Welcome to the New Season at The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa which is beginning a month earlier this year on Wednesday September 6th with our first lecture – Magyars and Gypsies: Liszt and the Hungarian National Style by Rosalind Bartlett.
There’s plenty more to look forward to and to celebrate this year, this being our Silver Anniversary – 25 years since the team of six pioneers started up the NADFAS group in Royal Leamington Spa. It immediately took off and went from strength to strength, expanding into a separate afternoon session and now we find ourselves enjoying our success in the same year that, now newly rebranded, The Arts Society is celebrating its own 50th Anniversary. We shall be marking our anniversary with a special dinner in June at Walton Hall. Sir Andrew Hamilton will be our Guest Speaker and we shall hope for a glorious summer evening in that magnificent setting.
As a result of our re-branding, our website has been comprehensively revised and is now accessible on tasrls.org.uk . Do visit it to discover what’s going on. It’s a mine of information, easy to use, with useful links, and it shows how very active our society is.
As usual, you will see the busy Committee has planned Day Visits, Short Breaks and Days of Special Interest for our members. Do come early to sign up for these events on the days indicated in your programme card, bringing your chequebook with you, as they are very popular. Tickets for the first of these, a Day of Special Interest on Augustus and Gwen John, will be on sale in September and will be held in a new venue for us, the Warwickshire Golf Club, Leek Wootton. Also on sale in September are any remaining tickets for the tour of Provence, taking place in April 2018.
Our Heritage Volunteers have been busy in a number of locations, including the Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum where I am delighted to announce that the group has been awarded a Gold Star Certificate for outstanding dedication to Volunteering. This follows their West Midlands Volunteer Awards, Special Award, which they won last year. The presentation will take place in October. All Saints’ Church, Leamington Spa has now received lottery funding for an exhibition of embroidery, to take place next year. The work of our Volunteers will form a major part of the exhibition. Elsewhere, we have been busy at the Herbert Museum in Coventry and at the Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick. Two of our volunteers have completed work for St. Peter’s Barford, and a Service of re-dedication will be held in September.
Angela Watkins, who runs our gallant team of Church Recorders, is currently working with a group at St Francis of Assisi, the Roman Catholic church at Baddesley Clinton. We are always looking for new volunteers, so if you would like to join either Volunteer or Church Recording Groups, please get in touch. Contact details are on your programme card.
Edwina McConville who is in charge of Young Arts, has been very successful in obtaining a grant, which we shall match, from the Patricia Fay Memorial Fund. The money will fund an ‘artist in residence’ at Round Oak School in Leamington. Round Oak School provides for students aged 11 – 18 who have a broad spectrum of special educational needs. Since we took our break for the summer, we offer our congratulations to Romany Cavalla who is our Foundation Year Student Winner from Warwickshire College. She has received our Annual Bursary Award for 2017.
The Publicity group has been busy promoting our rebranded identity, extending our profile in the local publications and the press in various new areas. It’s proving an effective exercise in attracting new members.
We hope to organise another tea party for members as we did last year, for those who wish to get together over the winter when we have a break in our lecture programme. Do watch out for details if you are interested in attending.
You may be aware that we use software called MailChimp to email information about the Society’s activities occasionally to our members. We have made considerable cost savings by using email rather than post for these mailings and can reach over 85% of our members by this method. Please let our Membership Secretary know if you change your email address. However, messages sent by MailChimp can be perceived to be spam by some email applications. This seems to apply particularly to btinternet, hotmail and gmail accounts. Please check your spam folders regularly to ensure that you are not missing our updates. Gmail may put our emails in the “Promotions” tab. If this is the case, you can tell gmail that you value our emails by moving one to your “Primary” tab. If you find our messages in your spam folder, you may be able to mark them as “not spam” which might solve the problem.
Please let us know if you are not receiving our emails and would like to do so.
Finally and with respect, I must touch on the subject of Parking at the Spa Centre. The circle of parking at the Spa Centre is reserved for those using the Spa Centre and those using this complimentary facility must register their car details with our Membership Team at Reception. As priority must be given to the Committee above the Membership, parking in future will be reserved for the Committee only until 10.00am i.e. until an hour before the lecture starts. Thereafter, members may park in the circle if there is room and they must sign in and out at our Reception Desk. There remains provision for disabled parking and for the Speaker’s car and car parks lie not far away.
I look forward to meeting you all over the course of this season and hope you will derive great pleasure from your membership.