Author: Paul Cope

Minutes and Report from the HCS Committee Meeting of 16 Oct 2019

Harleston Choral Society

Report on Minutes of Committee Meeting

Downloadable here as a pdf file for printing

Wednesday, 16th October, 2019

A discussion about membership began our meeting.  Whilst it is pleasing to note that we have a few new members, we would like more new singers, particularly, bass voices.  Janette is chasing up possible singers to join us.

The ‘Sing With Us’ practice in January had been a useful event to advertise and we will, with some rewording on the advertisement, repeat this on 20th January, 2020 in our attempt to encourage some new members.

At the St John’s Church pre-Christmas event it was agreed we sing ‘Three Ships’.  It was agreed not to sing at the Harleston Christmas lights ‘switch on’ event at the end of November.

We discussed organizing an a cappella Concert with Janette, Karen and professional singers to raise funds for the choir.  This will be at St John’s Church, on Sunday, 10th May, 2020 and could be a focus for our ‘Mayflower Celebrations’ – watch this space.

Our new Chairperson, Stella Brownsea was welcomed by the Committee, as was the new ‘Minutes’ Secretary, Sue Foster.  They drew attention to the marvellous job done previously by Jo Curry and Jenny Hyams. Testament to this was the well-organized folders of Reports, Agendas, Minutes, and other Charity Commission documentation.  As it is H.C.S.’s 20th Anniversary this year, we hope a display of some of this ‘paperwork’ archive will be on show at our Christmas Concert.  It was also agreed that in the New Year these documents should be safely stored at Norwich Records Office.

Grant applications were discussed and we would like to thank Jo Curry for her submission to Festival Voices, in a bid to secure some of their funding, as they seek to disband and re-distribute their funds to worthy recipients.  The Committee is investigating how to make submissions to The National Lottery and to Music for All for funding future projects, recitals and expenses.  It was agreed to shelve, for now, ideas on ‘Crowd Funding’.

All the organisational jobs necessary for our forthcoming Christmas Concert were divvied out to the Committee members and we look forward to a successful festive concert once again.

The Summer Concert date has changed, due to a wedding in St John’s Church on 20th June, 2020, so our concert will now be on Saturday, 27th June, 2020.


HCS has now taken over total management of our website and, whilst there were some glitches during the handover, we hope these have now been ironed out. We will continue to develop it and would be grateful for your feedback.

 Fiona Brownsea has now taken on the job of administering H.C.S. Friends.  Thanks to Carol for her past commitment to this role. 

Future Dates for Your Diary:

  • Start of Spring Term 2020  – Monday, 13th January – (begin at 7.00pm for payment of subscriptions please)
  • Open Rehearsal 2020 – Saturday, 20th January – begin at 7pm please
  • Quiz Evening 2020 – Saturday, 21st March at St James Village Hall 
  • End of Spring Term 2020 – Monday, 30th March
  • Start of Summer Term 2020 – Monday, 20th April – (begin at 7pm for payment of subscriptions please)
  • Summer concert Rehearsal – Friday, 26th June at 7pm
  • Summer Concert and end of term 2020 – Saturday, 27th June

Next Committee Meetings are: 

Monday, 9th December at 7pm and Thursday, 6th February at 11am.

Sue Foster (Nov 2019)

REPORT of the Committee Meeting held on 19 June 2019 at 2.30 pm at Grange Barn, St James South Elmham

HARLESTON CHORAL SOCIETY

                   REPORT of the Committee Meeting held on 19 June 2019

at 2.30 pm at Grange Barn, St James South Elmham

Present:  John Awty, Julia Awty, Stella Brownsea, Malcolm Butcher, Jo Curry, Carol Hammond, Jenny Hyams, John Layton, Kate Peacher, Caroline Rodbourne

1. Apologies for Absence – received from Joanna Barfield and Janette Ruocco

2. Minutes of the last meeting (Thursday 23 May 2019)

Confirmed and signed as a correct record, subject to amending 10 June to 3 June in [3], [5] and [9]; and adding Stella Brownsea’s offer to run a Quiz for the Summer Party [5].

3. Matters arising

(i) Acapella Concert:  Janette has confirmed a possible date of 6 October, or to postpone the concert until the Spring.  This will be discussed at the September Committee meeting.

(ii) Voice part leaders:  there has been no progress on this, despite Jo’s appeal in person to choir members on 3 June, and on the website.

(iii) May Bank Holiday practices:  the proposal to abandon these and to hold an all-day workshop instead on 23 May 2020 was discussed.  However, when the workshop was first mooted, we were not aware that the early May Bank Holiday will be Friday 8 May (ie not 4 May, as previously assumed).   A provisional booking will be made anyway for the Village Hall, St James South Elmham on 23 May 2020, and the workshop will be discussed further at the September Committee Meeting.

(iv) ‘Come and Sing with Us’:  the open practice was confirmed for Monday 16 September.

4. Treasurer’s Report

Malcolm distributed copies of the Income & Expenditure for the year ended 31 August 2019, and the Cash Budget (previously called the Cash Forecast) 1 September 2018 – 31 August 2020 (copies will be filed with the Minutes).  He said that there has not been a lot of change since the last meeting.  All subs for this term are now in, Gift Aid in the sum of £350.00 is expected shortly, and the overall picture compares favourably with last year’s.  Malcolm anticipated that we shall break even this year, although next year could be more difficult, but if we are successful in our bid to GWF for a grant of £5,000, that will help enormously.

5. Summer Concert, 22 June 2019

The Committee went through the checklist and confirmed that everything is in order and ready to go.

6. Future Concerts

(i) Christmas Concert, 14 December 2019, ‘The First Nowell’:  Julia and John will be going to pick up the music from Somerset Music early in September.

