Annual General Meeting – 26th March, 2014
The AGM of the Taunton Festival of the Arts took place on Wednesday, 26th March 2014 at the Taunton Catholic Centre in a lively and appreciative atmosphere.
In his Chairman’s report, Brian Cresswell, took members chronologically through the Centenary Year of 2013 with the appealing visual aid of a special Centenary tea towel, distributed to all present. on which were colourfully depicted all the many and varied events of the year. He then went on to produce proposals for 2015 which were to include new competitions for Percussionists, Young Theatre Singers and Double Bass as well as a Summer Festival in July. All these in addition to the established Music, Drama and Dance Festivals, Taunton Young Musician and Singer competitions and the Somerset Song Prize. Brian further mentioned the exciting prospect of the addition of Film to the list of Festivals and introduced Nigel Cousins of Film Makers to the meeting, who gave a resume of his plans. The Chairman then went on to outline plans for a Friends and Supporters scheme in all areas of Festival activity, and the growth of Steering Groups to help administer the plethora of the competitions.
The Hon. Treasurer, Michael Chapman, remarked that, when these developments were first discussed 18 months previously, it seemed likely that there would be major inroads into the Festival’s reserves earmarked for ‘outreach’. Happily, enough overall profit from the new enterprises resulted in only a moderate dip into those funds.
The section secretaries reports included Piano and Keyboard, Wind, Strings and Vocal classes, Speech and Drama classes, the new and flourishing Dance Festival, Taunton Young Musician, Taunton Young Singer and the Showcase Concert; all flourishing activities, all encouraging young budding performers.
The formalities of electing the committee and trustees also included a welcome to Nigel Cousins as Film Secretary and Alastair Kirby as part of the Drama ‘team’ but also meant bidding farewell to Darren Riggs, erstwhile Drama Secretary, whose additional talents as a graphic artist won the committee’s admiration as well as for his energetic and lively commitment to the Festival; farewell also to Sylvia Fellgett and Elisabeth Walters, long term towers of strength to the drama festival, who gave so much help with administration and the running of the Festival classes; and finally, a farewell to Mary Trewin, who masterminded the Strings Day for many years and contributed to the planning of the highly successful Showcase Concerts; also, the committee has benefited from her expertise as a fine Suzuki teacher, and BIFF adjudicator of wide experience. They will all be missed but the generous way in which they gave their time and energies to the Festival will not be forgotten.
It can also be mentioned that the British International Federation of Festivals is a valuable source of information and advice when needed.