Time has seen to have flown by since I gave my first report in 2008 and it has been interesting to look back at what I wrote previously in order to assess how much we achieved and how themes return.

One of the things I mentioned last year was how it had come across in the statistical analysis of our membership that we were very much based in the eastern part of our region. Over the last year we have been trying to develop more links with the city churches and highlight our existence. However, there is more work to be done in this area as we are still only on the margins of what our involvement could be with the city churches and to help meet the needs of organists. That is partly why we made a conscious decision to hold our AGM in the City rather than in the eastern region.

We have also made steps to contact many churches of all denominations more close to home by including our excellent CLESO flyer in with a mail-shot from the PNMS organisation. This is already brought in one new member and helped to raise our profile locally. Further follow up contact will be made in the near future.

Comparing ourselves in size to other societies, we are about average numbers although, as with most other groups, the age range is often mid to higher. I mentioned last year that we ought to be following our statement of intent “to encourage those with an interest in the organ, especially the young, and to give support to those who want to learn the instrument” with more vigour. If we are to survive, not only as a group, but more widely as organists we must all personally be more proactive about inviting/encouraging new players into the profession.

Another area which we will be looking at this coming year is seeing if there is a way in which we help, educate or put on events for those people who are avid listeners of the organ rather than just players. In particular, targeting the many people who go to the lunchtime recitals in town either on a regular or occasional basis.

The social side is also an important part of our events and it was pleasing to see such a good turn out in 2008 for the annual dinner, although numbers were slightly down this year. We are looking to try and put on a few events this year that are not only just for us organists who want to turn up and play a historic instrument but for other members or partners who with come with us to give a more rounded and fulfilling occasion.

This will be my third year as chairman and I hope this coming year will be one in which we can make more positive steps forward. It is also important that new people come onto the committee with new ideas and shake things up a little rather than having the status quo remain for years to come. I would urge people to consider standing for a single year to bring some further creative and organisational input into the society. That aside, I would like to thank my fellow committee members for their unstinting work over the last year.

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