COVID - 19 Rehearsals
We are excited to report that since 26th September we have been able to rehearse in the Weald Hall, Uckfield Civic Centre. Numbers are a little reduced not because of lack of space, but rather because several members have reluctantly stayed away for the moment due to shielding etc. However this has given us a chance to welcome some new members to help fill gaps.
It has required a large amount of work for both ourselves and the venue staff who have been very keen to try and assist us. We have prepared our own risk assessment in conjunction with that provided by the Civic Centre. It covers all of the factors which have enabled us to prepare the Protocol (see below) in order to meet the Government Guidelines for those (particularly amateur groups) involved in performing arts.The Risk Assessment can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here: Risk Assessment.
We have made full use of the valuable guidance provided by Making Music which is a national not for profit organisation providing support for music leisure groups across the country. For more information about Making Music - and particularly so in relation to the Covid Guidance - click the active link "Making Music" above
In addition we have prepared a Pre Rehearsal Questionnaire of the type widely used in other scenarios to ensure that the necessary inquiries have been made of all those attending rehearsals. Players sign a copy which is delivered to our committee when they first attend at the start of each term, and thereafter are asked whether there are any changes to their declaration on each attendance.
That questionnaire can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here: Questionnaire
We have also prepared a comprehensive Rehearsal Protocol with which every player has been invited to comply in order to ensure that the Civic Centre can continue to be a Covid Secure environment. A part of that protocol requires players to sit in appropriately separated and designated seats to meet the requirements of social distancing and to aid "Test & Trace".
That Protocol can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here: Protocol
Sadly the November lockdown has put an end to all of that - at least for a month - but we keep our fingers crossed, and whatever else is the case, we are geared up ready to restart as soon as we are permitted to do so!
We are pleased to announce that as of 2nd December, we are able to restart rehearsals each Saturday in December until Christmas. In addition to Beethoven's 6th Symphony and Haydn's Drum Roll Symphony, which we were working on in September, we will be taking a look at works by Mendelssohn - his Scottish Symphony, the Symphony in D by Vorisek, Bartok's Rumanian Dances and two Christmas related works by Coleridge-Taylor. Plenty for everyone to get their teeth into!
Summer 2021 - Update - 21-5-2021
Covid has obviously played its part in making it impossible for any more meetings of the sort which we had managed to arrange last year, to take place.
However due to matters which had come to light last December as a result of our Registration earlier in the year as a Charity and in connection with our (in due course successful) claim for Gift Aid, a number of Serious Incidents fell to be reported to the Charity Commission by the Trustees. These included the resignation of four of the seven Trustees elected in 2019 at the AGM, which followed a difference of opinions on a number of matters.
All requests made by the present committee for the ex-Trustees to agree to Mediation – or even to meet for discussions which could lead to Mediation (a process recommended - if not insisted upon - by the Charity Commission in precisely this sort of situation) - have so far been rebuffed which is very much regretted.
Failure so far to resolve the differences of opinion between two factions within the Orchestra have - in part - necessitated the placing of the orchestra into (in effect) suspended animation through the summer of 2021.
The situation has been doubly complicated by the continuing uncertainty about the relaxation of Lockdown restrictions which will affect rehearsals and any idea that a concert could be arranged before the end of the summer term has of necessity been abandoned.
Moreover it is felt that even if sufficient relaxation in the social distancing regulations were to happen, which might make rehearsals easier to manage, it is equally likely that players might prefer to visit relatives – quite probably at weekends - and that would almost certainly impact on the number of players available to rehearse.
The Trustees have decided therefore to use the remaining part of the summer term to redouble efforts to resolve the management issues, to recruit new players to fill gaps that have been left by players who for one reason or another have decided against renewing their membership or contracts, and to sort out the library by recalling all music presently still in the possession of last year’s members.
It is the Trustees’ hope that it will be possible to restart the Orchestra in September 2021 by which time the situation will be clearer to all concerned.
All those who have expressed an interest in being kept informed as to progress will receive an invitation to renew their membership for the winter term, in late August.