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Registered Charity Number 1061719

Chairman's Report for the year ended 31 July 2020

What a year!

Stating the obvious, Covid has had a significant impact on Sowerby Music as it has on everyone. As I write this in the middle of May 2021, things are looking a little brighter.


As decided in the previous year, we planned a small series of 4 concerts in the Spring of 2020. We managed to run the Mixolydian Trio (YYM ensemble) on 9 February and the Countess of Munster Recital with Thea Platt and Keval Shah on 8 March. Lockdown prevented the Eblana String Trio on 3 April and The YYM Showcase on 2 May. Plans for future concerts are on hold other than a YYM Showcase to be presented on 3 July 2021 and we shall then have to see what the Covid rules are and whether or not there is the demand.

Music for Life

We were fortunate that we managed all of our school visits except for Thirsk Community Primary that had been planned for 27 March 2021. We visited 26 schools (3,028 children) with Laura Connolly & Stuart Hardy, Barbara Grunthal & Ryan Breen, Ruth Rosales & Ben Hudson, 6Pac Jazz, James Stretton and a group from the Voces8 Foundation. I managed either a simultaneous or follow-up visit to see most of the Heads but, again, lock-down intervened. Looking forward, we were obviously not able to do the Spring 2021 visits but are in the process of arranging visits to as many schools as possible with existing and new artists for the second half of June onwards.

A number of things conspire against us so doing:

  • Schools are operating in "bubbles" and although the lifting of lockdown happens theoretically on 20 June allowing free movement within the school, nothing has yet been communicated to the schools by either NYCC or the DfE. We are geared up for working towards a combined concert/ workshop to each bubble either live or by remote link.
  • We cannot use any of our artists that blow an instrument because of the perceived risk of increased aerosol spread.
  • Vicki Farby has decided that she wishes to retire properly and so has stepped down from the role as coordinator and Penny Stirling and I are taking on the role for this season.

It should be said that the schools are very keen to welcome us and some live music making.


Overall, the society made a profit of £1,469 for the year ended 31 July 2020. This left us with cash in the bank of £19,346 at the end of the year. Patrons' giving fell from £10,579 (including £1,000 from the estate of a local well-wisher) to £8,224. Encouragingly, virtually everyone has continued to donate over the period of lock-down so that, at 31 April 2021 bank balances stand at £28,164. We will need this level of resource as this June M4L season will inevitably be more expensive than usual to run. The resources in hand give us a firm foundation to experiment with our future offering.


The Patrons have always been the bedrock of the Music for Life scheme; quite simply, without them, it would not operate. For their support everybody involved is extremely grateful and we do hope that this support continues.

Committee and Volunteers

It is with great sadness that I have to report that our chairman, Keith Carley ras recently died. Aside from being a good friend he has been a constant advocate and supporter for our work. I am therefore writing this report in his stead.

Graham Merriam, 12 May 2021

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