Wednesday 28th October 2020 by Zoom video call
Present: Helen Anderson, Jim Beattie, Ann Boyle, Margaret Bremner, Roy Bremner, Jean Fletcher, Wilma Geddes, Alistair Massey, Bryn Morley, Sylvia Munro, Mike Radcliffe, Denys Wheatley, plus one other unidentified person
- Welcome and Apologies: Apologies were received from Ian Clark, John Hearne, Nora Radcliffe and Jay Turner. Sylvia welcomed all present to the meeting.
- Minutes of Last Meeting:
The minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 28th September 2019 were reviewed. A question was raised about the validity of the minutes as the ‘draft’ annotation was present only on the second page. This was not thought to be significant and approval was given by those present with no amendments.
- Matters Arising: No matters arising were raised.
- Treasurer’s Report:
Margaret read the Treasurer’s Report prepared by Ian Clark. The accounts summary and receipts/expenditure spreadsheets for the year ending 30th June 2020 were displayed on screen and are copied below/attached.
Treasurer’s Report July 1st 2019 – June 30th 2020
This year was interrupted by the restrictions occasioned by the Covid 19 pandemic. Financial activity in the year effectively ended on March 20th. By this time we had put on six concerts with three more scheduled. These last three were cancelled without any adverse financial implications. A fully subscribed workshop/masterclass, including subsidised individual lessons scheduled for April was also cancelled with the tutors wishing to return next year to enable the workshop to go ahead. We offered the musicians £200 as a gesture of goodwill because they were unable to come to this or to give their concert but they suggested we put this sum towards next year’s workshop.
We began the year with a balance of £7391.24 and ended with £6696.61. Had the three cancelled concerts taken place then this latter figure may have dropped but it is difficult to say what the outcome would have been. The extra “pop-up” concert in July 2019 by the Thistle Quartet was completed on a shared financial risk basis and broke even. Pop-up concerts on Sunday afternoons have become established at a frequency of at least one per year and generally are cost neutral or even make a small profit, £285 in the case of the January JKL Duo concert. This was shared with NESCGSoc as co-sponsors. A town centre venue is important for these concerts as walk-ins are routine; pop-ups are not part of the members’ subscription series.
The Solem Quartet concert made a significant loss of £1228, Duo Bizart £557, Tim Kliphuis £621, and Pure Brass £452. The Tim Kliphuis concert was very well supported with 114 in the audience. The workshop program made a profit of approximately £750 when grants to that amount are taken into account. I estimate that the workshop program for the full year would have broken-even without grants and therefore cross-subsidised the concert program. The Board is advised that concerts estimated to generate an operating loss of more than £1000 should be reviewed as to their viability and degree of financial risk to the organisation.
No category of expenditure showed significant variation apart from the increase in workshop income associated with increased activity although costs have generally crept up in most areas of expenditure. The IM Scheme Awards for this first year of operation were not covered by hypothecated income. Care will be needed in future years to match the award to what can reasonably be raised during each year. Should larger general grants be received then some unrestricted funds might be applied to the Scheme. CMS grant income cannot be thus used. Although the financial position has not changed much from year to year it should be noted that grant income is not predictable and needs to be pursued vigorously to prevent the deficits building up. The Foyle grant of £2500 was received in 2017/18 and £1000 used in that year. The remaining £1500 was spread over three years so a £500 annual subsidy for publicity expenditure will disappear after this next year.
Ticket prices were kept low at £10 (general adult) as we abandoned a concessionary rate. The plan is to increase this price to £12 at some point. The written ledger was superceded this year by an Excel spreadsheet system. Full access to internet/online banking has been achieved simplifying the detailed recording and scrutiny of payment and receipt transactions. Eventbrite on line ticketing is now accounting for approximately 20% of sales.
The completed accounts have been approved by the external scrutineer.
Alistair said that, when Ian took over as treasurer, he had advised him to keep a handwritten ledger in addition to computer based records as computer systems can fail and the handwritten version would provide a back-up. Handwritten accounts are also useful for the archive. Denys indicated that bank statements can be used as a back-up but Alistair said he had had experience of banks being wrong.
Jim asked about the cost of venues, which is the cheapest, and how the venues for concerts are chosen. Margaret said that St Mary’s Church asks for a donation, the Acorn Centre charges a fixed fee plus a percentage of ticket sales, and Kemnay Church Centre has a fixed fee which varies depending which hall at the centre is hired. Inverurie Town Hall is probably the most expensive venue. The choice of venue can depend on whether a piano is needed. Alistair said hiring a piano would cost £350 from Gordon Bell in Aberdeen. Denys mentioned that Leggat House was the cheapest venue last year.
