The Branch had 40 members, 4 more than the previous season (4 new members, 5 returned members and 5 non-renewals). We met on 35 Monday evenings from September to June for combined playing. One-to-a-part groups met on alternate evenings.
On Saturday 2 November we welcomed Eileen Silcocks as our visiting conductor. We had an enjoyable afternoon’s playing with our visitors from other branches. The collection of £54.20 was sent to the Walter Bergmann Fund.
The first meeting of the Scottish Recorder Orchestra took place in Stirling on 1 December and was attended by nine members of the Edinburgh Branch. The orchestra is conducted by Eileen Silocks and meetings in 2003-4 will take place on the second Sunday of every month except December, April, July and August at St Columba’s Church, Stirling.
Our Christmas Evening was on Monday 16 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 £169 was sent to Water Aid.
We welcomed, as guest conductors, Sandy Howie on 3 February and Margaret Hall on 3 March.
The National Recorder Festival took place on 26 and 27 April at William Hulme’s Grammar School, Manchester. On 27 April, Eileen Finlayson attended the Society’s Annual Conference as the Edinburgh Branch’s delegate. The meeting was chaired by Andrew Short. The Conference endorsed the Committee’s nomination of Graham Danbury as an honorary life member of the Society. All the officers were prepared to stand for re-election except Graham Danbury, who was replaced as chairman of the Walter Bergmann Fund by Andrew Collis. The Chairman and Officers (except Graham Danbury) were re-elected unopposed. Andrew Collis replaced Eileen Silcocks by rotation as Musical Adviser on the Committee. David Scruby (Manchester) and Ursula Burchette (Kent) replaced Sylvia Davies (Bristol) and Margaret Shearing (Manchester) on the Committee. Plymouth Branch was ratified as a new branch of the Society.
Membership remained stable with 14 branches having gains totalling 41 members, 28 branches reporting losses totalling 72 members, while eight were unchanged in numbers. The new branch at Plymouth had 32 members. The accounts for the year ended 31 August 2002 showed a deficit of £805.11 compared to a surplus of £103 for the previous year and the Society’s reserves stood at £22,474.56 at 31 August 2003. A deficit of £1,829 was predicted in the year to 31 August 2003. No increase in the Central Subscription was recommended. The Walter Bergmann Fund showed a deficit of £1,255 and the Fund’s reserves stood at £39,791.31. Individual grants totalled £5,573 and £600 was given to the SRP/Moeck competition for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th prizes.
Future Festivals will be as follows: 17/18 April 2004, St Swithun’s School, Winchester; 2005, East Berkshire have withdrawn their offer; 2006, Cumbria (date and venue to be advised).
Douglas Haston (Aberdeen) has created a database of four branch libraries (Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Manchester and Devon) on the website. More branch libraries are soon to be added. More conducting workshops are planned for this year. The SRP has become the first national music society to join “Making Music”, the National Foundation of Music Societies, for a subscription of £250. “Making Music” publishes about 50 leaflets on performing rights, instrument loans, etc. Branch secretaries have the access code to “Making Music’s” website. Helen Beare is preparing an information pack on the SRP for National Youth Recorder Orchestra candidates, which can be adapted for branch use. Colin Touchin proposed that there be a National Recorder Orchestra without limit of age.
Members attended Special Playing Days in Glasgow (16 November), Hawick (11 May) and Newcastle (19 July). The Scottish Recorder Festival was at Alva on Saturday 7 June and was organised the Roxburgh Branch. Following the cancellation of the 2002 Festival due to falling numbers, the venue was changed from Alva Academy to Alva Parish Church and Hall. Between 40 and 50 people attended and the event was adjudged a great success. The conductors included Margaret Hall who conducted her composition Razzamajazz.
Our Summer Evening was on 16 June and was conducted by Jim Carey and Henriette Bos. This was the last concert at which Jim will conduct, as after more than 25 years, 16 of those as Musical Director, failing eyesight has forced Jim to call it a day. As his contribution to the programme, Jim conducted the branch in the five-part Sonata by Schmelzer, a Canzona by Frescobaldi arranged by Dom Gregory Murray and his own arrangement of Two French Dances – “From Berry” and “From Brittany” – and, finally, a first for the branch, an encore – Singin’ in the Rain, in the arrangement by Philip Evry. During the interval Jim cut a cake bearing the inscription “Thank you Jim” and, indeed we at the Edinburgh Branch cannot thank him enough for all he has done for us over the years. We have been uniquely privileged to be the first to play Jim’s compositions and arrangements which have then gone on to be played by recorder groups all over the world. £193.70 raised at the Summer Evening was sent to Médecins Sans Frontières. On 23 June the branch hosted a dinner at the Braid Hills Hotel for Jim and his wife Jean, during which Jim was presented with a gold wristwatch and Jean received a large bouquet of flowers. Jim then passed the baton given to him by the widow of his predecessor, the late Eric Gillett, to Henriette Bos who will take over as Musical Director next season. The evening closed with music. First two solo pieces: Henriette Bos played variations by Van Eyck for descant recorder and Margery Gibb played her own composition for treble recorder Over the Braids and Far Away: then some of Jim’s music, played by consorts from the branch: arrangements of The Helston Furry Dance and The Blue-Tailed Fly, “The Tunnel of Love” from At the Fair, “Goldfish” from Pets, the dance suite Step Stately and finally the first piece Jim had published, and one of the best loved, Mock Baroque: a suite of 20th century dances. Click here to see the photographs taken at the Summer Evening and dinner, plus a more detailed report of both these events. We are delighted that Henriette has agreed to become our Musical Director and we look forward to the coming season under her direction. We must also thank Mina Brown, Margery Gibb, Andrew Short and Peter Wraith who conducted the branch on several occasions last season in Henriette’s absence.