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We have, I believe, had a record-breaking year. While I do not have the evidence to hand, and am not really a believer in evidence, preferring hunches or feelings in my water, I am happy to suggest that we have had a record year in expenditure, in audiences, in charitable takings, in bottles of wine consumed, and in young talent – well, the last one is the most debatable, because every year we are astounded and delighted and inspired by the talent of our local young musicians.

We have also had a record-sized committee, and I would like to register my constant amazement at the dedication and work of every member of our committee. I have been the drone of the hive of busy bees, idling around at the fringes and hogging the limelight on the night as if it was all down to me. I am eternally grateful to the commitment of the committee – very appropriately, I suppose – and, on behalf of everyone who has been to any of the concerts, thank them very much indeed.

So what have we done this Series? We started with Scottish Opera’s ‘Cinderella’ in October, a wonderful evening with not far short of 300 people – less than we would have expected if SO had not double-booked locally with Biggar Music Club a fortnight later, but a great kick-off to our programme. The Navarra String Quartet were as exciting an ensemble as I can remember, and they are, we are certain, destined for fame and fortune. Talking of which, local maestro Graeme Scott packed them in in December in a programme of classical and jazz pieces with more local talent Laurie Gray at the piano. Graeme never disappoints – and this time he excelled!

In January we were very excited to present Tommy Smith and the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. This was a concert unprecedented for the town and, while not the normal fare for many of our series ticket holders, it was a stunning performance of true virtuosity from Tommy Smith, Brian Kellock, Tam While, Alan Cosker and others – including once again our very own Graeme Scott.

Did I say ‘virtuosity’? Anyone who witnessed Ben Grosvenor’s performance on our old Joanna next door is probably still talking about it in hushed tones of near disbelief. How a 15-year-old could produce the music that that boy did almost defies imagination..

And finally our 2007-8 Series ended with a more relaxed evening at New Lanark for locally-based folk group Haggerdash.

The Charities who have been supported are
CHSA (Scotland)
Lanark Grammar School Jazz Band
Lanark Girl Guides

And we have had an excellent programme of young musicians, all wonderfully talented and enthusiastic and I reckon quite brave to perform in front of an audience of musical cognoscenti with style and aplomb! And we have been especially pleased to have forged closer links with the Music Department of Lanark Grammar School, for whom we arranged Workshops with Scottish Opera and with Tommy Smith and Alan Cosker which were, by all accounts, inspirational for all who attended. Many thanks to Mrs Elspeth Brown for her interest and contributions.

We have had vitally important support from our Sponsors, both local and from wider afield. It goes without saying that £35 + £10 for the Scottish Opera extravaganza does not in any way cover the cost of the gigs that we have presented this year, and without grants – from

Loaningdale Trust
Enterprise Music Scotland
The Communities Trust

And without the help and selfless support of the local businesses that have taken on our offer of unlimited publicity on our literature and our website (an offer they could not refuse?) in return for money, we would not be able to stay in business. Thank you

Morrison and Smith
Jacks the Ironmongers
The Lanark Doctors
I A Stewart
The Baron of Lee
Davidson and Shirley

And we hope before long to be able to recognise their generosity in a more tangible way.
Thank you......

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