Presidents’ and Artistic Directors’ report September 2017

The past twelve months has seen the CGS work in the same routine that has served it well for decades. Regular meetings continue to be held on the first Saturday of each month (excluding January), the CGS Guitar Orchestra rehearsed and performed, and the annual summer school was held for the 23rd time.

Missing from our routine was the concert series. Its removal has saved the CGS many hundreds of dollars but of course the performances have largely disappeared. Unlike 20 years ago there are now other organisations putting on concerts so the CGS’ absence from this field has not left a void.

In the nest few months there will be a number of performances.
Ermanno Brignolo at the October meeting. Ermanno is going to play through his programme before an overseas tour.
A Guitar festival in November by Guitar Passion. This includes Guitar Trek, Andrew Blanch, Jose Maria Gallardo, Bradley Kunda, Sydney Guitar Trio with Rory O’Donoghue and others.
Andrew Blanch will be playing Antarctica next year with the Willoughby Symphony, conducted by Nigel Westlake.

It is encouraging to hear so many up and coming young players, Andrew and Ariel who played at Society concerts, a fabulous concert by Jessie Flowers at Mosman on August 3, and Andrey Lebedev making it to the finals of the GFA.

Under the direction of Janet Agostino the CGS presented successful concerts at Hopeton, Ascham and Springwood. Many thanks to all those who took part, and it is great to see that the standard of all ensembles is constantly getting better and more refined. The door takings for the Saturday June 4 concert at Acham concert were $1,670.00.  A big thanks to Fiona Charlton for her work on the door. Additionally another $180.00 collected from presales can be added to this figure. When the cost of all the rehearsals, venue hire, refreshments, administration and conductors fees are added up it meant this series ran at a loss of about $700.00. However, it is in our opinion money invested wisely.

Monthly meetings are well attended and there is always a full play list on the whiteboard. Please remember that as a courtesy to others, keep performances down to 5 minutes so that everybody gets a go. Anybody wanting to play extended works can do so at the end of the meeting. Alternatively, those preparing for major performances can contact the Artistic Director a month in advance and arrangements can be made to slot these performances into a meeting.

We wanted to let you know about one our long serving CGS members. Tig Thomas, past treasurer of the CGS, passed away in hospital on Wednesday 30th August. He was 91 years young.

 He will be long remembered for his sharp accounting acumen, huge personality, ability to remember names, welcoming and social nature, support of young players and his incredibly positive outlook on life. Up until a fortnight ago, he was still practising guitar, having regular lessons and was planning a concert at his Mosman home ‘the Manors’ with Raffaele and I in early September. He could still play F# melodic minor 3 octaves note perfectly and maintained an enviable sense of rhythm and style in all he played. His playing will be remembered for slightly excessive rallentandos at the end of each piece, plus a propensity to add a carefully placed Emin harmonic chord at the end of any piece, irrespective of the key! At the age of 80 years he produced a DVD of his playing, both solos and duos, entitled “Live in the Lounge Room”. Such was the success that at 81 years of age he produced a sequel recording, “STILL Live in the Lounge Room!”

Tig attended many Summer Schools, guitar concerts and monthly meetings, and most members knew him well. It has been an absolute privilege to know Tig and I’m proud to have had him as a student over the last 20 years – he may say that I taught him a lot about guitar playing, but in the balance of things, I know for certain that Tig taught me a lot more about life.

Vale Gilbert (Tig) Thomas.

From committee member Janet Agostino.


One way of measuring the success of the summer school would be the quality of the playing at the Finale concert. Last January this concert was musical and engaging in a somewhat cramped performance space. The concert included the second junior school and the 8 to 12 year olds joined in for the performance of ‘Game of Thrones’.

59 new members joined the CGS by attending the 2017 summer school and this saw $2,250 in membership fees flow into the CGS general account.

The total income to the summer school from 79 participants, which includes two scholarships from guitarsonline and one from the CGS, plus a $350 donation from Judy Agusti, day observers and the concert was $21,735.00. Total expenditure – for Ascham Hire, $100 towards CGS public liability, nametag holders from Officeworks, the entire kitchen supplies for the refreshments, front of house staff and the teaching staff was $21,730.72.

The Summer school returned a dividend to the CGS $4.28. There is a complete and separate record of all of these figures and this record can be audited by going through the receipt book, cheque book and bank records.

If you can think of other costs not included here, such as postage and phone calls, transport to and from the airport, accommodation for visiting tutors, etc, Richard, Raff, Janet and myself have absorbed them.

The 2018 summer school will see the return of the ever-popular Vincent Lindsey-Clark and the first visit of British virtuoso Gary Ryan. Gary will give a concert and a lecture demonstration of his music, mainly the student repertoire, which like Vincent’s is extensive and very popular in Europe.

The CGS monthly radio broadcast airs live on the third Saturday in the month at 6.00 pm on Fine Music 102.5 FM. Thanks to Sue McCreadie and Darryl Rule for their work on this program.

Thanks to Bob Talbot for organising the Hopetoun concert and the hire of the Uniting Church Hall. On occasions this involves last minute negotiations due to circumstances beyond our control.
Thanks to Claudie Moffatt for the excellent fliers and posters that advertise many of the events the Society holds.
Thanks to Graham McKinney for maintaining the CGS library.
As always, Bernard Hickey continues to do many, many small jobs that keep the Society going.
A special thanks to Dan Sharkey for his services to the CGS for more than ten years. At the 2017 AGM the members present voted to award him Life Membership.
Many thanks to those not mentioned here who dedicate time to ensure the guitar society runs smoothly.

And a general thanks to everyone for the spirit in which the monthly meetings are conducted.

The CGS mission statement is: “The Classical Guitar Society, Sydney is a non profit incorporated organisation devoted to the encouragement, expansion, appreciation and performance of music for the classical guitar”. I am confident that we have lived up to this in the past 12 months.

Our thanks to the Committee for a good year.

Raffael Agostino.   Artistic Director, Classical Guitar Society, Sydney

Christopher Keane.   President, Classical Guitar Society, Sydney.

What’s On This Month

Our next monthly meeting will be held on Saturday 3rd February 2018 at 2pm – at our regular venue – Crows Nest Uniting Church Hall,cnr Shirley Rd and Nicholson St, Wollstonecraft. There will be a playing list so please bring your guitar and your best-prepared work.  Please try to keep performances down to 5 minutes as a courtesy to others and so that everybody gets a go.

The next CGS monthly radio broadcast, ’19th Century Guitar Music – The Golden Age’ will be presented live to air by Darryl Rule on Saturday 20th January 2018 at 6.00 pm on Fine Music 102.5 FM.
You can also listen online at:
(NOTE: Our program is not currently broadcast on the digital wireless channel).

For more on the items above, click the link to our This Month page below:

Become a member / Renew your membership now!

Membership is due for renewal on the 1st of July each year. Renew using the application form, either online or in person at the next monthly meeting.

Click here to download the membership form.


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