Name, purpose and coverage

1.    The name of the Society shall be ‘The Southern Early Music Forum’ (commonly abbreviated to SEMF) hereinafter referred to as ‘The Society’ for the purposes of this document.

2.    The object of The Society shall be the education of the public in the study, practice and appreciation of music and the allied arts, and in particular of the type known as ‘Early Music’. In furtherance of this object The Society shall have the following powers:

                   i.     to coordinate, organise, sponsor or promote concerts, recitals, broadcasts, recordings, seminars, lectures, classes,
                 workshops and courses.
                   ii.        to disseminate information relating to early music to members of The Society and others by means of a regular newsletter
                 and otherwise.
                   iii.       to print, publish and distribute books, pamphlets and leaflets relating to early music.
                  iv.        to further such charitable purpose or purposes as the Committee in its absolute discretion shall think fit.

3.  The area of coverage shall include Hampshire, Surrey, West Sussex, the Isle of Wight, East Sussex and Kent but may be amended at the discretion of the Committee.


4.   The Society shall consist of Ordinary and Institutional members.

5.   A Body Corporate or unincorporated Society may apply for membership and may be admitted by the Committee as an Institutional member of The Society without voting rights on such application.

6.    No individual shall be excluded from membership of The Society and no adult barred from any official capacity on the Committee on the grounds of sex, race, colour, age, religion, sexual orientation, disability (known collectively as protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010) or political affiliation.

7.    The Committee may, at any time, by resolution, expel any member from The Society, but before such resolution is passed, the member in question shall be given at least fourteen days notice of the date and time of the meeting at which such resolution is to be proposed and may attend at such meeting, accompanied by a friend if desired, and address the Committee prior to the moving of such resolution.

8.    A member shall be deemed to have resigned from The Society when his/her annual subscription is two years in arrears. This shall not preclude the member from rejoining at a later date.

9.    No member whose subscription is more than one year in arrears may vote at a General Meeting of The Society.


 10. The annual standard rates of subscription shall be approved by a simple majority of those present and voting at an Annual General Meeting of The Society and shall remain in force until the next Annual General Meeting being payable annually on the 1st March.  The Committee may, at its discretion, set introductory rates and discounted rates for specified classes of member (eg under 25s or over 65s) or for types of payment eg paying by standing order.

11. The subscription shall be paid to the Treasurer who shall prepare an audited or examined account of the Income and Expenditure of The Society for presentation to the Annual General Meeting following the end of each financial year.

12. The financial year shall end on the last day of February.

13. The Committee shall maintain such banking account or accounts in the name of The Society as it thinks fit and cheques shall be signed by any two of the administrative officers of The Society. The Committee may, at its discretion, authorise the Treasurer to manage The Society’s bank account on-line in accordance with the requirements of The Society’s bank. The Committee may, at its discretion, appoint one of its members as Assistant Treasurer to assist the Treasurer in managing The Society’s bank accounts.

14. The Society may receive donations, grants in aid and financial guarantees, and tickets for any events which it promotes may be offered for sale to non-members.

15. The Society may charge members for admission to events which it promotes but shall endeavour to make the charge less than that asked of non-members.

16. The income and property of The Society shall be applied solely towards furthering the objects of The Society, as defined in clause 2 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 or customary professional fees incurred on behalf of The Society.

Officers and Committee

 17. The administrative officers of The Society shall be: the Chair, the Secretary, the Treasurer, the Editor of the Newsletter and the Assistant Treasurer, if one is appointed.

18. The Society’s affairs shall be directed by a committee consisting of the administrative officers of The Society and additional elected members.

19. The Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and up to ten additional elected members of the Committee shall be appointed by the Annual General Meeting. Each such appointment shall terminate at the conclusion of the Annual General Meeting next following, and may be renewed at that Meeting.

20. The Committee may assign to Committee members such responsibilities as are needed from time to time.  It may also delegate such specific tasks as may be needed.

21. The Committee shall have the power to co-opt members of The Society to serve on the Committee from time to time as it may think fit, and to remove any member so co-opted.  Any co-option lasts until the next AGM.

22. The Chair shall preside at any Committee meeting at which he/she is present. In his/her absence the Secretary shall be the Chair and if neither is present the Committee shall elect a Chair. The Chair shall have a second or casting vote in the case of an equality of votes.

