Happy New Year to all members and welcome back to the Club. I hope you enjoyed a relaxing and refreshing break. Our new General Manager, Sue Blake, took up her position in the last week of December and hit the ground running in January, supervising tradesmen organised by our insurance company to repair damage caused by the Melbourne Cup Day flood on Levels 1 and 2. The parquetry floors have been sanded back and restored and look splendid, walls and ceilings in the affected areas have been plastered and painted and carpet in the staff areas has been replaced. The carpet for level 2 will arrive in March. I would like to thank Jeanette Fry and members of Art Advisory for tackling the onerous task of removing art from the walls and the stairwell before the work started, so it would not be damaged, and returning it once the work was completed.
We welcome Sue to the Club and are excited to be working with her on maintaining and strengthening our wonderful Club environment. Sue will be continuing the reviews begun by Martin Rudden into all aspects of the Club’s operations and she will be providing an update in our newsletter each month to keep members informed on projects and activities. There is an opportunity to meet Sue at an afternoon tea on Wednesday, 13 February. She will talk about her career to date and I will be giving members a brief update on Club activities. I do hope you are able to take this opportunity to meet our new General Manager.
I am delighted to announce that the eminent soprano, composer and artistic director of Australia’s national Indigenous opera company Short Black Opera, Deborah Cheetham AO, has accepted our invitation to be the 2019 artist in residence at the Lyceum Club. I will be introducing Deborah to members on Tuesday, 12 February when she is our guest speaker at the February Club Lunch. Deborah will be working, inter alia, with our Choir and the Music Circle and we will have the privilege of hearing her sing on some special occasions throughout the year.
We have two new Circles to enjoy this year. Margaret Batten is convening four workshops during the year covering various aspects of body movement and physical well-being, and equally enjoyable, albeit offering a different kind of well-being, Lorraine Godfrey is convening a Wine Appreciation Circle. Thank you to both members for their contributions to our wonderfully rich Club programme.
Bookings can now be made on-line for lunch and dinner in the dining-room. We are working towards being able to provide car parking again but are still navigating a changed regulatory environment along with a reduced number of spaces.
The February programme is packed with an extraordinary range of eminent speakers and enjoyable activities – as usual we are spoilt for choice. I look forward to sharing these with you.