The ULMS Annual General Meeting takes places in the fifth week of second term each year. It’s where we review the previous year, discuss changes to the society’s Constitution and – importantly – elect our new Committee for the coming year!
Normally, the end of first term and beginning of second term would be the time when current Committee members raise awareness about the AGM at rehearsals, so anyone interested in running could find out more about the role. However, this has not been the case this year – so keep on reading to find out about the available roles, what they entail and what our current Committee think of their time in their roles.
As president, my role is to manage Committee, and generally be the face of the society. This involves chairing of meetings, communicating with the students’ union, resolving issues, organising concert bookings, and answering questions that anyone may have. It can be quite a challenging role, however it has taught me many new skills.
I ran for committee because I had previously held the positions of technician and treasurer, and thoroughly enjoyed both years. I found the more time I put into my previous roles, the more rewarding they were. Because of this, I decided to go a step further, which ended up being president!
It’s by no means been a normal year, however it was great to work with committee to adapt for the current circumstance and make the most of our time. I especially enjoyed working on the creation of our ‘Virtual Summer Showcase’ which demonstrated the society’s ability to pull together even if we couldn’t meet in person. I have no doubt that the society will soon spring back into its normal routine and continue to grow year after year. – James Beadle
As secretary, normally I would be responsible for block room bookings each term to allow for rehearsals in the JHR (Jack Hylton Room), Dalton Room and Chaplaincy. I also organise the weekly Committee meetings and take the minutes.
Having been a member of ULMS since the start of my first year in Lancaster and jointly taking on the role of social secretary with Amaia (String Orchestra Rep), I wanted to take on another role on the committee. I felt that secretary was a good role for me as I am quite organised, not that I’ve had much chance to prove that this year! I wanted to make sure that ULMS continued to run as smoothly as possible and hoped that I would be able to allow this to happen.
Being Secretary this year, taking minutes from an online meeting has been particularly interesting, and will be a challenge for the upcoming AGM. It has however meant that organising meetings has been significantly easier as generally people have not had much else going on in the week! – Louise Frankland
The Treasurer is responsible for monitoring the society’s finances. This includes keeping track of membership fees and concert takings, reimbursing any expenses from members, and providing weekly updates to the rest of Committee as well as an annual update to the entire society at the AGM.
Since my very first rehearsal I’ve gotten so much out of ULMS and it’s lovely to have an opportunity to give back. Despite the reality of this role in the current pandemic, being treasurer of one of the largest societies on campus is a huge responsibility, but also a role in which you can really help the society grow. My time as treasurer unfortunately hasn’t been quite as I’d hoped but I couldn’t recommend being on ULMS Committee enough. If you’ve got a head for numbers and the stomach to say no to spending our entire budget on soft toys for mascots, run for ULMS treasurer! – Verity Bennett
Ensembles reps are responsible for the general admin and organisation of their ensemble. This includes sorting out music and selecting pieces; setting up for rehearsals; liaising with conductors and acting as a general point of contact for members of the ensemble – this is normally through Facebook updates. Different ensembles also participate in different events throughout the year. Here are our reps’ thoughts on their time in Committee:
Big Band: Alongside university events, Big Band also participates in the Great North Big Band Jazz Festival. I decided to run for Big Band rep after seeing the sense of community, fun and all round musicianship I witnessed during my first term under the previous rep. I wanted to be someone who could help to keep this going and also encourage Big Band to continue to grow both musically and socially – Toby Smith
Brass Band: Brass is another ensemble that partakes in other events outside of the society, the two main one being UniBrass and Whit Friday. Our job is to organise the transport and take the lead on the organisation of the event, with the help of the conductors.
I joined committee because I wanted to be bigger part of the society and help with the general organisation of ULMS, especially in the planning and running of concerts. Before university, I was part of the Brass Banding community so had good knowledge on how to run and manage a brass band, as well as a general passion for brass and wanting to help showcase the strengths of the band. I also wanted to be part of a community who all had the same focus, in making the society the best and most welcoming environment we can. I have enjoyed my two years on committee, and it has helped me develop organisational skills and get a better understanding on managing things I would never have done otherwise, such as booking coaches for external trips and the planning of an annual concert. – Lizzy Morritt
I decided to run for the committee last year because I had already been a Brass Band rep in 2018/19 and really enjoyed the experience. Being in the role gives you the chance to impact what the band does and make the members’ experience as enjoyable as possible. It’s also a great way to improve your leadership, planning and teamwork skills, and is a brilliant voluntary role to put on your CV! Although it’s been disappointing not to have been able to meet as normal, distance recording has been a fun new experience to learn. However, my favourite moment of the year was being able to meet in person with a small brass ensemble right before the November lockdown to record some hymns for Remembrance Day. After 8 months of not playing together, this was a real highlight! – Ella Clarke
Choir: The 2019/20 academic year saw the establishment of a brand new concert: the Choirs Concert! I ran for the role because I’ve been in choirs for forever and I liked the idea of seeing how they work from an internal perspective. – Emma Isaksen
String Orchestra: What made me run for committee? You get to take part in Committee debates making decisions about the society as a whole. The community in ULMS, and all the lovely people in it, made me want to be more involved! Seeing how Committee and the conductors worked together this year to put together full online concerts was very impressive. – Amaia Imaz Blanco
Swing Group: In my first year, I ran for Committee because it was suggested to me by the previous two reps. By that point I was already pretty committed to the society and enjoyed going to Swing Group every week, so I decided to go for it. Obviously it worked out okay as I decided to run again a second time! I decided to carry on as I was feeling confident in the role and was enjoying working with my lovely conductors and band members.
