Dear Friends,

Much has happened since I last wrote to you and it has all been very positive! The Committee has been busy with several things, not least of which has been the changes in the status of FOM. After a very long and tedious process, FOM has finally been granted Non-Profit Organization status and has also been registered for tax purposes. Our thanks to our auditors Hobbs Sinclair for their excellent services in this regard and for the huge discount which we received from them. It is very much appreciated. Our grateful and sincere thanks also go to one of our staunchest supporters, Ben Rabinowitz, for the very generous financial contribution towards this exercise. It is because of such continued support that the Friends can continue with its main mission of helping to keep classical music alive and well in Cape Town. The next step in this exercise is now to approach SARS to obtain tax exemption, something that will again take some time to achieve. I am under no illusion that this will be easy since there are a number hoops through which we must jump but we will persist and hopefully can achieve this status as soon as possible. I thought that it might be useful if I attached the submission that we have submitted to SARS in support of our application. It is a concise summary of what FOM represents and what it does. You might wish to use this to generate interest from potential new members, not only to join FOM but also to contribute financially to its activities.

The Gala Concert that FOM presented at the City Hall this year with Maestro Howard Shelley was a magnificent success. I am sure that all who attended it will agree that it is a concert that will be remembered for a very long time. I attach two reviews that appeared in Die Burger and the Cape Times, respectively. Both reviewers are very generous in their praise for the programme and for the performance of Howard Shelley who was both conductor and soloist in the all-Mozart programme. The praise is certainly well-deserved! It was also a great honour to welcome the Mayor of Cape Town, Her Worship Patricia de Lille, to the Gala Concert as a guest of FOM. We trust that she will in future be a regular at the concerts of the CPO. FOM was very pleased to be able to announce that we will again this year grant the CPO an amount of R300 000. In this regard, I should thank each member of the Friends for your continued support. If one considers that our organisation consists only of some 500+ members, I think we can all be very proud of this achievement!

One of the FOM stalwarts, Ruth Allen, turns 90 this month and FOM dedicated the Gala Concert to her. Ruth has been an indefatigable supporter and promotor of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra over many years. As she turns 90, we would like to pay tribute to her, and to recognise and to salute her unwavering enthusiasm for, dedication to and support of the Friends and the major contribution she has made to ensuring the development and continued well-being of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. Chapeau, Ruth!

I should like to thank all members of the Friends who renewed their membership of the Friends by 4 November 2016 as per the request of Artscape Dial-a-Seat as set out in my newsletter of 31 August 2016. In that newsletter, I pointed out that Dial-a-Seat has decided to make several changes to booking procedures for the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. These include that booking for a forthcoming season will no longer be differentiated between old and new subscribers in that old subscribers can no longer renew their seats before single seats and new subscriptions open for general sale. The system for all categories of subscriber opening on the same day was already implemented from the current Spring Season, with the understanding that the seats of old subscribers will be “frozen” for a period of three weeks after booking opens. The 2017 Summer Season will start much earlier than in past years and booking for that season will already open on 14 November 2016. Artscape Dial-A-Seat have indicated to us that they will require a list of all eligible FOM members by Monday, 7 November 2016 in order that the additional 10% discount per season ticket is available to FOM members. Thus, if members only start renewing in January 2017, there is no guarantee that their seats will be available since the three-week grace period will already have expired in December 2016. Dial-a-Seat requires at least a week to update their computer systems with the relevant information and cannot do so daily.

This in the past meant that FOM frequently has had to provide Dial-a-Seat with updated membership lists to ensure that members receive their benefits. The new requirement by Dial-a-Seat means that FOM should make a detailed list of eligible members available to Dial-a-Seat at an earlier date than has been the case up to now i.e. by 7 November 2016. I therefore should ask you to ensure that FOM renewals for 2017 please be finalised by Friday 4 November 2016. This will enable FOM to provide Dial-a-Seat with the appropriate data by Monday, 7 November 2016. Much as I regret this change it is clearly a once-off, transitional matter and FOM memberships will accordingly in future run from 1 November to 31 October. I should also mention that FOM will in future provide Dial-a-Seat with membership updates only monthly.

Please also consider that the FOM membership cards that were made available for 2016 have been designed for a 5-year period. A sticker will be affixed to the card once you have renewed your membership. Stickers will be available at the FOM table at the City Hall on concert nights. New cards will be re-issued against a payment of R25.00.

The next event to be hosted by FOM will be the annual soirée at Old Mutual House in March 2017. It is going to be a very exciting event with two of our foremost soloists Nina Schumann and Luis Magalhāes in a programme of music for two pianos. I shall keep you informed of details closer to the time. The date for the 2017 Gala Concert has also been finalised. It is Thursday, 2 November 2017 and the artist and programme will be announced as soon as the contractual formalities have been concluded.

I trust that you are enjoying the current Spring Season of the CPO and wish you happy listening.

Best wishes,

Derek Auret
Chairman: Friends of Orchestral Music (Cape Town)

“Music is the social act of communication amongst people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is.” ̴ Malcom Arnold