Bagpipe Society AGM 2013 Minutes

The meeting opened at 17:09

1. Apologies

Andy Letcher, Judy Rockliff, Jonathon Bynoe, David Faulkner.

2. Minutes of previous meeting

Matters Arising

Membership Structure (PDF only membership) — see Membership Secretary’s report Content on the Website — No action: Committee to do something about online membership this year — see AOB. Access to Festivals — No action from the organisers (Sean Jones, Dave Faulkner) but some work by Tom Hughes (covered in his report). It was agreed we should try to carry on with this [After the meeting Sean agreed to coordinate, with or without Dave Faulkner]. Note that the society’s sets of smallpipes are available for members to borrow to take to festivals and run demonstrations where people may try them.

3. Officers’ Reports

Chairman (D. Ward)

As you can see from the accounts, we still have money available — slightly more than last year— to fund worthwhile projects in keeping with the society’s objectives (broadly, the furtherance of piping). The conditions haven’t changed: each project must come with a volunteer prepared to put in the effort to make it work. It’s worthwhile to remind members that the society is prepared to support bagpipe related events put on by members. We prefer to underwrite rather than make an outright grant, but will consider either.

Proposals, with a budget that shows both the anticipated expenditure and the anticipated receipts, to the treasurer please, preferably via email. Allow at least a month for the committee to get off its collective backside and make a decision. We usually ask successful applicants to mention the support of the society in the program, so apply well in advance of your printing deadline.

As many of you will know, I have decided to step down from the committee after this meeting. I would like to thank all of the committee members who I’ve worked with over the past twenty years or so. Without their efforts behind the scenes the Blowout wouldn’t happen and the society itself would probably be moribund. I am grateful, in particular, to our current Chanter editor, John Tose, for his willingness to carry on for another year because it means that the problem of finding a replacement of his calibre is dumped firmly in the lap of my successor rather than my own!

Newsletter/Chanter editor (J. Tose)

I would like to thank everyone who has supplied articles over the years and offered general support. It is much appreciated. As I indicated at last year’s AGM, I would like to resign as editor but, so far, no one has stepped forward to take up the reigns — I have had one tentative enquiry but, as the person lives abroad, he’d have to use UK printers and have them posted from here so I’m not sure how that would work in practice. [Because most of the members are UK based it would be too expensive if Chanter is not printed in the UK. John raised the problem of occasionally needing to actually visit the printers to sort out problems — not so easy if the editor is abroad. But note the comments from Pete Stewart (in AOB) about the L&BPS printer, which would enable an editor to be based abroad if we were to switch to the L&BPS printer or another UK based printer that offered a similar service.]

In view of that I will carry on for one more year but I will definitely step down at next year’s AGM. The Summer 2014 issue of Chanter will be the last issue edited by me. We must have an alternative editor in place by then otherwise the autumn edition of Chanter will not be published in time (or, in the worst case, at all). I’ve enjoyed my ten years in the saddle but enough is enough: fair warning!

Treasurer and Membership Secretary (M. Ross)

Membership Secretary Report

Membership has continued to be steady in 2012, with 11 new members joining. Although not a huge number, it must be remembered that we are a niche market. Society details sent out by makers when they sell their pipes are a good source of new members, as are events such as International Bagpipe Day and the Chester event next week: please continue to spread the word!

I do feel that we need to continue with publicity that members carry with them – postcards are available to keep in your pipe case to hand out. We are continuing to investigate the membership changes raised at last year’s AGM – namely the removal of the Unwaged option, with a PDF, online only membership being made available. This should be beneficial to overseas members and to those in the UK who wish to take their chanter electronically with them. More details will follow on the exact membership options that will be available. This change will come into effect in 2014. Thank you all for continuing to be members and your timely renewals. If you have missed a Chanter, please do get in touch and I will sort things out – human errors do sometimes occur, and please, check your standing orders – especially with the revised subscription rates. I have again had to get in touch with a couple of members who have 2 standing orders on the go.

Treasurer’s Report 2012

Firstly I would like to publically thank member George Swallow for the sterling work he has put in putting together the accounts for 2012. George did this last year as well, and it has helped immensely.

Another thank you and a congratulations to Ian for running another successful (and profit making) Blowout last year.
We are still on a stable footing as far as money goes – we have money in the bank and are still able to support projects and small festivals with donations or grants. We have supported the International Bagpipe Day for example – a fantastic event that opened up bagpipes to a much wider audience. If you have a suitable event – it doesn’t need to be on the scale of the Bagpipe Day, and need financial assistance or a partial financial guarantee, the committee is welcome to applications for support.

