Minutes of the 36th Annual General Meeting held on 04 May 2018 at The Matrix, Sutton Courtenay
Patricia Adams, Peter Bronsdon, Val Bronsdon, Steve Fisher (Librarian/Web Administrator), Tony Furze (Orchestral Manager), Tony Gillman, Helen Horsham, Christiane Hutchins (Secretary), Susan King, Rosemary Knagg, Janet Knowles, Sandra Knowles, Alex Landsbert, Rosemary Meddows, Margaret Notley, Adrian Rance McGregor (Treasurer), Liz Rance McGregor, David Russell (Chairman), Patrick Salisbury (President), Sebastian Thomson (Music Director), Ursula White (Publicity Manager)
Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from Rita Burt, Heidi Chapman, Amos Clarke, Gill Holcombe, Michael Hutchins, Trish Lyth, Lorna Rowe, Diana Smith, Claire Snowdon
Minutes – Matters arising
The minutes of the AGM held on 29 September 2017 were unanimously approved as an accurate record of the meeting. There were no matters arising.
David Russell reported that his condition made it impossible for him to continue in his role as Chairman of the All Saints Singers and that a new one would have to be elected. He thanked the committee for their dedicated work. He advised that the Orchestral Manager, Tony Furze, also had decided to step down, although he would be assisting with the next two concerts. David pointed out that the changes should be regarded as positive and would permit changes to the established style of the choir.
Music Director’s Report
Sebastian Thomson reported that he was delighted with the Advent concert, even taking into account the weather conditions which had prevented some of the paid-up members of the audience from attending. He, too, thanked the committee for their work. Sebastian advised that the feedback about the soloists was always complimentary. He added that in future, he would try not to overstretch the choir to avoid too much pressure. Some excellent pieces were being planned and final decisions would be made soon.
Adrian Rance McGregor referred to his financial report which had been emailed to the choir ahead of the meeting. He advised that a slight adjustment was to be made as two more, smaller, payments were due to come in. The deficit last year amounted to just £185, including a carry-over from the previous year. This was a very good result. The last concert had been less expensive which had helped it to just break even.Adrian advised that next year’s proposed budget would be higher as the concerts were expected to cost more. Subsequently, an additional income of about £2700 would be needed. Higher ticket sales and subscription fees would have to be considered.
The meeting considered the operational costs of the choir. A working group was suggested which could look at reducing the number of musicians or raising subscription fees. The organisation of fundraising events was discussed as it usually meant too much work for a handful of choir members.
Following a lengthy discussion, a unanimous decision was reached: subscriptions would increase to £140 for the year, with the possibility of paying in two equal instalments.
Orchestral Manager’s Report
Tony Furze reported that as Orchestral Manager he, together with the Music Director, was responsible for the choice of music. He advised that tickets usually sold regardless of the kind of music to be performed. He pointed out that it was up to the singers to sell as many tickets as possible.
The meeting noted that the concerts cost £2500 on average which includes the instrumentalists and soloists. Most of these return each season.
The Chair thanked Tony for all his work.
Ursula White reported that she would like to see a much wider display of posters and that these would ideally be in a bolder format. More publicity should also be distributed digitally.
The meeting discussed a possible change of style of music, but all agreed that the normal sacred programme was best suited to the choir.
Sebastian Thomson advised that the balance of a performance changed with the venue.
It was agreed that the committee should look into the appropriate choice of music. Any singer wishing to make suggestions for discussion should raise this with a member of the committee.
It was suggested that all singers help more with the organisation on concert day and that some kind of signup sheet might be helpful.
Librarian/Web Administrator report
Steve Fisher reported that the cost of music would go up steeply next year. The next concert would incur a minimum cost of £540. However, he had found out that the Leeds Library hired orchestral music by the month, not the usual three, which would save money.
The meeting noted that Steve had placed a photograph of the last rubbing-out party on the web.
Advent 2018: Tony Furze reported that the plan was for 3 Chandos Anthems to be performed and that he was still in the process of selecting them. He would shortly confirm which ones would be sung.
Passiontide 2019: Tony confirmed that the choir would perform St John’s Passion, to be sung in German, and that it would cost £3700.
Nominations to committee
David Russell advised that as that no other nominations had been made, Steve Fisher would be the new Chair and Adrian Rance McGregor the new Orchestral Manager. This left two vacancies, that of Treasurer and Librarian. Rosemary Meddows volunteered and was unanimously elected the new Librarian, assisted by Sandra Knowles and Susan King. The position of Treasurer could not be filled and was outstanding.
Any other business
Tony Furze praised the enormous dedication and hard work of the outgoing Chair over nine years and that at times this had been rather difficult.
Val Bronsdon put forward a motion that the ladies’ concert dress code should be sufficiently flexible to allow them to keep warm. Nobody disagreed.
On behalf of everyone present, Adrian Rance McGregor highlighted David Russell’s achievements, not only in regard to the immense work, but also to his energy and commitment. He would leave a big gap and Steve Fisher would have a hard act to follow. David replied that he could not have done it without Tony Furze.
The meeting closed at 8.42pm.