(ii) Summer Concert, 20 June 2020, ‘Songs and Cries’:  no update, but everything is progressing as planned.

(iii) 2020 – 2021 concerts:  Jo distributed Janette’s proposals for these concerts (a copy will be filed with the Minutes), and the Committee expressed its appreciation.

7. Website

The website is up to date.  Jo read out an email from Joanna, thanking Jenny for enabling the setting up of the website and for maintaining it so effectively over many years.  

8. Dates of next meetings

(i) AGM:  Monday 23 September, during choir practice:  Nathaniel will be coming

(ii) next Committee Meeting: TBC

9. AOB

Singing at other events and venues:  HCS has been asked if we would participate in St John’s pre-Christmas event on Tuesday 10 December, 6.00 – 7.30 pm.  HCS’s participation in this, and in other ‘external’ events (eg care homes) will be discussed at the September Committee meeting.

10. Summer Garden Party, Saturday 13 July, at John and Julia’s

The arrangements for the Party were discussed and confirmed.  

REPORT of the Committee Meeting held on Thursday 12 September 2019 at 11.30 am at Church Farm, All Saints IP19 0PB

Present:  John Awty, Julia Awty, Joanna Barfield, Stella Brownsea, Jo Curry, Carol Hammond, Jenny Hyams, John Layton

In attendance:  Janette Ruocco, Sue Foster

Welcome:  Jo welcomed Sue to the meeting and thanked her for attending.

1. Apologies for Absence – received from Malcolm Butcher, Kate Peacher and Caroline Rodbourne

2. Minutes of the last meeting (Thursday 19 June 2019)

Confirmed and signed as a correct record.

3. Matters arising which do not appear elsewhere on the agenda

(i) Acapella Concert:  Janette will liaise with her singers, to try and find a mutually convenient date on a Sunday after Easter 2020.

(ii) May Bank Holiday practices:  it was agreed that as 4 May 2020 is reinstated as a practice – because the early May Bank Holiday moves to Friday 8 May – it will not be necessary to hold an all-day workshop in May.  However it was agreed that an extra half hour in the run-up to the Summer Concert would be extremely useful, dependent on how the choir is doing at the time. It was further agreed that another Open Rehearsal, at the start of the Spring Term 2020, would also be a good idea.

(iv) Singing at other events and venues:  Nigel Tuffnell has asked HCS to take part in St John’s pre-Christmas event on Tuesday 10 December.  Janette suggested carols from ‘100 Carols for Choirs’, which could be sung without an accompanist.

4. Treasurer

(i) Report:  Malcolm did not submit a report for this meeting, but the full audited accounts will be presented in his absence at the AGM.

(ii) Hire of grand piano for Summer Concert 2020:  Janette reported on the progress to date for a second player for Songs and Cries of London Town, and reiterated that she does not feel that the HCS keyboard is really good enough for this concert, but that the additional cost of hiring a grand piano would be well worthwhile.

(iii) future grant applications:  Jo and Jenny said that these would obviously be up to the new Committee, but in the meantime they suggested that grant applications should be the responsibility of one (or more) Committee member, whom they would be happy to help if necessary.  HCS has received an anonymous donation of £2000, which is hugely appreciated, as is HCS’s Patron’s generous donation.

(iv) crowd-funding:  Janette said that this might be an option for the new Committee to consider, but pointed out that crowd-funding is usually more successful for one small item at a time, eg one piano key per person.

5. Summer Concert, 22 June:  there were very few responses from choir members to Jo’s email asking for feedback on the concert.  However, feedback from the audience was very positive and appreciative. Stella suggested that more practice on standing/sitting would have made the concert go more smoothly.  John A suggested that for future concerts it would be better to leave taking down the staging until the audience has dispersed, and added that it is really essential to have more than three helpers after the concerts to help load the trailer.

6. Future concerts

(i) Christmas Concert, 14 December 2019:  King George Hall and St John’s are booked.  Janette said that there will be eight musicians (strings), who will do one item on their own, plus Karen.  Jo Westaway will do the Soprano solo, and Gary Griffiths the bass solo. Julia will do teas for the musicians and soloists, as usual, and the Committee thanked her very much for her continued delicious catering.

(ii) Summer Concert, 20 June 2020:  considerable discussion ensued on the pros and cons of involving local school children in this concert.  It was agreed that the children would sing in both halves of the programme; and that it would be preferable to recruit local-to-Harleston children, rather than going further afield, so that the concert is a Harleston event.  The various options for recruitment will be explored by Julia and Janette.

7. AGM:  everything is in place for 8.30 pm on 23rd.  Nathaniel Gee, our Patron, will be there.  Stella will take over as HCS Chair as from the AGM.  Kate will take on the role of Publicity Secretary, and will possibly compile the concert programmes.  Sue Foster will take over as Minutes Secretary. Fiona Bartlett has offered to take on the role of Friends Co-ordinator.  Jo thanked all of them very much for effectively saving the future of the choir.

8. Website

(i) update:  because of adverse personal circumstances, Paul Cope has not been able to update the website, but will do so as soon as possible.  Joanna will take back giving Paul necessary website updates when circumstances allow her to do so.

(ii) Linda Barden’s photos:  it was agreed that these, together with Eleanor Usher’s and Jo’s, will  

be selected by Paul to put on the Members’ area of the website, under the heading ‘We Do Have Fun Too !’

(iii) Members database:  John A has agreed to be the ‘back stop’ for those occasions when Joanna may be out of action and when choir members need to be contacted.  The Committee thanked both for making this contingency arrangement.

(iv) music clips:  Janette said that she made a recording of the Summer Concert and would like Paul to put some clips on to the website, to replace gradually some of the now very out of date clips.