Making the increase in membership to £20 (and £12 for unwaged) has ensured we continue to self finance the publication and postage of Chanter.

The Bagpipe Society

Accounts for the year ended 31st December 2012

INCOME
Membership Subscriptions 2439
Interest Received 3
Book sales less purchases 128
Donations received 194
Blowout Income Costs
Food & Drink 1735 1456
Performers 1803
General 3151 640
4886 3899 987
Income for the Year 3751
EXPENSES
Chanter - Printing 1478
Chanter - Postage 615
Subscriptions-EDFSS 63
Website Maintenance 24
Donations- Polesworth PCC 200
Donations- International Bagpipe Conference 300
Support for Members’ Events 474
Total Expenses 3154
Surplus(Deficit) for the Year 597
General Fund b/forward 4544
Net Assets at the year-end 5141
Represented by
Cash at Bank 4460
Debtors- Paypal etc 491
Stocks of Books 190
Payments in Advance 5141

Publicity (A Letcher)

It’s been another successful year fulfilling the Society’s aim to promote the bagpipes, largely (but not exclusively) due to the enthusiasm with which members (and non-members) have embraced International Bagpipe Day. I would like to pass on the Society’s thanks to everyone who participated in the Pitt Rivers Museum event; to Tom Hughes for the continuing good work he is doing in and around Chester; and, indeed, to anyone who hosted or participated in an IBD event in Britain or around the world. Through IBD the Society is making connections with pipers globally and strengthening its reputation within the European piping community. IBD still seems to have made little impact in France and I would encourage members with French connections to promote the idea as and when they can. Next year will see the second International Bagpipe Conference, organised by Cassandre Balosso-Bardin, which will doubtless provide more publicity for both IBD and the Society.

Our facebook page is attracting increasing attention (418 ‘likes’ as I write) and while I am unaware as to whether this has translated into an increase in our membership it provides an obvious port-of-call for anyone interested in bagpipes. Thanks again to everyone who posts and comments.

Pete Stewart (of the Lowland and Border Pipers Society) has suggested, and I think rightly, that we should try and move our membership online. How we do this I leave to the experts, but it seems anachronistic that we rely on paper. We would certainly benefit from having an email list with which to contact members. I put it to the committee that we try and achieve this by Blowout 2014. [Discussion in AOB]

Blowout Organisers (I. Clabburn, R. Bramley)

RB: Our biggest problem is late ordering. Late orders are only satisfied by Vanessa’s good grace. BOOK EARLY PLEASE; and check your arithmetic before sending the order. No SAE means no ticket sent out (collect on arrival, but member doesn’t receive confirmation of order). A question about ordering tickets online was deferred to AOB. Preliminary figures for ticket sales were 60 weekend tickets plus a few for Saturday night.

IC: Many, many thanks to Rob & Ruth for taking the administrative load away. If anybody wants to participate in the festival programming — be “artistic director”, if you will — please get in touch. I will cope with the logistical side (booking the hall, ordering the beer, etc.). More ideas, for next year’s programme are needed, the more specific the better. Let me know what you like (workshops and performers) and also what you don’t like. About 20 more tickets sold would be very nice.

Webmaster (J Wass)

Visitor numbers are up by 10% compared with last year. During the year we retired the system for members listing their own instruments for sale and reverted to posting listings via Ian Clabburn. I’m happy to accept the direction of the committee for automating other parts of the website.

Education Liason (T Hughes)

I’ve written a piece for Chanter (which should appear in the next issue and, after publication, also be on the website) that should be helpful for members who wish to go into schools and demonstrate the pipes. We will also publish a list of existing members who go into schools and do music workshops and who might also give advice. Half a dozen schools in my area have asked for demonstrations of pipes (so there is clearly an interest out there). I took the society’s sets of smallpipes to Chester folk festival recently and did a workshop that was an introduction to bagpipes combined with the opportunity to try them. It went really well; people were queuing up! At least two people have ordered pipes on the strength of trying them out. The pipes are available for other members to do something similar [Contact Tom or Ian].

[There was no report from Judy Rockliff]

4. Election of Officers

Judy Rockliff has decided to step down from the committee, and there is also a vacancy for the post of chairman with, at the time of writing, one applicant. The rest of the committee are prepared to stand again for 20132014. Other volunteers are always welcome.