- Chairperson’s Report:
Sylvia presented the Chairperson’s Report which is copied below. This was summarised at the meeting due to Zoom time constraints.
During the IM Season 2019-20, nine concerts were scheduled: six of these comprised the 2019-20 subscription series, with three additional concerts planned. The two final concerts in the subscription series unfortunately had to be cancelled due to Lockdown: these were the flute/piano Maharaj Degavino Duo in March, and Lana Trotovsek and Maria Canyigueral (violin/piano) in April. Lana and Maria immediately expressed a wish to return in 2021 to the “…wonderful IM audience…..”.
The subscription series opened in Sept with the outstanding Solem String Quartet; followed in Oct by the highly entertaining Duo Bizart (a Belgian piano four hands duo); and in Nov by the highly regarded Tim Kliphuis Trio. The latter, jazz/classical ensemble have a large fanbase and attracted our biggest audience of the season. Our Feb recital was given by the quintet Pure Brass who played a varied programme and kept us hugely entertained with their Glasgow patter. Although his trumpet broke quite early in the programme, the first trumpeter managed to glory on like a true professional, so that we weren’t aware of this until the interval. An audience member rushed home to collect a trumpet for him which he used during the second half.
Additional concerts – on a Sunday afternoon in July 2019, we invited the Thistle Quartet to make their debut performance for IM at one of our popular pop-up events. The Thistle Quartet comprising four professional string players from across the world who came together at the El Sistema project, the Big Noise in Torry. In Jan 2020, the JKL Duo (flute/guitar) performed for us at another Sun afternoon pop-up event: this was in conjunction with the classical guitar society NESCGS. In Jan also the visiting Canadian international pianist Sandra Mogensen offered to give a fund-raising recital for the IM Award Scheme. This entirely serendipitous opportunity was delivered as a House Recital, with Jean and Denys acting as hosts. IM is extremely grateful to all who made this possible and who attended the recital.
Music education forms a large part of the aims of IM and our workshop programme during 2019-20 was our most ambitious yet. Whilst all trustees have some involvement in this, I must thank Ian Clark in particular, who extended the provision to include not simply schools’ workshops but workshops for local orchestral players, and for traditional musicians.
The 2019 IM Awards saw thirteen young musicians from the four Don-side academies receiving awards, and approximately £2000 was disbursed. My thanks go to Margaret Bremner and Alistair Massey who helped devise and set up the scheme and to all those who have generously donated to the fund, thus helping encourage young people to develop their skills and their enjoyment in music-making. Anecdotally we have heard how delighted some of these young people are to have been recipients of the award.
The IM website continued to be developed during the season and I would urge everyone to visit it to see the wealth of information there – it was established by Margaret and thanks to her it is meticulously updated.
Our thanks to Ian Clark and to Alistair Massey who are stepping down from the IM Board. Ian hopes to re-join us next season – he has done a tremendous job, both as Treasurer and in extending our Education programme. Alistair was instrumental in IM achieving charitable status and has in past taken on the Treasurer’s role. He has expressed a willingness to continue as archivist for IM.
To summarise, the 2019 -20 Season was potentially our most successful season yet, even with Lockdown. We intend to do our utmost to deliver for you as much of the planned 2020-21 IM Season as we can, via either virtual or live events. We are very aware of how important the role of music is in enriching our lives and in enhancing our emotional wellbeing.
- Membership Subscriptions:
Wilma outlined ticket and subscription prices for this season – £12 for a standard single ticket, £1 for a student/child single ticket, £20 for a standard season ticket/membership, and £4 for a student/child season ticket. The cost of subscriptions was difficult to set because of the uncertainty about how many concerts can be run with coronavirus restrictions still in place. The cost has been set with the idea that three concerts may be possible. If more are available, members may want to supplement their subscription with a donation. These prices were agreed by those present.
All Board members stood down and Sylvia Munro, Margaret Bremner and Wilma Geddes indicated their willingness to stand for re-election. Mike seconded the proposal that all be re-elected and this was agreed by general consent. Denys Wheatley had expressed an interest in joining the board and was nominated by Sylvia. Wilma seconded this and Denys was elected unopposed.
- Close of Meeting:
Sylvia thanked all for attending and declared the meeting closed just before the time allocated by Zoom expired.