Margam Orangery 21/01/2017

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RAF Cadet Warrant Officer Kathryn Flower’s list of achievements filled a whole page in the brochure celebrating her award of Best United Kingdom RAF Air Cadet at Margam Orangery, so we were delighted to have been invited to entertain the many distinguished guests at the award ceremony.
We filled the stage in this beautiful venue, and sang a short selection of songs, with our MD D. Huw Rees and Accompanist Hywel Evans in charge. 
The 215 (City of Swansea) Squadron had also booked soprano Gwawr Edwards, and as she will be our guest artist in our Annual Concert in May, it gave us a chance to sing with her again (the last time was at the Swansea Festival of Remembrance last November).
We congratulate Kathryn for her many achievements, and thank the Squadron for their invitation to help celebrate her latest award.

St. David’s Church, Penllergaer, 16/12/2016

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The lead-up to Christmas is always a busy time for choirs, and before this concert we had entertained residents of Dan y Bryn, Pontardawe, celebrated the switching-on of Morriston’s lights, sung at Morriston Comprehensive School’s Senior Citizens Christmas party, and taken part in Morriston Tabernacle Chapel’s festival of carols with other local choirs. 
Penllergare Valley Woods Trust invited us to help raise funds for restoration of their walled garden by singing in our third Christmas Concert in the village’s St. David’s church.
With the church bursting at the seams, the Choir with soloist mezzo soprano Kate Harwood, accompanist Hywel Evans, and Deputy Musical Director Helen Wyn sang a medley of seasonal and traditional music, with the audience joining in a selection of carols. Our Bass soloist Huw Roberts joined Kate in Anfonaf Angel. 
Kate’s own programme was mainly Welsh airs, with a beautiful rendering of  Away In A Manger. She even managed to perform a duet with herself, helped by a pre-recorded track.
We were delighted to learn that the evening had raised £1,500 towards the fund, and after the concert many of us celebrated with more carols across the road in The Old Inn.
This concert seems to have become a regular village celebration of Christmas, and the 2017 date of 9th December has already been booked.
This was our last full concert of 2016, but the following day we sang carols in Morriston’s Principality Building Society to show our appreciation for their help during the year. (Thank you for the mince pies and sherry!) After this session we moved to the Wyevale Garden Centre for more singing, and were delighted that our bucket collection, helped by a generous donation from Wyevale, raised £250 for Macmillan Cancer Support, in memory of Debra, daughter of our Secretary Layton Watkins and his wife Gwen.

Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. 6/11/2016

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We were privileged again this year to be invited by Community Fund Raiser Squadron Leader Phill Flower to participate in Swansea’s Annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance, and with MD D. Huw Rees, pianist Hywel Evans, and Huw Tregelles Williams at the organ we sang Mansions Of  The Lord and World In Union on our own, and then we were joined by young soloist Keely Ashleigh Morgan in The Holy City.

As usual the first part of the Festival was mostly given over to entertainment, and the three young soloists from Loud Applause Rising Stars (LARS) showed what talent we have in this area. Benjamin Anthony, Thomas Bytheway and Keely are all studying either music or performing arts. Other performers were a group from Dancerama Performing Arts School, City of Swansea Concert Band, City of Swansea Pipe Band, and the Cadets of TS Ajax who spelled out their message with semaphore flags. Staff Cadet Warrant Officer Kathryn Flower read out Laurence Binyon’s evocative poem For The Fallen.

Host for the evening was Brian Sullivan, who introduced two films which reminded us of the continuing sacrifices of our armed forces, and the vital service rendered by medics in the battle field.
The second part of the Festival followed the traditional drumhead religious service of remembrance, with communal hymn singing, the two-minutes silence, falling poppy petals, and the Last Post and Reveille played impeccably by Chris Smith of the Salvation Army.

Seion Newydd, Morriston. 21/10/2016

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This concert, to raise funds for the Chapel’s building fund, brought to a close a very busy couple of months for the Choir. We regard the Chapel as our home, and rehearse there twice a week, so we were glad to be able to help raise funds for more remedial work to the fabric of the building.

The undoubted star of the show was soprano Ros Evans, who charmed us and the audience with her anecdotes and humour. It was refreshing to see a soloist who can communicate so effortlessly with her audience. Although her roots are in Swansea, Ros is now an international singer, travelling worldwide to perform.
Her programme ranged from Mozart’s Alleluia to Nella Fantasia (from Enio Morricone’s Gabriel’s Oboe), with a Karl Jenkins composition, and Cymru Bach. In Ivor Novello’s We’ll Gather Lilacs, Ros demanded (and got) full audience participation. She was accompanied by the Choir’s accompanist, Hywel Evans, who happens to be her cousin.
The Choir was conducted by D. Huw Rees as we sang a dozen songs from our repertoire, including our first public performance of Alexander’s Ragtime Band. Huw Roberts was the soloist in Anfonaf Angel.

The concert ended with Ros Evans joining us and singing the second verse of Gwahoddiad. Compere for the evening was our chorister Robert Harwood.

The Chapel’s Minister, Rev. Eirian Wyn, was unavoidably a couple of hundred miles away officiating at a wedding, so he and his wife Helen (our deputy MD) were unable to be with us.
The Choir would like to thank all those from the Chapel who were involved with organsising the concert, and also for the very convivial interval and post-concert refreshments.

Oxford Town Hall. 8/10/2016

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The voluptously stuccoed hall in Oxford Town Hall was the venue for Oxford Welsh Male Voice Choir’s Annual Concert. It is a wonderful room, with a seating gallery, and it was almost filled to the brim.

