Swansea Festivals of Remembrance 2018

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The Brangwyn Hall was packed for this special Remembrance Day Concert and Service marking the centenary of the end of The First World War, with contributions from the City of Swansea Concert Band, City of Swansea Pipe Band, 215 Squadron RAFAC Corps of Drums, Swansea Music Youth Choir “Choirworks” and Dancerama Performing Arts Group.
David John Ward “Ollie” (Veteran) who read the poem“The Day of the Poppy” left the audience in deep thought. Dancerama sang beautifully, with outstanding soloists among their number.
Swansea Music Youth Choir “Choirworks” entertained with the traditional hymn “Be still my Soul” and “Benedictus from the Armed Man”
It is wonderful to see all these young people coming to stage and performing.
Swansea Pipe Band raised the tempo and demonstrated their skills of piping and drumming. The Corps of Drums gave a wonderful display of their skills. It’s no wonder they are highly regarded.
Our first contribution was “Tell My Farther” Soloist Huw Roberts and a Medly of WW1 songs. We were joined by Gwawr Edwards for “Morte Criste” and“The Holy City” .
The traditional service of remembrance was conducted by Rev. Lionel Hopkins MBE DL, and presentations were made by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of West Glamorgan Byron Lewis KSTJ. The evening was again compered seamlessly by Brian Sullivan.
We thank organiser Phil Flower MBE, British Legion Community Fund Raiser for South Wales, for the opportunity to take part in the city’s tribute to the fallen of all conflicts.

We were invited by The Salvation Army to sing at the Remembrance Service in Morriston Park on Sunday morning. This was well attended considering the weather. A wreath was laid by our Chairman on behalf of the choir.

“Morriston Remembers” The Sacred Heart Center 19/10/2018

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An evening of music in a combined concert with Morriston Ladies Choir and featuring Rhydian Jenkins to remember the Morriston men who were lost during the Great War. Rhydian won the Aled Lloyd Davies Award in the Unawd Cerdd Dant Blue Ribbon Competition at this year’s National Eisteddfod. Proceeds from this concert will go to “Help for Heroes” charity.

Ebenezer Baptist Church, Neath, 28/09/18

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This was our second concert for Ebenezer in Neath to help raise funds for Melin Infants School, and supporting local children.  We were joined by Gail Pearson – Soprano. Gail is a renowned Welsh Soprano who has divided her time between Operatic, Concert and teaching work and brings a wide range of repertoire, from baroque to contemporary. Also the children of the local Melin Primary School gave an accomplished performance.
We opened the concert and were followed by Melin Primary School and Gail Pearson all drawing appreciative applause from the capacity audience.
Our own performance was conducted by D. Huw Rees and accompanied by Hywel Evans. Huw Roberts our very own soloist sang Anfonaf Angel and O Gymru accompanied by the choir which brought a standing ovation from the wonderful audience. It was good to see that many of the young children and their families had stayed to listen to the performances, and we hope that nights like this will inspire them to keep singing as they progress through the education system and beyond.
The Choir would like to thank the ladies of the chapel for the fantastic buffet that we enjoyed after the concert, and we look forward to another invitation to sing for our supper!

World Wide Mother’s Union Concert, St Mary’s Church 18th September 2018.

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Tuesday 18th September 2018
World Wide Mothers’ Union Concert, St Mary’s Swansea.
 
 We were pleased to perform for the Mothers’ Union members from around the world who gathered in Swansea for their 2018 General meeting.
At short notice we were accompanied by Parti Llwchwr Ladies Choir who once again gave a wonderful performance. The Guest artist was Iona Jones a Soprano Soloist. Iona is a popular guest artist who has travelled extensively as a soloist with choirs, appearing in prestigious locations such as the Sydney Opera House and New York Carnegie Hall. We were also joined by Gethyn Rogers (a pupil at Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr) on the violin in our version of “Tell My Father”. I’m sure we will see Gethyn again in the future.


A busy evening for our MD D. Huw Rees conducting, and accompanying at the piano. The Choir President Huw Tregellis Williams OBE accompanied at the church organ. Our Deputy Musical Director Helen Wyn conducted the choir in “O Fab y Dyn”. 
We also had Associate Accompanist Christopher Lewis and Guest Deputy Musical Director Glyn Williams accompany the choir at the piano. Finally we joined with Parti Llwchwr and Iona Jones for our last three songs with our Chairman Huw Roberts the bass soloist in  “O Gymru” and “Anfonaf Angel” and ended with “We’ll Keep a Welcome”. To bring the evening to a close the congregation joined for the Welsh National Anthem in English and in Welsh. A memorable evening to the start of our new season and a complete sell out.

