Annual report for Sept. 2019 to July 2020

Harleston Choral Society

It is rather fortunate we don’t know what is over the horizon and in store for us. Whoever would have thought this time last year it would be necessary to postpone the AGM and have only 2 reports in lieu, to have no rehearsals since March and not have the joy of seeing each other and singing together? We haven’t experienced the excitement of preparing for and performing our Summer concert.

However, to go back to the beginning of the Society’s year, we started rehearsing for the Christmas concert and the offerings from the choir of Vaughan Williams’ “The First Nowell”, Peter Hunt’s “I Saw Three Ships”, Rutter’s “Nativity Carol and two Chilcott pieces- “Behold That Star” and “The 12 Days Of Christmas”. The hard work was very obvious and Janette’s encouragement also.

We had been invited to take part in the Harleston Town Christmas Concert and 14 members had the pleasure of doing so on 14th December. We performed “I Saw Three Ships” and loved the Primary School’s rendition of “All I want for Christmas is a Hippopotamus”!

The Christmas concert was a great experience with an enthusiastic and very appreciative audience. Our 2 soloists together with Janette’s encouraging smiles gave us the confidence we needed. Our grateful thanks to all the people helping behind the scenes.

On to the New Year. Term started on January 13th when we had hoped to study Rutter’s “Feel the Spirit”, Bob Chilcott’s “Songs and Cries” (where we would be joined by the Primary School) and George Shearing’s “Songs and Sonnets”. We were also planning a fund-raising Quiz Evening in March. At this point, Covid-19 arrived and the best-laid plans of mice and men went slightly astray. Everything was cancelled, including a fundraising a capella concert planned by another group of Janette’s for May.

The Committee have been trying to stay sane ever since, staying in touch with members and constantly re-organising and changing plans to fit directions from the Government.

Membership We held an Open rehearsal evening to encourage new members in January and it was very successful as 6 people joined us. However, others had decided not to rejoin for the year in September. As a result, our membership before Covid was fairly stable – 45 members at present compared with 46 at September 2019.

My thanks are due to a great many people for their support and hard work during the year – Nathaniel, for being a very supportive Patron, Heather for all the printing, Paul for managing the website and our Zoom meeting. The Committee have been so supportive in sorting out the many problems during the year, we couldn’t survive without them. Thank you to Karen for bringing expertise, fun and Liverpool to rehearsals, and lastly to Janette. The Christmas concert is in our memories and will encourage us to work towards starting again as soon as we are allowed.

I look forward to 2021 and seeing you all again to continue our musical journey.

Stella Brownsea (Chair)

September 2020