Annual Exhibition 11-13 February 2009
Another successful Annual Exhibition has ended. It is a pleasing feature of the Society that when there are jobs to be done members come forward to do them, so that most members can feel they have had a hand in the Exhibition’s progress. The Mounting of the exhibition is a team effort, and marvelously, no-one has to be told what to do. Members, who are able, turn up by 9.30am on the Wednesday morning and extract the stands from beneath the stage in the Civic Hall; assemble them; fix the lighting, and proceed to mount the prints. The arrangements of prints on the stands was decided by a sub-group who met at Hawk Green Reading Room on Sunday 1st February; having received the prints back from the Judge on the Saturday 31st January. The Selection committee took the opportunity of viewing the Prints on the Sunday before selecting our input into the Digital Print Competition. As is now usual, the number of prints exceeds the space available to show them, so that the eight prints provided by members is reduced to six on show. It has been suggested that we should therefore reduce the number of prints per member to six, and save us all (and the judge) some effort. Members are invited to number their prints in preference order, but it is an interesting fact that numbers 7 and 8 often do better (in terms of Commendations) than earlier numbers. So obviously either the judge has got it wrong, or members have!! The principal taken in hanging the prints is to include all the commended prints, excluding instead earlier ones not Commended. It would also be unfortunate if the occasion arose when we had a reduced entry so that the space exceeded the prints available.
The Exhibition Slides were presented as a continuous back projected show to the Left hand side of the stage, whilst those prints not on display were photographed and shown as a continuous computer display to the Right hand side of the stage. Peter Redford organised the slide show presentation whilst Tony Redford took the prints away from the Reading Room, to be photographed, and arranged as a continuous projected image display. With the Exhibition set up, there were still the two competitions (now known as the "North Cheshire Challenges") to be considered. The big screen (which is stored under the stage) had to be extracted and erected, and for the Digital Print competition, the Print Display Box set up in the Hall.
On the first night the 5 prints each of the 23 competing clubs were collected, numbered (randomly), photographed (behind the curtain on the stage) then placed on tables at the back for the judge and the audience to peruse before the competition began. Whilst the judge considered the print on the light box the large digital image was projected on the screen. Peter’s clever software accumulated the results, showing, on the screen, each club’s progression as the evening proceeded. The audience near the front were able to compare the digital image with the print itself and be satisfied that there was a close correspondence. Judge Keith Brown was invited to give 19 marks to those prints he wished to see again, and choose the best print for a mark of 20: In the event he felt obliged to give several 19.5 marks. Wigan 10 were the winners of the Alan Adshead Memorial Trophy, with the Best Print accolade (plus 2 packets of A3 print paper, courtesy of Jessops) going to Margaret Sixsmith of Hoylake PS for her print “Ortolan Bunting Preening".
President Roger Dye and Peter Redford were the only two people available on the Thursday morning to re-arrange the room, removing the back tables, rearranging the front screen, and the Digital Projector in readiness for the interclub projected digital image interclub knockout competition. Twenty nine clubs had entered and we were pleasantly surprised to find that North Cheshire emerged as the winners, closely followed by Wigan 10 and Leek. Thus it was that President Roger Dye invited judge Mike McNamee to present him (Roger) with the North Cheshire Challenge Trophy. The Best image prize was awarded to Graham Ella of Stockport PS for his image "Crested Tit on Larch".
More people were available on the Friday morning to clear the stage and re-arrange the Hall, in readiness for the Friday Music at an Exhibition evening. We were slightly taken aback to find that all of the chairs had been removed and Age Concern had set up half a dozen stalls. The Caretaker assured us that he would replace all of the chairs before the evening. Had there been a good response to Age Concern these same respondents would have been able to view the print exhibition as a bonus. But the only visitors appeared to be the NCPS contingent.
Friday evening came and Romiley Operatic Society arrived in good time to assemble in the Worth Room and then, on the dot of 8.00pm, troupe onto the stage for their part. They gave a robust performance of songs from their previous shows, ending with a Pirates of Penzance sequence (their next big show at Romiley Forum in March).
After the interval Hawk Green Brass Band assembled on the stage. They have a new conductor who clearly had a rapport with his young players. He encouraged his young soloists, and then encouraged the audience to join in with claps, and for the finale, with bursting balloons to represent cannon shots. He even brought a photographic joke to share with the audience, who warmed to his humour and gave the band rapturous applause at the end.
On Saturday morning, I thought I would get there early by 9.00am, but discovered several club members already there eager to dismantle the exhibition.
So how can we possibly improve?
The refreshment team organized by Jill Hargreaves worked efficiently to give coffee, tea and biscuits to the large audiences with the minimum of fuss. Hilary Turnbull and Brian collected and arranged the raffle on each of the three nights. Members were again generous in providing the prizes. To minimize the delay/boredom of a long raffle draw, after the first night, numbers were drawn in quick succession so that winners had to be quick to get to the front to choose the best prizes. This seems to be an acceptable model for future raffles. John Ade ensured that all the lights were working for the display. Joyce Robson, Sheila and Fred Edwards manned the door desks each night to ensure that all entrants paid. Bill brought the microphones (one a radio mic) to ensure the judges remarks would all be heard; though it seems that we might have to send the judges on a short course in holding these mics closer to the mouth. We tried to get all of the stage lights on, for the Friday show but apparently we have to book them in advance and pay £25 extra – weird!!
Tony Redford took charge of the competitions, sending out the invitations, and with his team, on the Wednesday night, processing the Competition prints (and with Phil Riley and Dorothy Redford handling the prints on and off the light box for the judge). The Digital images for the Thursday Knockout Competition had been received in advance. Peter Redford’s clever program kept us all informed as images were knocked out over the several rounds. We are particularly indebted to Peter for the work he puts in to ensure a successful exhibition. I know he says he enjoys it and it keeps his dad up to scratch.
Several visitors have commented on how smoothly the competitions run and how much they enjoy the Friday Music Night. We shall have to wait a little to see how we did financially, but there was no damping the members’ enthusiasm when 41 members and wives arrived at the Tarantella Restaurant at 1.00pm on Sunday 15th February to finally put the 2009 Annual Exhibition to bed. We were especially pleased that Exhibition Judge John Smith and his wife Gillian were able to join us for this occasion.
Just about everyone in the Club had an input to the exhibition, too numerous to mention by name and still keep this report a reasonable length. We witnessed a virtual full house on each evening providing a pleasing and exciting ambience to the large hall
So what shall we do for the 2010 exhibition …………?