This was a joint concert, with the combined choirs singing ten pieces together, and each one singing three on their own. The two Musical Directors each conducted one half of the concert, which involved a change of seating arrangement in each half due to the different placing of the four choir voice sections for each choir.
Fortunately, we were able to have a full rehearsal in the afternoon so that choristers could get accustomed to the other choir’s MD’s interpretation of familiar songs. This meant that, by the end of the evening, we had sung two concerts!

The choice of combined music included several Welsh favourites such as Rachie and Llanfair, and we were impressed by the command of the language by the exiles. Oxford’s MD, Helen Swift, is very expressive when she conducts, and she left us in no doubt as to what she wanted from us. Perhaps it does a choir good to be conducted by a different conductor occasionally; it certainly sharpens one’s concentration!

Our MD D. Huw Rees had chosen Unchained Melody, The Lord’s Prayer, and Anfonaf Angel for our “solo” pieces, with bass Huw Roberts singing the solo part in the latter.
Unfortunately, our accompanist Hywel Evans was unable to travel with us due to illness, but we were extremely fortunate and grateful when Helen Swift stepped into the breach at short notice.Oxford’s three pieces were the old favourite, Myfanwy, Fields of Athenry, and a very amusing version of Grandfather’s Clock which involved some audience participation. They were accompanied by Tim Croston (piano) and Andrew Patterson (organ).

We were also entertained by operatic duo Hannah Fraser-Mackenzie and Robert Jenkins. In the first half they sang classical operatic arias, and in the second their programme was based on West End and Broadway show numbers.

The concert supported Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, and we learned that it costs over £40,000 to train and maintain a dog.

We were treated to an excellent ‘afterglow’ in the Town Hall’s bar, where we were able to lubricate our hard-worked voices before heading for home (or to our hotel), having thoroughly enjoyed this collaboration. We plan to invite the Oxford Welsh Choir back to our own area in 2017, when we look forward to brief friendships being rekindled.
Thank you Oxford Welsh Male Choir for our invitation to join in your special day.

All Saints Church, Mumbles. 20/09/2016

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We had been invited to sing in this concert as part of the Mumbles Festival of Music and The Arts, formerly known as All Saints Alive. Just three days before, we had sung in another All Saints – in Bath.

Our Deputy Musical Director Helen Wyn was in charge as we sang twelve songs from our repertoire, with Bass Huw Roberts singing the solo part in Anfonaf Angel. Hywel Evans accompanied us on the All Saints piano, which he knows so well. Also performing was soprano Adele O’Neil, accompanied by Robert Marshall. We have sung many times with Adele, and her programme of popular operatic arias and I Feel Pretty from West Side Story was well received by the audience.

The church had undergone many improvements to the entrance since our last visit, but funds are still needed to complete the extensive renovations and improvements to this great place of worship and excellent concert venue.

All Saints Church, Weston, Bath. 17/09/2016

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Billed as a Three Choirs Concert – Music From The Hills And Valleys, this was a “return” concert with the Mendip Male Voice Choir following their visit to us in 2015.
The ladies of Parti Llwchwr also joined us in the concert, having been part of last year’s event. They were conducted by Janet V. Jones and accompanied by D. Huw Rees, our MD. We were accompanied by Rhiannon Pritchard.

Each choir sang from its own repertoire, with the Mendip choir (MD Jamie Knights, Acccompanist Phil Evry) singing the well-known Welsh hymn Llanfair in English. To end the first half we joined the Mendipmen in You’ll never walk alone.

The second half took the same format, but we were joined by Parti Llwchwr in Anfonaf Angel, and then all three choirs ended the concert with American Trilogy.

The performances were warmly appreciated by a packed church, and the evening ended with wonderful afterglow in the adjacent hall, with an excellent buffet and sing-song. We would like to thank all those responsible for our warm welcome, and for the buffet – especially the lady who made ALL the cakes!

BBC “Street Auction”, Clydach

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Friday 15th July
BBC “Street Auction”, Clydach
Heol y Nant in Clydach was turned into a street party for the filming of this BBC new series, which aims to unearth items for auction to raise funds for local causes. There were also cake stalls to help boost the profits.

In spite of quite a wet summer’s day, spirits were not dampened and towards the end of the event we sang a few songs to entertain while the proceeds were being counted.

Paul Martin, well known for his appearances on “Flog It”, was in charge, and although his trademark blue suit became quite damp, he managed to keep smiling and charmed the crowd (and the Choir) with his easy affable style.

We are glad to report that a sum of over £2,200 was raised to support a young local family who had lost their husband and father at an early age.

We thank the people of Heol Y Nant, and Paul and his film crew for their warm welcome, and look forward to seeing the finished programme in September.

Wedding, St. Alban’s Church, Treboeth, Swansea

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Saturday 9th July
Wedding, St. Alban’s Church, Treboeth, Swansea

We are always pleased to sing at weddings, especially when we have a connection with the couple.

The bride, Lori Joseph, works with our very good friends at Britannia Robbins transport company in Swansea, and she was marrying Mathew Wiltshire. The ceremony was conducted by Father David Jones, and we sang a selection from our repertoire as guests were arriving, and during the signing of the register. D. Huw Rees was conducting, and Helen Wyn accompanied on the piano.

University World Rugby 7s Championship

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Wednesday 6th July
University World Rugby 7s Championship
We had been invited to sing at the opening ceremony of these championships, held at Swansea University’s playing fields.

Nineteen men’s and women’s teams paraded their country’s flags and after a few short speeches we entertained them and the spectators with a medley of mainly Welsh songs to give them a flavour of our Welsh culture.

The reception we had from the young players was extremely enthusiastic, and we arrived back in Morriston in time to watch Wales play Portugal in the Euro 2016 semi-final.

The 4-day tournament was eventually won by the Australian team, who narrowly beat England.
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