Proposed amendments to BVS Constitution

Changes are recommended to reflect the current practices of the Society, as indicated below

British Viola Society


Adopted 2012


The name of the organisation shall be the British Viola  Society (the Society or BVS).

ARTICLE II. Structure

SECTION I: The Society shall function independently, but as a section of the International Viola Society (IVS). Membership in the IVS  maybe terminated by a majority vote of the Society’s membership or by the IVS.

SECTION II: The Society can create branches. Members of the Society in any one locality may apply to the Society’s secretary for recognition as a branch of the Society. The Society’s committee will decide whether to recognise the branch. No branch shall accept or retain as a member who is not a member of the Society. All rules, regulations, by-laws and guidelines of the branch must be approved by the committee of the Society. Each branch shall report to the Society’s secretary annually about its activities and financial operations. Branch membership in the Society maybe terminated by the Society’s committee.

SECTION MI: The seat of the Society will be the address of the current president for his or her term of office.

SECTION IV: The committee (officers and advisors) of the Society shall receive no private pecuniary gain, but may be paid reasonable costs incurred. This clause may not be altered.

ARTICLE III: Aims and Purpose

The British Viola Society like its parent organisation the IVS, is an association for the promotion of viola performance and research, and is a nonprofit organisation.

Specifically, its goals are:

 DELETE: Research, publications and activities relating to the viola and/or violists. These include: The collection of, registration of, and research in the literature for and about the viola, its history, luthiers, composers, players and its playing technique, forming social and professional contacts, giving advice in all areas concerning the viola.

Recommend simplifying and replacing italics above with

To promote and encourage research, publications and activities relating to the viola and violists.

To act as Host or Co-Host and assist with arrangements for INTERNATIONAL VIOLA CONGRESSES, (when awarded to the Society by the IVS) and to assist with  the Society events (e.g. concerts, conventions, workshops, informal gatherings).

To create and maintain any present or future BVS archive (for historical records and audit purposes).

To inform members of recent and forthcoming events, publications and general items “violistic”.

ARTICLE IV: Membership

Membership in the Society shall be open to any individual or institution interested in furthering the purposes of the Society.


Regular members shall be any persons who join the Society and are interested in promoting the objectives of the Society. They shall be eligible to hold offices in the Society and shall pay full dues.

       Recommend to DELETE category: Student members shall be full-time students at any accredited educational institution, who join the Society.  Their rights and responsibilities shall be the same as those of regular members except that (1.) they shall pay annual dues as set forth in ARTICLE IV, Section II; (2.) they shall be ineligible to hold offices in the Society. 

Recommend to DELETE category Emeritus members shall be persons who have been regular members for at least four years and who have passed their 65th birthday provided they choose to be classified as emeritus members.  Emeritus members shall pay dues as set forth in ARTICLE IV, Section II, and shall retain all rights and privileges of regular members.

Honorary members shall be long-standing members of the Society who have made outstanding contributions to furthering the stated objectives of the Society and whom the Society wishes to honour.  They shall be exempt from paying dues but shall continue to have the privileges of regular members.  They shall be elected by two thirds majority of the Officers.   

       Recommend to DELETE category Institutional members shall be considered for membership into the Society with the majority approval of the Officers. They are not eligible to hold a BVS office, but are entitled to one vote and must pay dues as set by the Officers.

Other memberships may be created and offered INSERT at the discretion of the President with reduced dues DELETE by the Society’s Officers at certain times.  They shall all have the same rights as regular members, unless specified by the Officers.


Members (except ‘Honorary members’) pay annual dues as set by the Society’s officers. DELETE Annual dues for student and emeritus members shall be approximately 50% to 66% of those of regular members. Dates of dues payments will be set by the Officers.

Membership in the Society may be terminated by:

Resignation in writing, duly accepted by the Officers.

Non-payment of dues.

Any cause deemed by the Officers to be detrimental to the well-being of the Society.

ARTICLE V: Committee (Officers and Advisors) of the Society

The officers of the Society shall be a minimum of three — President, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer. As the Society consists of several regions — e.g. England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man it is important that as many regions as possible are represented in the Society’s committee (see SECTION V). The Advisors of the Society shall consist of the Immediate Past President, regional representatives who are not BVS officers, and any Society members appointed by the officers.

SECTION I: The President, shall be the chief executive officer of the Society. He/She shall preside over all meeting of the committee and/or the members. He/She shall have the general management of the affairs of the Society. He/She shall perform all duties incidental to his/her office and such other duties as may from time to time be delegated by the committee, including representing the BVS at International Viola Congresses and maintaining a liaison between the IVS and other viola societies. He/She may be a signing officer.

SECTION II: The Vice President, during the absence, incapacity, or disability of the president, shall exercise all the functions of the president and, when so acting, shall have the powers of and be subject to all the duties and restrictions upon the president. In the event that the office of the president becomes vacant before the conclusion of his/her term, the vice president shall succeed to that office. The vice president shall also have such other powers and discharge such duties as may be assigned to him/her by the president or by the committee.

SECTION III: The Secretary, shall attend to such correspondence as may be assigned to him/her, perform all other duties incidental to the office and shall keep the minutes of the meetings of members and the committee. He/She shall be responsible, along with the president, maintaining a liaison between the IVS, the committee and other viola societies. He/She shall also administer by mail election and balloting. Note: The Secretary’s position maybe combined as Secretary-Treasurer.

