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.

All Saints’ Church, Oystermouth, Swansea

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Saturday 30th April
All Saints’ Church, Oystermouth, Swansea

This was a concert we would have preferred not to have to had taken place. It was to raise funds to help provide a life-extending cancer drug (Kadcyla) for Helen Davies from Swansea. The Welsh NHS would not fund this treatment for Helen due to the cost of nearly £8,000 per phase of the treatment.
 As our compere and one of our soloists said, it is galling and frustrating to think how many billions are spent and wasted by our Government each year on arms, vanity projects, foreign aid, etc. when many people like Helen are, if they are lucky to have the support, having to raise money to prolong their own lives.

Consequently, when we were asked by the whirlwind which is Pam Walters of https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/Helen-Davies to help her mammoth task, we agreed at once.

Pam had also enlisted the services of two soloists and a school choir: Richard Allen is a local tenor with an impressive pedigree and a long list of musical achievements. In his spare time he is a maths teacher!  Accompanied by Hywel Evans, he sang a couple of songs that were thoughtfully relevant to Helen’s predicament, and he tested Hywel’s awe-inspiring prowess at the keyboard with Lara’s Granada. He brought a few blushes to some ladies in the audience as he serenaded them with Lehar’s Girls Were Made To Love And Kiss.

Jonathan Lycett is now also a local singer, having moved from across the border after graduating from Swansea University, and is renowned in the area as an accompanist, musical director, and a Director of musical shows.With D. Huw Rees at the piano, Jonathan’s programme came mainly from musical shows, with Ivor Novello’s And Her Mother Came Too raising several knowing smiles among the gentlemen in the audience.

Bishop Gore School Choir excelled in their programme, which included a challenging piece written by their accompanist Richard Braithwaite. They were conducted by Catrin Lewis, and soloists were Lauren Edwards, Kaiah Rutterford, Anna Lucignoli (ocarina), and Lynden Peters (harp). We hope they will enter our Schools Choral Competition next year, when, judging by this performance,  they will be in with a very good chance of a prize.

Our own performance, accompanied by Hywel Evans (piano) and Huw Tregelles Williams (organ), and conducted by D. Huw Rees, was a variety of religious, musical show, and traditional Welsh songs. Our Bass soloist was Huw Roberts. Richard Allen joined us for Lloyd Webber’s Anthem from Chess.

In tribute to the 96 football fans who lost their lives at Hillsborough 27 years ago and who had been vindicated earlier in the week, and as the Swans were to play Liverpool at home (3-1) the next day, we added their own anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone as a final finale.

Our compere was “Mr. Swansea”, Kevin Johns. As usual, and as had happened in the Brangwyn Hall at the beginning of the month, he made the evening go with a swing and many laughs. He even joined us in our final tribute, and would play a large role during the following day’s match at the Liberty Stadium as the Swans’ Chaplain.

We were so pleased that Helen was able to attend the concert, in spite of receiving her arduous 4th treatment earlier in the week. The good news is that it is working!

STOP PRESS: The concert raised almost £1,500 for the Fund.  
 
 

St. Paul’s Church, Sketty, Swansea

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Friday 8th April
St. Paul’s Church, Sketty, Swansea
 
Our second concert in a week; this time to raise funds for CISS (Cancer Information & Support Services), who do exactly what their name implies, plus counselling, home and hospital visits, self-help group meetings, and a 365-day helpline.

The concert was arranged by friends of Kay Webb, a medical secretary in Morriston Hospital’s Burns and Plastics department, who died from cancer in 2014, and whose friends and family made donations to CISS, and who decided to continue their support.

The Singleton Singers were conducted by their MD Carole Edwards and accompanied by Jonathan Lycett, and in one piece by flautist Bethan Edwards. Their choice of music included, among many others, Rogers & Hammerstin, Abba, Sting, and Bruno Mars. Java Jive brought out their acting skills.

Soprano Catrin Eluned Jones is a senior teaching assistant in Tirdeunaw school during the week, but at weekends she studies music.

Her programme included one Puccini aria and several light pieces, including two amusing songs made popular by American singer/actress Kristen Chenoweth. She was accompanied by Jonathan Lycett.

Our own programme of 11 songs was conducted by our MD D.Huw Rees and accompanied by Hywel Evans. After all the complimentary comments following last week’s concert, we had a lot to live up to. Judging by the audience’s reaction, we did just that, as we sang a range of religious, traditional, baroque, and modern music. with Huw Roberts again singing the solo parts in Anfonaf Angel and Brenin y Sêr.

