The Dentdale Choir
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting
Held on 3rd June 2014 in Dent Memorial Hall
Iwan Lewis, Chairman; Mike Steele, Secretary; Anastasia Micklethwaite, Director of Music; Liz Nuttall, Librarian; Thelma Belfield; Anthea Boulton; David Boulton; Jim Kirton; Chris Taylor; Cath Sugden; Pat Allen; Neville Allen; Pam Sutcliffe, Jenny Robinson and Chris Dyer.
Jenny Pilgrim; Wendy Cooke; Marjory Glover; Marian Feltham; Ellen Kirton; Bill & Judy Lake and Monica Cleasby.
1) Minutes of the 2013 AGM:
These were agreed as a true and correct record.
2) Matters arising from the 2013 Minutes:
It was further noted that £100 had been donated to Sedbergh TIC during the year.
3) Finance and Accounts:
Copies of the 2013/2014 Accounts were distributed. During the year we had made a loss of £246 on £4,054 turnover, after the concert expenses for the March 2014 concert with no grant revenue obtained during the year.
There were no further questions and Iwan Lewis proposed that they were accepted, which were seconded by Anastasia Micklethwaite and agreed by all present.
After some discussion it was proposed by David Boulton and seconded by John Feltham that the subs remain at present at £20 per term. This was agreed by the rest of the meeting. In light of the next’s year’s financial situation these may have to be reviewed in 2015.
4) Secretary’s Report:
The secretary reported that the Committee had met on four occasions during the year, primarily to discuss the logistics of each concert or performance. During the year we had 51 members on the roll, which is the same as the previous year. However singing members have reduced from 41 members to 36 members in the period. We are still very low on Tenor numbers (seven maximum, often four, as opposed to 12 Basses, 16 Sopranos and 16 Altos) although we may have a new Tenor joining in September and other past members may be returning.
The subject of future funding needs to be discussed and progressed in 2014, particularly as our expense are increasing as the choir advances in its skills.
5) Director of Music’s Report:
Dentdale Choir Music and Choir Development 2013-14 Season
Music and Ability
The Choir has developed in sound and technical ability over the past 2 years. The group welcomes new members of all abilities, with approximately half the choir reading music quite well. It is attempting some quite challenging repertoire in 3 and 4 parts, and occasionally in 5 or 6 parts, balanced with rounds and unison or simple two-part songs. The quality of unison singing has really developed over the past 20 months and the Choir is developing an increased colour palette as a result of technical warm ups and rehearsals which focus on sound production and the physiology of singing, in addition to looking at the musical aspects of the works being studied.
Timings of Rehearsals
Currently 7:30-9pm every Tuesday during term time. Recently rehearsals have been extended to 7-9pm and this has been welcomed by members. For the new season it should be decided whether this is possible going forward and if current remuneration and timings are appropriate and feasible for members and the DoM for such extended rehearsals.
The Choir Year
Choir meets to rehearse and prepare Spring repertoire in advance and explore technical aspects of singing with new warm ups and improve part-singing ability. Some Christmas repertoire is started in October. The work being prepared for the 2014 Spring concert was discussed at length over the summer and Vivaldi’s Gloria was decided on. A 3-part version of the work was commissioned, but this was met with a very mixed reception as so many singers were familiar with the lines of the original parts. Later in the season it was decided to revert to the 4-part version and one or two members of the bass section nobly supported the tenors!
Choir works solidly on Christmas and Winter season repertoire.
Advent Carol Service and Concert on Advent Sunday in Dent Parish Church.
This was our main Winter performance within a new format of short Advent Carol service followed by a Christmas concert, performed on Advent Sunday. The new format was received well by choir members and congregation/audience alike with excellent attendance in 2014. It is proposed to keep this for Advent 2014 and beyond.
Two Christmas Carol Services at Dent and Cowgill parish churches in mid-late December.
These are traditional carol services in keeping with the churches’ carol service calendar, but are too close to Christmas for the DoM to always attend. Iwan Lewis led the choir in their anthems in 2013 which consisted of one or two pieces of music already performed in Advent, plus congregational carols.
Choir works towards a Spring Concert, alternating years between a “big” sacred work and a themed (largely secular) concert.
2014 saw Vivaldi’s popular ”Gloria” being performed in its original 4-part version with aplomb by the choir and accompanied by quite a fine 10-piece chamber orchestra of gifted local amateurs and London/Manchester/Sedbergh based professionals. The Gloria was performed alongside a variety of Venetian Folk Songs and Italian Art Songs. The orchestra also performed 2 instrumental concerti with soloists John Durrant from London on Trumpet and Anastasia Micklethwaite on wooden flute, which brought added depth to the programme and was received well.