As I’ve been the Swing Group Rep for two years, I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced what it’s normally like as well as how it’s been the past year. Swing group usually takes part in the Freshers’ concert and Summer Showcase as well as a Christmas jazz concert and playing for a swing dance social. Although this year was very different and nothing can really compare to the feeling of playing together live, I did enjoy seeing what we could create digitally. I was really happy with what Swing Group managed to produce for the two virtual concerts, and it’s nice to have a recording that you can listen to over and over again. – Katie Farr
Wind Band: We wanted to get involved more in the society by being part of the committee and helping to run the society was a great opportunity! The Wind Band representatives role meant that we could run as a pair, which was helpful as we can split the time commitment and responsibility between us, as well as having an extra pair of hands to set up. This is quite a challenge at first as it’s hard to remember which instruments go where etc, but it gets easier! – Zoe Hopper and Caitlin Rees
small groups rep
The role of small groups rep is to monitor how all the society’s small groups are doing, update the rest of the committee about their progress, and help them out if they need it. This might include organising gigs and rehearsals, and supporting anyone who wants to create a new small group.
The reason I wanted to run for Small Groups Representative in particular is that I have really enjoyed playing in some of the small groups within the society, particularly as they can offer such a different musical experience to the major ensembles. For example, I have been heavily involved in Inglourious Brassterds, having written many of their arrangements, and supported the establishment of Sax Choir. Given my involvement in small groups and the degree to which I have enjoyed it, I wanted to help ensure that all the society’s small groups can continue to be successful and offer their own unique experiences, as well as continuing to support any potential new small groups. – Nathan Wright
As PTM Coordinator, my role is to manage the music teaching side of ULMS. I keep track of all the current students and teachers through spreadsheets, and make sure that the students are paying, and the teachers are getting paid for these lessons. When we get new students interested in learning, I match them up with an appropriate teacher, or try to find a new teacher if we don’t already have one. We also have a collection of music books within PTM that I keep a log of, which can be taken out to use during lessons or for practice.
As a member of the majority of our major ensembles and a few small groups, I thought I would be a valuable, unbiased voice to have on Committee, who could represent quite a large proportion of the society at once. I went for the role of PTM Coordinator because I am passionate about people learning music. Most of us in ULMS wouldn’t be where we are today if we hadn’t had access to music lessons, and I think it’s really important that we give this opportunity to as many people as possible throughout the university by running this affordable and welcoming music teaching programme! – Emily Hinks
Being Social Secretary involves organising the society’s social calendar! Whether they be traditional society socials – such as the Summer and Winter Balls, Committee Handover meal or the Carolling Bar Crawl – or more laid back events, such as film or games nights, the Socials Secretary is in charge of booking rooms, setting up and making sure they have all necessary equipment, and generally overseeing and coordinating the event.
We ran for socials because they have always been what brings the society together as a whole and represent what we believe to be a core part of ULMS. The job is fun because you see how your work results in fun for everyone else! Obviously, the role has changed somewhat this year with things being online, but it has still been great to bring people together. – Isha Robbie and George Allin
In a normal year, the Technician has a variety of responsibilities, including maintenance of society equipments; recording events and concerts; and, importantly, managing equipment hire to members of both the society and the wider university.
Before I was Technician, I already knew a lot about the responsibilities of the role. I have been a member of ULMS for the entire duration of my degree – and the main reason I ran for the role was to give back to the society in some way. – Tom Grainger
My role is to communicate the society’s concerts, events and updates to the public. That means that I am in charge of all official social media – particularly on Facebook, but also on Instagram and occasionally Twitter – as well as the blog you are currently reading. I also design posters, flyers and programmes for events and am responsible for coordinating the distribution of posters around campus and in the city.
I ran for this role because it is creative – it’s been really fun to design posters and programmes for events, even if there haven’t been as many things to publicise this year. I have, however, had more experience with publicising our radio concerts exclusively online, which has meant I have worked with YouTube for the first time. Experience with social media publicity, as well as writing articles and blog posts, is also turning out to be really valuable for my degree in English Language – and even though this year has not turned out the way I expected, I have still really enjoyed meeting and working with the rest of Committee in our meetings and seeing how the society runs. – Beth Cook
We can’t be certain that the 2021/22 Committee will have a ‘normal’ year, but hopefully things will start to look up as we go into summer. If you want to run but are worried about the amount of extra work it will entail, don’t worry – you can share the workload with someone else by running as a pair.
Anyone wishing to run for Committee needs to fill in a form and send a short bio to Beth, the current Publicity Officer, by 5pm on the 8th February; you can find the form and full details of how to fill it in on the ULMS Socials Facebook Group. In the meantime, anyone wishing to ask any questions or find out more information about taking on a role in Committee can get in touch with the current members, who will be happy to help!