This annual report summarises Strings Attached activity during 2017.
We’ve had another successful season of coffee concerts provided by the Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival.
This year we did not send out a questionnaire survey to elicit opinions about the Coffee Concert Season as responses had not changed significantly during the previous three years and we felt Friends might not wish to be burdened with a questionnaire once again. Instead we invited comments on any aspect of the Coffee Concerts through our newsletter.
The responses revealed that we are, in general, happy with the balance of ensembles and repertoire, though some regretted the lack throughout the season of some chamber music icons including Mozart, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Bartòk, Shostakovitch and Martinu. However, the relatively high number of composers from the twentieth and twenty first centuries was appreciated.
The temporary move of concert venue to the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts continues to be a success with most friends finding the journey there relatively easy and the venue itself excellent. We do, however, look forward to the return to the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange in 2019 after its refurbishment.
The Cavatina Scheme has proved particularly popular, perhaps because students find the ACCA a convenient venue. It has now become commonplace to see a sprinkling of younger faces in the audience. This is very gratifying. Leaflets advertising the concert series and encouraging young people to join the audience on free tickets were widely distributed in regular concert venues in Brighton and Hove, Lewes and Seaford.
Our website has continued to contain a Calendar of upcoming chamber music concerts in the Brighton/Lewes area with links through to the individual events. It also hosts a Directory of local amateur chamber music players which is particularly useful for newcomers to the area.
As in previous years we have enjoyed excellent collaboration with staff at the Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival. As well as the continued personal involvement of Chief Executive Andrew Comben himself, whose particular knowledge and expertise are invaluable, we have been very much helped by the Dome team in looking after the management of the concerts and publicity and programme production. This year we have worked in particular with Amanda Northcote-Green, Assistant Producer with responsibility for the Coffee Concert season.
We should also thank our stalwart volunteer helpers. Chris Darwin has continued to produce excellent programme notes (helped once again this year by Helen Simpson and Guy Richardson) as well as managing our concert diary on the website.
David Botibol has continued to manage the website for us. It is always up to date with reviews appearing as soon as they are submitted, usually within a couple of days of the concert – we are grateful for David’s diligence in looking after the site. Andrew Polmear, in addition to being responsible for our newsletter, has continued to provide reviews after every concert, as has Richard Amey. Reviews from others would be very welcome.
Our work is only possible as a result of the kind generosity of Friends – your subscriptions and donations will be helping not only to keep the future of the Coffee Concerts secure but also to provide more wonderful chamber music for people who live around Brighton and Hove. Donations in particular make it possible occasionally to provide extra concerts. An extra concert is planned for 29 April 2018 as a result of a donation and we anticipate other extra concerts in the future. If you would like to make a donation please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On 31 December 2017 we had 100 Friends.
Mary McKean (Chair)
Christine Moon (Treasurer)
Margaret Polmear (Secretary)