Report of the Trustees of the Strathchamber Trust, January 2019
Summary of the year
In addition to the usual round of concerts and church services, the 2017-18 season also saw the choir singing and recording new work and increasing our fundraising efforts.
In October we were asked to record ‘We love the place’ by Glasgow composer, Alan Craig, for inclusion on his website; Alan also composed a new piece for us, of which we gave the world première at our Christmas concert (see below).
We sang mass at St Columbkille’s in Rutherglen in November, our now regular Evensong in St Bride’s, Hyndland in March and were in residence at Durham Cathedral in April. We gave a Christmas concert in St Charles’ Borromeo in December, together with the church school’s children’s choir, where we premiered and recorded ‘A refugee’s lament’ for both Alan Craig’s and our websites. We also gave concerts in Cathcart Trinity and at St Bride’s (as part of the West End festival) in February and June, respectively. Our programme at the latter included a rare performance of contemporary Scottish composer Ken Johnston’s ‘O Columba’. In our church services we premiered choir member Margaret Miller’s Preces and Responses.
In December we again sang carols at Ikea, Braehead over one weekend; on the evening of the Saturday we also entertained revellers at the Citation Bar in Glasgow city centre, in both cases raising some much needed funds.
Our ABCD apprentice conductor, Michael Graham’s term came to an end but he has decided to stay with us, and is now acting as associate conductor. We were also pleased to welcome some new younger members to the choir. Our ongoing vocal-training sessions with Michael and Alan Tavener, our Musical Director, continue to enhance members’ health and performance.
Through our fundraising efforts and by increasing our subscription fees we managed to reduce our deficit to £289.18 in 2017-18, with the balance standing at £4168.10; frugality regarding music, etc purchases also helped. A further rise in subs for the following season, plus a number of extra fundraising events mean there is hope that we can do away with the deficit altogether.
We thank the University of Strathclyde for allowing us to use rehearsal and music storage space, and Alan Tavener and our occasional organist, David Hamilton, for their commitment.
We’ve had several lucrative fundraisers already, with more to come, plus a very successful remembrance concert. We’ll be premiering more new work (including responses by a choir member) at our services and cathedral residency in Newcastle – a new venue for us – and will be performing as usual at the West End Festival.
Musical Director’s Report, 29 January 2019
We ended the 2017-18 season with a Membership of 31 – 9S, 11A, 6T, 5B. Of these, 25 have carried forward to the present moment, representing a high level of continuity – that is 7S, 9A, 5T, 4B, ie, a loss of 6 – 2S, 2A, 1T, 1B. Whilst there have been fewer applications for Membership between September and the present moment compared with some recent years,on balance the quality has been maintained. We now stand at a Membership of 10S, 9A, 7T, 5B, a total of 31, so level with the end of last Season, although still somewhat lower than in some previous years.
As a result of this, the past year has seen many musical high points. Following our annual Choral Evensong in St Bride’s Church in March, we undertook a very successful weekend residency at Durham Cathedral in April, very warmly received by our hosts. Two musically and financially successful concerts followed in June at St Bride’s Church (Saints and Singers), and in November at Cathcart Old Church (Farewell to Arms) – where a promising ongoing relationship has also been instigated. Interleaved with those concerts were a number of choir fundraisers: two weddings, a liturgy and carolling. It has been very gratifying that Members have responded so well to our fund-raisers, which have made them not only financially rewarding, but also satisfying as musical events.
Speaking personally, it’s been particularly rewarding to have an emphasis on new music, often specially written for the Choir. Our relationship with Alan Craig is ongoing, and we have enjoyed performing new work by one of our Members, Margaret Miller, and are looking forward to doing the same for new work by another of our Members, James Duddridge. The opportunity to premiere more music by Sir James MacMillan, as well as the invitation to première Gemma McGregor’s Psalms for Rosemary, were both an honour. And Members all threw themselves with characteristic commitment and enthusiasm into workshopping four new settings of Dona nobis Pacem, before choosing to rehearse and première the setting by Anna Bychkova.
Last year, I reported that I had been carrying out a number of ‘reassessments’ of Members arising from concerns about commitment: since I am always loath to lose Members of musical and vocal capability, I’m so glad to report that these reassessments have invariably resulted in greater focus and commitment on the part of those concerned, which has had a positive effect on the choir’s teamwork and overall strength. Furthermore, I’m indebted to those in the choir who take their singing seriously enough to go for personal singing lessons. But it’s worth remembering that we can all at least do some daily posture rehearsal and vocal warm-ups, as well as spending personal time singing the music in order to keep up to speed in rehearsals. It is also worth recording a choir warm-up from time to time, and playing it back to steer oneself through those processes at home!
