We were delighted to catch up with Steve Vick, Chairman of Steve Vick International, to discuss their time as Major Sponsor of WMC's Jazz Programme and how he's keeping the music going from home.
With the changes and disruption to your business, what is driving your charitable giving?
Since lockdown was enforced in late March, our attitude to charitable giving has had to be centred on the old adage, charity begins at home and our priority has been to ensure we are able to continue to pay our entire workforce during this period of hugely reduced sales.
Beyond that we are delighted to have been able to support our staff in their efforts to donate essential PPE to the local NHS. Our furloughed seamstresses have volunteered to come to the factory and sew an average of 100 surgical gowns per week for use in the Bristol Royal Infirmary. Our development engineers have been 3D printing components for face masks that have again been sent to the local hospitals. Finally, we approached local charities to offer help. The Trussel Trust and Dorothy House both responded and have used our staff and company vehicles to deliver donations on their behalf.
What is your first memory of Wiltshire Music Centre?
My first memories of the WMC are passing the sign for it every time I drove to work and wondering what was this facility. I was then approached some two years ago by the former mayor of Bradford-on-Avon, John who knew of my own involvement at trying to make music and asked our company might be interested in sponsoring a special jazz performance celebrating the works of Duke Ellington. This we did and the group of us from the company who attended the performance were so impressed with the quality of the music and of the venue, that when we were later approached by Maud, it did not take us long to decide we would be happy to offer further sponsorship.
What inspired you to become a Major Sponsor of WMC’s Jazz Programme, including the Wiltshire Youth Jazz Orchestra and EMPIRICAL as WMC Jazz Artists in Residence?
When we were offered a range of opportunities for sponsorship, the one that appealed to me most was to support the WYJO and the jazz artists in residence, Empirical. My staff who had attended the Ellington concert were not difficult to persuade that this was the right choice for us and having heard their joint concert, just before lockdown, we are sure we made the right decision. It was so rewarding to talk to some of the young performers to hear their enthusiasm for their music and to know that we had helped provide the facility for them to play together with very talented professionals.
How have you been interacting with music in the digital world?
Since lockdown it’s been necessary for all of us who enjoy making music with others to learn new skills to enable us to continue playing together. Our arranger/conductor Edward Bettella started carrying out virtual rehearsals in April for the orchestra of which I’m a member, the Bathtub Orchestra. It has been a steep learning curve for all of us but we are now benefiting from his tutoring of sections of the orchestra and learning to record ourselves playing alongside backing tracks with metronome clicking; all of us feeling our sense of timing has been improved. But, most of all, seeing our orchestra friends on screen each week has been the best thing to maintain our sense of community and our enthusiasm for making music.
What are you most looking forward to about coming back to WMC when the Centre reopens?
I’m certainly very much looking forward to coming back to WMC to enjoy once again the special atmosphere of live performances there and to introducing more of our staff to the delights of live music.
Steve Vick International's support has made WMC's residency programme for EMPiRICAL possible, in addition to the continued success of the Wiltshire Youth Jazz Orchestra.