Sunderland Symphony Orchestra

 

 

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Year Ending 31st December 2010

Established October 1999. Charity Registration Number 1082431

Co-Founders and Vice-Presidents:

John A Lennox, Mark Greenfield, Winifred Lundgren

   The Executive Committee presents the ELEVENTH Annual Report with the financial statements of the orchestra for the year ended 31st December 2010.

   The last formal report was made in the year 2007, and during that time there have been many changes, most importantly, a new musical director and a change of name.

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

   Ray Farr has now completed his first year as musical director and he has enthusiastically set about the task of consolidating and improving the repertoire of the orchestra, and of maintaining and improving the overall standard of performance. To this end, a number of workshops have been held for the different sections of the orchestra, led by professional musicians who are acknowledged experts in their respective fields.

 

Membership matters

   There were 43 Members and 3 Patrons.

   Numbers were relatively stable for a number of years, but this year showed an increase. It was felt that there was a need to increase the size of the orchestra and also to strengthen the numbers in the string and brass sections. A recruiting campaign was organised, to commence in the New Year.

   One of our  Vice-Presidents, John Lennox, returned from  working in Qatar, but has since left again to teach in Kuwait for six months.

   Peter Chapman (violin), our membership secretary and his wife, Natalie, have a new son.

Performances

   The Orchestra has now established a regular format for the annual programme of four major concerts each year. An additional performance was given in July at the Durham Town Hall as part of the Durham International Brass Festival. The orchestra’s policy is to try and include some new music in each programme, and the library was extended by the purchase of several new items.

   Innovative concerts are expensive to stage – a suitable piano had to be hired in for the Autumn concert, and several items of music also had to be hired, because they were not available to purchase. The playing of violin, tuba, trumpet and piano concertos were new ventures for the orchestra.

   Soloists at the main concerts were Meiko Kanno (Violin), Joe Cook (Tuba), Richard Martin (Trumpet), Dr. Patrick Zuk (Piano) and Neil Turnbull (Baritone). The Newcastle Cathedral Consort, with their musical director Michael Stoddart were guests at the Christmas concert.

   The Christmas concert featured an arrangement of ‘O Holy Night’, specially arranged for the orchestra and soloist by our musical director, Ray Farr. 

Annual General Meeting - Wednesday 14th April

   Twenty eight members attended the meeting.

   Election of officials 

   Neil Turnbull (Chairman) and Sheila Brownlee (Treasurer)  stood down from their respective posts and were thanked for their work during the year. Neil took on the position of Vice-Chairman.

   David Mills and Kathleen Mills returned as Chairman and Treasurer respectively, after a break of four years.

   Special general meeting

   An SGM was arranged at the request of the AGM, and held on 26th May 2010 to approve a change of name for the charity and to update the constitution in the light of present day requirements. This was done for public relations and marketing reasons. The name of ‘City of Sunderland Millennium Orchestral Society (CoSMOS)’ was dropped in favour of ‘Sunderland Symphony Orchestra.’ It was agreed that the original name be retained in small print in the constitution and on programmes for historical record. These changes were approved by The Charity Commission.

   Handbook

   It was agreed that a handbook for members be prepared containing the constitution, names of officials and bylaws of the orchestra, and this was produced as requested. The information was added to the web site and hard copies were made available to any member upon request.

Newsletter

    The orchestra's newsletter was re-introduced after a break of about two years, with the publication of the 'Autumn' edition. It is intended to produce a newsletter three or four times a year and these will be distributed to interested  parties who are not playing members. Playing members can view the newsletter on the web site or on the orchestra's notice board in the practice hall, and hard copies are available at Wednesday rehearsals.

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 has tightened up accounting procedures and the committee approved a financial policy.

   Grants

  The Sunderland City Council continued to support the Society through the Community Chest. Grants were received from the Sir James Knott Trust, the Barber Trust, The Vardy Foundation, the Sunderland Lions Club and Durham County Council.

   Donations

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

    Asset Register

   The assets of the orchestra had not been checked for several years and several items of equipment and a number of instruments could not be accounted for. Enquiries were instigated and are ongoing.

The orchestra's web site

   The management of the web site was taken in-house and is updated on a regular basis.

   Full details of all performances and the orchestra’s newsletters are published as soon as they become available. See www.sunderlandsymphonyorchestra.org.uk

Practice room

    The acoustics in the practice hall at West Park Church left a lot to be desired. The Church provided carpet tiles to cover the floor and the orchestra paid for heavy duty curtains to hang over all the walls. The acoustics are now substantially improved. In view of the money spent by the orchestra, the church waived a whole year’s rent, for which we are extremely grateful.                                                                                                                      

Percussion section

    Professional advice was obtained regarding the percussion instruments owned by the orchestra, and the first stage of upgrading the instruments was financed by the Sunderland Lions Club.

Publicity

   The Sunderland Echo did not give a great deal of publicity to the orchestra this year. Details of all concerts were also published in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle.

Thanks 

   The Orchestra 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. Special thanks must be given to the members of West Park Church for help given in many ways throughout the year.

 

MAJOR RISKS FACING THE CHARITY

 1 Concert revenue can never provide sufficient cash to provide for the essential running costs of the charity, and so the orchestra remains dependent on outside sources of revenue to remain solvent.

 

2 The long term availability of the present  rehearsal room and office/storeroom has been in doubt for the last three to four years, and the issues surrounding this have not yet been resolved.

 

STEPS TAKEN TO MITIGATE RISKS

 1  The orchestra continues to provide a varied and innovative programme of concerts in order to attract as wide an audience as possible.

 

2   External sources of funding are continually being approached.

 

3  Preliminary contacts have been established in order to obtain  alternative accommodation, should the need arise. The Church has stated that, should the building be sold sometime in the future, they will do all possible to safeguard the interests of existing tenants.

 

RESERVES POLICY

 It is intended that the cash balance in the bank at the end of the financial year (December 31st) should be at least one year’s (preferably two year’s) anticipated expenditure. This was achieved this year.

 

INDEPENDENT EXAMINER

At the Committee meeting held on Tuesday 8th February 2010 Dr. Chris May was appointed Independent Examiner.

 

David E Mills, Neil Turnbull, Sue Sweeney,

Donna Checksfield, Peter Chapman, Diana Hauber, Kathleen Mills.

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Copyright © 2010 D E Mills