In conclusion, I’d like to thank all our Members for their loyalty, commitment and hard work – but to emphasise that a choir can never afford to get complacent; we always need to be on the look-out for ‘new blood’, so please keep your ear to the ground and point potential Members in my direction. This is also true of people who ‘work for’ the Choir, and we are hugely grateful to those Members who take the formal roles as Trustees and informal roles as volunteers. In addition, in case your President goes unappreciated tonight, I’d like to thank Frances (and her team of Trustees), and others who take ongoing roles (librarian, room bookings, robes, cathedral weekend travel/accommodation, publicity, website, social media, etc).
Report of the Trustees of the Strathchamber Trust, January 2020
Summary of the 2018-19 season
Last season proved to be particularly rich (in all senses – see below), involving a variety of lucrative fundraising events, including the performance of new work; church and cathedral services; and concerts, as well as continued championing of living and local composers’ work and new music.
In August 2018 some of us sang at the wedding of Sir James Macmillan’s son in Cumnock, for which he gave us a very generous donation. We were also hired to sing, for lower but still worthwhile sums, at weddings in Glasgow, the Lodge on the Loch and Motherwell in September and May (twice), respectively.
Further funds were raised in November when we were paid to give the world première of the responsorial Psalms for Rosemary, commissioned from Gemma McGregor and sung in Glasgow University Chapel. Finally in terms of fundraising, we sang carols at Ikea in early December, donating some of the proceeds to the Glasgow City Mission.
We sang at the St Andrew’s National Multi-faith Service at Cathcart Old Church in November and at Evensong at St Bride’s, Hyndland. For our annual cathedral residency in April we went to a new venue – Newcastle. While staying in the city we also gave a short afternoon performance for sick children at Royal Victoria Infirmary [outreach]. During these services we premièred new ‘responses’ by bass James Duddridge and a ‘magnificat and nunc’ by Alan Craig.
We also gave two concerts: a very well received WWI commemoration concert in Cathcart in November and our annual West End Festival summer concert at St Bride’s, which included another première of work by Alan Craig.
Membership has remained steady: we have lost some old members but have recruited new, talented people. We continue to have a reasonable age spread and a gratifyingly diverse mix of nationalities, all of whom benefit in both health and performance terms from the weekly vocal training sessions led by our Musical Director, Alan Tavener and our Associate Conductor, Michael Graham. We thank Strathclyde University for rehearsal and storage space.
For the first time in several years, we made a surplus (£1670.01), thanks to the large number of fundraising events and a rise in subscription fees. Full details can be found in the treasurer’s report.
Following a busy (pre-)Christmas season, with more new work from our carol competition, we have singing at York Minster to come, more fundraisers and the West End Festival.
Minutes of the Ninth Annual General Meeting of the Strathchamber Trust
Tuesday 26th January 2021 Via Zoom
The meeting was called to order at 19:50 with the President in the chair. The President welcomed everyone and explained the purpose of the Strathchamber Trust for the benefit of new members of the choir. The Agenda, Minutes, Report of the Trustees and Accounts had previously been circulated via email to the members.The following members were in attendance: Sarah Bowen, Elitsa Boyadzhieva, Frances Brown, Kate Cameron, Laura Corrigan, Helen Deeny, Katy Flynn, Stephanie Forster, Kay Gordon, Andrew Gough, Michael Graham, Max Hepburn, Elisabeth Holland, Calum MacClean, Ian McTier, Iain McGinley, Hannah Miller, Margaret Miller, Viv Miller, Sarah Parker, Andrew Pearson, Rachel Sales, Naomi Tattum, Alan Tavener.
Apologies had been received from James Duddridge, Cindy Padilla, Eva Moreda, Daniel Oi
The minutes of the previous meeting of January 28th 2020 were circulated and taken as read. There were no matters arising. The minutes were proposed by Calum MacLean, seconded by Katy Flynn and adopted unanimously.
The report of the trustees covering the period August 2019 – July 2020 had been circulated ahead of the meeting and was taken as read. The report would also be posted on the website. The president highlighted that despite the difficult year due to the Covid 19 pandemic, much had been achieved, included church services, two Christmas concerts, Burns Club concert in Irvine and Ikea fundraising. The choir recorded its first “virtual” video which is now on the website and most importantly managed to keep going in virtual form despite all the restrictions imposed by the lockdown.
