Chairman’s Report 2020/2021
The past year. We only recently were able to begin holding live concerts again, more than a year after our last pre-Covid event in March, 2020. A few months earlier, however, we began presenting online events together with the Hay Music Trust and other music organisations, experimenting with offering pre-recorded music while providing live access to the musicians via a Q&A zoom. We then began short, back-to-back one-hour concerts with socially distanced seating in June and are finally beginning full length concerts again. This has of course had an impact on our finances, which saw a drop in income but a corresponding drop in expenses, leaving us still in the black.
WVM in Schools. Despite the pandemic induced pause to our work in Schools, we were able to pick up again quickly in May this year, with concert pianist Clare Hammond visiting 3 schools in the Forest of Dean. This continues in November with workshops by classical music duo Travelling by Tuba in a further 5 schools. We’re very grateful to the Lark Trust, which provided a generous £3,500 to allow us to continue our work in this area. We’re also excited to be helping to establish choirs in several local schools, using local pianist Olivia Dance, who will also be working with our newest outreach programme.
WVM in Mind. This was planned during lockdown, financing secured in the early months of the year and launched in July. We are very lucky to have three energetic and talented individuals who formed a WVM sub-committee to organise and run it: Alice Hogge, with a longtime background in the arts, Joanna Bradley, a former registered nurse, and Dr Melanie Mckintosh, a retired GP with experience in working with people with dementia. They have already held a series of interactive music sessions with a Chepstow Care Home and will launch a Music Memory Café in St Briavels. To date, they have raised a total of £5,763, including a generous contribution from the St Briavels Parish Council and a local charitable fund.
These programmes are a critical way to continue to do what WVM has done since its inception—to bring classical chamber music to a broad audience while providing opportunities for musicians—particularly young ones—to perform in public. We believe that these two programmes do just that and are really pleased we could use the year in lockdown to expand what we do in this area. Working with the very young as well as with the elderly (and in some cases not so elderly) with dementia, using music also expands our reach into our local community.
Plans for 2020/2021. We have an exciting programme of concerts ahead booked through June 2022. We are also committed to finding financing each of our outreach programmes, which must be financially self-sustaining and cannot and do not depend on WVM for funding. If any of you are interested in donating to these projects or have any ideas about where we should be looking for financing, please do let us know.
Committee membership. This is unchanged from last year. We have, however, established a new sub-committee dealing with our new outreach programme Wye Valley Music in Mind as I just mentioned. Alice Hogge will join the Committee proper to represent it.
Thank you. Finally, I’d like to thank all the members of the committee for their generous help and support over the past year. They all have other calls on their time and I appreciate very much the amount they and their significant others devote to running Wye Valley Music.
17th October 2021