Nottingham Symphonic Winds, site logo.

AGM 2012

Nottingham Symphonic Winds
Annual General Meeting 2012
Sunday 1st July 2012 12:00 noon
Chair: Nicola Pennill
Secretary: Margaret Frogson
Treasurer: David Wesker
NSWO rep: Mel Barrett
NWE rep: Simon Hopper
12:00 start
Welcome and highlights of the year
Financial summary
Officers retiring/elected

Reports and summary of the year:

Committee Reports
Financial Summaries for last year 2010-11

Committee Reports:

Chairman’s Report 2011-12


It has been my privilege once more to be chairman of NSW in this past year, in which we have seen many exciting events and musical activities.  This is a summary of some of the highlights of the past twelve months.




Both groups have performed at a number of venues across the region:


Nottingham Symphonic

Wind Orchestra

Nottingham Wind




29th November: Thoresby Riding Hall

3rd December: West Bridgford, Christmas Concert

17th December: Kidsophonic




26 November People’s Church, Bestwood

17th December: Kidsophonic




17th March: St Margaret’s, Aspley

18th April: Danse Macabre Djanogly RH

24th June: Bramcote Summer Prom

16 July:  Djanogly Recital Hall, Season Finale




24th March St John’s, Beeston

12th May: St Paul’s Daybrook

23rd June, Beeston Fete

30 June: South Normanton



As always, the concerts helped to raise funds both for NSW and for nominated charities. The ‘Fairytale Christmas’ Kidsophonic double bill was a good fundraiser for the group this year, now that the two performers are established in the diary it will be repeated in 2012.


For the details of this and other fundraising efforts, see the Treasurer’s Report.

Residential Workshop


There was a joint residential workshop in October which despite lack of external funding we were able to go ahead with.  This was run as a joint venture with the two groups making use of the tutor team.  Whilst this spread the resources a little thinner it made the event viable and musically and socially there were significant benefits. There was also some useful feedback which will enable us to build on the success of the event and consider for the future.


Member survey


The member survey was a substantial exercise in generating comments, feedback and ideas.  Thanks to Mel and Simon for their hard work in gathering and collating the information.  It confirmed that NSW has a great deal to offer its members, but that we can’t afford to stay still but need to continue developing in response to the needs of the organisation and its members.


Overall, there were many positive comments from members of both groups, highlighting the appreciation of the camaraderie of being in the groups, the shared musical experience with other players of a similar standard and musical development.


The specific points are being addressed by the planning teams and the committee, and a number of these have already been actioned, with a continuing programme of review and improvement in place via the planning teams and committee.

Charitable Status

Possibly the most significant change in the management of NSW has come about in our adoption of charitable status.  Whilst this may not have much immediate impact on the musical experience of members at rehearsals and concerts, it has the potential to transform the way that our financial future will unfold.  Not only are we now better placed to raise funds for good causes; but we are also able to use our resources more effectively, for example by the Gift Aid on subscriptions, and more favourable banking arrangements.  We need to ensure our constitution and ways of managing reflect this new status.  As committee members we are now charity trustees and as such take the responsibility seriously on behalf of you as members.

Promotion and publicity


Like any group we rely on our audiences for support and it is increasingly challenging to get our concert information noticed, so any means available to us to get the information out there is potentially of value.


The web site is still getting a huge number of visitors.  In the period between July 2011 and the end of June 2012 it had received 160,000 hits/23,000 visits.  It is an increasingly important part of our communication with our audiences and for our members. 


NSWO also has an active Twitter account that you can view via the web site or follow on, with more than 420 followers, including such organisations as the National Youth Orchestra, Moscow Conservatory, USAF Academy band, BASBWE, Making Music, BBC Radio 3, LSO and many other groups and individuals.  We also have a number of videos on YouTube.  There is also Facebook page for NSW, which you can ‘like’ in order to follow news and activity, and post links or comments.  It is intended as a promotional tool for the group, but is of potential interest to members.  We have also set up a new system of communicating by text in case of emergency e.g. bad weather.  This has not yet been required!



Plans are well progressed for the 2012 tour to Tuscany.


