Welcome to the first edition of Buzz of 2019, our 90th Anniversary year, and (if it’s not too late) Happy New Year to all. May the year ahead be full of fulfilling music-making. We’ve certainly prepared a packed programme of courses, concerts and events for you this year which I trust will both attract you and indeed inspire you to persuade others to join you here. I’m particularly pleased that renowned tenor Rogers Covey-Crump is to return as a tutor with Jeremy West and David Ireson to work with the singers on what should prove a most exciting Lassus (et al) course in May - do sign up! 

When here, and should you look upwards, you’ll see that work on chimneys, pointing, tiling, gutters, windows and gulleys on the main building is largely complete. However the scaffolding will remain until May, until the weather is fair enough to complete high level paintwork. In prioritising in this way we are endeavouring to ensure that the premises are at least safe and weather-proof for the next considerable period. The work is costly. Thanks to the tremendous hard work of BMT colleagues, the support of the trustees’ Council, increased numbers attending events, judicious marketing, outreach, efficiencies, careful budgeting and prudent spending we can just about afford it. However we will need your help too if we are to realise further ambitious plans to consolidate, refurbish and develop facilities as we move towards our centenary in 2029. An excellent way to do this is to sign up for and benefit from more of our wonderful range of courses - try something new! Please also consider seriously making a legacy in BMT’s favour too, a wonderful way to ensure the continuation of an institution that has brought so much pleasure to so many over the last 90 years.

We acknowledge with deep gratitude legacies from the estates of the late Dr Jill Gandy, to be used to enable courses dear to her heart, and from Lady Catherine Craufurd, also the gift of instruments and music from Iris Barnes. Sadly I record the death of John Edeny, trombonist and euphonium player, a former tutor who first came to Benslow in Keith Stent’s day and visited regularly until quite recently, who many will remember with fondness.

We welcome Michael Newstead who has joined the team of Library volunteers and is proving most helpful. If you feel able to devote some (however little) time, please consider providing further assistance to our Library, particularly as we work towards bar-coding of every item and rationalising the collection, and get in touch with us via library@benslowmusic.org. And thinking Library, we are most grateful to a Member for devoting several day’s help in reorganising books in the Dining Room and Ibberson.

Orla White has joined our administrative team as a volunteer for two afternoons a week, providing valuable and much needed assistance to Chris and his colleagues as we await the arrival of a new Music Administrator to replace Shadia El Tabch. Shadia left us in mid-January for a marketing post in Biggleswade - I am most grateful on behalf of us all for everything she did to support and promote our work so successfully.

Peter Hewitt, Chief Executive