Newsletter Winter 2023



Welcome to our Autumn Newsletter!
We are very much looking forward to our concert on December 9th – it looks set to be a lovely evening. Please tell all your friends so that we can attract a good audience and enjoy a great evening of music together.
In this edition we provide information about the concert day and week, to remind existing members and inform our new members. We also provide information and some ideas relating to the tasks undertaken by the committee, with which we think members could assist, and the upcoming vacancies which we need to fill.
Included is the usual plea to use Easyfundraising when shopping online, particularly with Christmas fast approaching, and a word about Gift Aid.
Best wishes,
The Committee

Just a reminder that the rehearsal on the Monday before the concert (Monday, December 4th) will take place in the Church as usual. At that rehearsal, Jean will be circulating labels noting the items required for the orchestra tea. Please take a label and bring your food donation to the Church to the concert day rehearsal, leaving it in the kitchen. Thank you.
Please note that we have reserved the Church for a Wednesday rehearsal that week, and Alex will confirm nearer the time whether or not this will be necessary
Dress Code – Women: black long skirt or dress trousers and a black top with long or three-quarter length sleeves. Janet will be supplying the sparkle for us! Men: black tie and dinner jacket please. As usual, please no aftershave/perfumes that are likely to aggravate allergies and affect singers’ voices.

Timetable – Please arrive at Church for the afternoon rehearsal between 2pm and 2:10pm, and be seated ready to sing at 2:15pm. If you are bringing food for the orchestra tea, please allow plenty of time to take this to the kitchen and then go out of the main door and into the choir area via the vestry. We will warm up and sing the unaccompanied piece (and anything else that needs work) before the orchestra arrives at 2:30pm. There will be a 20 minute break for the orchestra during the afternoon, and Alex hopes to discharge the choir at 5pm. Please leave the Church quickly and quietly, because Alex will be continuing to work with the soloists and orchestra after we are finished.

Access to and moving around the Church- please take great care when moving around the Church, and please avoid entering/ disturbing the orchestra area – but see Security below.

Security – The Church itself and surrounding area is a high-risk area prone to opportunistic theft of personal property.

It is important that valuables are not brought to rehearsals or the performance. There will be a volunteer steward providing security at the vestry door. It is important that the vestry door is not left open or closed “on the latch” at any time.

Take the normal precautions of not leaving any items on display in your car and lock your vehicle.

Helpers. Helpers. We need more! We are fortunate to have a few people who are always willing to help, acting as Stewards/ Front of House/Security and setting up/clearing away. However, we do need extra help. Could any of you or your friends/partners get involved and join the team? That would be much appreciated. If so, please let a member of the committee know. This is especially important AFTER the concert. Many hands make light work – willing helpers are sought for 10/15 minutes after the performance to tidy the church to its normal setting. Again, please let a member of the committee know if you or someone you know is able to help.

Car Parking
Access Road – There are double yellow lines on the road leading up to the church. Furthermore, emergency vehicle access must be preserved.
Disabled. Parking spaces are very limited. Those with a real need for priority disabled parking please let Bob Stupples know the name and make, model and registration number of car. Bob will give you the appropriate permit.
Choir/Volunteer Helpers. Parking on the unmade road down from the top gate in the evening of the concert is limited to those members who help clear afterwards. Please let Bob Stupples have your name, make and model of car and registration, and he will give you a parking permit.
These parking permits should be fixed or held inside the windscreen on the left side to be seen by the parking stewards on arriving at the car park entrance.

Tickets for collection at the Door – If you wish to organise tickets to be collected at the door please place them in an envelope clearly marked with the names of the person collecting them, and whether payment has/has not been made.

With Christmas shopping becoming imminent, and more of us shopping online, please consider supporting the choir through on Easyfundraising.

3,000 retailers are signed up to Easyfundraising, so do continue to support the choir in this way. It is very easy to sign up, and you can set up a reminder on your browser, which will prompt you to raise funds when you navigate to a website which is signed up to the scheme. “Big ticket” items such as insurance, broadband, and holiday bookings can raise really significant amounts.

Please ask Suzanne if you need further information or assistance, and a BIG thank you to those who are already donating to the choir through online shopping.

For those of you who used Amazon Smile to raise donations when shopping on Amazon, please note that this scheme has been discontinued.

