We were all deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death on 10 April of Ernest Rogers who, over the past 5 years, had become a much loved member of the branch. He had attended his last meeting only a fortnight before his death. £25 was collected in aid of the British Heart Foundation in Ernest’s memory. We were also saddened to hear of the deaths of Denis O’Riordan, husband of the late Joyce O’Riordan, at the age of 90, on 12 April, and of Ella Murphy, in her 94th year, on 28 April. Ella was a founder member of the Edinburgh Branch and was elected Secretary at its first meeting on 5 February 1957 at 13 Eglinton Crescent, Edinburgh. She continued to serve on the committee, first as Secretary and then as Chairman, until 1981. In 1986, in honour of her 80th birthday, she was made an honorary life member of the branch. Sadly, due to failing health, she was unable to attend meetings during her final years, but she is still remembered with affection by many members past and present of the Edinburgh Branch. The Branch was represented at all three funerals.
The Branch had 40 members, the same number as the previous season (7 new members, 7 non-renewals). We met on 34 Monday evenings from September to June for combined playing. One-to-a-part groups met on alternate evenings.
On Saturday 2 October a small group played at the Early Music Forum of Scotland’s Museum Day at the Burrell Collection in Glasgow.
On 18 October we welcomed Eileen Silcocks as guest conductor at one of our regular Monday evening meetings.
Our Christmas Evening was on 6 December when we played to an audience of family and friends in Augustine Church. We were joined by members of the Edinburgh Community Education Evening Class conducted by Margaret Hall. The collection of £103.50 was divided equally between the Edinburgh University Settlement and CCLASP.
Small groups from the branch played Christmas carols at Princes Mall, Princes Street as part of Oxfam’s Christmas Carol Collections on Saturday 4 December and during the evening service at St. George’s West Church on Sunday 20 February.
The Branch’s Special Playing Day was on Saturday 19 February when the visiting conductor was Mary Tyers, Musical Director of the Durham Branch. We welcomed many visitors from the other Scottish branches. The money collected during the buffet tea, which came to £57.20, was sent to the Walter Bergmann Fund.
We welcomed as guest conductors Margaret Hall on 21 February, Hugh McDonald on 6 March and Sandy Howie on 3 April.
This year members attended a Playing Day on 16 October in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Newcastle Branch. Members also attended Special Playing Days in Glasgow (18 March), Hawick (14 May) and Newcastle (27 May).
The National Recorder Festival took place on 29 and 30 April at Deben High School, Felixestowe. Jim Carey was among the conductors. He conducted his composition Pets and his arrangement of On the Quarterdeck. On 30 April, Eileen Finlayson attended the Society’s Annual Conference as the Edinburgh Branch’s delegate. The meeting was chaired by Andrew Short. The deaths were reported of La Noue Davenport (Vice-President) and Dick Coles (Musical Adviser) and also of George Moscrop, Carlisle. Silvia Davies (Bristol Branch) and Margaret Shearing (Manchester Branch) were elected to serve on the Committee for three years, replacing Hilary Oliver (West Riding Branch) and Jim Rowley (Birmingham Branch). Eileen Silcocks was elected to serve for three years as Musical Adviser on the Committee (replacing Theo Wyatt). One new branch (Isle of Man) was ratified. The Milton Keynes Branch has been re-formed and will be officially recognised as a branch from the next financial year. Membership stood at 1632, 4 fewer than the previous year. However this figure does not include the new Isle of Man Branch which has 16 members (3 of whom have transferred from other branches). The Society made a surplus of £2,899 for the year and the Central Fund stood at £20,363. There was no increase in the Central Subscription. The Walter Bergmann Fund made a surplus of £12,671 and the Fund’s reserves stood at £28,851. Individual grants totalled £2,665 and a £600 prize was given to the Yamaha-Erta ensemble competition. The Society proposes to run Conducting Workshops it there is sufficient demand. Information will be sent to branches. Future Festivals will be as follows: 21/22 April 2001, Bristol; 6/7 April 2002, Guildford.
Our Summer Evening was on 12 June, when we played in Augustine Church to an audience of family and friends. The collection of £70.34 was sent to Family Care.
The Scottish National Recorder Festival was at Alva on Saturday 17 June and was organised the Glasgow Branch. The conductors included Jim Carey, who conducted a piece which he had composed for the Festival, Prelude on Psalm Tune ‘Glasgow’ and his arrangement of On the Quarterdeck and Margaret Hall who conducted her Scottish Dance Suite. The principal guest conductor was Eileen Silcocks.
As always we must thank our Musical Director James Carey and Assistant Conductor Henriette Bos for making our weekly meetings so enjoyable and successful. E. Finlayson September 2000