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Year Ending 31st December 2003

City of Sunderland Millennium Orchestral Society

Established October 1999. Charity Registration Number 1082431

  The Executive Committee has great pleasure in presenting the FOURTH Annual Report of the Society.

  The Committee met seven times during the year.

  Diana Hauber was co-opted to the Committee for the year.

Membership matters

  There were 35 Members, 7 Patrons and 2 Friends.

  Although numbers were similar to those of last year and we gained some new members, there were losses due to several members leaving to go to University etc.

  At the start of October, our Vice-Chairman, John Lennox, went to work in Qatar for a year. We wish him well and look forward to his return. Among other things, John was responsible for the production of most of our flyers, posters, tickets and programmes.

  During the year the Committee had to invoke paragraph 5.7 of the constitution and require a member to resign. This was due to that member’s behaviour and intentions being seen to be harmful to CoSMOS.


  As a result of comments made at the last A G M, the Committee made a policy decision that all main concerts in the future would be held in West Park Church. The Empire Theatre was too expensive and too large for our usual audiences.

  Eight performances were given during the year. 

  Members once again provided the ‘Pit Orchestra’ for the Youth Music Spectacular at the Empire Theatre in January.

  The St. Andrew’s Operatic Society joined with CoSMOS members for the Gilbert & Sullivan evening on February 28th.

The Sunderland branch of the Musician’s Union organised a two day Sunderland MUsic Festival on Saturday and Sunday the 4th and 5th July. Twenty-three CoSMOS members played a ‘Last Night of the Proms’ concert as the closing performance on the Sunday in the marquee at Ashbrooke Sports Ground. 

  Twenty-eight members went to Rookhope, near Stanhope to give an afternoon concert in the village hall, on Sunday 28th September.  The hall was full & standing. A coach was provided to transport our members and tea was provided afterwards.

  Members of the Usworth Youth Orchestra joined with CoSMOS for the Christmas Carol Concert on Sunday 14th December. The audience at this event was one of the largest to attend a CoSMOS concert.

  Soloists at the three main concerts were Gregory Pullen (Cello), Gemma Busfield (Soprano), Irada Akhundova (Soprano), Miles Hanson (Bass-Baritone), and Kath Ireland (Mezzo-Soprano) together with her accompanist Gordon Trewhitt.

Annual General Meeting - Wednesday 5th March

  Twenty members attended the meeting.

  Constitution A number of amendments to the constitution were agreed. Subsequently, one amendment did not meet with The Charity Commissioners approval, but they suggested a way round the problem, which the Committee acted upon. The remainder were incorporated into the constitution.

  Membership fees  were kept at the same level as for last year.

  It was agreed that all playing members pay £1.00 per night towards the cost of room hire on Wednesdays, this figure to include free tea/coffee and biscuits.

Financial matters

  The Society’s finances improved during the year, but there was still a need for additional income. Membership fees and weekly subscriptions did not cover the basic running costs of the Society, the shortfall being made up with donations.

  Symphony concert ticket money increased, but these concerts still required sponsorship, grants or donations to almost break even.

  The generosity of many individuals and organisations in making donations and grants is gratefully acknowledged.


  The Sunderland City Council continued to support the Society through the Community Chest and the Lifelong Learning Community Development Fund.

  The Community Foundation gave a grant a) to purchase musical instruments and b) to underwrite the tutor expenses for the first seventeen weeks of a new Youth Music Club being formed by Rupert at West Park Church. The club offered musical tuition, song, dance & games. The Church agreed not to charge any rent for the use of the premises for these first seventeen weeks since the initial stated intention was for the club to be a CHURCH youth club. It soon became apparent that this would not be the case and funding for rent would be needed if the project were to continue. The project was a success with about twenty members enrolled. The name of the group was changed to The Sunderland Youth Music Club and it was hoped that if the group continued, it would form a stepping stone to the orchestra. Funding has not yet been obtained.

  An orchestral glockenspiel and an oboe were purchased, together with three acoustic guitars and an amplifier. The musical instruments became the property of CoSMOS upon the completion of the seventeen week project.

  Grants for an orchestra or society are extremely difficult to obtain. Monies are available for work in the community, in specified geographical areas and for work with specified groups of people. Many of these grants are given to individual persons to be used at a location of their choice, and with staff of their choice. The funds have to be administered by a properly constituted body in accordance with the conditions of the grant making organisation.

  Rupert obtained funding of this type from two bodies, a) The Lifelong Learning Community Development Fund and b) The Scarman Trust (Can Do) through the Community Millennium Award Scheme; both of these grants were towards Rupert’s ‘Music for All’ programme which included the ‘Sound Rhythm and Soul’ percussion group held on Thursday nights. Valerie Hanson also obtained a grant from The Scarman Trust as part of this programme.

  Fifteen members enrolled for the ‘SRS Experience’ and then took part in the September Promenade Concert and in the concert at Rookhope.

  The Committee agreed to act as the fundholders and administrators for these funds on the understanding that CoSMOS gained benefit from so doing.


  The Microsoft Corporation donated a copy of the computer programme ‘Front Page’ to the Society.

  The Rotary Club supported the September Promenade Concert with a financial donation.

  More than 1000 carpet tiles were given to the Society by George Craig, Founder and Honorary President of The Lazarus Centre. These had been given to Mr. Craig by a town centre store for onward distribution to deserving causes. The tiles have been used to carpet the orchestra room at the Church, and also to cover much of the wooden floor of the Church itself. This has helped greatly to improve sound insulation.

  As in previous years, several anonymous donations were received from individuals, both in cash and in kind. The Sanctuary area of the Church was re-carpeted during the Summer and the opportunity was taken by CoSMOS to provide carpeting for the stage extensions used by the orchestra. Most of the cost of the carpet was met by the auditor, the web site maintainer and one orchestra member who donated their fees or expenses for this purpose.

Orchestra rehearsal area

  All the windows in the Church Hall, and the tiles on the roof of the hall  were repaired by the Church Authorities during the year, so the Society can look forward to warm and dry rehearsals in the future.

Formation of Social Committee

  The Committee gave permission for Chris Brown and Sarah White to form a Social Committee. The first function to be held was an evening meal at a local restaurant.


  The Sunderland Echo once again provided good coverage of our concerts and published some excellent photographs.


  A limited edition booklet entitled ‘History of CoSMOS and the Sunderland Symphony Orchestra - The First Four Years’ was produced by the Chairman. This is due to be published at the Anniversary Concert on 28th February 2004, priced £4.00.


  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