SECTION IV: The Treasurer, shall have the care and custody of all the funds and securities of the Society and shall deposit them in the name of the Society in such bank or trust as the committee may select. He/She shall sign all cheques, drafts, notes and orders for payment of money and shall pay out and dispose of the same when, as and if authorised to do so by the committee, and shall keep full and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements in the books of the Society. The treasurer shall render to the president and other committee members whenever they require an account of all transactions and of the financial condition of the Society. He/She shall prepare an annual budget of the Society for approval by the committee, and shall dispose of funds only as provided by the budget or as otherwise authorised by the committee. The treasurer shall be a signing officer. Note: The Treasurer’s position maybe combined as Secretary-Treasurer.

DELETE SECTION V: One or more Regional Representative(s) will be elected or appointed by the elected officers in addition to the above officers, if all the above officers reside in the same region.

These officers will need to reside in a region other than that of the other officers. These officers will carry out the duties assigned to them as directed by the president or the committee. If two or more officers reside in different regions during a term of office, no appointment or election for these Regional Representatives is required, however the officers may still wish to appoint or hold an election for members to these positions for a term of office.  The officers may decide that members in these positions will be Advisors rather than Officers (see below).

SECTION VI: Advisors

Advisors of the Society include: the Immediate Past President and any other members appointed by the officers (such as Regional Representatives or past officers/advisors).  The advisors are part of the Society’s committee and must be invited to participate in all meetings of the Society’s officers and all other BVS meetings. Advisors may be invited to vote at committee meetings by a unanimous vote of the officers present.

The Immediate Past President, shall be an advisor at all meetings of the committee, if possible.

The BVS Journal Production Editor, shall act as an advisor at all meetings while he or she holds this position.

Other Advisors may be appointed by the officers as required. They must be members of the Society.

SECTION VII: Terms and Conditions of Office


All the officers must be members of the Society and shall serve a term of four years or until their successors are elected. Nominations for officers shall be received in writing to the Secretary. Elections shall be by mail  INSERT or an electronic mail vote, with each financial member entitled to one vote. Announcements of elections and election results will be printed in the BIVS publication and/or web site.

Removal of officers may be by:

1.   Election.

Resignation in writing, duly accepted by the committee.

Any cause deemed by the committee to be detrimental to the well-being of the Society.

Any office vacated in the course of a term, aside from the president’s, may be filled by a member in good standing. The Society’s remaining officers will decide whether a by-election should be held; leave the position vacant; or appoint one of the advisors, or one

of the remaining officers or  another Society member to fill the position until the next election.

If the position of president becomes vacant, the vice president will succeed to that office. If the vice president is unable to do so, the committee shall appoint an ‘acting president’ and an election shall be held, as soon as possible for the office of president.

ARTICLE VI: Meetings

In the event of a general meeting being held, there must be a quorum consisting of at least four members, including two officers. Committee business may be conducted by telephone or electronic mail.


The Society shall be run as a non-profit making society, and the fees set accordingly.

The necessary money shall be raised through:

Subscription fees from members and BVS advertisers

Gifts and bequests

Subsidies and grants from public and private institutions

Other receipts (e.g. loan fee for items)

Money raised is to be used for:

 DELETE ( all now done electronically) The production of the BVS publication, newsletters, correspondance, postage and packaging to members.

A proportion to be sent to the International Viola Society. The percentage is set by the IVS.

Maintaining the BVS archives

Organisation costs of any viola events (e.g. Congresses, conventions, concerts, workshops, socials) or awards (e.g. certificates, plaques)

BVS representation at international viola events

Should a profit occur, it can only be used for the purposes above.

Financial Records:

All funds of the Society shall be paid to the treasurer, who shall keep proper records of the financial transactions of the Society, and shall pay into such bank or trust company as the committee may from time to time decide, all monies that he or she receives.

All accounts for payment shall be passed by the officers.

All cheques or withdrawal warrants shall be signed by the treasurer or president.

Personal Pecuniary Benefit:

No member of the Society or any person associated with a member shall participate in or materially influence any decision made by the Society in respect of the payment to or on behalf of that member or associated person of any income, benefit, or advantage whatsoever.

Any such income paid shall be reasonable and relative to that which would be paid in arms-length transaction (being the open market value).  The provisions and effect of the clause shall not be removed from this document, and shall be included and implied into any document replacing it.

ARTICLE VIII: Dissolution of the BVS

If the Society is dissolved of its own accord or by an outside authority, the committee will determine the distribution of the Society’s assets to appropriate non-profit organisations (e.g. the IVS). This clause may not be altered.

ARTICLE IX: Alteration of the Constitution

This Constitution may at any time be repealed or altered, or other clauses added, provided that any member desiring an alteration shall give notice in writing to the secretary. Such proposed alteration shall be circulated by the secretary via the BVS publication or by mail to all financial members for comment and vote before being added to the Constitution. A simple majority vote is required for any changes to the Constitution. In the case of a tie vote, the officers will decide to hold another vote for all financial members or give the president a deciding vote.

No addition or alteration or recession of the rules shall be approved if it affects the personal benefit clause in in ARTICLE VII or the rule relating to dissolution contained in ARTICLE VIII.