A Message from Murray McLachlan - EPTA UK Chair
Dear EPTA UK members
It is with deepest regret that I write to confirm to you all that I will be stepping down both as editor of Piano Professional and as chair of our wonderful association from 31 December 2020. I plan to stay on as a trustee till the AGM on 31 January and will continue to support the management and EPTA UK always. I remain fiercely loyal and committed to our amazing charity.
With both Kathryn and myself retiring from the management committee on 31 January there will be a grand total of four trustees on the new committee who have been in post for longer than a year. To ease the transition and ensure that calmness and continuity prevails, I am delighted to announce that at a special management committee meeting last week Mark Tanner was elected as interim chair, with Karen Marshall as interim vice chair. They will take up these positions formally from 1 January 2021 onwards and it was unanimously felt in the committee that they should remain in these positions for at least six months until elections under guidelines stipulated in EPTA UK’s memorandum of association take place as required.
Mark and Karen work well together and have collaborated professionally on books with great acclaim and effortless ease. They are an outstanding double act. They are extremely experienced, talented and will continue the positive direction of EPTA UK having sat in meetings on numerous occasions. Mark is a remarkable polymath: a virtuoso pianist; an unbelievably prolific and successful composer of educational music that has been used by more than two major exam boards; an author, presenter, course leader, teacher and adjudicator. He is also an extremely calming presence and personality who listens to the views of others. Karen is equally remarkable: she is an extraordinary, warm, inspirational, creative and highly successful author, teacher, music educator. Karen is a passionate believer in members and the needs of pupils and teachers. Her knowledge on areas such as dyslexia and special needs is second to none.
Together Mark and Karen will unquestionably be a perfect interim partnership to steer and guide EPTA UK forward with serenity, inspiration and tremendous care and love. Going forward they will provide EPTA UK with all the stability and organised progress that it needs.
I have been chairing EPTA UK meetings and editing Piano Professional since 2006, and it has been a great pleasure, honour and privilege to work for you all in these capacities. Rest assured EPTA UK is in a wonderful place in December 2020. When I started as chair we were financially in the red, with dwindling membership. We are now in a sound financial position and numbers are close to the peak membership of 2012 when we exceeded 1,500. We are respected in the broad musical community and we are continually improving at communication, PR and administration and, most importantly, duty of care for members. There is colossal talent and goodwill on the management, and we have exciting new trustees set to join the committee subject to approval/confirmation at January’s AGM.
EPTA UK has been able to support its members through 2020 and, through the tremendous commitment of the management committee, as chair it has been a huge relief to see that our association has managed to support membership and their pupils and families as best we can. We have the excellent, caring, intelligent and crystal clear organisational support of Murray Wells our treasurer as well as a great admin team with Ann Burden, Carole Booth, and more recently, Liz Giannopoulos, as superb stalwarts. Early on in lockdown the COVID-19 committee under the chair of Karen Marshall went much further than an extra mile to support the membership, and our new webinars, instigated by Anthony Williams and superbly supported after the initial stages by Nicole Wilson of Musical Orbit have been a spectacular success. Above all else, EPTA UK has proved to be a caring, members-first style charity. We are not in the business of being coldly corporate and uncaring. Our administrators always put the individual members first. Indeed, on more than a few occasions during the first few weeks of lockdown Ann Burden in particular went out of her way to give direct advice and support to members who had not used zoom before, directly guiding them over the telephone to be able to connect with students and so continue giving piano lessons.
Let me say categorically that I am passionately devoted to EPTA UK and love the association dearly. It is not without a very heavy heart that my decision has been made, but it is unquestionably the right decision. Health, family friends, love and joy are what come first. I do hope you will understand, and I look forward to continuing to support our amazing charity wholeheartedly. I will remain a stalwart and dedicated member and supporter, not only of EPTA UK, but also of the wider international EPTA family that continues to expand and flourish globally.
Rest assured my heart will always be with EPTA members and the needs and aspirations they and their wonderful pupils have. Happy holidays when they come, and happy teaching too- and all the very best- for 2021 and beyond.