9. Friends:  Carol suggested that Friends recruitment needs looking at again.  Numbers are dwindling – currently nine, plus one Honorary Friend – and most of those remaining have been Friends for twenty years.  Previously, the Committee agreed that Friends’ recruitment should cease, but Carol emphasised the importance of good will and supporting our supporters.  However, she also drew attention to the problem of cost-effectiveness, ie Friends’ annual sub v. HCS’s current ticket prices. On behalf of the Committee, Jo thanked Carol for her hard work and commitment to the Friends.

10. Dates

(i) AGM: Monday 23 September 2019, during choir practic

(ii) next Committee Meeting:  Wednesday 16 October, 11.00 am.  Venue TBC.

(iii) end of Autumn Term 2019:  Saturday 14 December

(iv) start of Spring Term 2020:  Monday 13 January

(v) Quiz Evening:  Saturday 21 March.  

(vi) end of Spring Term 2020:  Monday 30 March

(vii) start of Summer Term 2020:  Monday 20 April

(viii) end of Summer Term 2020:   Saturday 20 June

11. AOB:  None

Letter from Janette. June 2019

24 June 2019

Dear committee and choir members

Congratulations on Saturday night’s concert performance! 

I was amazed by how much the choir upped their game in the evening – it was so much better than what was achieved in the afternoon, and that was good!

The choir’s attention to details we had covered in rehearsal was first class – attention to words, vowel sounds, word endings and the ends of phrases was terrific and that, combined with the range of speaking accents and the full-on commitment to bringing the drama of the opera off the page and into a theatre rather than a church was, in all honesty, a wonder to behold. It seemed to me that in the concert that you all had a sudden ‘lightbulb’ moment and it showed in your faces and in your singing.

Your singing in the first half was also impressive. I am sure that you will all have your own favourite moments, but for me the control and sincerity of the a cappella  Thou knowest Lord, the secrets of our hearts, was truly spectacular. I found your singing really moving.

The extra singers that came along to support us all commented on how welcome you made them feel and how they were in awe of the amazing concert tea produced and served by Julia and her team. As members of several different choirs they were also very impressed by the efficiency of the team that took down the staging at the end of the concert. 

You have all done a fantastic job this term – working hard on learning the notes and then being put through your paces on how I actually wanted them to be sung. Now that you have performed those piece to an audience I hope that you feel that all of that effort was worth it. 

The soloists and several members of the audience that spoke to me in the interval and at the end of the concert were fulsome in their praise for your performances. Well done team you’ve done a great job!

I look forward to seeing you all again in September for our Christmas repertoire, which includes substantial works by Vaughan Williams and Bob Chilcott, plus some carols for audience and some for us on our own.

With very best wishes to you and your families for a great summer break!

Janette

Report of the Committee Meeting 23 May

Click here to download this report as a printable pdf file.

Present: John Awty, Joanna Barfield, Stella Brownsea, Malcolm Butcher, Jo Curry, Carol Hammond, Jenny Hyams, John Layton, Kate Peacher, Caroline Rodbourne
In attendance: Janette Ruocco

  1. Apologies for Absence – received from Julia Awty.
  2. Minutes of the last meeting (Thursday 7 March 2019)

Confirmed and signed as a correct record, subject to amending the time of that meeting to 2.30 pm.

  1. Matters arising

(i) Quiz Evening: it was agreed that this was a big success, with a profit of £529.00 which included over £100.00 of raffle tickets sold by Fiona Bartlett. Jo thanked everyone who had helped and contributed to the evening, including the East of England Co-op which donated £20.00.
(ii) Acapella Concert: Janette is seeing her Acapella group shortly and will then be able to fix a date for a concert in mid-September.
(iii) Voice part leaders: Janette reiterated the benefits of having voice part leaders as a first point of contact for choir members, especially for newcomers. Jo will ask again for volunteers at choir practice on Monday 3 June, with a fuller explanation of why voice part leaders are needed; this will also be posted on the Members’ area of the website.
(iv) funding application to Garfield Weston Foundation: Jo confirmed that the application to GWF, for £5,000 revenue funding, has now been acknowledged, but there could be up to five months before the outcome is known. As Jo and Jenny will be retiring from the Committee at the AGM, responsibility for grant applications in the future will need to be considered.
(v) ‘Come and Sing with Us’: it was agreed to hold an open practice on Monday 16 September, with an extra half hour to orientate potential new members. This will be included in the July/August publicity and on the website. Current choir members will be encouraged to ‘bring a friend’.
(vi) Barclays sponsorship: Stella reported that she has approached Barclays in Harleston to see if they would sponsor HCS, but was told that the bank no longer does local sponsorships.

