Following Guernsey’s sudden Lockdown 2 we were delighted to reopen our doors at the end of March and have managed to reschedule most of the events that we were sadly unable to hold in the first quarter of this year. April and May have been very busy as a result and we hope that you have been able to enjoy many of the events that we have been able to put on. We delayed issuing our diary until we could reschedule our events programme but this has now been delivered to every household and covers an extended period until September. If you do not have your diary to hand further copies are available from St James and at many locations around the island. The details are also on our website at stjames.gg.
Brand new for this year are the Summer Sessions from 13th to 21st August, which will include both classical and contemporary themed evenings of both music and food. A special restaurant and bar will be set up on the forecourt under a custom made marquee. While the music will be in the main hall, it may spill out onto the forecourt as well. Outline details are in the diary but more information will be released on the website and social media shortly.
For the present we are enjoying the very best of local acts while border restrictions on travel remain but we are negotiating a number of UK and international acts currently and will release details just as soon as we have these confirmed. Please keep an eye out for special announcements.
We are delighted to report that the current round renovations is complete, and we no longer are trying to run an event space in the midst of a building site.
After well over a year the major renovation works to the main hall are complete and the scaffolding has gone, both inside and outside the hall. It was pleasing that the internal scaffolding was removed in December, just in time for the main Christmas concerts, though with not enough time both to clean the hall and put up the usual Christmas decorations. Unfortunately it took a bit longer to reconnect the heating system in the Gallery so carols about a “bleak mid-winter” had extra poignancy! The good news is that the heating system is now all reconnected so we are back to business as usual. The one remaining job to complete is the decoration of the internal walls, which are still discoloured because of years of damp ingress. The builders tell us that it will take a few more months before the walls have fully dried out and so that the final repainting can be done.
Also renovated is the Dorey Centre with a new heating and ventilation system and a general upgrade to all the rooms. The Café was upgraded last year and the Dorey Room and the meeting rooms have now been upgraded to the same standard. While much of this work was well under way before Lockdown 2, we were able to take the opportunity of the building being closed to the public to complete the work, with all members of the team being actively involved in the project.
The new Dorey Centre now provides a great place for meetings, presentations, parties, exhibitions and workshops. If you haven’t yet visited it, please do come and have a look. We hope that you will be impressed!
Those who have been to recent classical events may have noticed that the Organ has not been available for use. This is because the central electronic “mother board” has reached the end of its life and is no longer operational. We have consulted the organ manufacturers and agreed the repairs that are needed. However, we have been frustrated by the current restrictions on travel, which means that the organ engineer cannot yet travel from the UK to install the replacement equipment. The good news is that we have now been able to arrange for the organ engineer to visit in July to make the necessary repairs.
Once the electronics are restored we are confident that the organ will be sounding better than ever, since it will be 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 are also consulting with local organists as to whether the organ console should be moved from the front corner of the hall to the Gallery, where it would have greater protection from other operations in the hall. If this is agreed then we would move the organ at the same time as the repair work, so that the organ engineer can ensure that the instrument is running well in its new location. So, if you do not see the organ when you next visit St James, cast your eyes up to the Gallery!
Since the last Newsletter here have been two team changes. We welcome Joe Lelong, in place of Jaike Smith, who has moved on to another position. We also welcome Luciano Chavez who has joined us with a broad remit which includes not only acting as cleaner and security officer but also with a front of house role in the Café and for evening events.
Membership for All
As a Friend of St James, you may be aware that St James is a company limited by guarantee (LBG), which is governed by its Members. It is the Members who are able to elect the officers of St James and who have oversight as to how St James is run by attending Annual General Meetings. When St James became an LBG in 2014, all existing Friends were invited to become Members of St James. Many did so, but some did not. More recently, all new Friends have become Members of St James automatically. All Members of St James agree to accept any liabilities (but not exceeding £1) should they ever arise. The Board of St James has recently reviewed the Membership arrangements and concluded that it would be fairer if all Friends were Members of St James since there is no difference in annual subscriptions, whether or not they took up the invitation to do so in 2014.
Accordingly, all Friends will become Members of St James with effect from 1st July 2021 and will receive further confirmation of this when their Friends subscription is next renewed. As a Friend you need do nothing if you are content with these arrangements. However, if you are not currently a Member and do not wish to become a Member then please let us know by 30 June 2021. We will then add you to a non-Members list of Friends. If you have any questions about this note please phone St James on 01481 711360 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annual General Meeting
The next Annual General Meeting will be held in the Dorey Room at St James on Thursday 18th November 2021 at 7.00 pm. Further details will be included in the next Newsletter, but please note this date in your diaries.