The Treasurer’s report/accounts had been circulated prior to the meeting. The President highlighted that there had been a deficit this year due to the fact that since the lockdown there was no income other than subscriptions. The Treasurer thanked the members for their continued financial support. Any member who has been affected financially by the pandemic should get in touch with the President or Treasurer as such circumstances will be taken into account. Stephanie Forster re-emphasised that further funds could be raised by making purchases through the Easy Fundraising website. It was noted that this had raised a substantial amount (~£1000) since launched. The funds are added to the choir’s account on a quarterly basis. Rachel Sales demonstrated the use of a Google Chrome plug-in which alerts when funds can be generated when shopping online. Andy Pearson pointed out that using the scheme does not increase the cost of what is being purchased.
It was noted that two posts were due for re-election this year. The Secretary had completed two terms in office. The President thanked the Secretary for his work over the past 6 years and was pleased that Kay Gordon was willing to take on the role. The Secretary confirmed that he had received no other nominations. The appointment was proposed by Margaret Miller and seconded by Calum McLean. The President indicated that Calum McLean was standing down and thanked him for his work on the Committee. Kate Cameron has volunteered to join the committee. This was proposed by Andy Pearson and seconded by Rachel Sales and Katy Flynn. The President also informed the meeting that the Committee had co-opted Max Hepburn to cover Stephanie Forster who is taking a break during her maternity leave. He will continue the work developing the website and social media.
The Musical Director reported that this evening was the 34th Zoom meeting that had been held and that there was regularly good attendance and occasionally up to 20 + members. In addition to online rehearsals, there had also been 4 social events including quizzes. He thanked the members for showing support and keeping in touch and congratulated them for their contributions to the Choir’s first ‘virtual performance’ (Caledonia, uploaded to the Choir website). He also thanked the Committee for their support and thanked the outgoing Secretary, Stephanie Forster for her work on promoting Easyfundraising, and Calum MacLean for his development of the website. He also thanked Max Hepburn for agreeing to continue to update the content of the website, and asked Members to engage with it and to help Max with stories etc. The focus then turned to the question of how to structure our activities going forward. The Musical Director had produced sound files of voice and organ parts to facilitate the recording of another ‘virtual performance’ of the Stanford Mass that we have been rehearsing. He also highlighted several options and ideas for the format of the weekly online sessions. These included more sectional rehearsals of one or more voice part, themed evenings, music theory, musicianship, unison singing and member-led evenings or songs. Social events and quizzes could also continue to be included in the plans. The discussion was then opened out to feedback from the members – in which a number of useful suggestions for future zoom rehearsals and activities were aired.
The date of the next AGM was set for January 18th 202
The meeting closed at 20:35
Report of the Trustees of the Strathchamber Trust, January 2022
Summary of the 2020-2021 season
The season was even more trying and abnormal than the previous one, as, for its entirety, we were prevented from meeting in-person indoors. Nevertheless, we continued to rehearse via zoom throughout, apart from a few weeks’ break over the summer, and at the beginning of June we held two much enjoyed outdoor rehearsals. Attendance remained high, with former members sometimes dropping in and some new faces, too.
In concert with member consultation, we covered a wide variety of music and themes at our virtual rehearsals, including warm-up routines, theory and pitching exercises, read-throughs of works we hoped to sing once performance was again allowed and unison sing-alongs, with opportunities for solo verses – these often by those who did not usually volunteer for solos. Time was allocated for chatting, and we also held some quizzes and a Halloween fun evening in order to maintain opportunities for social interaction [health, culture and science].
In addition, and building on our previous season’s first ever video recording, we produced a longer and more ambitious recording of Stanford’s Mass in Bb, which is now on our website. The website itself was given a make-over and updated to show visitors we were very much still in business [outreach].
Thus, although sometimes frustrating, the 2020-21 season put us in a very good position for the start of ‘proper’ rehearsals in our current season (see below), allowing us (almost) painlessly to embark on what is turning into a very full schedule of concerts, church services and fundraising.
We thank our Musical Director, Alan Tavener, for his excellent work in keeping sessions interesting and useful, and Associate Conductor, Michael Graham, for additional input.
Full details can be found in the treasurer’s report, which unsurprisingly shows a deficit of £1602. Despite a lack of fundraising opportunities members’ generosity in keeping up-to-date with their subscriptions, often adding an extra donation, and in using EasyFundraising as a means of donation when shopping online, has helped keep the budget within bounds.
Happily we’ve had a storming start to the new season already, with two concerts given, two masses sung and some carol singing at Ikea, which raised valuable funds. Our mini-cathedral visit to Dundee is on and we have further concerts in Peebles and Haddington in April, with two other later possibilities (WEF and in Girvan).