  1. Treasurer’s Report
    Malcolm distributed copies of the Income & Expenditure for the year ended 31 August 2019, and the Cash Budget (previously called the Cash Forecast) 1 September 2018 – 31 August 2020. He said that that it is disappointing that the surge in choir numbers at the beginning of the Autumn term has now reduced, with a subsequent drop in subs; and six members have not yet paid their subs for this term. £350.00 is still to come from Gift Aid. The closing cash balances show that HCS does need funding from GWF, and from other sources, if it is to survive financially.
  2. Summer Concert, 22 June 2019
    Janette’s dress rehearsal schedule and the concert running order is now on the members’ area of the website. Janette confirmed that there will be three additional Basses for the concert; that some of the professional Sopranos will join the choir Sopranos; and that she is thinking about asking Mitesh Khatri to join the Tenors. Further action was confirmed re the evening rehearsal on 21 June: extra chairs for the concert on 22nd (now that the pews in St John’s have been removed); front-of-house arrangements; the concert programme; staging; the musicians’ tea; and the concert poster.
  3. Future Concerts
    (i) Christmas Concert, 14 December 2019, ‘The First Nowell’
    Janette distributed copies of her updated plan for this concert, and reported that Julia has sourced the music for The First Nowell. Janette has been in touch with the OUP re the music for a reduced orchestra, and has made tentative bookings for the Soprano and the Bass and the string quartet. The carols in the second half of the programme are all in ‘100 Carols for Choirs’, of which HCS has sufficient copies. Jenny will check for accuracy the dates on Janette’s plan, and will let Malcolm know dates so that he can book and pay for the London Road Church for 2020 choir practices.
    (ii) Summer Concert, 20 June 2020, ‘Songs and Cries’
    Janette distributed copies of her revised plan for this concert, which will require only one soloist, a second pianist, and the hire of a grand piano. Janette will approach the local primary schools[s] in September re the possibility of recruiting a children’s choir, which she would personally coach, for the ‘Songs and Cries’ and school choir items in the programme. The Committee agreed that involving local school children is an ideal opportunity to engage with the local community and to recruit new choir members. Jo thanked Janette for her very helpful future planning.
  4. Bank Holiday practices
    Janette said that she has been thinking about the possibility of abandoning choir practices on the two May Bank Holidays, and replacing these with an all-day workshop/social on a Saturday in May; this could then become part of the normal choir schedule. The proposal was welcomed by the Committee, and a date will now be arranged.
  5. HCS 20th anniversary
    It was agreed that the Summer Concert 2020 should be called a ’20th Anniversary Concert’, and referred to as such in publicity, on posters and on the website. It was further agreed to discuss this, and the possibility of holding a celebratory summer party, early in the New Year.
  6. Roles of Chair and Publicity & Minutes Secretary post-AGM
    Jo once again pointed out the urgency of finding replacements for her especially, and for Jenny. If no-one has stepped up to the role of Chair by the AGM, the choir will have to be dissolved under the Charity Commission’s regulations (its protocol for a charity’s dissolution is on the CC website). The only alternative would be for the choir to abandon its charity status and go it alone, which would also mean that it would lose vital income, and that any cash balance would have to be distributed to other charities.
  7. Website
    Joanna thanked Jenny for taking back this part of her job for the time being. After considerable discussion, and bearing in mind the average hourly rate for website managers, and the possible further depletion of HCS funds, it was unanimously agreed that Paul Cope should be given an annual retainer, from May this year, and that this should be reviewed annually. It was agreed that a future Committee might consider using Facebook, and linking on line with other local choirs.
  8. Summer Garden Party, Saturday 13 July
    John Awty said that help with setting up would be much appreciated, which everyone present agreed to. On the specifics, those who offered will bring/set up gazebos, folding chairs, tables, and garden games. A sub-committee was formed to co-ordinate the arrangements. Joanna will email current choir non-attenders, to invite them to the Garden Party; Jo will ask at choir practice for numbers planning to come, and for pudding volunteers; the Committee will provide savouries.
  9. Calendar for 2020
    Jenny will give all confirmed dates to Paul for the website.
  10. Dates of next meetings
    (i) pre-concert check list meeting, Monday 17 June, 7.00 pm
    (ii) next Committee Meeting: Wednesday 19 June, 2.30 pm
    (iii) Summer Garden Party, Saturday 13 July
    (iv) AGM: Monday 23 September, during choir practice
  11. AOB
    (i) Elsie White: Jo will attend Elsie’s funeral on Thursday 30 May, on behalf of HCS, and to say thank you for Elsie’s 20 years of commitment to HCS and – until recently – the provision of juice for choir practices.
    (ii) Dido and Aeneas: attention was drawn to forthcoming local-ish productions:
    Cantamus choir, Friday 31 March 2019, 7.00 pm, Holy Trinity West Runton Church NR27 9QT
    Bury Bach Choir, Saturday 15 June 2019, 7.30 pm, The Apex, Bury St Edmunds

Report of the Committee Meeting held on Thursday 7 March 2019

Copy of the report as a printable pdf

HARLESTON CHORAL SOCIETY

Report of the Committee Meeting held on Thursday 7 March 2019

Present: John Awty, Julia Awty, Joanna Barfield, Stella Brownsea, Malcolm Butcher, Jo Curry, Carol Hammond, Jenny Hyams, John Layton, Kate Peacher, Caroline Rodbourne

In attendance: Janette Ruocco

Jo welcomed everyone to the meeting, especially new Committee members Stella Brownsea, John Layton and Kate Peacher.

1. Apologies for Absence – none

2. Minutes of the last meeting (Thursday 24 January 2019)

Confirmed and signed as a correct record, subject to two minor amendments.

3. Matters arising

(i) Acapella Concert: there are no immediate developments, but on Janette’s suggestion it was agreed to try to arrange an Acapella Concert for a Sunday afternoon at the end of September/beginning of October.

(ii) Voice part leaders: it was agreed that this is necessary, as a point of contact for all voice parts and especially for new choir members. Jo will ask for volunteers at choir practice.

4. EGM

Jo thanked Caroline and Jenny for deputising for her. Responding to the criticisms which have arisen about the Chair’s job description, she pointed out that all HCS Chairs have carried out duties as they have seen fit, but she agreed that some duties in her job description could be delegated.

Jo went on to say how important the choir is locally, and although the choir could continue to function without charitable status, ie without a Chair, it would then lose considerable financial benefits. It is therefore imperative to have a new Chair at the AGM (23 September), and she hopes that the next six months will allow adequate time for someone from the existing Committee to come forward and to shadow her, and that this should be before the end of the summer term (22 June). Kate will begin to shadow Carol’s role as Friends Co-ordinator immediately, and was thanked for this initiative.

