Here’s a how-de-do!

For the first time in our almost 90 year history the Society had to curtail its season and delay holding our Annual General Meeting.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives and, at the time of writing, we don’t have a clear sense of when we might return to anything approaching normality.

The lockdown has had a major impact on music and arts organisations and it looks as if it will be some time before concert halls and theatres will be up and running. This is particularly concerning for musicians and actors, most of whom work on a freelance basis.

Voluntary organisations such as ourselves face similar challenges about when we might be able to meet in person and ‘welcome (one another) to our hearts again’. Your Committee will continue to monitor the situation and follow Government guidance as to when that could be.

Optimistically, we have already made plans for the coming season but obviously have not been able to confirm precise dates as yet.

We hope the programme will include the postponed visit of our Vice-President, John Savournin - you may have heard him recently on Radio 3 in Gilbert and Cellier’s ‘The Mountebanks’. He will sing and share something of his life as a performer and a rising director of professional Gilbert & Sullivan productions.

We have invited soprano Phoebe Smith to entertain us alongside her father Neil, who will talk about the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival held over 25 years in Buxton and, latterly, in Harrogate. Phoebe has this year graduated from the Royal Academy of Music and is about to start her post-graduate studies. We see the encouragement of younger singers to be one of the principal aims of our Society.

Our own member, Paul Taylor, has kindly agreed to give us another of his fascinating talks on one of the operas. This time it is The Gondoliers. As those of you who have enjoyed them before will know, Paul’s presentations always tell us something we didn’t know about the creation of the operas but also help to set them in the social history of their time with lots of music and ‘examples illustrative’.

It will also be a pleasure to welcome back our member Peter Crichton who will bring us an evening of live music with a group of fellow performers. We are always keen to receive suggestions for future meetings from members so please do drop the secretary Jean Dufty a line with any ideas you might have.

We are always delighted when we welcome new members to the Society. If dear reader you or anyone you know would like to come to a meeting or two when we resume, enjoy an afternoon or evening of ‘innocent merriment’ with us and see if our meetings appeal to you, do get in touch. We normally meet from October to May, once a month at Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street, Manchester, some meetings on Tuesday evenings and some on Sunday afternoons.

The Committee sends our warmest greetings to you at what is a time of anxiety and isolation for so many and look forward to that day when we may be together again.

Meanwhile we are investigating having Zoom meetings with members.

The Committee