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Year Ending 31st December 2004

City of Sunderland Millennium Orchestral Society

Established October 1999. Charity Registration Number 1082431

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

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

  Diana Hauber was again co-opted to the Committee. Diana was granted the degree of Master of Music, with merit, by Newcastle University this year.

Membership matters

  There were 38 Members, 7 Patrons and 2 Friends.

  Numbers were similar to those of last year; we gained some new members, and lost a few due to a number of members leaving to go to university etc.

  Our Vice-Chairman, John Lennox, went to work in Qatar in October 2003 and we anticipated his return after one year. Sadly this is not to be the case and John looks set to stay in Qatar for the foreseeable future, and has tendered his resignation from the Society.    

  John was one of the three councillors whose vision it was to found the Society and he showed great drive and energy to establish a firm foundation for the future. We thank him for all his work and dedication, and wish him well in his future career.


  Musical Director, Rupert Hanson, was granted lifetime membership of the Millennium Awards Fellowship in December. The Fellowship marks the personal commitment and achievement of a select group of talented individuals throughout the United Kingdom in strengthening and enriching their communities.


  Gregory Pullen was appointed Associate Conductor to the orchestra during July. Greg is one of the regions most prominent teachers of the cello and he also composes. He has played with The English National Ballet and in London’s West End, and was Assistant Musical Director to The Vienna Festival Ballet for many years.


  The Society has now established a regular format for the annual programme and aims to give  four major concerts each year. The Friday ‘Opera for All’ concert will in future be a full Saturday performance. Audiences at all five concerts this year were larger than previously, with the Christmas Carol Concert attracting an almost capacity house. All concerts broke even or made a profit due to the generosity of various grant making bodies. 

  Members once again provided the ‘Pit Orchestra’ for the ‘Youth Musical Spectacular’ in January and also for ‘Chuckles for Charity’ in March, both at the Empire Theatre; the residents once more performed at the Sunderland MUsic Festival and at Rookhope Village Hall.

  Soloists at the five main concerts were Deborah Sumner (Soprano), Teresa Magnowska (Mezzo-soprano), sisters Sarah and Gemma Busfield (Sopranos), and Rupert Hanson (Bass-baritone) together with accompanist Kit Watson (Piano).

Annual General Meeting - Wednesday 3rd March

  Fourteen members attended the meeting.

  Election of officials  All the present office holders were re-elected. It was agreed not to accept the resignation of John Lennox at this time but to keep the position of Vice-Chairman open pending his return to this country.

  Membership fees  Membership fees were raised to £60.00 for new patrons, and to £25.00 for members but the concessionary rate remained at £10.00.

  Handbook  It was agreed that a handbook for members be prepared containing the constitution, names of officials and house rules. The handbook to be distributed to all members at the commencement of 2005. This was produced as requested.

Double bass

  A double bass was purchased for the use of the society through the ‘Music for All’ programme.

Financial matters

  Membership fees and weekly subscriptions still did not cover the basic running costs of the Society, there being a continuing need for sponsorship, grants or donations to break even. The treasurer would like to finish each year with at least one years’ anticipated expenditure in the bank, and preferably twice that much.

  The anticipated year-end deficit had been reversed by the generosity of the ‘Music for All’ project.

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

  Rent for the use of premises. The authorities at West Park Church purchased seat cushions for all the downstairs pews. There was no need to cushion the balcony since this part of the building was not used by the Church. The upstairs, however, is used for concerts and it was agreed that cushions for upstairs would be provided by the church and that CoSMOS would pay for them over a period of years by means of an increase in the rent payable for use of the premises. Our thanks to the officials of the church.


  The Sunderland City Council continued to support the Society through the Community Chest.

Gift Aid

  Approval was gained from the Inland Revenue for the Society to recover the tax paid on all membership subscriptions.


  The Microsoft Corporation donated a copy of the computer programme ‘Front Page’ to the Society. This will enable the Society to maintain the web site in-house.

CoSMOS web site

  Much embarrassment was caused to the society throughout the year due to the web site being continually out of date. The Society had no control over the site and up-dates proved impossible to arrange. A new host and domain name were eventually obtained and the site re-established at  The site is now being administered by CoSMOS chairman David Mills and there should be no further problems.

   ‘Music for All’

  The 'Sunderland Symphony Music for All' project was initiated by musical director Rupert Hanson (the project director) and made good progress in taking music into the community and involving members of the community in music making. The project is based at Holy Trinity Church in the East End, but work is also carried out at West Park Church. Grants were received from the Sunderland City Council Community Chest, The Garfield Weston Foundation, the Sir James Knott Trust, the Sir Tom Cowie Foundation and Home Front Recall. A condition of the award of the latter grant was that all concerts receiving support from the grant must make reference to ‘the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the ending of World War II.’


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

Sunderland Symphony Youth Orchestra, Song and Dance

  Rupert’s Usworth Youth Orchestra formed the nucleus of the new youth orchestra, which is part of the ‘Music for All’ project. The Youth Orchestra meets on Saturday mornings at 10am at West Park Church, and instruction is being provided.

  A visit to the Rookhope Village Hall was the first performance by the group.

  The inaugural public concert, ‘Christmas Carol Concert,’ by the new orchestra was given at Holy Trinity Church, Church Street East, Hendon, Sunderland on Sunday 19th December.

Research programme with orthopaedic surgeon

  During May and June, members of the orchestra co-operated with Mr Jeff Ayeung, specialist registrar, orthopaedics, from the Sunderland Royal Hospital in connection with a research project of his, regarding the grip strengths of persons in relation to their dominant and non-dominant hands. Jeff brought his test equipment to rehearsal nights and each player spent about fifteen minutes providing data. Data from musicians was particularly sought after since they use both hands when playing.

History of CoSMOS - The First Four Years

  Both printings of this publication sold out.

  A companion volume History of CoSMOS - ‘CoSMOS and the Sunderland Symphony Orchestra in Print’ was produced containing all the published articles and photographs from the Sunderland Echo and other sources. A few copies are still available. These two works have been of excellent value as publicity material supporting the ‘Music for All’ project and other funding applications.

Disabled access

  A wheelchair hoist has been installed in West Park Church so to allow wheelchair users gain access to the downstairs of the church from the side door on Cowan Terrace. This hoist also has a seat for ambulatory people. A Stannah chairlift has also been provided to allow ambulatory people gain access to the balcony and upper hall from the ground floor. The ‘Music for All’ project contributed one third of the cost.


  The Society 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.


David E. Mills, Rupert W Hanson, Heather E Peel,

Kathleen A Mills, Diane Scott-McGrath, Diana Hauber.

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Copyright © 2010 D E Mills