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.
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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.
 
More information can be found at  http://wucrugby2016.com/

Gŵyl Fawr Aberteifi Eisteddfod

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Saturday 2nd July
Gŵyl Fawr Aberteifi Eisteddfod
 
The Choir entered this competition for the second year in succession, and came away with 1st Prize in the Male Voice Choir section.

Our two contrasting pieces, chosen by our MD D. Huw Rees, were Y Darlun and Vivaldi’s Gloria. Highly respected and renowned Adjudicator Robat Arwyn was very complimentary about our choice of music and our performance as a whole. He also complimented the piano-playing of our Accompanist Hywel Evans.  

We thank our music team for the hard work they have put in to enable us to bring the cup back to Morriston, and we look forward to more competition successes in the future.

Mosel Valley Tour

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28th May – 4th June
Mosel Valley Tour
 
In spite of the long coach and ferry journey to reach this part of Germany, this was a very successful and enjoyable visit to the picturesque Mosel valley.
Our baritone John Perrott had spent some time teaching in the area, and he used his local knowledge and contacts to put together an excellent programme of concerts and sightseeing. We sang in churches in Ernst and Münstermaifeld, and an open-air performance in the riverside town of Ediger.

We also entertained a group of German tourists in our hotel one evening, and gave the owners of our favourite wine bar a couple of songs. Our audiences showed their appreciation of the inclusion of a few phrases in German with standing ovations, and demanded encores.

Bass soloist Huw Roberts had also learnt a couple of German songs, which went down well.

Both churches had impressive and challenging reverberating accoustics, but by keeping eagle eyes on our MD D. Huw Rees, we managed to overcome them.

Hywel Evans accompanied on piano, and although the organ in Münstermaifeld was not in the best condition, he did play Vidor’s Toccatta for us after the concert while our hosts were plying us with refreshments.
At the end of this final concert our travelling supporters joined us in singing our National Anthem.

Apart from the “business” side of the tour, there were ample opportunities to explore this lovely valley and its picturesque towns, and to take a boat trip on the Mosel as it rose due to rain storms elsewhere. We also sampled the wide variety of wines grown on the steep slopes all around us, and watched as the vines were sprayed with fungicides by helicopter, due to the steepness of the vineyards.

We would like to thank our hosts in all the concerts, and also the owners and staff of Hotel Pollmanns in Ernst, who coped with the influx of almost 100 of us admirably. It was our first tour to Germany, and one we hope to repeat some day.

33rd Annual Concert, Tabernacle Chapel, Morriston

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Saturday 21st May
33rd Annual Concert, Tabernacle Chapel, Morriston
 
The special guest at our 2014 Annual Concert was Sophie Evans, who had wowed London’s West End with her performances as Dorothy in “The Wizard Of Oz”, and following the success of that concert we were thrilled when she accepted our invitation to return again this year.

Once again she charmed the huge audience, many of whom had come to hear her again, and including quite a high proportion of young ladies who might possibly have been attracted by our second guest singer, Rhydian Jenkins.
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 14 pieces from our repertoire, including an arrangement of Vivaldi’s Gloria, just one Welsh hymn, several lighter songs, and, as a tribute to the recently exonerated 96 Liverpool supporters, You’ll Never Walk Alone. Our Chairman Huw Roberts was the bass soloist in Brenin y Sêr and Anfonaf Angel.

The Choir’s Secretary J. Layton Watkins has been under the weather recently, but we were delighted that he was able to come and listen to us. In his honour we sang Y Darlun, which has a special place in the hearts of Layton and his family.

We were accompanied in some songs by Chris Smith playing his cajón, a wooden box-shaped drum native to Peru. We plan to sing Wooden Heart (made famous by Elvis Presley) on our German tour starting the Saturday following this concert, so we gave it an airing tonight.

Sophie was accompanied on piano by John Quirk as she sang many light pieces, ending with, of course, Over The Rainbow. John Lennon’s Imagine was particularly moving. Her two-gown wardrobe brought murmurs of approval from choristers, and although our MD and Accompanist wore different jackets for the second half, they did not have quite the same impact.

Tabernacle chapel is a long way from Las Vegas, where Sophie ended her recent Far East/USA tour with Richard Flatley’s Lord Of The Dance tour, but we are sure she could not have received as warm a welcome there as she did in Morriston tonight.

Rhydian Jenkins is a 19-year old 1st-year Cardiff University student from the Maesteg area, and after carrying off numerous Urdd and National Eisteddfod prizes and winning the Welsh Association of Male Choirs’ Geraint Morris Award, our Secretary invited him to sing for us. How glad we were, because his voice already shows maturity, and we could see from the audience’s reaction how much they enjoyed his performance of mainly Welsh songs, including This Is The Moment, from Jekyll and Hyde, in Welsh. Rhydian was accompanied by Kim Lloyd Jones. He is sure of success if he chooses to follow a career in music.

The Choir joined our soloists in two pieces: Anthem from Chess with Rhydian, and ABBA’s Thank You For The Music with Sophie, resulting in a standing ovation for all performers.

Our compère Rev. Eirian Wyn had obviously done much research into the background of our music, and he linked the various components of the evening with his usual humour.