The mystery applicant was revealed to be Ian Clabburn who, along with the rest of the committee, was elected unanimously [Proposer Jon Swayne, Seconder Julian Goodacre]. The committee now consists of

  • R Bramley - Blowout Ticketing and Admin
  • M Ross - Treasurer and Membership Secretary
  • I Clabburn - Chairman and Blowout Organiser
  • J Tose - Chanter Editor (for one more year)
  • T Hughes - Education Liason
  • A Letcher - Publicity
  • J Wass - Webmaster

5. AOB

Online Membership This was taken to be the ability of the membership to alter their details online. There are questions about what to publish (default attitude: let the members decide what to publish about themselves). A discussion about what else might be offered then followed.

There was a request to buy blowout tickets online. There was also a suggestion to renew membership and check for renewal with an automatic system of (email) reminders. Joe Wass said he could look into this if the committee wanted it. Don pointed out that, whatever we implement, we must test it privately before making the site public. We should make it clear what the membership conditions are; what you get depending on when you join [or, as was suggested later, make each membership run from the date of joining]

Pete Stewart remarked that the Lowland and Borders website has done all of this for two or three years. It works really well (apart from members don’t really update their details although you do find out when the address is no longer valid [A discussion about whether or not the sender is notified when the email wasn’t delivered was ruled “interesting but out of order”]. The L&BPS has a searchable directory of members available to members. He suggested the committee looked at the website. Note that the site will also accept bookings for the annual workshop.

The journal (Common Stock) is produced remotely: For each issue a draft PDF is sent to the printer who mails back a proof copy; the final PDF is sent and the printer then prints and mails it. Nobody from the L&BPS stuffs envelopes anymore, so the editing could be done from anywhere in the world. Pete Stewart can supply further information if required.

Julian Goodacre also suggested everyone (not just the committee) look at the L&BPS website, saying that “a lot was going on”.

George Featherston suggested that a year’s subscription running from the date of joining might be a good idea (this is how the L&BPS subscription works, with members about to lapse being sent an email saying if they don’t renew in the next 30 days they won’t get the next issue of Common Stock; the checking and sending of email is done manually).

It was suggested that online ticketing (using a proper ticketing site) might be an option. A discussion of online ticketing ensued. Apparently there are some good sites and the committee will consider it.

Rob Bramley reminded us that some people don’t have email: whatever we implement there must be an alternative. An online system (for the Blowout) must also be acceptable to, and workable by our volunteer organisers (Rob & Ruth). Andy Carter volunteered to help with the online membership work.

Website Ian Clabburn is doing a lot of work on the society website (having been given access by Joe); scanning in early copies of Chanter; updating photos. Send anything useful to him. We must have dynamic content for people to return to otherwise the impression is given that nothing happens. Colloquium Julian Goodacre spoke about the next Bagpipe colloquium in Edinburgh on12th August. There are lots of events planned — details from him. He said that he might be able to help put people get accommodation for the event.

Tune Book Dave Rowlands enquired about the status of the society’s tunebook. Don replied that the project had been shelved because we needed a volunteer to do it. [A post meeting forage through the minutes of previous AGMs (to find out exactly when the decision to shelve it was made) proved that this statement was inaccurate: we never made a formal decision to abandon the project, although no progress has been made for several years. After the meeting it became clear that we don’t have enough tunes to make up a book and Dave has decided to include the tunes we do have in the second of his books and gift both books to the society. The books will be “print on demand” and available around Christmas 2014]

Conference Cassandre Balosso-Bardin gave details of the next International Bagpipe Conference on15th March 2014 at Senate House in London. She thanked the society for its previous support. She is looking for private sponsors — the last event cost £4000; the likely cost of this one is £10,000 — if anybody has advice about raising money via private sponsorship please get in touch with Cassandre. At the conference there will be musicians from Northumberland, Croatia, Galicia playing at a concert on Friday evening. More time will be made available for people to play the pipes; there will also be a dance. A call for papers will be sent out early in August.

Jon Swayne proposed a vote of thanks to Don for his many years as chairman

The meeting closed at 17:48

We are settling into our new website, including making available articles from our thirty year history. If you spot something inaccurate, garbled or missing, or if you want to volunteer to help us improve our site, please mail info@bagpipesociety.

Website by Joe Wass, managed by Ian Clabburn.

Website content by Andy Letcher.

All articles copyright their respective authors.

Enquiries to info@bagpipesociety.org.uk

Membership enquiries to membership@bagpipesociety.org.uk