The band resumed rehearsals on 10th January 2024, and held its Annual General Meeting on the 31st. The report of the co-secretaries, distributed ahead of the meeting, noted that the band had performed at 19 community events in 2023, including two indoor concerts and a number of carolling runs. Three new members had joined over the year.
Chairman Paul Chapman voiced thanks to those who had put in special effort for the benefit of the band, particularly equipment officer Gerry Townsend, who had serviced all its instruments, and MD Steve Block, who recruited deps to fill gaps for engagements on top of ensuring the band was ready to play to a high standard. Paul welcomed our new President, Isabelle Crawley-Boevey, present at the meeting, and also thanked members for their commitment.
Treasurer Keith Penton provided some detail on the financial report that had been distributed in advance of the meeting. Though some recurring costs had risen, income from engagements and the draw club had increased, and the net loss in 2023 was much less than the previous year.
MD Steve Block thanked members for an excellent performance at the Autumn Concert in November. He felt that progress had been made on the key objectives he had set out the previous year - Recruitment, Publicity and Unity, particularly unity, with everyone working better together to make events go well. The three recruits on baritone and cornet were welcomed, though there were still several gaps to be filled. Steve emphasized that turning out a complete band, using guest players if required, was a necessity in order to produce the full sound a good repertoire demands and which our audience enjoys. He would not be keen to adopt a "flexi-band" approach to programming.
Topics under Any Other Business included introducing membership fees; potential free community events to replace the defunct Seniors Party; and ways to promote band concerts and increase audience numbers.
Election of committee and officers was unusual in that there were more nominees willing to stand than positions to fill! After a vote, the 2024 committee was formed as follows:
Retiring committee member Clair Williams was thanked for her contribution spanning many years, particularly on the fund-raising front.