Minutes of the 7th Annual General Meeting held on 1 March 2018 at 1100 at 9 Powis Square, Brighton
David Botibol, Sandie Botibol, Chris Darwin, David Harrison, Mary McKean (Chair), John McKean, Christine Moon, Paul Moore, Andrew Polmear, Margaret Polmear, Guy Richardson, Helen Simpson
John Bosowski, Betty Skolnick
1 Chair’s welcome
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked them for making the effort to attend given the Arctic weather conditions.
2 To receive the minutes of the sixth Annual General Meeting held on 2 March 2017
The minutes were accepted as a true record of the meeting.
Proposed: Helen Simpson
Seconded: Andrew Polmear
The Chair drew attention to a number of matters arising from the minutes as follows:
- It has proved possible to extend the 2017/18 season to include an additional concert on 29 April as a result of the generous sponsorship of a founder member of Strings Attached. Further sponsorship in the form of gifts in addition to the standard membership fee (see also item 4 below) might result in at least one extra concert in 2018/19.
- Concerts have been attended by a consistent if small following of students at the University of Sussex since they have been held at the Attenborough Centre. Efforts will continue to be made to engage with the university community and to encourage students there to continue to attend concerts when they move back to the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange.
- A Strings Attached Facebook page has been set up but would benefit from a young enthusiast taking responsibility for it.
- Comments on the 2016/17 season were sought through the Strings Attached newsletter and, being in freestyle form rather than in response to a questionnaire, were more illuminating. Comments on the 2017/18 season will be sought in the same way.
- As a means of ensuring that the transfer of the coffee concerts back to the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange from the Attenborough Centre, once the refurbishment of the former is complete, is as seamless as possible, it is hoped to organise a tour of the refurbished Brighton Dome complex for Strings Attached members ahead of its official reopening.
- A new Strings Attached website will be launched on 1 April.
(Secretary’s note: It was suggested at the 2017 AGM that Strings Attached consider moving to the model constitution offered by Making Music and agreed that the committee would look into the possibility. Having done so, the committee has concluded that such a move would not be appropriate for Strings Attached. Although this matter was not reported at the 2018 AGM, it is included here for the sake of completeness.)
3 To receive the Annual Report of the Committee of Strings Attached
The report was received.
It was agreed that Strings Attached had had another successful year. The number of members has remained constant at around 100, concerts have been good and well attended, and free tickets through the Cavatina scheme have proved more popular than ever.
The Chair drew attention to and thanked those who undertake work for Strings Attached outside the committee as follows:
- Chris Darwin (helped again this year by Guy Richardson and Helen Simpson) for his outstanding programme notes and also for managing various aspects of the Strings Attached website including the calendar of events.
- David Botibol for his overall management of the Strings Attached website and his work on the new website to be launched in April.
- Andrew Polmear for the regular newsletters and his reviews of concerts.
4 To receive the audited financial accounts for the year ended 31 December 2017
The audited financial accounts for the year ended 31 December 2017 were received.
It was noted that £725 had been donated in gifts by those renewing their membership for which the income was £905 and that this represented a significant degree of goodwill.
5 To agree the annual subscription rate for 2018/19
It was proposed and agreed that the annual subscription for the year 1 August 2018 to 31 July 2019 should remain unchanged at £10 (£5 for students).
Proposed: David Harrison
Seconded: Chris Darwin
It was noted that it is now possible for members to renew their membership by BACS and that thought will be given by the committee to making the renewal process slicker in future. A move to direct debits, which would not be cost-free, was not thought sensible for such a relatively small organisation.
It was suggested that membership cards be printed on different coloured paper each year and the committee agreed to consider this.
6 To appoint members to the committee
The Chair reported that all members of the outgoing committee were willing to serve for a further year and they were duly appointed.
Proposed: John McKean
Seconded: Andrew Polmear
It was reported that Norman Jacobs had stood down from the committee in December because of other commitments. It was noted that he had inspired the committee to think more seriously about the Strings Attached website and was warmly thanked for his contribution.
7 Extending the coffee concert season through sponsorship
As noted above, the 2017/18 season has been extended to April as a result of sponsorship by a Strings Attached member.
Given the current Strings Attached bank balance in excess of £6,000 it was thought entirely feasible to sponsor an additional concert at the start of the 2018/19 season. After some discussion as to exactly when such a concert might take place, it was agreed that early October was preferable to September, a popular holiday month, and that a further Sunday morning coffee concert would be easier to market than an evening concert.
The matter will be discussed further by the committee and taken forward with colleagues at Brighton Dome.
8 Any further issues for consideration
It was suggested and unanimously agreed to dedicate a coffee concert to the memory of Caroline Brown who, as reported in a recent newsletter, has died and was the driving force behind the setting up of coffee concerts locally. It was felt that the 29 April concert would be the most appropriate as it is being sponsored by Tina Gee who was a friend of Caroline’s. The matter will be taken forward by the Chair in discussion with Tina Gee, Stephen Neiman, Caroline’s husband, and Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival.
It was reported that changes to data protection rules come into force in May as a result of which it is understood that it will be necessary to ask members whether they are willing to receive information, such as the newsletter, from Strings Attached. The committee agreed to look into this further and to decide what action will need to be taken.
9 Closing remarks
The Chair again thanked everyone for attending the meeting and invited them to stay for the refreshments provided.
Andrew and Margaret Polmear were thanked for hosting the meeting and organising the lunch.
Thanks were also extended to Andrew Comben and his colleagues at Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival for the continued high standard of the coffee concerts and their support and co-operation throughout the year and to the staff at the Attenborough Centre for their help at the concerts.