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News > Friends of Music News > Chairman's Letter December 2020

Chairman's Letter December 2020

Dear Friends, 

Ordinarily we’d be meeting in person for our AGM but as you know that isn’t the case due to the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic. Nevertheless the school has risen to the many challenges posed by the lockdown and its variants and the education of children, along with their musical training has continued albeit without the usual programme of live events. I hope this letter will serve instead of the usual chairman’s report. 

The full activities of the Friends of Music have, out of necessity, been muted. But due to your continued support we have been able to distribute funds during the past academic year, and have made plans to do the same over the coming months. Some of the outcomes will not be immediately obvious until we’re able to be a live audience again. But they all contribute to supporting music for the students and staff often on a daily basis. 

Over the past year we have made funding available for a new piccolo; some piano stools; a ‘cello; and a contribution towards a new vibraphone. The largest grant was for the replacement of all of the chairs in the Quilter Hall, which is something that has been needed for a number of years. 

Before we knew about coronavirus, we identified a focus for future fundraising, on the refurbishment and eventual replacement of Steinway pianos in both the Quilter Hall and Cedars Hall. This stimulated much debate within and outside the school, and led to some detailed work with Steinway’s technicians. It would seem that the rate of wear and tear on the newest Steinway, in Cedars Hall, may not have been as profound as originally thought. No doubt the pandemic has helped, but it may turn out that this instrument will not need attention for a number of years. It is a different matter with the piano in the Quilter Hall. However, Steinways have offered a refurbishment and re-stringing package at an attractive price, which is more scalable and attainable as far as the Friends are concerned. We have agreed to support this and have set aside some money for it for the current academic year. It is likely that the work may not be done until next autumn, which may provide an opportunity to add to this with our allocation for the 2021-22 academic year. However, since opening a piano fund in October 2019, we have had some offers of donations. We are always grateful to any of our members who choose to donate in addition to renewing their membership. But we would be particularly thankful for one-off donations to our piano designated fund over the coming months. 

The scale of activities and events may have diminished, but the work of the Music Faculty has continued and, in turn, we have been able to support it. As always, I’m grateful to the Friends Committee for helping to steward our resources and, in particular to Sarah Vesty, as treasurer, and Andrew Parker, as Membership Secretary for the considerable work they do to ensure that our work is sustained. And, finally, thank you to you all, for staying with us during this public health crisis. Hope has dawned with the arrival of the first vaccine, and with it the prospect of

some sort of normality in the months to come. I can’t wait to attend my first live concert. Please stay safe, and have a wonderful Christmas. 

With Best Wishes 

John Williams (Chairman) 

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