Twenty Five Years

An exciting milestone on the horizon is the 25 year celebration in November.  As well the concert on 17th November, there will also be a party to which everyone is invited, and we really hope will be well supported.  We’d love your amusing or poignant photos or other memorabilia so start hunting those out for the autumn.


We are of course looking forward as well as back – who knows what the next twenty five years will bring!


Nicola Pennill


Treasurer’s Report 2011-12


It has been my privilege to serve as your treasurer for this season.  This report will provide you with a highlight of the year from a financial perspective.


My focus this season has been on enhancing our income, through gift aid and changes in banking arrangements, to help keep subscriptions from increasing. A key part of this involved us registering the group as a charity with the Charity Commission. Although we have always considered ourselves a charity and acted as one, we have not had official recognition of that, which did make it harder to demonstrate our status. Therefore it was important to put the official registration with the Charity Commission in place before looking to claim gift aid or move bank accounts.


Consequently, at the end of last year we applied to the Charity Commission to become a registered charity. As you will be aware, the Charity Commission required us to make changes to our constitution, so a new constitution was drawn up by the Committee (based on a proforma provided by Making Music) which was adopted by the group on 19 February 2012. This enabled the Charity Commission to approve and register our charity status on 28 March 2012 (our registration number is 1146640). The committee members are the charity trustees.


The group is now also approved as a charity by HM Revenue and Customs, so we should be able to make gift aid claims in respect of the subscriptions paid by members. If you have not yet signed a gift aid declaration, and wish to do so, please ask me or Margaret for one (you need to be a UK taxpayer to make a declaration). Gift aid has the potential to be valuable to the group, as we should be able to claim 25% of the amount of subscriptions paid by those who have signed a declaration. I expect that this should give us additional income of some £3,000 a year. I will keep you informed of the status of our claims once they have been submitted.


Over the past couple of seasons, I have become concerned that our savings accounts were not providing an adequate return on our funds. Consequently, we have now changed accounts (although our main current account remains unchanged). This has enabled us to obtain higher rates of interest – we now have some funds in a three year fixed bond attracting an interest rate of 3.5% and some funds in a five year fixed bond with an interest rate of 4%.


As I described last year, the group remains in a healthy financial position, with a sustainable balance between the level of subscriptions income compared to our cost base (although this continues to increase). Accordingly, again there will be no increase in subscriptions next year.


While I am on the subject of subscriptions, I would like to thank you all for your co-operation this year in ensuring that subs were either paid in full up front or paid by bankers orders. This has helped us enormously with administration. As a gentle reminder, can I ask that if you do make payments electronically from your own bank account (for example using online banking) you complete the relevant form in the members’ area on the website. This helps us to keep track of the payments that have been made. Finally on this subject, we have decided that (unless you are a new member joining during the year), we will not be accepting monthly payment of subscriptions by cash.


2011-2012 Season


For the 2011-2012 season, I am expecting that we will be in a break even position prior to taking into account the tour. However, the deficit on the tour will be in the region of £5,000. This will be predominately due to expenses in relation to the tour that are not covered by payments from members, such as Keiron’s costs, the provision and travel expenses of the van, and the additional rehearsal costs. There are also likely to be some costs in relation to people pulling out, which is unfortunate. These factors will be taken into account when deciding whether to run future tours – financially the risk is increasing and may reach a point where it is no longer viable.




Once again, we have had lots of successful concerts this year. These concerts included the increasingly popular Kidsophonic concert, and this year was the second time that it was put on twice. This time, it confirmed that the decision to hold two concerts is the right one, as ticket sales were 37% higher than in the previous season, resulting in net income for the group of £1,622 (compared to £549 in 2010). This will continue to be a very important concert for us so thank you all for your efforts in publicising and selling tickets.


The NSWO Thoresby, St Giles and April Djanogly concerts were all a success this year and between them raised over £1,000 for the group. I am sure that the July Djanogly concert will be just as successful.


We have again helped raise a significant amount for charities during the year; NSWO helped to raise over £2,000 for the Nottingham Cardiac Support Group and St Margaret's Church, while NWE have continued their valuable role helping to raise funds for other local groups and organisations, including Beeston and Daybrook churches and over £600 in aid of Milo Children in Africa.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank Windblowers for their continued sponsorship, which includes free use of the van and other administrative assistance.


