SWEMF Chair’s report 2019 – as delivered at the AGM in July

2018-19 has been another successful year for SWEMF, with a number of innovations in addition to our more standard workshops. As the list on your agenda shows, we organised nine workshops in total over the course of the year, spread across our region from Gloucester to Devon (a lovely new venue in Culmstock discovered by Val Hind, which I hope we’ll be using again in the future). Particularly noteworthy is our sponsorship of Emma Hornby’s Chant workshop as part of the first (and very successful) Bristol Early Music Festival – this attracted nearly 50 participants, and was very much enjoyed. Tutors were a mix of popular favourites such as David Allinson, Peter Syrus and Tim Bayley, and new faces recommended by members – do let us know if you come across a conductor who you believe would make a good workshop tutor.

Although the list of future events looks rather short at the moment, there are a number of others in the pipeline. We are still hoping to organise a Baroque Orchestra day with Michael Williamson, so if anyone would like to suggest a venue and act as organiser for that, we’d be delighted. Being a workshop organiser is not an onerous role – there is lots of support, and excellent guidelines on the website. If you’re thinking of offering to help in this way, don’t be afraid to put your head above the parapet! There is also a rather exciting event being planned as part of the next Bristol Early Music Festival – I can’t say more at the moment because planning is still in the early stages, but it’s something which will particularly please the blowers among our members!

Of course, none of this would be possible without the work put in by your committee, and by other members who help with the organisation of workshops. I am grateful to all committee members for their unfailing common sense and commitment to SWEMF, and in particular to Althea our secretary, Jonathan our treasurer, and Fenella our membership secretary, all of whom operate with exemplary efficiency to keep SWEMF running smoothly. Our web editor Sara unfortunately can’t be with us today, but you will all, I’m sure, appreciate the information she provides; I particularly welcome the introduction of the weekly updates on concerts and other events sent to us all by email. I will have more to say about Lindsey, our retiring Diary editor, under a later agenda item.

We have been fortunate in the past in having members come forward when needed to take on committee roles, and I hope this will continue to be the case. At present we are without a Wiltshire rep, and no-one has yet volunteered to take over editing the Diary; we will therefore be discussing the future of the Diary under item 9 on the agenda.

Finally, I would like to thank all our members for their support of SWEMF – it’s your organisation, so please continue to support it, to recruit new members and encourage non-members to come along to workshops, so that we can look forward confidently to a future of excellent music-making.

– Clare Griffel (SWEMF Chair)