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chair report agm 2015

Young Adelaide Voices AGM

Monday 30 November 2015


Chair’s report



2015 has been an exciting year for YAV. We have continued to do what we do best – achieving excellence through mastery of new music, delighting audiences in Adelaide, inspiring our young people with the joy of making music together, and having a lot of fun while we’re doing it!


There have been many highlights, both musical and personal for YAV members – and I’m sure Christie will talk about some of them in her Artistic Director’s report. One thing I’d like to highlight briefly is the Watu festival, hosted by YAV as a choir festival for young people from across Adelaide and beyond, held for the first time in 2015.


Those who’ve sung in university choral societies will be familiar with the inter-varsity choral festival, held each year in a different Australian city – a tradition that dates back to 1950. There is something very special about coming together with people from different choirs, rehearsing intensively for a short period and taking part in a massed choral performance.  We wanted to capture some of the spirit of that and adapt it in a four-day festival with some of the activities modified to suit a younger demographic.


The festival was an outstanding success, musically as well as socially. While the months of planning seemed sometimes disproportionate to the short length of the festival itself, doing so I think has cemented YAV’s reputation as an organisation that is capable of hosting such an event in Adelaide, and also of course captured significant goodwill and successfully built on relationships that benefit YAV in many different ways.


YAV is continuing to build its reputation as Adelaide’s premier performance choir for young people, and we’re being noticed by people in high places. Since the last AGM, we’ve had distinguished guests in our audiences including His Excellency the Governor of South Australia, Mr Hieu Van Le and Mrs Lan Le (at the YAV end of year concert in December 2014) and Lord Mayor of Adelaide Martin Haese and Lady Mayoress Genevieve Theseira-Haese at the Watu concert, October 2015.  All of them were absolutely delighted by what they saw and heard.


Our choir numbers have been maintained at around 165 across the six choirs. Growth in the junior and intermediate choirs has been particularly strong.  The board feels that somewhere between 160 and 180 is a good number.  If we grow much larger we would run into capacity constraints in our current Kent Town premises.  The board is looking into options to address these, and this will be an ongoing focus in 2016.


After careful consideration, the board decided to implement a modest fee increase for the 2015 year – the first in some years – to meet increased running costs. Fortunately this had no impact on choir numbers.  The board has been mindful of the need to ensure that YAV operates sustainably, and a goal of our strategic plan is to be able to meet 100% of our regular operating expenses from our own-sourced operating revenue (including tuition fees and fundraising activities).  Over the last couple of years we’ve made significant progress towards meeting that goal.


Corporate sponsorship is of course greatly valued. Along with our individual giving program, sponsorship helps us to do things that go beyond business as usual – such as putting on a Watu festival, or all the hard work and planning that goes into an overseas tour.  It’s particularly valuable for YAV because we don’t quite fit the government arts funding programs.  But of course, sponsorship can never be taken for granted.  We are delighted to have Bendigo Bank on board as a major community partner, and equally delighted that Beach Energy has maintained its relationship with YAV this year, despite the difficult operating environment that all Australian resource companies are facing due to dramatically lower commodity prices on world markets.  On behalf of the board I’d like to record our sincere gratitude to both Bendigo and Beach, for helping YAV to do things we wouldn’t otherwise be able to do on our own.


And we are looking forward to a very exciting 2016, with a European tour – it’s hard to believe it’s been four years since the highly successful 2012 tour of the US – I’m certain this one will be equally successful.


Lastly I’d like to thank my fellow board members who’ve contributed their time over the last year, and of course to Christie, Tracy and all the musical staff who’ve done such a fantastic job in delivering the YAV experience to our young people.


Matthew Winefield

November 2015


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