This annual report summarises Strings Attached activity during 2020 and includes the Coffee Concert Season 2019/20.
At the time of writing it is comforting to look back on the 2019/20 season of Coffee Concerts, all of which took place as planned except the last one by the Aronowitz Quartet, scheduled for 22 March but cancelled because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Our activity since that date has been very limited for the same reason.
During the 2019/20 season we heard concerts from Coffee Concert favourites the Castalian and Heath quartets, whilst innovative Scottish Quartet the Maxwell, who were new to us, brought us some Scottish folk music as well as a piece by Roukens, both firsts for our concerts, sandwiched between more conventional repertoire. Two trios (the Endymion Horn Trio and the Mithras Piano Trio) also appeared and were well received. Overall we felt that the standard was consistently high and the repertoire gratifyingly varied – simply writing this and reflecting on the season makes this writer realise anew how wonderful it will be when we are able to attend live concerts again together.
We are, as ever, grateful to Chris Darwin for his excellent programme notes, and to Andrew Polmear (and occasionally Helen Simpson and Guy Richardson) for his ever prompt and interesting official ‘Strings Attached’ reviews, and also for providing the newsletter.
There were two sponsored concerts during the 2019/20 season. Stephen Neiman sponsored a concert in memory of Caroline Brown and Andrew and Margaret Polmear also sponsored a concert. We are grateful to both for their generosity. We also received generous offers which we are already planning to put to good use when we eventually return to the Corn Exchange. The refurbishment of the Corn Exchange has progressed during the lockdown period and we hope to be able to return to it soon. Strings Attached contributed this year by sponsoring a seat.
Our membership of The Cavatina Scheme has continued, though is subject to the inevitable hiatus on our activities during 2020. We look forward to continuing to welcome young people to the Coffee Concerts when we are able to be together again.
During the year we made a donation of £250 to the Musicians’ Union as a contribution to their Covid support initiative.
Thanks are due to David Botibol for maintaining our website and Chris Darwin for maintaining the pages containing the calendar of chamber music events and for local amateur performers.
Mention should be made of the tireless efforts made by Andrew Comben and his team to make concerts happen during 2020 despite the current difficulties. So far one concert has taken place in the 2020/21 season – the Gildas Quartet in November. Behind the scenes, the committee are aware that plans have had to be made and adapted and subsequently remade as circumstances have changed and we are deeply grateful to the Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival for making such efforts on our behalf.
Our work is only possible as a result of the kind generosity of Members – 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 will make it possible occasionally to provide extra concerts after our return to the Corn Exchange. If you would like to find out more or make a donation please contact us at email@example.com.
On 31 December 2020 we had 109 members. The membership fee was waived during 2020 in view of the pandemic, but we are gratified that many members chose to renew their membership nonetheless and we received several donations.
Mary McKean (Chair), Christine Moon (Treasurer), Margaret Polmear (Secretary), Euan Reid, Guy Richardson, Helen Simpson
Mary McKean (Chair)