As announced at the AGM in September, Suzanne and James Bryden intend to relocate out of the area during 2024, and this leaves a couple of vacancies which MUST be filled. As much notice as possible has been given, to enable volunteers to have a good handover with the outgoing incumbents.

Suzanne is, of course, Treasurer and typically undertakes the undernoted tasks. NOTE however, that many of these do not necessarily follow the Treasurer role, and could easily be shared with others, so if you feel that you could take on any individual task, that would be very much appreciated. However, the choir, as a registered charity, must have someone in the Treasurer role.

Usual Treasurer activities
• Collection of income;
• Payment of bills and fees;
• Keeping track of member and Friends subs;
• Banking;
• Keeping records of income and expenditure;
• Maintenance of Square POS terminal;
• Passing all information to our independent examiner at the end of the financial year (May).
NOTE that the Treasurer doesn’t have to prepare accounts, just keep records!!
Other linked activities
• Charities Commission – maintenance of trustee/other information; submission of annual return;
• Making Music – annual renewal of membership & insurance, payment of PRS (royalties) due;
• HMRC – annual calculation and submission of Gift Aid claim.
• Contracting soloists selected by Music Director, communicating practicalities, payment of fees and expenses;
• Applying for Josephine Baker/ Countess of Munster Trust grants if applicable, reporting to Trusts post concert and collection of monies;
• Communicating with orchestra leader on practicalities of concert and payment.
Oldham Hall
• Making hall bookings for rehearsals and ad hoc requirements (online).

Meanwhile, James Bryden (with help) undertakes the following work for the choir on concert days:
• On morning of concert attend stage storage facility (currently Beaconsfield). Supervise loading of staging, cushions and chairs on to van transport.
• Go to church and take “before” photographs”. Help prepare church as necessary (eg move pulpit, cross, sacrament area). Greet transport van supervise and help unloading; supervise and help build and coordinate build of stage with aid of photographs and diagrams. Store dollies and any unused staging out of sight but convenient to storage and changing requirements of orchestra.
• Help set out chairs for choir and orchestra.
• After concert, stack chairs, supervise and help dismantling and stacking of staging on to dollies. Coordinate any willing helpers. Move all equipment outside for loading and help load on to van.
• Meet van at storage facility. Coordinate and help unloading of van and storage of staging etc in storage facility. Lock and check storage is secure.
• Go home and enjoy a well earned tipple of your choice!

We would also be grateful for help with the following tasks:
• Unlocking and locking Oldham Hall for rehearsals
• Designing and collating occasional newsletters
• Designing concert posters
• Rounding up local advertisers for concert programmes
Please speak to a member of the Committee for further details, if you feel able to take on any of these tasks.

Termly membership subscription is £75, reduced to £70 if this is paid within the first three weeks. Payment can be accepted by cheque, although a bank transfer is preferred – there is a sheet on the table at rehearsals containing full details.

If you are a UK taxpayer and complete a Gift Aid form, the choir can claim Gift Aid on your subscription and any donations you make, increasing the value by 25%. Making Music has recently updated its guidance on the element of member subscriptions on which Gift Aid can be claimed. The new guidance makes it clear that provided a member doesn’t gain the right to personal use of the charity’s facilities or services, Gift Aid can be claimed on the whole membership fee. The guidance suggests that personal tuition would be an example of “personal use” of the charity’s services. We therefore intend to claim on all members subs in future years, whilst keeping a close eye on any changing regulation and guidance. We hope that this clarifies any questions members have on the subject.

If you haven’t signed a Gift Aid form and would like to, please ask Suzanne. Similarly, if your tax status (or indeed, other details such as address) has changed since you signed your form, please let Suzanne know.

On Monday 11th December, we shall have our usual get together at the Oldham Hall to clean up the borrowed scores so that our Librarian Ken can return them in good order. Do feel free to bring your own drinks and nibbles, and we’re sure festive song may spontaneously break out!

If you are unable to be there, please ensure that scores are returned in advance of 11th December. KEN

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without”


FINALLY, a reminder of the choir’s 2023.24 committee members:

Hon. Secretary: Isabelle Reynolds
Hon. Treasurer: Suzanne Bryden
Hon Librarian: Ken Darvill

Committee members: Chris Purves; Jean Jones; Alex Brooks and Jackie Rubin


November 29th, 2023