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.

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.