Harpenden Choral Society
Affiliated to the National Federation of Music Societies
Constitution : September 2014
The name of the Society shall be Harpenden Choral Society hereinafter referred to as the Society.
The Objects of the Society shall be:
- to advance, improve, develop and maintain public education in, and appreciation of, the
art and science of choral music by any means the trustees see fit, including through the presentation of public concerts and recitals;
- to further such charitable purpose or purposes as the trustees in their absolute discretion
shall think fit but in particular through the making of grants and donations.
Membership of the Society shall be open to any adult person interested in furthering the Objects of the Society, and who has:
(i) paid the annual subscription and tuition fee at the appropriate rate or rates and in accordance with such rates and rules as shall be determined by the Committee;
(ii) successfully undergone such auditions or other tests of musical ability as the Musical Director shall from time to time arrange.
Every member shall have one vote.
The Committee has the power to terminate the membership of any individual, provided that the decision of the Committee (with the exception of (i) the individual concerned if a member of the Committee and (ii) any member of the Committee making or connected with the complaint against the individual) is unanimous both as to the termination and as to there being good reason for it, and provided that the individual concerned shall have the right to be heard by the Committee, accompanied by a friend if desired, before a final decision is made.
- Officers and Committee
The management of the Society shall be in the hands of a Committee consisting of thefollowing Officers : Chair, Secretary and Treasurer and no fewer than four other members. Each of the Officers and the other Committee members shall be elected by and out of the Society’s members at an Annual General Meeting; they shall hold office for three years (except when co-opted under clause 6(viii), in which case they shall only hold office until the AGM next following such co-option) and be eligible for re-election. The Committee members are the charity trustees.
The Musical Director may attend all Committee meetings, except when his/her position and/or remuneration are being considered.
All the arrangements for the concerts and other events and the control of finance shall be in the hands of the Committee.
In furtherance of the Objects but not otherwise the Committee may exercise the following powers:
i) power to raise funds and to invite contributions provided that in raising funds the Committee shall not undertake any substantial permanent trading activities and shall conform to any relevant requirements of the law;
ii) power to buy, take on lease or in exchange any property necessary for the achievement of the Objects and to maintain and equip it for use;
iii) power subject to any consents required by law to borrow money and to charge all or part of the property of the Society with repayment of the money so borrowed;
iv) power to employ such staff (who shall not be members of the Committee) as are necessary for the proper pursuit of the Objects and to make all reasonable and necessary provision for the payment of pensions and superannuation for staff and their dependants;
v) power to co-operate with other charities, voluntary bodies and statutory authorities operating in furtherance of the Objects or of similar charitable purposes and to exchange information and advice with them;
vi) power to establish or support any charitable trusts, associations or institutions formed for all or any of the Objects;
vii) power to appoint and constitute such advisory committees as the Committee may think fit;
viii) power to co-opt any member of the Society to fill a casual vacancy on the Committee;
ix) power (after consultation with the Musical Director) to exclude from participation in any performance by the Society any member who fails to attend three or more rehearsals for the performance without satisfactory explanation and/or fails to attend the final “dress” rehearsal unless the Musical Director has been consulted in advance and has agreed leave of absence;
x) power to do all such other lawful things as necessary for the achievement of the Objects.
- Meetings and Proceedings of the Committee
i) The Committee shall hold at least two ordinary meetings each year. A special meeting may be called at any time by the Chair, or by any two members of the Committee, upon not less than four days’ notice being given to the other members of the Committee of the matters to be discussed but if the matter includes the appointment of a co-opted member then not less than twenty-one days’ notice must be given.
ii) The Chair shall act as Chair at meetings of the Committee. If the Chair is absent from any meeting, the members of the Committee present shall choose one of their number to be Chair before any other business is transacted.
iii) There shall be a quorum when at least one third of the number of members of the Committee for the time-being, or three members of the Committee (whichever is the greater), are present at a meeting.
iv) Every matter shall be determined by a majority of votes of the members of the Committee present and voting on the question, but in the case of equality of votes, the Chair of the meeting shall have a second or ‘casting’ vote.
v) The Committee shall keep minutes of the proceedings at meetings of the Committee and any sub-committee, and shall ensure that these are stored safely, and that they are available for inspection as required.
vi) The Committee may from time to time make and alter rules for the conduct of their business, the summoning and conduct of their meetings, and the custody of documents. No rule may be made which is inconsistent with this constitution.
vii) The Committee may appoint one or more sub-committees, consisting of three or more members of the Committee, for the purpose of making any enquiry or supervising or performing any function or duty which, in the opinion of the Committee, would be more conveniently undertaken or carried out by a sub-committee: provided that all acts and proceedings of any such sub-committee shall be fully and promptly reported to the Committee.
- Equal Opportunities
No individual shall be excluded from membership of the Society or de-barred from any official capacity on the Committee on the grounds of sex, race, colour, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability or political affiliation. A reduced subscription (no greater than one third of the full subscription) is available for: under-25s; full-time students; those in receipt of income-related benefits.
i) The financial year shall end on 30 June.
ii) A banking account shall be opened in the name of the Society and cheques shall be signed and online payments authorised by such members of the Committee, not being less than two, who shall be nominated for that purpose from time to time by the Committee.
iii) The Society shall receive donations, grants in aid and financial guarantees. Tickets for any or all of its concerts and other events shall be offered for sale to the public.
iv) The income and property of the Society whencesoever derived shall be applied solely towards promoting the Objects of the Society as set forth above and no portion thereof shall be paid or transferred either directly or indirectly to any member or members of the Society except in payment of legitimate expenses incurred on behalf of the Society.
- Annual General Meeting
Within six months of the end of each financial year the members shall be summoned to an Annual General Meeting of which at least fourteen days’ notice in writing shall be given to all members.
The Committee shall present to each AGM the report and accounts of the Society for the preceding year.
Nominations for election to the Committee must be made by members of the Society in writing and must be in the hands of the Secretary of the Committee at least seven days before the AGM. Nominations shall have a proposer and seconder and the consent of the person nominated. Should nominations exceed vacancies, an election shall be held.
- Special (Extraordinary) General Meeting
A Special General Meeting (also known as an Extraordinary General Meeting), of which at least fourteen days’ notice in writing must be given to members, may be called for by the Committee or upon written request to the Secretary signed by at least two thirds of all members of the Society. The notice must state the business to be discussed.
- Procedure at General Meetings
The Secretary or other person specially appointed by the Committee shall keep a full record of proceedings at every general meeting of the charity.
There shall be a quorum when at least ten per cent of the members of the Society at the time or ten members, whichever is the greater, are present at any general meeting.
The Society may from time to time in General Meeting appoint a President and Patrons of the Society upon such terms and conditions, if any, as the Society shall think fit.
The financial accounts shall be audited or examined to the extent required by legislation or, if
there is no such requirement, scrutinized by a person who is independent of the Committee
and then submitted to the members at the Annual General Meeting next following the end of the financial year to which the same relates.
- Alterations to the Constitution
The constitution may be altered by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting at any General Meeting, provided that fourteen days’ notice of the proposed alteration has been sent to all members and provided that nothing herein contained shall authorise any amendment which shall have the effect of the Society ceasing to be a charity.
No amendment may be made to clause 1 (the name of the charity), clause 2 (the objects), clause 9 iv) (distribution of assets), or clause 15 (dissolution), without the prior written consent of the Charity Commission. The Committee shall send the Charity Commission a copy of any amendment made under this clause.
In the event of the Society being wound up, any assets remaining upon dissolution after the payment of proper debts and liabilities shall be transferred to a charitable institution or institutions having similar objects to those of the Society.