David Wesker


NSWO Representative Report 2011-12


I have found this first year in the role very interesting and have enjoyed experiencing the “other side” of being a member of the group. There is a lot of hard work undertaken by the committee and planning team to ensure that NSW continues to go from strength to strength.


I hope that I have successfully represented those of you who have come to me with points to be raised at the meetings over the last year. I’d like to thank the members who took time to complete the questionnaire last autumn.

We have considered every comment made and some of the most frequently occurring themes have already led to changes (length of break / setting up rota). We will soon have a better means of communicating last minute changes (e.g. snow) via group texting and our Facebook page has also gone live.


As I have previously shared, the feedback about rehearsals / concerts and music has been generally very positive. We continue to search for new concert venues, and the repeat booking at Thoresby Hall suggests we may have another regular to add to the list.


The residential weekend in October also received a lot of positive feedback, although we appreciate that it was a different experience to the previous one. Many members commented that there was a need for greater frequency of sectional rehearsal time. We have organised a sectional rehearsal day (for NSW and NWE) in place of the traditional rehearsal on Sunday 14th October 2012 (10am – 4pm) and are currently booking tutors to facilitate this. This will hopefully contribute to our preparations for the 25th anniversary concert, but also allow us to explore some different repertoire.


The feedback about social events (not relating to tour / residential weekend or social element of rehearsals) was very mixed and you may have noticed that there hasn’t been a social for a while. It is difficult to cater for individual preferences around time / location / cost. However, we do hope that as many of you and your families will be able to attend the event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the group on the 10th November 2012 at the West Bridgford Pavilion (further details to follow on the website). Our treasurer has agreed to pay for everyone’s food, so make the most of it!  I am disappointed not to be joining the tour to Italy but I’m sure it will be fantastic. There is traditionally a social event over the summer holidays prior to rehearsals starting in September and I will help to organise this – details to follow on the website.


The detailed feedback relating to the residential weekend, rehearsals, concerts and tour is still being considered and incorporated into the longer term plans for the group.  I wish you all a good summer and look forward to representing you for another year.


Mel Barrett

NSWO Representative


NWE Representative Report 2011-12


Looking back over my two year stint as NWE rep I sometimes think that my contribution has been minimal.  We rely on the help of NWE members for so many things, from ‘moving & shifting’ to organising social events (as I write the ‘Gurka Kitchen’ has yet to happen), to handing out & collecting in music during rehearsals. Thank you for that help.


We have had a number of new players again this year, so again there have been less ‘oh my gosh, I’ve never heard that before’ moments in our concerts! I am pleased that we are gaining new members from both the younger players, who are our future, and from the more experienced end.

Thanks also to our extra players who help out for concerts.


Looking at the music played this year we have played at concerts 22 pieces, with 13 being repeats. This is less new music than last year, but our restricted rehearsal time has contributed to this. The new music included ‘Windows of the world’, ‘Gallimaufry’, ‘Dance of the Tumblers’ and ‘Morricone’, and even the repeats included ‘Magnificent 7’, ‘Cry of the Celts’ and ‘When the Spirit Soars’ so no mean programme.  More suggestions for music are coming from us - keep them coming.


It has to be admitted that due to various causes some of our concerts have not had the rehearsal times we would have liked, so risking frayed nerves at some concerts, and more sticky moments than is comfortable. I think that we can use those memories as a spur for improvement and greater consistency.


Away from the music, the joint opinion survey highlighted some issues, some common to both groups some specific to us. Some of these can not be fixed immediately, but have been recognised by the committee, and I hope my successor can continue to address improvements as opportunities arise. As a forward notice of one such response, please reserve the 14th Oct. 2012 as a proposed day of sectional workshops, based in Nottingham.


Also of course don’t forget the 25th birthday social evening 10th November 2012 in West Bridgford.


Thanks to you all for my tenure and I trust we will continue to improve and develop.


Simon Hopper

NWE Representative



Player Vacancies
If you are a woodwind, brass or percussion player we are always interested to hear from you.
NSWO - We are currently looking for  Percussion.
NWE - We are currently looking for players in all sections for the new term.
Phone Margaret on 0115 9410543