On the question of an aisle/or not at choir practices, Janette said that the only way it can work is to have the men at the front. It was agreed that there are benefits in moving around. Janette will consider: moving the 2nd Sopranos behind the 1st Sopranos; when necessary, asking Karen to play voice parts, and also a pause after the Altos’ first note and before that of the 2nd Sopranos; and giving specific homework from week to week.

5. Treasurer’s report

(i) Current state of finances: Malcolm distributed copies of the Income & Expenditure for the year ended 31 August 2019, and the Cash Forecast 1 September 2018 – 31 August 2019. He said that it is very disappointing that the surge in choir numbers to 62 at the beginning of the Autumn term has now reduced to 48, which means a drop in subs of £1700, although Gift Aid is £380.00. It is hoped that some leavers may come back in September. The predicted cash balance at 31 August 2019 is £4062.00.

Janette suggested that one way of increasing choir numbers might be to hold two dedicated ‘Come and Sing with Us’ sessions, with a friend, during the early part of the Autumn and Spring terms, possibly during choir practice, or as a Workshop.

Kate pointed out that there are various other local ways of raising money for the choir, ie getting the Co-op to designate one of its green discs for HCS; and approaching Barclays, as the one remaining bank in Harleston, for sponsorship. Malcolm also suggested again asking Harleston & Redenhall Town Council for a grant.

(ii) Raffle: Stella reported that both the St John’s Revd Canon and the Church Warden are happy for HCS to hold raffles in any part of St John’s. The pews are going, and will be replaced in the next few months by chairs, for which they are asking for sponsorship. The chairs will mean that there will be an opportunity for more ticket sales, and also for hiring out the increased space to other organisations. Jo thanked Stella for her successful negotiating.

(iii) Expenses protocol: there was considerable discussion on the pros and cons of having a protocol. It was finally agreed that expenses are there to be claimed, should the claimant feel it is necessary, and that a protocol removes the inherent guilt from the process of claiming. On this basis, the earlier version of the protocol was amended and will now be posted on the Members’ area of the website.

(iv) funding application to GWF: Jenny and Jo reported that this is ready to go, subject to registering the application on line, which they will do next week. Malcolm suggested, and it was agreed, that it would be sensible to apply for £5,000 rather than the £2,500 currently requested.

6. Summer Concert, 22 June 2019

Janette distributed copies of the proposed dress rehearsal schedule and Concert running order (a copy of this will be posted on the Members’ area of the website after the Easter break).

7. Future Concerts

(i) Christmas Concert, 14 December 2019, ‘The First Nowell’

Janette distributed copies of her plan for this concert. She asked the Committee to consider holding a bring a friend’/open rehearsal (and see 5 [i] above) on 14 or 21 September.

(ii) Summer Concert, 20 June 2020, ‘Songs and Cries’

Janette distributed copies of her plan for this concert, which will require only one soloist and a second pianist, and possibly a children’s choir from the local primary school, which she would personally coach. She feels that this would be an ideal opportunity to engage with the local community and to recruit new choir members. Jo thanked Janette for her very helpful future planning.

8. Quiz Evening, Saturday 30 March 2019

The sub-committee reported that everything is in hand. Jo will ask at choir practice how many are expecting to come and, if they are not coming, if they would be prepared to donate raffle prizes.

9. Dates of next meetings

Committee Meeting: Thursday 23 May, 2.30 pm

Pre-concert checklist meeting: Monday 17 June, 7.00 pm

Summer Party: Saturday 13 July

AGM: Monday 23 September

10. AOB

(i) Friends: Carol reported that the number of Friends is dwindling. It was therefore agreed that the benefits of being a Friend should be promoted and that more people should be encouraged to become Friends.

(ii) HCS 20th year

Joanna pointed out that 2019 is HCS’s 20th year and suggested that this should be appropriately marked. It was agreed to incorporate this in publicity, and on the programme for the Summer Concert.

Minutes of the Extraordinary General Meeting held on  Monday 25th February 2019 during choir practice

HARLESTON CHORAL SOCIETY

MINUTES of the Extraordinary General Meeting held on Monday 25 February 2019 during choir practice

Printable pdf file of EGM Minutes available here

1. Welcome

Caroline Rodbourne (Vice Chair) welcomed everyone to the meeting.  She stressed the importance of the EGM, reminding choir members that it had been called because no-one to date has come forward to replace Jo Curry as Chair at the AGM on 23 September 2019; and that under the Charity Commission’s regulations, if a charity does not have a Chair, the Charity Commissioners will dissolve the organisation.

2. Apologies for absence were received (prior to the meeting) from Nathaniel Gee, Jo Curry and Carol Hammond.

3. Committee resignations

It was noted that in addition to the resignation of Jo at the AGM, Jenny Hyams (Minutes & Publicity Secretary) and Carol Hammond (Friends Co-ordinator) will also be resigning.  The roles and terms of office of Joanna Barfield (Membership Secretary), John Awty (Staging Manager), Julia Awty (Music Librarian), Malcolm Butcher (Treasurer) and Caroline Rodbourne (Vice Chair) were also noted.

4.Nominations for the four current vacancies on the Committee

Caroline explained that it is hoped to fill these vacancies with immediate effect, with a possible view to replacing the Chair from within the Committee, and the Minutes & Publicity Secretary from the Committee or from the choir, at the AGM.  This would give any possible candidates six months to see how the Committee functions, although it was pointed out that this may change after the AGM, with new Committee members and new ideas.