The Host for the evening was Kevin Johns MBE, one of the most familiar faces and voices in Wales. Kevin who has a highly successful daily radio programme and also presents the Christian music show, ‘Heart and Soul’, is one of Wales’ most popular entertainment personalities. He is constantly in demand as a speaker; actor; host; facilitator; comedian; compere – the list could go on and on. Kevin has been the Host with us on many occasion and is always a joy to work with.

Unfortunately due to ill health the Hywel Girls’ Choir could not make the event. Our thoughts and best wishes go to John Hywel Williams. 

35th Annual Concert, Tabernacle Chapel, Morriston

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Saturday 12th May
35th Annual Concert, Tabernacle Chapel, Morriston
 
The special guest at our 2018 Annual Concert was Rebecca Trehearn who has carved out a successful career as a singer and actress. West End appearances include roles in Showboat (Olivier award winner, best supporting actress in a musical) Rebecca can also be found in a recording studio as a session singer on film soundtracks including Pirates of the Caribbean, Sweeney Todd and The Da Vinci Code to name but a few. We were thrilled when she accepted our invitation to entertain us this year.
Rebecca captivated the huge audience with a selection of songs from her repertoire and at times you could have heard a pin drop.

With D. Huw Rees conducting, ,Hywel Evans at the piano, and our President Huw Tregelles Williams OBE at the chapel’s sonorous organ, we sang 16 pieces from our repertoire, including “Y Tangnefeddwyr” and “O Fab Y Dyn” both arranged by Eric Jones. Several lighter songs and  a Medley of songs from The First World War with the participation of the audience which went down well.
Along with Guest Deputy Musical Director Glyn Williams and Associate Accompanist Christopher Lewis we sang “Mansions of the Lord”.  Our Chairman Huw Roberts was the bass soloist in  “O Gymru” and “Anfonaf Angel”.

It is with great sadness that we lost three faithful members of the Baritone section this year. Percy Morgan, our oldest member of the choir at 97 and more recently Terry Jones and Rob George, both hard working committee members. We sang one of their favorites “Anfonaf Angel” in their memory with many a sniff from the choir. They are sadly missed by us all.

 Côr CF1 is a mixed choir based in Cardiff and is one of Wales’ most competitive mixed choirs. They have had considerable success in Eisteddfodau and won the Côr Cymru Competition 2013, the BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year 2014 and many other accolades.They have travelled the world performing on the international stage. We were delighted when they accepted our invitation to perform at our concert this year. With Eilir Owen Griffiths conducting and accompanist Richard Vaughan,  the choir entertained with a selection of songs which demonstrated their class.

The Choir joined with our guests Rebecca and CF1 in a performance of “I Believe” (commemorating 60 years since Paul Robeson’s address to the crowd at the 1958 National Eisteddfod at Ebbw Vale) resulting in a standing ovation for all performers.

Our compère Sian Thomas is one of the most familiar faces and voices in Wales, currently presenting ‘Prynhawn Da’ and ‘Heno’ for S4C.
Sian had obviously done much research into the background of the choir and our music and  linked the various components of the evening with her usual humour.

RAF Centenary Concert 20/04/2018

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Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall has an official capacity of 1,070 seats, all of which were filled for this Welsh celebration of the founding of the RAF in April 1918. Among the invited guests and dignitaries were several of the Force’s top-ranking personnel.
We combined with our friends from Dunvant Male Choir, with our respective Musical Directors D. Huw Rees and Jonathan Rogers sharing conducting duties as we sang five songs, including two with soprano soloist Gwawr Edwards and The Three Welsh Tenors. 
Their own performances were accompanied by Caradog Williams on piano, who had composed one of the Three Tenors’ songs. Organist was Hywel Evans.
We have sung with Gwawr several times, and her programme of Lerner & Loewe, Ivor Novello, and Holst were complemented by our joint items with her – The Holy City and Anfonaf Angel.
The youngsters of Dancerama Performing Arts Group sang “We Will Stand Tall” while film of RAF planes and exploits through the years was shown on the big screen.
The 215 Squadron (Swansea) Corps Of Drums have previously entertained us in the Brangwyn Hall, so we knew what to expect as they expertly beat out their rhythmical display.
The second half of the concert was given over to the wonderful Band of the RAF College under their Director Of Music, Squadron Leader Richard Murray. The Band played music varying from American jazz to tunes related to the RAF, such as the Dambusters March. Sq. Ldr. Murray introduced a bit of pantomime humour by getting one half of the audience and choirs to sing “It’s A Long Way To Tipperary” while the other half sang “Pack Up Your Troubles”. We don’t know which side won!
The Concert’s Host was Brian Sullivan, a veteran of Show Business in South Wales.
It was a wonderful celebratory evening of  varied genres of music and performance, and a credit to the prolonged hard work of the organisers, Sq. Ldr. Phil Flower, and Cerith Owens of Loud Applause Productions.


There are some photos HERE.

