|Type of post:||News|
|Posted By:||Dick Bushell|
|Date Posted:||Tue, 19 Dec 2017|
This is my last newsletter article as BHA President. I hand over to my good friend, Dan Millgate, who I am sure will lead you well. I also want to thank all members past and present of the National Council who have provided me great assistance and served all members well. Lastly, I want to thank you, the members, for your support.
When I was elected President, we made some changes. Some were necessary because of our poor financial situation, some were popular, some were not, but the National Council and I strongly believe that they were all for the betterment of our hobby.
First, we introduced annual Conventions. This had been sought for a few years by members, but we needed to make sure we could run annual Conventions profitably. After a thorough analysis, we took the plunge in 2016 in Newcastle. It was a raging success! We did anticipate a drop off in numbers (which we had already seen in Perth in 2013), and that continues. Only half of our members are attending Conventions, and that needs to improve. If you don’t attend Conventions, you are missing a lot!
Along with this we developed new awards for our groups and new events at Convention, like the Andy Aberle Mature Chorus Award, the John Little Show and the Chorus Corral. We also brought in a new Convention management model, with the National Council assuming a bigger role so that our local hosts were not re-inventing the wheel as much as they had been every new Convention.
Next, we introduced Mixed Harmony. This was largely accepted by members (around 85%), but sadly was rejected by a vocal minority who argued that we were changing the nature of our organisation. At a National level, I would say yes, and that’s a positive. In the modern world you simply can’t be gender exclusive any more. At a local level (i.e. in your Club), I doubt that much has changed for your weekly rehearsal or performances. But we now have a whole new membership base that is starting to grow and that will sustain our organisation for a long time. For the first time we have nominated a mixed chorus (Adelaide Allsorts) to represent BHA at the World Mixed Contest in Germany.
I recall the early days of my Presidency in 2014, after our poorly attended Perth Convention put our finances at risk. We had to make cuts to survive, but we have brought those services back to members, with extra activities like the Deke Sharon workshop in Sydney and the National Education Faculty Club visits. Next year the plan is to bring out International educators to assist every Club improve their singing and performance skills. We also saved money by commissioning a re-write of our website to automate the membership process. This has been very successful, especially for the Clubs using HarmonySite website software.
We’ve signed two MOU’s with BHNZ over the last couple of years, one for sharing of Pan Pac Conventions (the next one is in Auckland in 2020), and also to share the costs of our Judging program (the Australasian Guild of Barbershop Judges).
We have refined our membership recognition criteria, and with the generosity of Derek Cosburn, introduced the BHA Medal this year. Congratulations to Mike Donnelly, the inaugural recipient. We also ran COTS programs (Club Officer Training Scheme), and we had visits from International educators, such as Dr Don Campbell.
This year we needed to make some changes to our Constitution, and we took advantage of that to provide for Deductible Gift Recipient status for BHA. What this means is that any donations made to BHA are now tax deductible, and we are in the process of setting up a Foundation to manage these donated funds.
I also remember the visits we had from three magnificent International champion quartets, Vocal Spectrum (2015), Forefront (2016) and Crossroads (2017). These gentlemen are an inspiration to us all.
So, I look back and strongly believe that we have achieved improvements to our organisation that will stand us in good stead into the future.
For me, I want to thank all of you for the honour of being your President. I hope I lived up to your expectations. I will look forward to singing on the risers and in quartet, and I hope to see you around the traps sometime.