Chairman's Blog April 2021
Hello and welcome to this month’s blog.
Firstly – some personal news! At the end of this month, I step down from my role as Chairman and Musical Director, and from being a trustee of the Museum. At the end of April, I take on a new role in my day job, which will be both very exciting but also very demanding and will involve a steep learning curve. Realistically, I cannot continue to do justice to both my operational role and my roles at the Museum and so with regret, the day job must take precedence.
The Museum needs strong and consistent leadership in the challenging times in which we find ourselves, as do all the people both volunteers and paid staff who put in so much effort to make the place a success. In the light of my new external commitments, it is therefore an appropriate time at the two-year anniversary of my Chairmanship to hand over the reins to my elected successor, Steve Barrett-White. The Museum has a bright future, but there is a lot of hard work still to do, and I know that Steve and the Board of Directors are very much up for this - Steve is a bundle of energy and ideas and will lead the Board and the Museum in its next phase of development and growth. I wish all the members of the Board good luck in the coming years as they take the Museum on its journey, and I would like convey my very best wishes for their future success.
Looking back over the 11 years I have been associated with the Museum, I have seen a lot of change happen in the organisation and met a lot of interesting people. I started originally as a volunteer at the Museum when it was looking for someone to take on the post of organist, and was introduced to the Museum by Len Rawle with whom I was studying at the time. Len thought the Museum’s beautiful Wurlitzer would suit my style of playing and how right he was. It certainly has been an honour and a privilege to play this world-famous instrument and be its custodian for these past years. I have had the opportunity to play the organ for a whole range of events, to broadcast it on radio, TV and of course make two CDs. I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing musicians and join them in concert as well as having a few heart-stopping moments at different times when things haven’t quite gone to plan. Certain concerts stick out in my mind as being very special – some of the Christmas concerts we have produced have to be in the list of events of which I am very proud – particularly Christmas in Vienna and A Neapolitan Christmas. The Hollywood Glamour concert featuring Kathy Craig, principal violin with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and narrated by Alan Dedicoat was very special, the fundraising concert for the RNLI and of course the memorial concert for former trustee Frank Fowler was another highlight for me.
I was asked by the Board to take on the role (initially in a temporary capacity) to lead the turn round of the Museum’s fortunes, when the Museum was in a particularly difficult situation - and with the help of the Board, paid staff and volunteers, we have turned a corner and faced the situation in which we find ourselves. We have embraced technology as a means of addressing the future and created an organisation which is now capable of preserving the unique collection of instruments which make up the Musical Museum and telling the story of music reproduction in a way which will engage with not just a select few but a global audience. I leave the Board of Directors and the Museum in a much stronger position than when I took on the role which is a considerable source of both relief and personal satisfaction to me. I could not have done this without the total support of my fellow trustees who placed their faith in my recovery strategy and for that, I am both humbled and grateful.
And so to the future. I look forward to reading the next blog post, which will be Steve’s first – doubtless featuring (I hope) some good news about our plans to finally once again re-open safely to the public and welcome visitors to the Museum in person once again. The team have been working continuously, as best as is allowed under the current guidelines, to complete the decorating and restructuring work at the Museum so that we have a revitalised look and feel that reflects the optimistic spirit of the organisation and appeals to a broad audience. We’ve continued to live stream concerts, and our YouTube channel is slowly building a dedicated audience – something that will form an important part of our strategy going forward.
I would like to thank everyone for their help, support and friendship during my time at the Museum, as indeed I would like to thank all the paid and volunteer staff over the years who have been equally supportive and encouraging in all I have tried to do for the Museum. Please continue to support them all in keeping the Museum open, alive and constantly evolving to meet the changes the world throws at us. I will be keeping an interest in the Museum from afar, and once my days of hectic, full-time commitments are over, then perhaps I may once more walk through the hallowed portals of the Musical Museum
My thanks and very best wishes to you all.