President's Annual Report 2008

President's Report - for the Society's 28th Year from 1 January to 31 December 2008

Dear Members

I am pleased to present the President's Report for 2008, the 28th year of the Wagner Society in New South Wales Incorporated.


The Society's 2008 functions were generally held in the Goethe-Institut, and included: 

  • in February, Alan Whelan gave an illustrated talk on Wagner's 3-month visit to Russia in 1863;
  • in March, Warwick Fyfe spoke about his study tour in Europe in November 2007, as the 2007 Bayreuth Scholar;
  • in April, Glenn Winslade spoke about his experiences singing in Bayreuth;
  • in May, we held our AGM at the Paddington Uniting Church, which included a recital by students from the Conservatorium of Music, accompanied by Sharolyn Kimmorley;
  • in July, Peter Bassett gave a talk on Lortzing's singspiel Hans Sachs, and its connections with Die Meistersinger;
  • in August, we helped organise a recital by Lisa Harper-Brown and Warwick Fyfe at St Stephens Uniting Church in Macquarie Street, accompanied by Stephen Mould;
  • in September we held two functions: Dr Robert Gibson gave a talk on the life and music of Richard Strauss at the Paddington Uniting Church; and Christopher Brodrick, the President of the Wagner Society of New Zealand, gave a talk on Wagner and the visual arts;
  • in October, Associate Professor Goetz Richter gave a talk on Nietzsche and Wagner; and
  • at the end of November, we held our end-of-year party a little earlier than usual.

Prior to some of the meetings at the Goethe-Institut, we showed excerpts of DVDs.


The accounting firm WalterTurnbull kindly agreed to continue to audit our annual accounts 'pro bono'. I'd like to thank WalterTurnbull, its Executive Director Mr Mark Driessen, and Mr Christopher Ritchie, for their generosity and diligence in undertaking this work on our behalf. I'd also like to acknowledge our thanks to Ms Julie Carroll, who approached WalterTurnbull on our behalf and has secured their services.


We continue our good relations with the German Consulate, the Consul General, and with the Goethe-Institut, and we thank the Institut's Director, Klaus Krischok, and its officers and staff for their continued help and support. 
We provide financial assistance each year to the Bayreuth Scholar, who is selected by Opera Foundation Australia and in 2008 was Cameron McKenzie, and are very please to be able to support students from the University of Sydney Conservatorium of Music and other young singers with German Language scholarships to study at the Goethe-Institut, and in some cases with contributions towards the cost of their overseas study.

There are many people in the Society I wish to thank, and foremost among them special thanks go to the members of your Committee who worked so hard on your behalf throughout 2008 - our Vice President, Julian Block, our Honorary Secretary Alan Whelan, our Honorary Treasurer Michael Moore, and our committee members Gaby Bremner-Moore, Terence Watson and Dennis Mather. 
I'd particularly like to give Terence Watson, our Newsletter editor, special thanks. I regularly receive favourable comments about the high standard of our Newsletter from members and from Wagner Societies within Australia and overseas, and I'd like to commend Terence for his hard work on our behalf.

Special thanks are also due to Renata and Herman Junkers who give so generously of their time to provide the afternoon teas at our functions; to John Studdert our web-master, whose work on the web-site is also the subject of praise from other Societies; to our newly-returned Ravens, Camron Dyer and Richard Mason; and to Alasdair Beck, our Public Officer. I'd also like to thank those members who come early to our functions and lend a hand setting up the tables for afternoon tea, and with the name tags.


And finally I would like to thank you, our members, whose commitment to the Society and support for our functions, ensures that we can continue to promote the works of Richard Wagner, to provide scholarships and assistance for young artists, including the Bayreuth Scholar, and to further the aims of our Society.

Your continuing support and encouragement keeps our Society strong. Thank you all.

Roger Cruickshank, 20 January 2009
(This report will be tabled at the Society's 2009 Annual General Meeting, scheduled for Sunday 24 May 2009)