Sunderland Symphony Orchestra



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Year Ending 31st December 2011

Established October 1999. Charity Registration Number 1082431

Co-Founders and Vice-Presidents:

John A Lennox, Mark Greenfield, Winifred Lundgren

   The Executive Committee present their report with the financial statements of the orchestra for the year ended 31st December 2011.


Membership matters

   There were 41 Members and 4 Patrons.

   Several members left during the year - Sophia Pearson (Cello), Catherine Small (Bass), Brian Rogers (Oboe), Sandra Rodriguez (Violin), and Severine Chanduloy (Violin) - to further their careers in other parts of the country. We wish them well and thank them for their support and hard work during their membership.

   Jane Boyd (Cello) and Stephen celebrated the birth of a son.

   Nicola Moore (violin) and Ian extended their family with a baby girl.

   The recruiting campaign was reasonably successful, and the Sunderland City Library has continued to display our recruiting poster throughout the year.   Now, for the first time since the orchestra’s formation, all instruments  are represented at most rehearsals. However, there is still room for additional players.

   John Lennox (Vice President) returned home from abroad and took part in the Proms concert as narrator in ‘Henry V Suite'.   


   Ray Farr's programmes continued to be imaginative and innovative, and once again several items of music had to be hired, because they were not available for purchase. The playing of a saxophone concerto in the Summer concert was a new venture for the orchestra.

The Sunderland City library  has been very  helpful in  obtaining  several pieces for us on

‘Inter Library Loan.’ This works out significantly cheaper than hiring the scores commercially, when the facility is available.

   Four concerts were given during the year - ‘A night at the Opera,’ a ‘Summer Concert,’ ‘Last Night of the Proms,’ and the ‘Christmas concert.’ Each concert included music which had not previously been played by the orchestra.

   Soloists at these concerts were all internationally known - Rachel Orr (Soprano), Rob Buckland (Saxophone) and the Sunderland Monkwearmouth Songsters of The Salvation Army.

   Two of the concerts featured well known pieces which had been arranged by Ray Farr - ‘Riverdance’ and ‘Midnight Sleighride’ (an arrangement of ‘Troika’). An encore of ‘Riverdance’ was demanded by the audience - a first for the orchestra.

   The Proms concert recorded the highest audience attendance to date - 155.

Guest conductors

  Thanks are extended to Calum Zuckert, Dylan Huw Thomas and Svein Oskar Smogeli from Durham University who deputised for Ray Farr on separate occasions, when conducting engagements elsewhere meant that he was unable to be with us on Wednesday nights.

Annual General Meeting - Wednesday 14th April

   Twenty one members attended the meeting.

   Election of officials 

  Joy Lowther joined the committee as Secretary. Thanks were extended to Diana Hauber for her work in this role for several years previously.

   During the course of the year, Neil Turnbull resigned as Vice-Chairman, and Donna  Checksfield (now Watlen) resigned as Orchestra Manager. Thanks are extended to both members for their past work. Brian Naisby agreed to take over temporarily as Orchestra Manager.


   Three editions of the orchestra's newsletter were produced during the year. These were distributed to interested parties and were available for viewing on the web site.

Financial matters

   The new method of allowing the annual subscription to be paid in three instalments was reasonably successful. The Membership Secretary had a lot of unexpected additional work, however,  due to some members being very late with their payments.


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

   Grants were received from the Sir James Knott Trust and Microsoft.

   Asset Register

   A valuable violin on long term loan was requested back by the donor. After three months of diligent investigative work an alternative instrument was found and given to the donor. The donor now considers this matter closed.

The orchestra’s web site

   This has proved to be a popular source of information with the public, judging by the number of queries received.


   It was discovered that another musical charity in the town was making false claims on some of its publicity regarding its relationship with the orchestra. Solicitors took this matter up on our behalf, and brought the matter to a satisfactory conclusion.

   The Sunderland Echo only gave one preview and no reviews during the year, despite them being sent complimentary tickets and full details of all concerts including photographs.

   Publicity in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle ceased, with the curtailment of the weekly column dealing with music (economy measure


   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.



1  Ticket revenue has increased as the audience size has increased but can still not 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 doubts regarding the long term availability of the present  rehearsal room, office/storeroom and concert venue have been resolved for the foreseeable future, with West Park and St. George’s churches having been taken off the market.



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.



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 almost achieved this year.


David E Mills, Joy Lowther, Brian Naisby,

 Peter Chapman,  Kathleen A. Mills, Sue Sweeney.


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Copyright © 2010 D E Mills