Held on Monday 18th October 2021 at 7.30 at the London Road Church, Harleston

Stella welcomed Karen (Accompanist) and choir members and declared the meeting open.

  • Apologies for absence

Apologies were received from Nathaniel Gee, Ann Plested, Carol Hammond, Pat Green, Bryan Green and Joanna Barfield.

  • Minutes of the last AGM (September 2019)

On the proposal of Jo Curry, seconded by John Awty, the minutes were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

  • Chair’s Report

Stella began her report by saying how different things have been since she became Chair in September 2019.  Although we were able to present a Christmas concert in December of that year, entitled ‘The twelve days of Christmas’, by the following March, we were into lockdown and rehearsals came to a halt.  After a while, when we realised just how long this might go on for, a small Zoom choir, led by Karen, was started and we worked on various items from ‘Choral Classics’.

At last, by the summer, restrictions had relaxed enough for some of us to enjoy a Garden Party hosted by John and Julia Awty.  We sang items from the Zoom rehearsals and Julia gave a very interesting quiz on words from musicals, operas and other compositions.

Stella feels very proud that we’re still here 2 years later as many other groups are not.  She thanked the following people:

  • The whole committee for their willingness to join in the many Zoom meetings
  • Joanna, for being such a caring and efficient Membership Secretary.
  • Paul Cope, Joanna’s partner, for all his technical help with Zoom and with re-organising the website.
  • John Awty, for arranging the Zoom sessions and producing the online music.  He has also taken on the post of Assistant Memberships Secretary, available to all at rehearsals.
  • Julia for her pristine organisation as Librarian and handholding when needed.
  • Malcolm for managing the money so efficiently through this tricky time.
  • John Formston and Caroline for their input in difficult situations.
  • Amanda, who joined as Minutes Secretary this year, for producing accurate minutes in a short time.
  • Nathaniel for supporting the choir in his role as Patron.
  • Karen, for her expert advice and knowledge that has helped to rebuild the society as well as her invaluable sense of humour.
  • The members who continued to pay their subscriptions, seeing us through the last months.

Stella finished by saying we have a great concert to prepare for over the next few weeks and have shown how we are learning from experiences and adapting.  She is proud to be our Chairman.

On the proposal of John Awty, seconded by Peter Heard, the report was accepted.

  • Treasurer’s Report

Malcolm had distributed copies of the annual accounts (a copy of these will be filed with the Minutes).  His report follows.

‘Because of Covid 19 the choir has not operated as such since March 2020.   However, since then the committee has continued to meet and a number of financial changes and strategic changes have taken place.   So I will summarise the events as they occurred, starting with the beginning of the 2019/2020 year.

October 2019  –  Supporter donation made to the choir  –  £2,000

December 2019 – Christmas Concert.  Funds broke even, thanks to donation from our Patron.

March 2020 – National Lockdown.  We had enjoyed 9 weeks of rehearsals up until then, balance of rent carried forward to 29th November 2021.

March/April 2020  –  Gift Aid £980.

September 2020 – Halesworth Festival of Voices granted us £767 following our bid for funds following their closure.

August 2020 – Payments made to Conductor and Accompanist for retention of services £1,400

February 2021  –  Conductor Janette Ruocco resigned from choir.

March – April 2021   –  Further payment made to Accompanist for retention of services to the choir.  –  £1,080.

March 2021 –  Members made donations to the choir funds. – £1,455.

May 2021  –  Donation from the family of Jethro.

Since the beginning of the 2019/20 financial year, largely thanks to some very generous donations we have managed to show a positive financial position, which will enable us to have some flexibility with future workshops/concerts etc.  The bank balance as at 31st August 2021 is a healthy £7,768.’

 On the proposal of Julia Awty, seconded by Caroline Rodbourne, it was agreed to accept the accounts.

  • Re-appointment of Auditor

On the proposal of Malcolm Butcher, seconded by John Awty, Robin Farrar was re-appointed as Auditor.

  • Friends of Harleston Choral Society’s Report

Fiona reported that, after a good start in the early 2000’s, numbers of friends have gradually decreased, despite various methods used to recruit.  The Covid restrictions have meant that she hasn’t contacted the remaining friends to ask them for their subscriptions so no money has been coming in.  In any case, the subscriptions didn’t cover the cost of the 2 free tickets and drinks at concerts so it was decided that the Friends should be disbanded.  Fiona has notified those remaining and a few of them have said they will still support the choir.

She finished by saying she had enjoyed her years as Friends’ Secretary but is still happy to help in other ways.

      6A   Patron’s Report

Nathaniel apologized for being unable to attend the meeting but sent his good wishes.  There was nothing for him to report but said he was grateful to all the Committee and pleased to hear that we are again in existence.

  • Changes to the Constitution

On the proposal of Stella Brownsea, seconded by John Formston, the following changes were agreed:

  • The title of Conductor should be changed to Musical Director.
  • The AGM will be held in the autumn term (as opposed to the specified month of September), thus allowing time for new members to settle into the choir.
  • The Musical Director will be responsible for selecting the music to be performed, in agreement with the Committee.
  • Election of Committee members for the year 2021/22

Members were reminded that Kate Peacher, Publicity Secretary, is resigning, thus creating a vacancy.  There are three other vacancies making four in all as the Constitution allows for a maximum of twelve.

  • On the proposal of Heather Butcher, seconded by Malcolm Butcher, it was agreed to elect Fiona Bartlett to the Committee.
  • On the proposal of John Awty, seconded by Malcolm Butcher, it was agreed to elect Jo Curry to the Committee
  • On the proposal of Fiona Bartlett, seconded by Julia Awty, it was agreed to elect Heather Butcher to the Committee.

Amanda Fletcher had been co-opted as Minutes Secretary during the Covid restrictions earlier in the year.  Amanda confirmed to Stella that she would like to remain on the Committee in this capacity.

There were other members of the Committee who would have been due for re-election this year.  However, the choir did not meet in person for nearly eighteen months so the year 2020/21 will not be counted so their re-election has been deferred until next year.

  • Date of next AGM: Autumn term 2022