Two nominations have already been received:  

John Layton, proposed by Jo Curry, seconded by Jenny Hyams

Stella Brownsea, proposed by Jenny Hyams, seconded by Jo Curry

A third nomination was received at the meeting:

Kate Peacher, proposed by Lynda Austin, seconded by Joanna Barfield

Caroline thanked the three new Committee members for agreeing to be nominated.  The fourth Committee place is still vacant and Caroline urged choir members to consider putting themselves forward over the next few months.

5. Job descriptions for main Committee posts

Stella Brownsea and John Formston both felt that the Chair’s job description is much too onerous and that many of the Chair’s tasks should be delegated.  They were reassured that the job descriptions, and the Chair’s in particular, will be on the agenda for the next Committee meeting on 7 March.  The role of the Minutes & Publicity Secretary could be split into three jobs, ie Minutes, Publicity, and Programme. Malcolm Butcher indicated that he and Heather will be away for the best part of a year after the June concert. The day-to-day financial matters will be dealt with in his absence by Caroline, but Malcolm will maintain his role of Treasurer.  However, how future programmes, tickets and posters are designed and printed will have to be discussed before the end of June.

6. Other points raised

(i) Setting up and dismantling before/after choir practices:  Caroline asked the choir to help on a regular basis with setting up and dismantling before/after choir practices, and this was reinforced by Janette.  Sue Foster, and some others, said that they would help if they could, but other commitments prevent this. 

(ii) Arrangement of chairs:  on a suggestion from James Warren, it was agreed that next Monday 4 March, the chairs will be left with a gap down the middle, to see how this works, and to help reduce the amount of pre-practice setting up.

The EGM closed at 9.00 pm and choir practice resumed.

 

 

 

EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING DOCUMENTATION

HARLESTON CHORAL SOCIETY

EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING

Monday 25 February 2019 during choir practice

AGENDA

Printable pdf of EGM Agenda

Printable pdf of Committee job descriptions

Printable pdf of ballot paper EGM and editable Word document ballot paper EGM

  1. Apologies for absence – to be received

2. Committee resignations – to consider and act upon the implications of pending resignations

The following Committee members will be resigning from the Committee at the AGM on 23 September 2019: Jo Curry (Chair), Jenny Hyams (Minutes & Publicity Secretary), and Carol Hammond (Friends Co-ordinator).

Other Committee members:

Joanna Barfield (Membership Secretary) will have to be re-elected at the AGM (assuming that she will wish to remain on the Committee) because her three-year term of office will have ended.

John Awty (Staging Manager) was elected to the Committee at the 2017 AGM and therefore will not require re-election until 2020.

Julia Awty (Music Librarian), Malcolm Butcher (Treasurer) and Caroline Rodbourne (Vice Chair) were re-elected to the Committee at the 2018 AGM and therefore will not require re-election until 2021.

Choir members are reminded that under the Charity Commission’s regulations if a charity does not have a Chair, the Charity Commissioners will dissolve the organisation.

  1. Ballot paper

Choir members are therefore asked to consider joining the Committee and filling the four current vacant places now, with a possible view to replacing the Chair from within the Committee, and the Minutes & Publicity Secretary from the Committee or from the choir, at the 2019 AGM.

Nominations have already been proposed and seconded for two of the four vacant places – printable ballot paper here. 

HARLESTON CHORAL SOCIETY EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING

Monday 25 February 2019

BALLOT PAPER for the nomination of four Committee Members

VACANCY NAME PROPOSER SECONDER
1 John Layton Jo Curry Jenny Hyams
2 Stella Brownsea Jenny Hyams Jo Curry
3      
4      
       

When you have completed the ballot paper, either by printing off the pdf ballot paper or Word doc ballot paper, please return it to Jo Curry either as an email attachment to jo.curry@sky.com or in person at choir practice before 25th.

  1. Job Descriptions for main posts in Harleston Choral Society Committee

Chair

  • is first point of contact for all enquiries
  • Chairs all meetings
  • checks draft Agendas and Minutes, information to be posted on the website, and draft press releases
  • liaises with Committee
  • liaises with choir members
  • liaises with Musical Director
  • acts as GDPR (Data Protection) Lead
  • is au fait with HCS Constitution
  • writes two Newsletters pa
  • books both churches for choir practices and concerts
  • books King George Hall for use during concerts and concert rehearsal
  • applies for drinks licence for concerts
  • is responsible for Health & Safety
  • is responsible for Musical Director’s and Accompanist’s contracts
  • sets up London Road Church for choir practices

Vice Chair

  • stands in for Chair when necessary
  • acts as Deputy Treasurer for HCS’s day-to-day finances, when necessary and in the absence of the Treasurer

Treasurer

  • has overall responsibility for all HCS finances
  • has responsibility to keep income & expenditure up to date, and to present this at Committee meetings
  • has responsibility to get the accounts approved for the AGM by the auditor
  • liaises with Chair, Musical Director and Committee
  • is au fait with the HCS Constitution

Minutes & Publicity Secretary

  • liaises with Chair and Committee members
  • is au fait with HCS Constitution
  • draws up Agendas for Committee Meetings, and any other necessary meetings
  • takes Minutes and highlights Actions arising from these
  • creates Reports (edited version of Committee Minutes) for website
  • prepares all papers for the AGM
  • compiles and types Programme text, prior to printing
  • gives adequate warning to John Formston re concert[s] banner
  • sends press releases to parish magazines and other local publicity outlets, working to their press deadlines for the choir year, ie the start of the Summer Term, the Summer Concert, the Autumn Term, the Christmas Concert/start of January term 

