Information in grey boxes isn't part of the formal text of the constitution but can help in interpretation or as a link to more information.
This constitution establishes Bristol A Cappella as an unincorporated association in the UK. It is designed to allow an ensemble which is a part of All Voice Limited to also participate in affiliation to other external bodies. Ensembles which don’t need this ability should remain a full part of the company. All finance to do with the running of the ensemble will still be provided by the company as a service to the ensemble.
The name of the Ensemble is Bristol A Cappella (the Ensemble).
Bristol A Cappella will become recognised in the South West as a high-quality mixed chorus, by being entertaining performers who sing contemporary genres mainly in the barbershop style, providing enjoyment to members and emotional impact on our audiences, by being inclusive, authentic and committed to maintaining a growth mindset, by bringing to life the spirit of excellence, education and fun.
Membership types and variants are set by the Company, but include:
Prospective Singing Membership, open to anyone who holds a current singing membership of the Company.
Full Singing Membership, open to anyone who holds a current singing membership of the Company, and has satisfied the Music Team that their standard of performance is suitable for the Ensemble.
Musical Director Membership, automatically given to anyone currently appointed as a Musical Director of the Ensemble.
There are no fees for membership of the Ensemble over and above those charged by the Company for its memberships.
Only Full Singing Members are eligible to vote at General Meetings or to be elected to the Committee.
The Committee may terminate the membership of any member it judges to be detrimental to the aims of the Ensemble or bringing the Ensemble into disrepute. The member will always have the right to be heard by the Committee before their decision, and may appeal to the Company’s dispute resolution processes.
Some types of membership may be charged for services included in other types of membership.
The Ensemble is managed by an executive Committee of up to nine positions, responsible for the day-to-day running of the Ensemble, subject to any requirements of the Company.
Elections for Committee positions must be held at a properly-constituted General Meeting.
The required positions of the Committee are:
The Chair is the representative of the Ensemble internally and to affiliating bodies, chairs Committee and General meetings, and oversees the operation of the Committee.
Membership Coordinator (elected)
The Membership Coordinator keeps records of members’ contact details and membership status.
Musical Director (ex officio)
If the Ensemble handles any money outside the Company, the Committee also requires:
In addition to the positions listed above, the Committee may decide to create additional positions such as Secretary, Publicity Coordinator, or Bookings Coordinator, for election as full members of the Committee, up to the maximum size of the Committee.
The Committee will meet regularly, at least six times per year.
The quorum for Committee meetings is half the number of people currently filling Committee positions, rounded up to a whole number.
In addition to the positions listed above, the Committee may appoint roles to individuals (members or non-members) as necessary by co-opting them or by election at a General Meeting. These positions are not part of the executive Committee, but form a wider pool of individuals who help run the Ensemble, and may be organised into teams reporting to members of the Committee.
The Committee must co-opt a Welfare Coordinator.
The Committee may form subcommittees to meet the needs of managing the Ensemble, though legal and financial power remains with the Committee.
Minutes of Committee meetings must be published to the members of the Ensemble and to the Company as soon as is practical afterwards.
Elected Committee members can be removed only by a properly constituted General Meeting or a properly carried out process of the Company.
The Ensemble’s financial year runs from 1st April to 31st March.
The Ensemble’s financial affairs are limited in scope because most of the needs of running the Ensemble are provided as services by the Company to its members and affiliated Ensembles.
Services provided by the Company include, but are not limited to:
provision of venues
payment of musical directors
equipment and staging
concerts (including external performers)
trips (including contest entry fees)
The Committee may choose to manage the finances of social events itself, which may include opening a separate bank account in the name of the Ensemble with Committee members as signatories.
Any bank account opened by the Ensemble must have a dual signing arrangement, though debit cards are allowed.
If the Ensemble handles any finances, the Company is empowered to act on the Ensemble’s behalf in financial matters, including to change signatories on bank accounts, if:
the Ensemble is dissolved with any outstanding financial affairs, or
signatories to any accounts or agreements are out of reasonable contact, or
any financial irregularities are suspected or found.
8. General Meetings
All members of the Ensemble must be notified in writing of an upcoming General Meeting, at least fourteen days before the meeting.
An Annual General Meeting must be held once each year, following the end of the financial year.
The business for an AGM will include:
confirming the minutes of the previous AGM and any intervening EGMs
reports from the Chair and Musical Director
approving the Ensemble’s annual accounts and budget for the coming year
elections for the elected positions of the Committee and volunteers
other business as needed
An Extraordinary General Meeting may be called by 20% of the membership of the Ensemble by applying to the Secretary or by a decision of the Committee. An EGM shall be held as soon as practical, as long as the required notice is given.
The quorum for General Meetings is 50% of the current membership, rounded up to a whole number.
Nominations and seconders for elections must be received by the Chair, by methods and timings chosen by the Committee.
Votes may be taken by open or secret ballot at the discretion of the Chair, passing by simple majority unless noted elsewhere by this Constitution, recording votes for each option and abstentions.
Minutes of General Meetings must be published to the members of the Ensemble and to the Company as soon as is practical afterwards.
9. Constitutional Amendments
This constitution may be amended by a two-thirds majority at a properly constituted General Meeting, or by the Company to reflect changes in rules or policy.
Amendments must be approved by the Company to take effect.
A history of amendments will be maintained as an appendix to the Constitution in all versions of the document.
The Ensemble may decide to cease operations at a properly constituted General Meeting, in which case, the Company is empowered to realise the assets and property of the Ensemble and to release them either equally to current members, or to another Ensemble or charitable institution with similar aims, or hold them until such a body can be found. Expenses incurred in winding up the Ensemble will be subtracted from the remaining assets before they are released.
Notice of the winding up will be sent by the Company to any other affiliations held by the Ensemble.
Appendix 1: History of the Constitution
Adopted by All Voice Limited prior to any members rejoining the unincorporated association after the COVID-19 pandemic