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 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.