Welcome to our Autumn 2021 Newsletter which supplements the Quarter 4 2021 Diary, that has been delivered to every household. If you did not receive your diary or would like another one, further copies are available from St James and at many locations around the Island. The details are also on our website at www.stjames.gg.
Following an extended period when we were unable to bring UK and international performers to Guernsey, we are delighted that the relaxation of border restrictions means that this is now possible and the diary includes details of several sought after artists from the international stage, not least our ever popular series of Comedy nights. These are generally sell-outs, so do remember that St James Members have priority booking on these, and on most other St James promotions, and book early.
This Quarter, our flagship events are the four nights with the Shakespeare’s Globe, on 26th to 29th October. Their first visit in 2019 was such a success that we invited them back in 2020 but, sadly, had to postpone their visit because of Lockdown. However, we are really excited to welcome them back this month, not least because this is the only tour that they have been able to schedule outside London this year. Moreover, they will be performing three of Shakespeare’s most popular plays: The Tempest, As You Like It and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. For their final night, it is the audience that will decide which of those three plays will be performed. Whichever play is cheered most loudly will be performed that night and the players will immediately revert to their acting roles. This last night is expected to be as exciting and chaotic this year as it was in 2019 so do come along and enjoy the occasion. Tickets for all four nights are still available, though they are selling fast, so do not delay if you want to avoid disappointment.
While the major renovations to the hall were completed earlier this year, we have been waiting for the plasterwork to finally dry out before the final repainting can be completed. We knew that this was going to take some months, but the contractors have now told us that it could take a matter of years at the current rate of progress. Clearly, we do not wish to be looking at discoloured plasterwork for years and so we have commissioned two artists to create some photographic based artwork to be hung in front of the discoloured plasterwork and create an additional feature in the hall. Do look out for the results in the coming months!
We have also been making some necessary adjustments to the lighting and the fire exits in order to meet the requirements of our Salle Publique licence and these should be completed by the time that this newsletter is published.
The Piano and the Organ
We are delighted to report that the grand piano in the hall has had a major service by Steinway and is now sounding great in time for our Autumn events. In addition, the organ has been restored to full working order by the organ manufacturers, who needed to fit a complete new “motherboard” to replace the one which had failed earlier in the year.
Those who have been to recent events may have noticed that the organ has now been moved from the front corner of the hall to the gallery, where it has greater protection from other operations in the Hall. Our consultations with local organists also led to a consensus that this would be a positive move, so that the organists can hear more clearly the music being delivered to the audience. The organ was moved in time for the repair work so that the organ engineer could ensure that the instrument was running well in its new location.
In fact, we believe that the organ is sounding better than ever, since it is now running through our new PA system, rather than the aging speakers which have been used since the organ was installed about thirty years ago. We do hope you will agree when you come to some of our festive concerts and hear the organ in full flow accompanying Christmas carols.
Since the previous newsletter, our chef, Colin Samson, has left us for another position and, like many other Guernsey establishments, we have not yet been able to recruit a successor. As a result, we reluctantly decided that we would need to close the café for daytime service for the time being, until we could find a permanent replacement. However, we are still able to service evening events in the café as well as our corporate functions, using external caterers. We hope to bring further news in the next newsletter.
Since the last Newsletter here have been two further team changes. Luciano Chavez has moved on to another position following the closure of the Café. However, we are pleased to welcome Billy Devaney, who has joined the team in a trainee role.
Annual General Meeting
Our Annual General Meeting is in November as usual, and will be held on Thursday 18th November at St James at 6.00 pm. Please note that this is one hour earlier than announced in the previous Newsletter and is to enable those wishing to attend the concert at 7.30 pm that evening to do so.
This is your opportunity to find out more about how St James is progressing and to hear about the Council’s plans for the future. As usual, there will be the opportunity to join the President and Council for a glass of wine at the end of the meeting and to continue the conversations in an informal context, before continuing to the concert for those who have tickets for the performance that evening. All St James Members are very welcome to attend.
The AGM is when we elect our Council for the coming year. If any Member would be interested in joining Council or would like to know more about what is involved please contact Stephen Ainsworth by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling St James. Nomination forms are available from St James by calling St James or emailing email@example.com.
Please take this Newsletter as the formal Notice of the AGM. Copies of the Agenda, of last year’s Minutes and the Accounts will be available by calling St James or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Full papers will also be available on the night at the AGM.
As well as the usual business of the AGM there will also be a proposal to enable more than one Vice President to be appointed, and for Vice Presidents to be appointed by Council (in the same way that Board Members are appointed). This proposal is being made by the Board in order to make the Vice Presidency role more attractive. It removes the implication that any single Vice President will be expected to become President in due course, given that able potential Vice Presidents are reluctant to put themselves forward on the current basis.
If you wish to send apologies or to nominate a Proxy, again please contact St James or email email@example.com.
We hope to see as many of you as possible on 18th November.