Chairman’s Report 2017

It is hard to believe that my tenure as the Society’s Chairman is coming to an end at the AGM in December. Over the last 3 years there have inevitably been changes, but I hope that you will agree that we have continued the tradition of excellent lecturers (all NADFAS accredited), interesting visits, trips to Covent Garden and Glyndebourne, study days and tours both in England and abroad. Our Church Recorders have enthusiastically continued recording the Marsh churches and our Young Arts awards have both supported individuals from the local area and the Canterbury Oast Trust at Woodchurch. We have introduced a ‘welcome team’ in an effort to make new members feel welcome. Whether we like it or not, technology has taken over major areas of our lives and we have reflected this by introducing a monthly email newsletter which has been warmly received. We are also introducing payment of subscriptions by standing order in an attempt to make the process more efficient. We can now send communications by a system known as Mailchimp which saves a large amount on postage – but we will always post copies to members who are not at ease with communication by email. The most significant change of the last year has been the ‘rebranding exercise’ which resulted in NADFAS being renamed The Arts Society. This was initiated and the change agreed by the National Chairman, Chief Executive and Trustees of NADFAS in time for the Golden Anniversary next year of its founding by Patricia Faye. We welcomed the Chief Executive, Florian Schweizer, at the April lecture to expand on his vision for the future of the Society. I am aware that there was controversy over this, but at an Extraordinary General Meeting in July, the membership voted to change our name to The Arts Society Tenterden with effect from September lst 2017.

None of our activities would be possible without the enthusiasm and dedication of the committee. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those that have served with me over the last 3 years but especially those currently in office. Fran Sharp, our Programme Secretary steps down at the AGM. Fran has done a tremendous amount, a lot behind the scenes – from our annual trip to the Directory Day, where we select the next year’s programme of lectures – to the booking and communication with lecturers, arranging transport and sometimes accommodation – all cheerfully and competently. Thank you, Fran. We will miss you.

Also stepping down is Roger Nixon, who has been our webmaster for the last 10 years. We are very grateful to Roger for keeping our website up to date with information about our activities and photographs of our events. It is, after all, our ‘shop window’. Roger will continue leading our Church Recorders with Rosemary Wasserberg but hands over the website to Brian Guest.

Chris Dennis has successfully organised our very popular visits to The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden and Opera at Glyndebourne as well as interesting visits to important houses, gardens and exhibitions. I am delighted that she is taking over from me as Chairman and know that she will have your loyalty and support.

Irene Jones, our Membership Secretary is the first point of contact for new members and a friendly face at the Registration Desk each month. Terri Westerdale has continued to keep a tight rein on our finances, and it is due to her that we have been able to keep the subscriptions unchanged yet again. Terri has introduced modern practices which should enable us to function more efficiently. Sincere thanks also go to Linda Guest who has been a very efficient Secretary and I would particularly like to thank Linda for organising the AGM papers. Brian Guest has enthusiastically engaged with the technical challenge of Mailchimp and produces the informative newsletter each month.

The Church Recorders have completed their work at Ivychurch and have started at St Peter and St Paul, Dymchurch. In the past I have organised Study Days and Young Arts but am very pleased and relieved to have found members who have taken these over. Although not on the committee, Lucia Fisher and Joy Davenport are an important part of the team. Lucia has liaised with Homewood School and we have awarded this year’s Young Arts award to Ben Nicholls, a promising young potter. He attended the October lecture and demonstrated some of his work. Joy has arranged next year’s Study Day with Anthea Streeter in November 2018. Joan Saunders has enthusiastically led our ‘welcome team’ and I am grateful to her and the band of members who help her.

Setting up the Leisure Centre hall for our lectures each month is a huge task. We are grateful to all the team from the Leisure Centre itself and especially Lesley our loyal ‘coffee lady’. Brian Guest and Roger Nixon set up the digital equipment and Neil de Villiers and Richard Coleman manage the sound system. Thank you all.

I hope you will find much to interest you in next year’s programme. We have selected a wide mixture of topics and lecturers – some old favourites and some new ones that have impressed us. Next year is the Golden Anniversary of the founding of NADFAS by Patricia Faye. There is an exciting exhibition in London to mark this which we will visit and we intend to have a commemorative lecture and an arts related event in Tenterden.

I have learnt a great deal over the 25 years that I have been a member of 3 different societies. I have met some very interesting people and made good friends. The aim of the Arts Society is to encourage more people to engage, appreciate and enjoy the Arts, and discover how these may enrich their lives. Whilst some members are content just to enjoy the lectures, many others have benefited from visits, tours and volunteering with Church Recorders. I hope that the Society will continue to thrive in the future and will embrace new opportunities and ventures with enthusiasm. With every good wish

LizBamji

October 2017