Harleston Choral Society

AGM 9th October 2023

Chairman’s report

It is with great pride and fulfilment we can look back on the year
just gone. In last year’s report I described the Society as
blossoming again after the pandemic. We have really continued
that development to almost rival Kew!
The year started with our Christmas concert under the direction of
Justin, the first concert with us for which he had chosen the
programme. The main work, Ronald Corp’s “A Christmas Mass”
was so enjoyed by the audience (and eventually by the singers!) In
the words of the critic we created Christmas sparkle, a concert to
lift the spirits, helping to forget for a while the troubles of the world.
A new venture with the raffle was tried – hampers, the contents of
which were provided by members. Thanks to two of Neil’s
daughters it made a substantial profit.
Quiz night was held in March – a very well attended evening.
Thank you to John Formston for the frustrating questions, to Fiona
for the raffle and to Julia and her team for the exquisite food.
Our Summer concert at the end of June developed us even
further, the main work being Haydn’s “Stabat Mater” and a
selection ( or as the critic put it – “a bean feast”) of choruses, soli
and duets from Mozart in the second half – a concert of massive
contrasts. We welcomed back Laura Morgan and Aleksi Kaponen
who were joined by David Menezies and Joanna Gamble – four
soloists who didn’t just sing, they performed. Will we ever forget
Aleksi and Laura singing “La ci darem”? We sang in five different
languages- thank you to those members who gave us tuition in
pronunciation and to Caroline for looking after David and Aleksi for
the weekend.
In July, Caroline kindly hosted a garden party. It was quite a windy
afternoon – would be an understatement! Marquees and gazebos
had been erected and taken down in the previous few days, but
again a lovely, friendly afternoon was enjoyed, not many games
were played, two musical quizzes had been prepared by Julia and
Caroline and the food was great.

We held a 2 day workshop in August, learning to read music,
voice production, and studying pieces to perform. It was open to
non-members and lunch was available to purchase. Six members
formed a sub-committee and what an amazing success it was.
Thank you to the never tiring sub-committee Julia, Fiona, Caroline,
Joanna and Amanda and to Justin and Karen for the musical
organisation. There were 52 attendees in all many of whom came
to more than one session. It was a terrific atmosphere, people
chatting over lunch, registration and catering went smoothly and
we made a profit!
All this, as you realise doesn’t just happen without a great deal of
hard work behind the scenes. First of all, thank you to the
Committee as a whole for their support and willingness to help
whenever there is a challenge. Thank you to Amanda for all her
minute taking and organisation. I don’t know how she does it.
Thank you to Joanna and Paul for organising the website and
keeping it up to date. Thank you to John Awty for all his hard work
as Assistant Membership Secretary. He’s the chap behind the
reminders, helping with anything on computers. My grateful thanks
to Julia for all her amazing work as Librarian. You all must have
seen the piles of music she sits behind and always smiles when
she hands you yours. Thank you to them both for lending a
listening ear when I need it. A very big thank you to Malcolm for his
continued management of our money. He has finally succeeded in
changing us over to a non-fee paying bank and getting all our
transactions on line.
Thank you to Heather for all her work with devising the
programmes and posters, to Jenny for dealing with the publicity, to
Jo for all her help behind the scenes especially when anything
needs moving. Thank you to Caroline for being so generous with
her house, garden and time and to John Formston for his sensible
Thank you to Fiona for all her help with the bonus ball. I think
Malcolm’s report will tell you how much this has raised over the
How do we say thank you to Justin and Karen? Their
encouragement and musical knowledge over the last year has
been phenomenal. Justin is always searching the airwaves for
new, interesting and inspiring music for us and our audiences.

We have welcomed 4 completely new members this year and had
6 returnees.
We have also initiated sub-committees to help with the working of
the society and cut down on the length of the main meetings.
These are Archives, Publicity. Music, Social, Workshop and
Concert Admin. Please consider joining one of them to learn what
goes on and bring your expertise to the fore. We can promise the 3
Fs – fun, friendship but most importantly FOOD.
Finally, I did say last year I was stepping down. Circumstances
have slightly changed within the committee so I am happy to
continue but really must next year. So please have a think
We have great concerts to prepare over the next year when we will
be giving and experiencing the joy of singing.

Stella Brownsea
9 th October 2023