The Choir “singing season” has extended under AM’s direction, with an early Summer programme being added to Winter and Spring programmes, in the form of a choral workshop or joint performance with a visiting choir. In early June, following a couple of evenings of rehearsals, the choir was led in a choral workshop day at Dent Parish Church, attempting a wide variety of challenging music under the direction of acclaimed Manchester-based Choral Director John Powell. The day was enjoyed by all and concluded with a concert in the evening to a good audience.
Summer Vacation. NB. The Dent Music/Beer Festival seems no longer to be a viable performance option for the choir, since it is not felt to show the choir at its best when so many members and the DoM are unavailable.
2014-15 Musical Season
This promises to be an interesting year beginning with an introduction to the Spring repertoire of Stage and Screen favourites (Sound of Music, West Side Story, Les Miserables and many others). Later in the term we work on well-loved Christmas and Seasonal favourites including a trio of arrangements of Sure on this Shining Night to bring added challenge to the choir’s repertoire. The Spring will see a cabaret-style setting again for Music from Stage and Screen favourites and the Summer will hopefully include a joint concert in May with C3 or The Fiery Furness. It is requested/suggested by the wider community that the Choir performs at Casterton Parish Church to raise funds and to widen its catchment area for members.
Director of Music
Thanks were expressed to Anastasia for all her work and commitment during the year.
7) Publicity Report:
Jenny Robinson reported that she had sent out many more e-mails this year for the Spring Concert and the Workshop as well as the usual Posters. She thought that we should have a central database for potential concert goers, as we need a wider catchment area than at present. She thought we needed extra publicity in the future and will require assistance to do this.
The printing for the Spring Concert was not up to standard as a major typo was discovered at the last minute. (Vivladi instead of Vivaldi).
She was thanked by the chair for her sterling efforts this year.
8) Librarian’s report
Dentdale Choir has not acquired any new music this year. Our library continues to be housed at my house in Dent.
Vivaldi's Gloria was hired from Cumbria County Council for our Spring Concert and all copies were handed in. We hired two pieces for the Choral Workshop. Unfortunately, 2 copies of Lauridsen's Once on this Shining Night weren't returned and we had to replace them at a cost, inclusive of postage, of £19.10.
I'd like to suggest that in future members of the choir are given music with a dedicated number. It would be easier to track down missing copies this way.
Finally, with some help from a volunteer(s), I would like to update the Music Library Database in the coming year. Anastasia Micklethwaite agreed to help her in this assisted by Thelma Belfield.
10) Chairman’s Report
The chairman commented that we had had a very busy year with excellent music and some new soloists, who were extremely brave to have tackled the Spring Concert music. He thought the Spring Workshop had been a resounding success, especially as it had brought in other choir members and he congratulated Anastasia for her part in this.
He thanked the Treasurer, Marjorie Glover, for her accurate and timely work on keeping the accounts to date; Jenny Robinson for her publicity blitz; Liz Nuttall for keeping the library accessible and up to date and the Secretary for his work throughout the year.
He would like to see an increase in choir members, particularly the Tenors and asked all members to be pro-active in this.
11 Election of Committee
Jenny Pilgrim had expressed her wish to stand down from the committee following the handover last year and thanks were expressed for her past work as Chairman.
The rest of the committee were prepared to continue in their present roles and David Boulton proposed this which was seconded by Chris Taylor an agreed by the rest of the meeting.
Iwan Lewis, Chairman
Anastasia Micklethwaite, Director of Music
Marjory Glover, Treasurer
Mike Steele, Secretary
Liz Nuttall, Librarian
Jenny Robinson, Publicity
Liz Nuttall proposed that Thelma Belfield and Wendy Cooke take on the role of Event Managers for future concerts and this was seconded by Chris Dyer and agreed by the rest of the meeting.
John Feltham was proposed by Iwan Lewis and seconded by Chris Dyer as a committee member and this was unanimously agreed. He is to take charge of Fund Raising and related matters.
Chris Taylor has agreed to continue as the Memorial Hall Management Committee representative for the choir.
12) Reappointment of Auditor
It was agreed by the meeting that Gwyneth Cheetham is retained as the auditor for 2014/2015 and that she be sent a £25 Gift Voucher for her past year’s services.
13) 2014 New Season
The 2014 season will commence with the Advent Carol service on 30th November 2014 with two concerts, one of which will be at Casterton on the following Tuesday, 3rdDecember.
Choir rehearsals will re-start on 9th September and the DoM will decide on the musical items for the Advent period.
It was also suggested that we have a visiting choir for a weekend during the summer, as well as the Spring Concert which will feature excerpts from Les Miserables and other stage shows.
A discussion on rehearsal times suggested that one and 45 minutes would be better than the previous one and a half hours. The DoM cannot arrive until 7:15 pm so it was agreed that any admin duties should start from 7:15 with a prompt start for singing at 7:30, finishing by 9:00 pm. The room will be booked from 7:15 pm to 9:00 pm.
It was suggested that weekly volunteers are requested for the next week to set up and restore the hall.
The meeting was closed at 8:41 pm.