As usual, the AESS AGM was held at 4.30pm at the Royal Overseas League with nineteen members attending. The minutes of the meeting are available below as is the Trustees Report and the Treasurer’s Financial Statement. The Chairman’s Report is quoted at length in the minutes. The major decision of the meeting was to appoint Sarah Leonard as Chairman-Elect in order that she can shadow the work of Graham Trew for a year before he steps down as Chairman after ten years.
Forty members and/or guests attended the Annual Dinner of trout, venison and cheesecake. Before the meal, Graham Trew provided the vocal entertainment, accompanied by David Williams. The Guest of Honour was Roderick Swanston, who spoke wittily about mis-used words which he found irritating, backing up the core aim of the AESS which is to ‘encourage communication…with clarity, understanding and imagination’. The Association is most grateful to Roderick for bringing the evening to a stimulating conclusion and also pleased that one of our most supportive Honorary Presidents, Patricia Routledge, was able to join us, after performing in Musselburgh on the previous evening.
- The Minutes of the AGM may be found here.
- The Accounts may be found here.
- The Trustees’ Report may be found here.
Seven performers were selected from a preliminary group of twenty to sing in the final. Judges at the preliminary round, held at Tagg’s Yard, the home of our Honorary Secretary, Judy Hildesley, were Judy, Patricia Williams, Jonathan Courage and Stephen Miles, who co-ordinated the day. Thanks are due to them for their deliberations though a very long day. The standard was extremely high and judges were particularly impressed by the imaginative programming and the increasing quality of the speech elements.
The panel for the final at Tonbridge School was led, as it has been every year since its inception in 2010 by Courtney Kenny. Sarah Leonard joined Patricia Williams and Jonathan Courage on the panel and Graham Trew introduced and co-ordinated the afternoon. The staff of Tonbridge School worked most conscientiously to ensure a smooth-running afternoon and the AESS benefited from a very generous discount to the normal hire charges.
For the first time the competition was won by a male singer, Meilir Jones, a baritone student of Suzanne Murphy at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. He won £1000. The runner-up, winning £500 was Harriet Eyley, a past winner of the AESS Catherine Lambert Prize who studies with Lillian Watson at the Royal Academy of Music. Gillian Wells was third, a student of Maria Jaqusz. She won £500 as did the winning accompanist, William Shaw.
Left to Right: Sarah Leonard, Jonathan Courage, Gillian Wells, Meilir Jones, William Shaw, Harriet Eyley, Patricia Williams with Courtney Kenny in the front.