Membership Secretary

  • liaises [mainly] with Chair and Minutes & Publicity Secretary
  • ‘meets and greets’ choir members at choir practices
  • keeps choir practice register up to date term by term
  • notifies choir members on line with choir information etc
  • prints off hard copies for those members who are not on line
  • has responsibility for monitoring GDPR within HCS
  • keeps the various sections of the website up to date, with Paul Cope (Website Manager)
  • liaises with Musical Director re input to website
  • organises outings to concerts, events etc
  • publicises ‘outside’ concerts
  • sends cards on behalf of HCS to choir members when appropriate

Music Librarian

  • liaises with Musical Director over the music required for concerts
  • orders music for choir, soloists and musicians when necessary, usually collected in person from Norwich Music Library
  • hands out music at the beginning of the Autumn and Spring Terms
  • collects in music used in previous concert, at the beginning of the Autumn and Spring Terms

Friends Co-ordinator

  • responsible for monitoring, and liaising with, the HCS Friends
  • responsible for sending out concert tickets – and letters/cards when necessary – to the Friends

Staging Manager

  • liaises with Membership Secretary re numbers of each voice part for seating arrangements at concerts
  • recruits and co-ordinates helpers to erect and dismantle concert staging
  • transports staging to/from St John’s (with helpers) before the Friday evening rehearsal and after the concert
  • transports chairs (with helpers) from King George Hall to/from St John’s

Committee as a whole

  • meetings: we have four full Committee Meetings pa (usually at 7.00 pm, in a Committee member’s house); plus the AGM at the end of September each year (during choir practice); plus ‘check list’ meetings the Mondays before concerts (in the London Road Church at 7.00 pm); and plus any other meetings as and when necessary, eg an EGM 
  • Sub-Committees: we form these when necessary 
  • Social Events: we organise social events, eg the annual Quiz Evening and Summer Garden Party
  • choir practices: we help set up the London Road Church prior to Monday evening choir practices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Report of the Committee Meeting held on Thursday 24 January 2019 at 7.00 pm at The Dell, Billingford

                                    HARLESTON CHORAL SOCIETY

Printable pdf file of meeting report January 2019 available here

Report of the Committee Meeting held on Thursday 24 January 2019 at 7.00 pm at The Dell, Billingford

Present: John Awty, Julia Awty, Joanna Barfield, Malcolm Butcher, Jo Curry, Carol Hammond, Jenny Hyams, Caroline Rodbourne

In attendance: Janette Ruocco

Choir member observers: Stella Brownsea, John Layton – welcomed by Jo

  1. Apologies for Absence – none
  2. Minutes of the last meeting (Thursday 20 September 2018)

Confirmed and signed as a correct record, subject to amendments to two typos.

  1. Matters arising

Data Protection: Joanna reported that all consent forms have now been returned.

  1. Committee resignations and [currently four]vacancies and implications thereof

It was noted that Jo, Jenny and Carol intend to resign from the Committee with effect from the 2019 AGM; and that Malcolm will only be available as Treasurer on a part-time basis from May 2019, for probably a year.

A wide-ranging discussion followed on how to deal with the pending vacancies, and their implications, and the following action was agreed:

  • EGM to be held on Monday 25 February, during choir practice, to make all choir members aware of the pending Committee resignations and the implications of a no-Chair scenario
  • Caroline will take on the day-to-day Treasurer’s responsibilities (cheques, banking, subs), as from May
  • Malcolm will continue to act as Treasurer with responsibility for the annual accounts and his report to the AGM
  • job descriptions for all Committee posts to be posted on the Members’ area of the website, once firmed up
  • programme, posters and tickets: as Heather Butcher will not be available from May to design posters and tickets, and to print the programme, a meeting will be arranged between Heather, Malcolm and Jenny to discuss alternative arrangements
  • keyboard and keys to the church: Richard Thomas has now resigned from the Committee. Jo will therefore appeal to choir members at choir practice on 28th for regular help with moving and setting up the keyboard prior to choir practices

Finally, it was noted that the choir could, in a worst case scenario, continue to function without charitable status. 

  1. Treasurer

(i)         current state of finances: Malcolm distributed copies of the Income & Expenditure report for the year ended 31 August 2019, and reported that because of the increased number of choir members and therefore of subs, and of income from Gift Aid, the choir’s finances are now in a healthier state. He drew attention to his Cash Forecast 1st September 2018 – 31st August 2020 and pointed out that mainly because of cheaper concerts, he anticipates that income and expenditure will break even by the end of the next [choir] year.

(ii)        funding application: the text has nearly been completed but the financial sections will require input from Malcolm

(iii)       Helen Lunnon’s offer re merchandise:  it was agreed to go ahead with Helen Lunnon’s offer to get tote bags with the HCS logo, and/or pencils and rubbers, to raise income for the choir. The tote bags would cost £2.21 each per 100 ordered; if sold to choir members for £4.00 each, there would be a potential return of £179.00.

  1. Christmas Concert, 8 December 2018

Janette congratulated the choir on a very successful concert, which had required a lot of hard work, and the Telemann was not easy. Jo reported on the positive feedback from the choir and audience, and especial thanks were expressed to Janette and to Karen, both of whose post-concert letters to the choir were much appreciated. There were however a few reservations expressed about the Soprano and Bass soloists, and their and the Ensemble’s lack of engagement with the choir, which Janette agreed to address.

  1. Summer Concert, 22 June 2019

Janette said that she is inviting two more soloists to take the parts of the Two Witches in Dido and Aeneas, who may well bring their own audience with them. Julia said that because of the increase in the number of choir members, she has ordered more scores from Norfolk Music Library, with whom it is important to maintain links.

  1. Christmas Concert, Saturday 14 December 2019

Janette explained that she has been having second thoughts about the content of this concert, and would like replace it by bringing forward her plans for the Christmas Concert, 5 December 2020, The First Nowell, with Vaughan Williams’ The First Nowell in the first half of the programme. This will require soprano and baritone soloists, strings and a keyboard.

