Dear Friends,

Much has happened since last I wrote to you, some good and some not so good, so it is time to bring you up to date on the activities of your organization, the Friends of Orchestral Music. The Autumn Season of the Orchestra has just come to an end and booking for the Winter Season has already opened. The orchestra continues to perform at an incredibly high level and the full‐houses that we have consistently experienced during the last season certainly testifies to that. The new season also holds much promise for some wonderful music and the concert to celebrate Peter Klatzow’s 70th birthday is sure to be no exception.

The Friends’ late‐summer annual soirée at Old Mutual House was a very special and superb event. Oversubscribed yet again, it showcased the phenomenal musicianship of François du Toit, Maria du Toit – who travelled especially from Holland to perform at the soirée – Magdalene Minnaar, Patrick Goodwin, Peter Martens, Paula Gabriel and Roxane Steffen. The performance of Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock was especially memorable and the beautiful voice of Magdalene Minnaar and the excellent playing of François du Toit and Maria du Toit ensured that this will be long‐remembered by those in the audience. Feedback that I have received has been excellent and we will hopefully be able long to continue what has become a highlight of the FOM music calendar. It is just a pity that the number of seats available at the venue ‐ 130 – is so limited and we are looking at alternatives for additional soirées. The possibility of the Nassau Centre is being explored to enable us to present such events more frequently.

I would like to repeat the other events that we have so far scheduled for this year:

  • 14 June 2015: A soirée with the celebrated and exciting pianist Ammiel Bushakevitz playing Chopin and Schubert
  • Monday, 3 August 2015: The annual FOM Quiz that will again be held at the Glen Country Club
  • 19 November 2015: The FOM Gala Concert at the City Hall
  • 15 December 2015 :A soirée with the world‐renowned pianist Gustavo Romero

As far as the soirée with pianist Ammiel Bushakevitz is concerned, this will take place at my home at No. 9 Norfolk Road, Lakeside on Sunday 14 June 2015 at 6 for 6.30pm. Please note that seats for this event will be limited to 70 guests and tickets will be R200.00. There will be light snacks and wine after the concert. Please be good enough to book your seats on a first‐come‐first‐served basis with Ruth Allen at (021) 794‐2435 or (083) 292‐4645 or with me at (082) 557‐6566.

Since negotiations are not yet complete I am unfortunately not yet in a position to inform you of the soloist for the gala concert on 19 November 2015. I can however confirm that the orchestra will be conducted by one of Cape Town’s favourite conductors, Maestro Bernhard Gueller. More about this as soon as we have dotted the I’s and crossed all the T’s.

I said at the beginning of this letter that there was some good and some not so good news. The not so good news, in fact very depressing news, relates to the FOM Annual General Meeting that was held at Artscape on 31 March 2015. To say that the attendance at this meeting was extremely disappointing is to put it mildly. The meeting is an opportunity for members to hear first‐hand about the achievements of the Friends over the past year and where members have the opportunity of interacting with the Committee about the activities and direction of the Friends. While there were a small number of apologies (7) and just a sufficient number of proxies (16) to allow the meeting to continue, the fact that so few members took the trouble to respond to a comprehensive agenda that had been circulated three weeks before the date of the meeting was quite jarring. I am quite frankly very disappointed that members could not take two minutes to respond to the invitation to attend. To those members who were there – all 6 of them (augmented by all 9 members of the Committee), many thanks for your attendance, it is very much appreciated. The Friends have grown considerably in strength both financially and otherwise due to an enormous amount of hard work on the part of the Committee and it is very dispiriting to experience such lack of interest on the part of the members. I trust that we will have a better turn‐out at the next AGM!

You will recall that in the last newsletter I launched an appeal for instruments that were not being used anymore and indicated that the Friends would have these brought up to playing standard before presenting them to previously disadvantaged student musicians especially of the Masidlale project. I am happy to say that to date three unused violins have been donated to the Friends. Again the three members who have responded are persons who take an active interest and play a real part in the activities of the Friends. They are Francisca Louw, Karinina Ingwersen and one member who wishes to remain anonymous. I can also announce that Karinina Ingwersen has decided to donate three recorders and all her mother’s sheet music (she was a music teacher) to the Friends for disposal of as we see fit. Our heartfelt thanks to these members who are amongst our stalwarts. Your donations are certainly going to make a difference! We are still however on the lookout for an oboe for a very deserving young player as well as other instruments and anyone who may be able to assist should please contact me on (082) 557‐6566.

I am also very happy to announce that the Friends have made a number of awards recently to very deserving causes and individuals. A grant was made to the Franschhoek Chamber Music Workshop, now in its 25th year, and a number of members of the Committee attended the graduation concert. It was a memorable experience to see children from 7 to 17 and from all walks of life, colours and creeds perform with absolute commitment to their music. Congratulations to Barbara Kennedy and all her helpers for persisting with this brilliant initiative. The Friends have also awarded three‐year bursaries to Jeffrey Armstrong who will be continuing his studies at Birmingham University and Trinity College with Prof Peter Schoeman, Nuluvuyo Nteta, a Masidlale Strings Teaching Project violin teacher to study at the University of Stellenbosch and to Craig Williams also at the University of Stellenbosch. All of these three musicians are deserving of support and if any member would like to contribute to their causes you may channel your donations to them via the Friends.

There are a number of people who have been sterling supporters of the Friends over a long period of time, both in terms of their active involvement with or their substantial financial support of the Friends. It has accordingly been decided to award these persons lifetime Honorary Membership of the Friends in recognition of the role they play in helping the Friends attain its goals. The awards were made to: Ruth Allen, Shirley Parkfelt, Gaby Dahl, Peter Klatzow, Maestro Bernhard Gueller, Ton Vosloo and Gerlinde Moser. Congratulations: the Friends appreciate your commitment and hope that in this way we have suitably recognised your support.

Congratulations to Brandon Phillips and Latecia Hendricks on their marriage last month. The Friends wish you two everything of the best for a long life together filled with joy and happiness.
A final matter. It has been noticed that some members are not renewing their memberships until late in the New Year. The Committee has decided that there will be a renewal deadline of the end of March if members wish to retain the discount benefits in respect of season tickets. Artscape and Computicket have been provided with a list of members who have renewed their subscriptions and only those members will receive the 30% discount on season tickets. Please also bear in mind the new subscription rates: Single R200, Family Membership (2 Members) R300, Corporate members R3000 and Students (Student Card required) R100. We very much appreciate your support.

I trust that you will continue enjoying the wonderful music of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and look forward to seeing you at the post‐concert receptions.

Best wishes
Derek Auret Chairman

“Music is the poetry of the air.” ‐ Jean Paul Richter