The two choirs joined to sing Y Darlun to bring the concert to a successful close.

Compere for the evening was Andrew Jones, who was made busy calling out the many raffle prize numbers.
 

 

 

 

Wales Sings In Spring – Brangwyn Hall, Swansea

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Saturday 2nd April
Wales Sings In Spring – Brangwyn Hall, Swansea
 
The Rotary Club of Morriston raises funds to support not only local good causes, but also those in Uganda, Nepal, and the Philippines. It was a bold move to hire the Brangwyn Hall for their latest fundraiser, and the discerning audience were treated to a wonderful evening of music.
In a packed programme, conducted by D. Huw Rees and accompanied by Hywel Evans (piano) and Huw Tregelles Williams (organ) we sang seven songs on our own and joined the other artistes in three more. Our soloist in Brenin y Sêr was Huw Roberts.

The ladies of Parti Llwchwr, led by Janet V. Jones and accompanied by D. Huw Rees and Huw Tregelles Williams, always convey their love and enjoyment of singing to their audience, and tonight was no exception as they sang a variety of Welsh favourites, John Rutter’s Gaelic Blessing, Ivor Novello, and Ivanovici’s Danube Waves Waltz in Welsh.

We were entertained by two young soloists; soprano Adele O’Neill, and tenor Elgan Llyr Thomas from north Wales.

 Adele chose mainly operatic arias, and was joined by Parti Llwchwr in Strauss’ Nuns’ Chorus.  Adele is due to join Grange Park opera company for 4 months.  She was accompanied by Hywel Evans.
Elgan’s programme came from Verdi, R.S. Hughes, John Henry, and Franz Lehar – something for everyone. His accompanist was D. Huw Rees, who, with Hywel Evans, had a busy night. We joined him in singing Anthem from Chess.  

Both choirs joined together to sing Robat Arwyn’s Anfonaf Angel, with Huw Roberts and Parti Llwchwr sharing the verses.

The concert’s finale,  The Holy City sung by all the perfomers, brought the audience to its feet in appreciataion of a wonderful evening of music. We were even joined by compere Kevin Johns, who couldn’t resist singing it with us.

Kevin really made the evening go with a swing, with his inimitable enthusiasm and humour.

Schools Choral Competition

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Wednesday 16th March
Schools Choral Competition
 
This was our third annual competition for Swansea Valley schools’ choirs, and 10 primary schools competed for a 1st prize of £200 andthe perpetual plaque. All competing choirs received a financial reward and a commemorative plaque, with each singer having a certificate.

Unfortunately, due to essential safety work being carried out in Tabernacle Chapel, it was not possible to hold the event there again this year, but we were given the use of Morriston Comprehensive School’s impressive new theatre and hall.

This had advantages and disadvantages; the theatre was bursting at the seams with the families and friends of the contestants, leaving no room for the choirs to sit and hear their competitors.
On the other hand, the choirs were able to relax and amuse themselves outside in the hall while waiting their turn to perform.

The adjudicators this year were our MD D. Huw Rees, our president Huw Tregelles Williams OBE, and Lyndon Jones, Director of the Swansea International Festival. Their task was made difficult by the high standard of singing, but by a long process of elimination, weighing up each choir’s musical performance, stage presence, communication with the audience, etc, they eventually awarded First Prize to the choir from Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tirdeunaw, with Cwm Glas and Gwyrosydd in 2nd and 3rd places.

All the choirs, their teachers and their families deserved praise for the work they had put in over the previous months, and more than one small sibling in the audience was seen mouthing words, proving their brother or sister had been practicing at home!

This was another successful evening, and a tribute to the enterprise of our General Secretary Mr. J. Layton Watkins, who first proposed the competition.

We thank the sponsors who contributed financially, and Morriston Comprehensive school for the use of the theatre and hall.

TescoExtra, Llansamlet, Swansea

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Tuesday March 1st
TescoExtra, Llansamlet, Swansea
 
We were invited back to Tesco’s Llansamlet store again this year to entertain their customers on St. David’s Day.
With Helen Wyn conducting, and Hywel Evans at the piano we sang two sessions of songs, and sold several CDs. It was also an opportunity to publicise our forthcoming Schools Choral Competition, and the Annual Concert in May.
 Last year we managed to recruit a new chorister, and we hope to have convinced another couple of potential members.
 
We thank the manager and staff of the store for their hospitality, and for allowing us to make a collection towards the costs of our forthcoming Schools Choral Competition on 16th March at Morriston Comprehensive School.

We also thank the manager for the store’s donation towards the Competition