Kilndown Community Choir AGM – Friday 5 October 2018
2017-18 was yet another memorable year, the choir’s momentum showing no signs of flagging. There were two major events:
·The Christmas Concert in Christ Church was simply marvellous and greatly appreciated by our audience. The contribution of the quintet from Cranbrook Town Band was really significant and they will be back with us this coming Christmas.
·At the end of June our ‘Songs for Summer’ concert was blessed with beautiful weather and a surprising number of people took full advantage of the opportunity to picnic during the long interval. The music went down very well indeed and the scene on the Millennium Green at half-time was simply idyllic.
At Christmas some of us went to sing once more at Evernden House in Cranbrook, to an enthusiastic audience. It may well become an annual fixture.
This has all been made possible by Julian’s unstinting commitment to the cause, his constant energy, enthusiasm and belief in the choir’s abilities being truly remarkable. A particular feature this year has been the continuing development of the Youth Choir, whose singing adds so much to our concerts. The young new recruits have come on in leaps and bounds. As Assistant MD, Sarah’s role is increasingly significant and she has grown into the job in a remarkable way.
The choir committee have been busy bees again. There’s always something to discuss but things invariably hot up when a concert approaches. We’re grateful for the help of other choir members who volunteer for jobs, particularly on the day itself. The committee’s members are:
Julian Wells Musical Director
Paul Bullough Chairman
Tina Gallagher Secretary
Roger Blackwell Treasurer
Hilary Bird Website
Roger has decided to step down as Treasurer but we’re delighted that he is willing to continue on the committee. He has done a great job in keeping the choir’s finances on track and deserves an enormous vote of thanks. After 4 happy years as Chairman, I will return to the back benches and pass the baton to the next incumbent, whoever that may turn out to be.
As, for practical reasons, we agreed a maximum of 8 committee members, this means that there are two vacancies. Tina asked for volunteers by Friday 28 September and we hope that the slots will be filled. An injection of new blood and new ideas is always beneficial to the well-being of the choir.
Tina has emailed with details of past charities but here’s a reminder:
In 2014-15 our charities were Hospice in the Weald, Kent Air Ambulance and the Quarry Centre.
In 2015-16 Cardiomyopathy UK, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Macmillan Nurses
and also the Kilndown defibrillator fund
In 2016-17 Hospice in the Weald, Kent Kindness and Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice
In 2017-18 Breast Cancer Now, Motor Neurone Disease Association and RNLI
At the AGM the choir’s choice of charities for 2018-19 will be revealed, following our unique pennies in the cups voting procedure. This year we are putting the emphasis on local charities, as was always the aim.
We were delighted to make another really significant donation to the LAM Foundation, set up to conduct research into lymphangioleiomyomatosis, a rare lung disease.
The precise figures for this years’s donations will be provided by Roger in his Treasurer’s Report.
And in conclusion
2018-19 promises to be another enjoyable year, our first big date being the Remembrance concert on Sunday 11 November, followed the Christmas Concert on Saturday 8 December. In Spring we hope to do a joint concert with Horsmonden choir. A summer concert is now a Kilndown fixture but its precise nature not yet discussed. Ideas on a postcard please!
Musical Director's Report
Firstly I'd like to reiterate Paul's comment that 2017-18 has been another fantastic year for the choir. We've had some wonderful events, numbers have remained really healthy, and we've had a few new members who seem to be enjoying what the choir is all about. Clearly the Committee, Sarah and myself do put a lot of our time into running the choir, but what makes it such a success is the enthusiasm and commitment of all of the members. The underpinnings of the choir are your hard work, friendships, good sense of humour and enthusiasm for whatever challenges Sarah and I throw at you!
What's particularly rewarding for Sarah and I is how the choir's capabilities have developed over the past year - we are throwing harder music at you which we might have avoided in the past and the Choir is learning it quickly and producing a really wonderful sound - so very well done! It's good for us that Kerne now has more availability as unfortunately the Detling Singers has folded so we should be seeing him at every other rehearsal which is a great help.
Particular musical highlights from the year for me include:
Rutter 'For The Beauty of The Earth' particularly the sopranos' ability to get to grips with the tricky descants
'Can You Hear Me' - Sarah really had to convince me on that one and in the end it was absolutely amazing!
'Summer Nights' if only to see the audience reaction!
'Thank You For The Music' the enthusiasm of the audience particularly a cool young 20 something lad who was singing with gusto!
Paul has mentioned the Youth Choir but I just wanted to say how delighted I am with their progress this year. The confidence of the younger members has grown enormously and I was delighted that they were all happy to sing solos at the summer concert and are fighting over solos for the Christmas concert! Their parents have also commented that it has increased their confidence to perform in school concerts and other events, which is really rewarding. I'm so pleased that the older members are still coming along as it's only a matter of time before other commitments will inevitably cause them to drift apart. They are very talented young people and I absolutely love singing with them in close harmony. We are working on a couple of lovely pieces for the Christmas concert which really show their talents.
The year has also has its moments of sadness, with the loss of two choir members, Sue Smith and Sue Crookall. Both are greatly missed and I'm pleased that some of the choir were able to sing at their memorial services, which I know was greatly appreciated by their families.
I'm really looking forward to our events for 2018 / 19 and as always I'm keen that they will include a very varying range of material. I'm also keen as in previous years to keep shaking up the format. It's really important to me that we don't just do the same thing year in, year out. Our Remembrance concert will be quite different again and Chris Roome is writing some words which will link the songs together and give them more context. I'm sure it will be a very reflective event and hopefully we will raise some money for the British Legion at the same time.
As well as our Christmas and Summer concerts, we will also be having another go at a joint singing day with Horsmonden Choir on 23rd March - hopefully snow will not get in the way this year!
A few thank you's from me to conclude with. Firstly to Sarah who's confidence as a conductor has grown enormously in the past year. I really value having someone to share the conducting and musical choice with - we have slightly different tastes so it's really good that we challenge each other!
Thanks also to Paul for being the most amazing chairman, really since the choir started. We will really miss having him at the helm and quietly steering us in the right direction!
Thanks also to Roger for keeping our finances in check. I'm delighted he is staying on the committee and thanks to Hilary for taking over as treasurer in addition to keeping her role as librarian.
Thanks to the other committee members - Mo and Richard for all of their hard work, and particularly to Tina who must put in almost as many hours as I do each week keeping the choir running.
And finally, thanks to all of you for another incredible donation to LAM Action. Their amazing work in the last few years now means that the prognosis for women like Bridget who have the disease is so much more positive than it was when she was diagnosed back in 2002. I know they are grateful for every penny they receive.