Man Engine event 12/04/2018

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On a chilly April evening we joined a huge crowd to welcome this awesome mechanical metal puppet as the story of mining and copper smelting was told at the site of a former copper works in the Swansea Valley.
Before the main event we entertained the audience with a selection of songs, conducted by D. Huw Rees and accompanied by Hywel Evans, trying hard to keep his “piano fingers” warm. We then chanted “Copr a Dur” (copper and steel) as we wove our way through the crowd to the stage.
The 11.2 metre-high “puppet” was operated by a team of  twelve “miners”, with much noise, sparks, and flame as the history of Cornish ore mining and copper smelting in our area was told.
We then sang a Lament and a Requiem, specially composed for the event by Helen Woods. As it was dark by this time, we had to deploy smart-phone torches in order to see the words and music!
This was the finale of the Man Engine’s tour of five historical industrial sites in South Wales, and one we will remember not only for our frozen feet, but also for the drama, sounds, smells and sights of this amazing production.

Photo courtesy of Wales Online.

There are more photos and video on our Photo Gallery page, and even more HERE

 

Schools Choral Competition 21/03/2018

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Five lower Swansea Valley primary schools took part in the final of our 5th annual competition in Tabernacle Chapel, Morriston to win the J. Layton Watkins Trophy and £200. Adjudicator Eric Jones praised all the schools, their teachers and families for helping the choirs reach an excellent standard. Although there was hardly anything to choose between first and second places, Trallwn Primary School (under Ms Emma Rees) was eventually awarded the trophy. All the other schools received a plaque and £50, with all participating choristers receiving a commemoration certificate.
While adjudicators D. Huw Rees and Eric Jones were deliberating, Morriston RFC Male Choir sang All By Myself and O Nefol Addfwyn Oen, conducted by Deputy Musical Director Glyn Williams and accompanied by Hywel Evans.
It had been a privilege to see the enthusiasm and enjoyment of the children, most of whom had never been in such an awe-inspiring building before. Our hope and intention is that experiences such as this will encourage them to perpetuate a love of music as they progress through the education system and beyond.

“A Concert With Carols” 16/12/2017

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Again this year we were invited by The Friends Of Penllergare to help raise funds for the restoration and upkeep of Valley Woods (and yes, that is the correct spelling!), and to get the Christmas season really under way. St. David’s church in Penllergaer was bursting at the seams, with all tickets sold in advance for what is becoming an annual event in the village.
We were conducted by Glyn Williams (and an enthusiastic 5-year-old girl in the audience) and accompanied by Jonathan Meads as we sang mostly seasonal songs, with Huw Roberts the soloist in O Gymru and Brenin y Sêr.
Mrs Joan Lewis MBE is well-known to the Choir, and appropriately for the Christmas season she had brought two of her young protogées to sing. Millie Colebrook sang The Bare Necessities and Mary’s Boy Child, and Maddie Denny sang Reflection and When A Child Is Born. The girls were accompanied by Joan.
Our Secretary Robert Harwood compèred the evening and encouraged the audience to join in all the carols.
It was a wonderful lead-in to Christmas week, and we thank Jennie Eyers and her many helpers for the refreshments after the concert. Why not take a stroll through the woods to blow away cobwebs during the holiday period? Their coffee shop will sustain you!

There are some photos on our Photo Gallery Page

The Great Christmas Festival 10/12/2017

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An invitation to join the John Hywel Williams choirs always ensures an excellent occasion, and this Christmas Festival filled the Brangwyn’s stage seating to capacity with performers. In addition to his Hywel Girls’ Choir, Hywel Boy Singers, Angelicus Celtis and Llanelli Choral Society, he had amassed a large primary school choir from the Llanelli/Kidwelly/Burry Port/Ammanford areas, calling it ‘Singcredible’.
With accompanist Jane Jewel, guest organist Huw Tregelles Williams, percussionists Gareth Hamlin and Graham Bradley, trumpeter Jac Thomas, all their performances were extremely highly polished, with even the youngest 7-year-old singers giving their all and making a beautiful cohesive sound. It is to John Hywel Williams’ credit that he is able to coach and control so many young people to produce such excellence. It is no wonder that they are so keenly sought-after for stage and television events. Their programme for 2018 already includes many prestigious events.
Our own contributions were very well received by the near-capacity audience. We were conducted by D. Huw Rees with Huw Tregelles Williams at the organ, and our Deputy Accompanist Rhiannon Pritchard stepping in at short notice, even after playing at an earlier concert in Cardiff.
Baritone Gary Griffiths has been guest artist at one of our annual concerts, so it was good to hear his rich voice again as he sang a varied programme which included the Austrian carol Still, Still, Still, and a couple of Handel arias. He was accompanied on piano AND organ (but not simultaneously!) by the ubiquitous Huw Tregelles Williams.
We come away from many concerts saying “this was a night to remember”, and this Festival certainly fell into that category.

There are more photos on our Photo Gallery page.