23. The quorum for the transaction of business at a meeting of the Committee shall be the Chair or his/her deputy and at least two other members of the Committee.

24. In the interests of sustainability, the Committee shall carry out as much business as possible by electronic means but shall meet at least once a year to carry out business and policies in accordance with The Society’s aims and objects.  Attendance as such a meeting may be by video-conferencing or such similar means as technology allows.

25. The Secretary shall keep minutes of the proceedings of The Society and of the Committee. Any minute of any meeting agreed by the Chair of that meeting or of the next competent meeting shall be sufficient evidence of the facts stated therein. The Secretary shall also convene Committee meetings and shall use best endeavours to notify those concerned at least fourteen days before the date of the meeting.

26. The Treasurer shall receive the subscription of the members and other income, shall make payment of accounts rendered to The Society, secure the audit or examination of the accounts, to the extent required by legislation, and provide the Secretary with a copy of the audited or examined accounts for circulation with the notification of the Annual General Meeting.

Honorary President and Vice Presidents

27. The Society may appoint an Honorary President and up to two Honorary Vice Presidents. These positions will be wholly honorary; those appointed will not be members of the Committee or Officers of The Society. Appointments as Honorary President or Honorary Vice President will be annually renewable and will be subject to vote at the AGM (or at an EGM as provided by the Constitution).

Nominations, Elections and Meetings

28. The Annual General Meeting shall be held (as far as is reasonably practicable) between May and July each year, 21 days’ notice having been given to all members. Business to be included at the meeting shall be the annual report of the Committee, the annual audited or examined statement of accounts, the appointment of officers and committee, the appointment of auditors or examiners, the acceptance of resignations of the Committee and any other business of which the Secretary has been given notice in writing.

29. The Chair shall preside at any Annual General or Extraordinary Meeting at which he/she is present. In his/her absence the Secretary shall be the Chair and if neither is present the Committee members present shall elect a Chair from amongst the Committee members present.

30. Nominations for administrative office or membership of the Committee of The Society may be made to the Secretary in writing or from the floor or chair at the Annual General Meeting and must be seconded. Administrative appointments shall be made by a simple majority of those present and voting.

31. All voting shall be by show of hands unless for any particular issue a ballot shall be decided upon by a majority of members present. The Chair shall have a second or casting vote in the case of an equality of votes.

32. Persons representing institutional members shall not be eligible for election to the Committee of The Society.

33. Persons under the age of eighteen shall not be eligible for election to the Committee of The Society.

34. The quorum for the transaction of business at an Annual General Meeting or Extraordinary Meeting shall be ten (of whom at least three shall be members of the Committee).

35. The Committee may, at its discretion, agree to call an Extraordinary General Meeting of The Society. In addition,any ten members of The Society may demand an Extraordinary Meeting of The Society, by giving the Secretary at least twenty-one days’ notice and stating the urgent business to be considered. The Secretary shall then convene the meeting by notifying all members of The Society.


36. The Society may be dissolved by a Resolution passed by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting at a Special General Meeting convened for the purpose, of which 21 days’ notice shall have been given to the members. Such resolution may give instructions for the disposal of any assets held by or in the name of The Society, provided that if any assets remain after the satisfaction of all debts and liabilities, such assets shall not be paid to or distributed among the members of The Society, but shall be given or transferred to such other charitable institution or institutions having objects similar to some or all of the objects of The Society as The Society may, with the approval where necessary of the Charity Commissioners or other authority having charitable jurisdiction, determine.


37. Alterations to this constitution shall receive the assent of two-thirds of the members present and voting at an Annual General Meeting or an Extraordinary General Meeting. A resolution for the alteration of the constitution must be received by the Secretary of The Society at least 21 days before the meeting at which the Resolution is to be brought forward. At least 14 days’ notice of such a meeting must be given by the Secretary to the membership and must include notice of the alterations proposed. Provided that no alteration to clauses 2 (Objects), 36 (Dissolution) or this clause shall take effect until the approval in writing, where necessary, of the Charity Commissioners or other authority having charitable jurisdiction shall have been obtained.

Adopted at the SEMF AGM on 25th June 2016 at Easebourne Priory by unanimous vote.
Amended version adopted at the SEMF online AGM on 25th July 2020 by unanimous vote.