Thursday, 29 September 2016

music society

The first part of the morning was taken up with the minutes of yesterday afternoon's music society committee meeting.  I always like to write them up the next day if possible while my notes remind me of discussions I still remember rather than being the only thing I have to go on, and events are equally fresh in everybody else's minds in case anyone wants to query anything.  And there's a certain theatrical flourish to producing and circulating the minutes the next day.  To my mild annoyance someone has spotted a typo this time.  Oh well.  As long as you understand what I mean it doesn't matter how I say it, Discuss.

You will see periodic bouts of hand wringing in the newspapers about how the British do not have the same attitude to philanthropy as the Americans and do not support the arts to the same extent. It may be true that hedge fund managers aren't queueing up to bail out the ENO or pay for extensions to the V&A or do whatever it that arts editors and politicians would like them to do on a grand scale, but in the little world of chamber music in the provinces sponsorship is a vital part of keeping the show on the road.  I for one am immensely grateful to the local retired professionals and business owners, by no means mega rich, who quietly write out cheques for three and occasionally four figures, not multi millions but which make all the difference to societies like ours being able to sometimes book the sort of artists who play at the Wigmore Hall and feature in the Radio 3 lunchtime concerts.

That's not to say we don't support young artists as well.  The fact that they are cheaper helps balance the books, but there's always the exciting prospect of finding somebody really good at the beginning of their career who is going to be famous.  The glory of having booked Alison Balsom when she was just starting out has barely faded in the minds of those committee members who were there at the time, along with the fact that they once had the Belcea Quartet.  This time round we are trying to get a young accordionist.  I was one of those vociferously in favour, my argument being that as he was further on in his career than most of the other young artists on the scheme he might be better, and it was a chance to try something different to our usual fare at low financial expense.  My closest friend and natural ally on the committee agreed, without any prior collaboration, and I could see that the Chairman was itching to discover what the classical accordion was about, so we carried the day.

Colchester's annual music festival had Nicola Benedetti last night.  I have heard from two sources that she was very, very good but alas, I don't pay a sub to entitle me to priority booking, and as I don't volunteer for them either I never got a sniff of tickets for that concert.  Never mind.  The music society has a highly distinguished American string quartet visiting the weekend after next. We are one stop on their European tour which otherwise runs Frankfurt, London, Paris.  I said we should have t-shirts printed.

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