Friday, September 26, 2008

2008 Annual report

Registered Charity – number 1087848

Report of the Committee for the year ended 31 July 2008

Chairman – Simon Witcomb, Secretary - Janette Macpherson, Treasurer – Fiona Benjamin, Librarian - Ann Moore, Marketing and Publicity – Alyse Ashton, Eleanor Brooks, Lynne Ellis, Mel Poyda, Jean Rollinson

We have always been fortunate with our conductors, but none more so than with Robert Roscoe, who has been with us now since September 2006. Robert is very well-known, having spent most of his career with the Berkshire Music Service. He is currently employed part-time at Chetham’s School of Music but travels back to Beenham on Friday evenings to lead us. Over the summer fete period, we were delighted to welcome guest conductors David Wirdnam and Andrew McBirnie. The band wished Andrew every success in his emigration to America.

Constitution and object
The band is a registered charity, and its constitution is available to all members. The object of the band is to advance the education of the public by raising the aesthetic taste through the performance of music.

Membership and rehearsals
We have had 41 paying members during the year. We rehearsed every Friday during term time from 7.30pm to 9.45pm in Beenham School Hall.

A copy of the accounts for the year to 31 July 2008 is attached. The band made a loss of £992. This was partly due to the higher than usual expenditure on new music and higher expenses from concerts. The balance to carry forward to 2008/09 is £2,091. It will be proposed at the AGM that subscriptions will remain the same as last year, £85 for the year or £30 per term. Being a charity, we are able to recover income tax on subscriptions.

We are building a library of music comprising arrangements of popular tunes and marches, music from shows and films, and light classical music, as well as pieces written specifically for wind band. An up to list of pieces currently in our library is available on our website.

Performances and events
23 September 2007 Cold Ash day
17 November 2007 Journey and Celebration, Corn Exchange
14 December 2007 Christmas concert
21 December 2007 Carols round the village
22/23 February 2008 Ufton Court weekend
16 March 2008 Spring concert, St Mary’s Church Thatcham with the Andover Light Orchestra
17 May 2008 St Mary’s Church, Mortimer
7 June 2008 Beenham Church
15 June 2008 Forbury Gardens, Reading
28 June 2008 Hungerford
18 July 2008 Concert on the Rec
26 July 2008 Englefield Flower Show

Main concerts
Our November 2007 concert in the Corn Exchange was titled Journey and Celebration. Although the programme was exciting and innovative, we did not manage to sell as many tickets as usual, which was disappointing.

In March we were joined by the Andover Light Orchestra for our Spring Concert in Thatcham, which was well received and we hope that we will be able to join them in the future for a return visit.

Band Tour to Belgium
30 members of the band enjoyed a bank holiday weekend in Belgium in late May. The first day the band headed to Bruges where they played in a spacious and rather exotic bandstand to a warm crowd of locals who were lingering over lunch. Despite some competition from a marching band of bagpipers, they had a lovely sunny afternoon and played brilliantly! They headed back to Ypres to give an evening performance at the Menin Gate. This was profoundly moving in all respects and players watched numerous groups of visitors pay their respects and lay the most wonderful selection of flowers and wreaths. The Band’s own specially prepared wreath was laid by Simon on behalf of the band and the Newbury British Legion. Everyone felt immensely privileged to have been able to play two hymns and be included in the ceremony.
The following morning, they headed for Bruges and despite being prepared for torrential rain, they ended up playing in glorious sunny weather and having the most lovely afternoon. Later in the evening they arrived back in Ypres where many attended the Menin Gate ceremony for a second time.
The final morning was spent sight seeing and shopping. After a quick stop at Calais for some essentials, the band finally made it home to torrential rain and got very wet unloading the bus, but a lovely weekend was had by all. It is hoped that the next tour will be in May 2010.

Marketing and publicity

This year we’ve focussed on revitalising our publicity with a view to increasing awareness about Beenham band, membership and audience sizes. Our website has been replaced by a blog (many thanks to Tim Skinner for this) which makes it quick to update and easy for members of the band to contribute their thoughts and ideas. We’ve also reinvigorated our approach to publicity by setting up a new mailing list, building contacts with local press and radio as well as websites. Members of the band have kindly agreed to manage getting posters and information out to local venue and notice boards. Lastly, we’re actively building our ‘friends’ mailing list by inviting comments after each event and gathering email addresses and quotes we can use.

Our main aim is to ensure that all members enjoy making good music, whilst meeting the objective of the charity.

Simon Witcomb – Chairman 26 September 2008

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