The Master’s Newsletter, December 2014

Dear Member,

It was a great honour to be installed as your Master at the Drapers’ Hall on Thursday 13th November, where our Principal Guest was Sir Thomas Allen and the music was played by pianist Ashley Fripp, winner of the 2013 Prince’s Prize. Thank you very much for the many messages of support which I have received.

The Worshipful Company of Musicians is a wonderful Company – combining warm fellowship through our shared passion for music and our charitable support for outstanding young musicians and lifetime awards to distinguished musicians.

I follow in very distinguished footsteps. The last couple of years have seen significant progress in the Company. Under John Morehen and Tony Cleaver, we embarked on a far reaching strategy to develop the Company and help it to move forward, building on our very considerable strengths. The Company – and I – are indebted to them for their vision and their hard work to make it a reality.

My aims as Master are threefold:
• to increase communication and involvement within the Company
• to raise the profile of the Company externally
• to begin the essential fundraising work needed to increase the Company’s Endowment Funds to ensure that our charitable and general activities can be maintained

During the year, I will be sending occasional newsletters to let you know of progress being made by the Court and its Committees.

Particular areas we have been looking at are:

• Our Prizes and Awards: their current value, how they are organised, and their impact on and influence in the musical world
• The Yeomen Programme which has seen explosive growth, particularly in the last twelve months (2013 figures in brackets): 84 visits (58) to 40 schools (25) reaching 3,983 children (2770).

The Yeomen programme is now firmly established alongside our Prizes and Awards as the main charitable focus of the Company:

a) supporting excellence, by offering our outstanding young prizewinners performance opportunities.
b) helping to create the audiences of the future, by taking soloists into schools and bringing classical music to children who would not otherwise have the chance to hear it.
c) offering exposure through the Yeomen’s pages on the Company website for Yeomen at a crucial phase of their careers.

Congratulations and huge thanks to John Nichols and all the Outreach Volunteers for their time and effort to achieve this remarkable expansion.
If you would like to help as an Outreach volunteer, please get in touch with John Nichols: telephone 01483 564273 or email .

There are 110 City Livery Companies and the Musicians’ Company is one of the largest in terms of our membership: 424 Liverymen, 123 Freeman and 137 Yeomen.
I aim to involve members more in all aspects of our work, providing closer contact with the ‘family’ of the Company and the concept of Fellowship which is an essential part of everything we do.
We also need to accommodate those members who, through a change of circumstances, may not be able to be involved in as many Company activities as before.
If you are thinking of suggesting someone for membership, please invite them along to experience a company concert or event first and introduce them to fellow members.

Each of these areas has implications for the Company’s finances. To continue and expand our charitable activity, we need to look very carefully at our revenue streams and our Endowment Funds, and work hard at improving them to provide a solid base for the future.
Fundraising and developing our capital and our income will be essential parts of my task over the next twelve months.

Public awareness
To achieve these objectives, we also need to ensure that people know about our Company and its work, and that this reflects the true nature of our activities. Public relations, in all its forms, will be another essential theme for the foreseeable future. We shall be working hard in all these areas as a priority during my year as Master.

The Livery Club
Jenny Chism has been an energetic and imaginative President of the Livery Club for the last two years and we look forward to the events organised by her successor, Keith Maries.
One exciting highlight of the 2015 Livery Club programme will be the visit to Hukvaldy, the birthplace of Janáček in the Czech Republic from July 2-7 2015. The suggestion came from Liveryman David Sulkin, Executive Director of Help Musicians UK who is also Associate Director of the international music festival held in Hukvaldy. A brochure giving details of the programme which has been tailor-made for us will be sent out shortly. I am looking forward to going very much. Perhaps we might even see the spot where the Vixen and her cubs played?

I close this first Newsletter with some tributes:
Firstly to Hugh Lloyd, our Clerk, who has adapted to a difficult and challenging job with equanimity and aplomb, very ably assisted by Amanda Ratcliffe who has been promoted to Deputy Clerk.
Secondly to all those, particularly Alistair Telfer, Chris Lawrence and Jeff Kelly, who have worked so hard on updating the Company Website, making it fit for the 21st century: a site we can all be proud of.

The 2015 Yearbook will be sent out at the end of January. In the meantime, a list of 2015 dates for your diaries is attached, including Monday October 12th 2015, when we shall be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the John Christie Award with a Celebration at the Royal College of Music.

Thank you all again for your help and support. I greatly look forward to working with you, and to meeting as many of you as possible during my year as Master.
Our next opportunity will be at the Company Carol Service on Wednesday 10th December at St Michael’s Cornhill at 6pm.

With my warmest good wishes
Kathleen Duncan