  1. Acapella Concert

Janette reported that an Octet from Braintree Choral Society has recently given an acapella concert and raised £500.00. She wondered whether this might be something that HCS might think about. It could be a social occasion as well as a concert, and could be held on a Sunday afternoon, possibly with tea and cake.

  1. Website

The handover from Jenny to Joanna is now complete. Joanna outlined what she and Paul Cope (Website Manager) will be doing to keep the website up to date, and the plans which they have, including more clips from recent concerts. She will also put choir practice content on to the Members’ area on a weekly basis, so that absentees can catch up. 

  1. Quiz Evening, Saturday 30 March, St James Village Hall

A sub-committee was formed, to deal with the arrangements.

  1. Dates of next meetings

Monday 25 February: EGM, during choir practice

Wednesday 6 March, 4.00 pm: Quiz Evening sub-committee meeting

Thursday 7 March, 2.30 pm: Committee Meeting

Saturday 30 March, 7.00 pm: Quiz Evening, St James Village Hall

Saturday 13 July: choir summer garden party

Monday 23 September: AGM, during choir practice

  1. AOB

(i)         Sending out urgent phone messages to choir members:  arrangements were made for five Committee members to act as phone callers in the event of choir practice having to be cancelled because of eg the weather.

(ii)        Heating in London Road church: Jo to ask the caretaker if he could put the heaters on in the main room before 7.00 pm, to give the room time to heat up adequately during very cold weather.

(iii)       New choir members: Stella pointed out how difficult it is for new choir members to know everyone’s names and suggested some form of ID for all choir members.  The Committe agreed to ask Helen Lunnon if this is something which she might be able to help with, eg name badges/brooches; and it was further agreed that voice part leaders should be formalised, so that all choir members know who to approach when necessary.  A display of choir mug-shots was also suggested.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes for New Members

Welcome to Harleston Choral Society

Welcome! We are delighted that you have come along to our choir practice today. We do hope that you will enjoy singing with us and that you will become a permanent member.

History

Harleston Choral Society was founded in 2000 by Anne Gee, an experienced singing teacher and pioneer in developing amateur choirs. She especially believed in encouraging people who were unaware that they could actually sing! Anne quickly introduced members to a varied and demanding repertoire. We are fortunate to have her son, Nathaniel, who sometimes sings with us, as our patron.

From 2004 – 2017, our Musical Director was Chris Bracewell. Chris was a very experienced choral conductor and inspired the choir to new heights. Recent concerts under Chris’s baton included Brahms’ Requiem and Bach’s St John Passion.

We are delighted that, since January 2018, our Musical Director is Janette Ruocco. Janette has a wealth of experience with choral societies, chamber choirs and vocal ensembles. She is also a choral trainer and workshop leader. We have had two very successful years with Janette, performing Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle,  Part 1 of the Messiah, Telemann’s German Magnificat, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, The First Nowell by Vaughan Williams and Chilcott’s The Twelve Days of Christmas.

We are very fortunate to have Karen Smith as our regular accompanist at our practices. Karen is a professional musician who has also worked with Eye Bach Choir.

Practices

We meet on Monday evenings during school term time from 7.30 pm till 9.30 pm in the London Road Church, Harleston. We perform our concerts in St John’s Church, Harleston. There is a short break for refreshments at approximately 8.30 pm. For new members, the first three practice sessions are free. If you then wish to continue singing with us, a termly fee is due, currently £40.00 per term, (there are some concessions). 

There are no auditions for our friendly community choir and we welcome everyone. Although it’s an advantage to be able to read music, it’s not essential.  Music is provided free and – if available – we provide practice CDs for each voice part: soprano, alto, tenor and bass.  The first CDs are free to new members and thereafter there is a small charge. More experienced members are always happy to help and support with musical challenges and sometimes small groups meet in between scheduled practices.

Choir practices can often involve hard work, but the emphasis is on relaxation and enjoyment. Regular attendance is important and, to get full advantage, it is advisable to practise with the CDs at home during the week. It is useful to bring water, a pencil and reading glasses to practices!

Concerts

We perform two evening concerts a year: a Christmas Concert, which normally includes a substantial choral work and sometimes includes Christmas Carols, some with audience participation; and a Summer Concert in June, when we usually perform a longer choral work. For most concerts we also have professional soloists and orchestra.

There are rehearsals on the Friday evening and Saturday afternoon before a concert in St John’s Church. Concert dress is black tie for gentlemen and black for ladies. 

In 2020, we will be performing Feel the spirit by John Rutter, Chilcott’s Songs and Cries and Songs and Sonnets by George Shearing on Saturday 27 June. Our Christmas concert on Saturday 12 December has a Baroque theme and will include the Credo and Gloria by Vivaldi and the Chorale from Wachet Auf by Bach, plus carols for choir and audience and Corelli’s Christmas Concerto for string orchestra.

Fundraising

At each practice, you can pick a “Bonus Ball” for £1. This is based on the Lottery Bonus Ball. If you are a winner, you will receive 50% of the kitty and the other 50% goes to choir funds.

We have a quiz evening, this year on 21 March, which is great fun and delicious food is prepared by the committee. 

We also hold a raffle at each concert.

Committee

We have a committee of up to 12 choir members who are elected during our September AGM. The committee meets regularly to help with running the choir and organising our concerts. Many other members take on further important and essential tasks throughout the season.

Further information

If you would like any further information, please contact our Chair, Stella Brownsea, or our Membership Secretary, Joanna Barfield, either during a practice session or as below:

Stella Brownsea heidihouse@btinternet.com 01379 854720

Joanna Barfield joannabarfield@gmail.com 01986 872791