The AESS Annual General Meeting and Dinner was held in the Princess Alexandra Room of the Royal Overseas League. This is an excellent venue for us, as a combination of conference space, concert hall and dining area with a separate bar is needed. The Royal Overseas League conference manager and the waiting staff could not have been more helpful and thanks are due to them for ensuring a smoothly run day. Committee member, Jean Hornbuckle was our co-ordinator for the dinner and thanks are due to her for her splendid work and effective liaison with the backroom staff at the Royal Overseas League.
The AGM was attended by 17 voting members together with several non-voting observers. We were delighted that Honorary President, Patricia Routledge CBE was also with us for the day. A copy of the Minutes of the meeting are available from Judy Hildesley or Graham Trew. The Officers and Committee all stood for re-election and were voted back en-bloc. Subscriptions were left unchanged, although Patricia Routledge did suggest that there should be a rate for Life Membership, which will be discussed at the next committee meeting. A Constitution prepared by Graham Trew, based on the 2001 Constitution, but with all the amendments and paragraphs required by the Charity Commission, approved by the AGM in 2004 and an amendment agreed by the AGM in 2007, to create a Vice-chairman’s post, was proposed and adopted unanimously. This Constitution is available to view on the website.
At 6.00pm, a large audience gathered to listen to the Trinity Junior Barbershop Ensemble. Immense thanks are due to Marian Friend, Head of the Junior Conservatoire, for organising and indeed funding, this fine group. Nine boys from Trinity College Junior Conservatoire presented a well staged, entertaining selection of close harmony songs with a jazz piano interlude. They and their parents then mingled with members for forty minutes before dinner was served.
An excellent dinner was served to members and their guests, forty in total. James Bowman had kindly agreed to be our speaker. He was introduced by Graham Trew. His words were serious and thoughtful, concentrating on the need to bring out the meaning and beauty of the English language and to listen to the poetry before considering the performance in the light of the intentions of the composer. James’s thoughts were extremely well received and just right for the occasion.