presented to the Annual General Meeting on Monday 6th June 2016

The following Report has been forwarded to OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator), as required by charities legislation. The detailed accounts, independently examined and approved, are not included here but were presented at the Annual General Meeting. They are available for public scrutiny on application to the Treasurer at the address given below.

Trustees’ Annual Report for the Year ended 31 March 2016

Scottish Charity Number: SC005562

Trustees: James Coutts chairman, Alastair Ritchie secretary/notice board/calendar, Jimmy McInnes vice chairman, Pat Crook programme secretary, Michael Hitchon treasurer. Affiliated groups nominate a representative to serve on the Executive Committee.

Contact Address: c/o Michael Hitchon, Treasurer, 1 Barns Terrace, AYR, KA7 2DB.


Recruitment and Appointment of Trustees: The Guild’s Trustees are either nominated by affiliated groups or appointed/reappointed by the members at the Annual General Meeting.


Governing Document: The Guild is an association and the purposes and administration arrangements are set out in its Constitution.


Charitable Purposes: The Guild’s purposes as recorded in its Constitution are: to promote, encourage and foster public interest in the study, practice and knowledge of the Arts within the area and other dramatic, literary, musical, educational and cultural purposes connected therewith.


Activities and Achievements: In conjunction with Ayr Jazz Club, the Guild promoted the Italian-born Jazz Pianist Rossano Sportiello in a programme called: The Art of Jazz Piano – Improvisation through The Great American Songbook and beyond, featuring the music of Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, George Gershwin & more. He was phenomenal and there were calls to bring him back in November 2017. “Superb! Wasn’t sure what to expect but it was great! Absolutely brilliant. Let’s do it again sometime. We want MORE! Please come back again! We loved it! You must come back! Great performance. An excellent evening of world-class jazz piano with some classical for good measure. We hope Rossano Sportiello returns soon. Congratulations also to all those involved in the organisation which went off without a hitch.”


The Guild was asked to present an informal Sunday afternoon concert in the Council Chamber in February 2016. It featured Cantanti, a group of local people who just love to sing. Their programme of Songs for a Sunday Afternoon proved very popular, as the group has a loyal local following. The feature of providing afternoon tea reportedly described as ‘delicious’, was again welcomed and gave an opportunity for the musicians to mix and talk to their audience.


The Guild arranged and promoted the 29th Joint Ayr Concert Series of six orchestral concerts in Ayr Town Hall for South Ayrshire Council with financial support from South Ayrshire Council and Enterprise Music Scotland supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland. The season opened with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Martyn Brabbins. It featured the leader Laura Samuel and associate leader Kanako Ito playing J S Bach’s sparkling Double Violin Concerto, preceded by Ginastera’s Variaciones Concertantes and ending with Schumann’s Fourth Symphony. “BBC SSO in top form. Double violin concerto superb.”


The Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Joseph Swensen marked the 150th anniversaries of Sibelius and Nielsen. Alison Mitchell played Nielsen’s Flute Concerto between Sibelius’s Pelléas et Mélisande and his Third Symphony. “A stormer of a production of Sibelius 3. The Nielsen flute concerto was outstanding. Programme notes were helpful.”


Jamie MacDougall was presenter at the Christmas Classics 2015 concert by the BBC SSO conducted by Richard Balcombe (full house). “I enjoyed a lovely evening. Wonderful concert. Excellent night. Audience participation was much appreciated. The support from all your helpers allowed everyone to enjoy the break and refreshments. Congratulations to all concerned. Felt privileged to have had the chance to experience this wonderful orchestra in such an easy venue. This allowed us to go as a family which was wonderful.”


Joseph Swensen was director and violin soloist at the SCO’s New Year in Vienna concert. He played Massenet’s beautiful Meditation from Thaïs and Three Romances for Violin and Orchestra by Clara Schumann. The usual diet of Strauss waltzes and polkas were augmented by dances by Brahms and Dvořák plus Rossini’s Overture, The Thieving Magpie. “A ray of sunshine on a dark winter’s night! Delightful! We travel from Saltcoats and appreciate the concerts in Ayr. Well done Ayr Arts Guild! We loved your concert. First time in Ayr Town Hall . . . and we will certainly be back for more.”


The Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Clemens Schuldt played a magnificent concert with Ligeti’s Concert Romanesc, Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto featuring principal David Hubbard, and ending with Brahms Fourth Symphony. “The bassoon concerto was the highlight for me. A coach of really inspired people – all delighted with the concert, the RSNO and Clemens Schuldt. We feel privileged to hear such top class music in Ayr. Many thanks for organising evenings like this. We particularly enjoyed the Ligeti. Excellent concert in a beautiful hall. We appreciated the good acoustics of Ayr Town Hall and a more homely and ‘in touch’ atmosphere to our usual jaunts to Glasgow Concert Hall. Well done and we look forward to the next visit. This evening’s concert was a triumph from the first note to the last. This fine orchestra was in magnificent form. The Mozart was a triumph of subtlety in a wonderfully stylistic and refined performance of the bassoon concerto – delicious in all ways. After the interval . . . one of the two best performances I have ever heard of this magnificent symphony. The attention to detail and profound music making was really impressive . . . we had massive climaxes perfectly managed – wonderful orchestral balance made them thrilling and never ‘noisy’, a truly memorable concert by any standards and would have been worthy of the Edinburgh or Vienna Festivals. Bravo! It was the finest concrt I ever heard in Ayr Town Hall.”


The Series was brought to a climax with the BBC SSO playing Telemann’s Ouverture-Suite in C Major, Haydn’s Sinfonia concertante, Mozart’s Divertimento in F major for strings and Beethoven’s First Symphony. Leader Laura Samuel was director with section principals Stella McCracken, oboe, Julian Roberts, bassoon and Martin Storey, cello, in an evening of superb music making. “Once again the concert hit international standards. The four soloists were magnificent and the BBC SSO played, as we have come to expect, magnificently. This was another triumph! Excellent Concert Series, enjoyed them all. The music and soloists were fantastic. The whole season has been great and we are looking forward to next year’s concerts. Well organised as usual.”


Membership reached 266 individual members (including 4 honorary members), and there were 90 groups (including 57 affiliated groups and 33 subscribing groups for advertising).


Bill Grierson Awards to assist young people attending a short course were awarded to Fern Mackay to study dance and to Ines Mayhew-Begg to study singing in summer 2015. The Bill Grierson Award is a Permanent Endowment Fund, and was boosted by two donations this year.


The Guild is grateful to Enterprise Music Scotland and to South Ayrshire Council for financial support during the year. Any surplus may be applied to the planning and promotion of future events. There are two Reserve Funds. One is a Restricted Fund ring-fenced and specifically dedicated to Ayr Concert Series. The other Reserve Fund is an Unrestricted Fund. The AAG Arts Centre Fund is an Unrestricted Fund.


The Guild has planned the 30th Joint Ayr Concert Series 2016/17 in Ayr Town Hall on behalf of South Ayrshire Council, six dates having been pencilled in by December 2015. The Guild continued to seek a 3-year Service Level Agreement, as recommended by the Scottish Government in the Joint Statement on the Relationship at Local Level between Government and the Third Sector, September 2009, endorsed by the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives, Scotland. Unfortunately the Council Budget cut the investment in the Joint Ayr Concert Series by 50% for 2016/17. It offers a challenge to maintain the high standard reached in the 29th Series.


Ayr Arts Guild is willing to provide its event management expertise to continue to arrange and promote the Joint Ayr Concert Series on behalf of South Ayrshire Council but does require financial support to the flagship event in Ayr Town Hall, flagship building of Ayr Common Good Fund.


The Guild continued to rent the store at 1 Craigie Road, Ayr, KA8 0HB.


Trustee Remuneration and Expenses: The Trustees did not receive any remuneration. Officers who are also Trustees received reimbursement for expenses incurred.


Volunteers: The Guild estimated that the Ayr Concert Series and other Concerts involved Donated Services of more than 1800 hours.


Reserves: The Ayr Concert Series Reserve Fund was strengthened following the successful 29th Joint Ayr Concert Series.

The AAG Reserve Fund benefitted from fees and grants.

The AAG General Fund benefitted from the subscription rates agreed by the Trustees.

The AAG Arts Centre Fund benefitted from a successful year.


Approved by the Trustees and signed on their behalf:

G Michael Hitchon MBE, Treasurer

6 June 2016 Scottish Charity Number: SC005562