching was given on the clarinet.

Awards for All

  The ‘Awards for All’ programme was successfully completed and all objectives satisfactorily attained within the allocated budget.

  The 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.

  The 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 price.

  The 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.

  The Lazarus Foundation 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.

  The Scarman Trust gave £2000.00 to underwrite the setting-up costs of the Symphony  Orchestra.

  The Community Foundation has donated £2500.00 to facilitate the purchase of instruments and to cover tutor costs.

  The Community Chest  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.


  Some 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.

   A clarinet in ‘A’ was purchased.

  A valuable violin has been given to the Orchestra on long-term loan by one of the Members.

  The 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

  Two 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 expeditiously.


  The 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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Copyright © 2010 D E Mills