The Branch had 38 members, 2 fewer than the previous season (4 new members, 1 returned member and 7 non-renewals). We met on 37 Monday evenings from September to June for combined playing. One-to-a-part groups met on alternate evenings. We were saddened to learn of the death in November 2003 of Douglas Haston, Musical Director of the Aberdeen Branch. Our Christmas Evening was on Monday 15 December when we played to an audience of family and friends in Augustine United Church. We were joined by members of the Edinburgh Community Education Evening Class conducted by Margaret Hall. The collection of £147.50 was sent to the British Heart Foundation. On Saturday 28 February the Branch hosted an Intermediate Conducting Workshop tutored by Moira Usher. On Saturday 13 March we welcomed Pamela Flanagan as our visiting conductor. We had an enjoyable afternoon’s playing with our visitors from other branches. The collection of £63.50 was sent to the SRP Walter Bergmann Fund. We welcomed, as guest conductors, Sandy Howie on 19 January, Margaret Hall on 1 March and Kenneth Clarke on 29 March.
The National Recorder Festival took place on 17 and 18 April at St Swithun’s School, Winchester. On 18 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 recorded of Douglas Haston, Hector Harvey, member of the Glasgow Branch, and David Kinsell, a Country and Overseas member. Alyson Lewin stood down in rotation as Musical Adviser on the Committee and was replaced by Helen Hooker. Sandra Foxall (Cleveland) and Margaret Shearing (Manchester) replaced David Beare (Cumbria) and Hilary Oliver (West Riding) on the Committee. Membership is up with 19 branches having gains totalling 42 members, 17 branches reporting losses totalling 65 members, while 12 were unchanged in numbers. This year’s membership included the 67 members of the National Recorder Youth Orchestra (NYR0). The net increase in membership was therefore 44. The provisional accounts for the year ended 31 August 2003 indicated a surplus of £2,592 and the Society’s reserves stood at £27,524 at 31 August 2003. No increase in the Central Subscription was recommended. The SRP Walter Bergmann Fund showed a surplus of £3,425 and the Fund’s reserves stood at £43,216. Individual grants totalled £4,136 and £62 was spent on CDs as prizes for the ERTA Ensemble Competition. The net cost of the SRP Walter Bergmann Fund Centenary Concert was £255. The Moeck/SRP Competition may become an international competition again, having been open to UK residents only the last time it was held. The death of Douglas Haston has halted the development of the listing of Branch Music Libraries on the SRP website. Ashley Allerton intends to take over the database. Fifty applications had been received to play in NYRO – down on last year. Costs have risen to £375 per student, as the orchestra did not receive a grant this year. It was suggested that money from the Arthur Ingram fund could be used to buy large instruments for NYRO. At other times of the year these instruments could be lent to other recorder orchestras on condition that they are made available for the NYRO course. It was agreed that the Certificate of the Society of Recorder Players should be abolished and more emphasis put on training. Successful conducting courses have been held recently in Edinburgh and Bristol. More courses were proposed on conducting, analysing scores and arranging music for recorders. Moira Usher was nominated as ‘training secretary’. Future Festivals will be as follows: 23/24 April 2005 Essex Branch, 2006 Cumbria, 2007 York, 2008 – preliminary approaches have been made to hold a joint festival with the European Recorder Teachers’ Association and the Malvern Festival. Three rule changes were proposed by the committee with the effect of ceasing the post of Publicity Officer and creating the post of Project Manager, National Youth Recorder Orchestra. The rule changes were adopted and David Beare was elected NYRO Project Manager.
Members attended Special Playing Days in Glasgow (14 February) and Hawick (15 May). 7 members of the Branch played in the Scottish Recorder Orchestra. Our Summer Evening was on 14 June and included a performance, conducted by Henriette, of an arrangement for recorder orchestra of Ravel’s Bolero. £102 raised at the Summer Evening was sent to the Bethany Trust. This year it was the turn of the Edinburgh Branch to organise the Scottish Recorder Festival, previously held in Alva, Clackmannanshire. The Festival Committee consisted of Mabel Cooney (Secretary), Rosemary Byde (Treasurer), Eileen Finlayson (Chairperson) and Peter Wraith. Mayfield-Salisbury Church in Edinburgh was chosen as the venue and Saturday 19 June as the date. By the day of the Festival 90 bookings from all over Scotland and beyond had been received. At the opening session for all players, the principal guest conductor, Colin Touchin, conducted Manchester Welcome originally composed by him for the 2003 SRP Festival in Manchester. The players then divided into three sessions, Advanced, Upper Intermediate and Lower Intermediate taken by Colin Touchin, Mary Bonsor, Henriette Bos, Stuart Forrester, Sandra Foxall, Sandy Howie, Eileen Silcocks and Margaret Simpson. The music ranged in period from pieces from Renaissance Poland to Andrew Charlton’s Idyllwild Suite. An excellent buffet lunch was provided and the Early Music Shop brought a selection of recorders for sale. After tea the Scottish Recorder Orchestra gave its inaugural concert. Conducted by Eileen Silcocks, the orchestra played a Lawes Fantasia, the second movement ‘Mull’ from A Hebridean Journey composed for recorder orchestra by Edinburgh Branch member, Margery Gibb, Chaconne, Les Menuets and Air des Sauvages from Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes, arranged by Eileen Silcocks. For the final massed session Colin Touchin conducted Paul Clark’s arrangement of Scarborough Fair. The Festival was an outstanding success, both musically and financially and we are very grateful to all those who helped both beforehand and on the day. The profits go to the Central Fund of the Society of Recorder Players, but a proportion may in due course be returned to the Branch at the discretion of the Central Committee. On Saturday 26 June a group of nine players from the Branch played at the Early Music Forum of Scotland’s Performance Weekend in the Chapel Royal, Stirling Castle. We are very grateful to Henriette for conducting us with such enthusiasm and patience throughout the season. We must also thank Rosemary Byde, Rowen Fox Andrew Short and Peter Wraith, who conducted the Branch on several occasions last season in Henriette’s absence.