Cwmbach Male Choir

Founded in the Heart of Aberdare - Queen of the Valleys

 

News Archive 7 - May 2007 - May 2009

13 JUNE 2009 COURTYARD HEREFORD On Saturday 13th June the choir returned to the Courtyard Theatre, Hereford. We were joined in concert by Cellist Marged Jones who is at present completing her second year in the Royal College of Music in London. During the evening Marged played a brilliant selection of accompanied and unaccompanied music including pieces by Bach, Saint Saens and Rubinstein, Marged was accompanied by both Jayne and Emyr. We once again used our Sound Shell and Staging to enhance the experience, and the Courtyard’s own sound engineer remarked on the resulting high quality of our performance! The choir were pleased to see in the audience some supporters from Aberdare, who joined the Choir for an after concert sing at Hereford Welsh Social Club. Another excellent evening was enjoyed by all!
14 MAY 2009 EYCA CONFERENCE CARDIFF The Choir sang at the opening dinner of the European Youth Card Association’s 25th Annual Conference. We were greeted with rapturous applause from the youngsters representing countries from all over Europe. The audience were treated to a mixture of Welsh songs, songs from the shows and some popular music as the Choir performed on the grand central staircase of

the Angel Hotel. After the performance the choir and conference members were able to chat together and reform links spanning in some cases seventeen years (Our Chairman Brian Williams having been involved with EYCA from 1992). Both Choir and conference had a brilliant evening.

 
4 May 2009 FANTASTIC BLEND AT BREWHOUSE Cwmbach Male Choir returned to Taunton for their fifth appearance at the Brewhouse Theatre. The Choir’s programme for the evening included songs from the shows, operatic choruses and traditional hymns. The choir was ably conducted by our Deputy Musical Director Norman Harris. The choir was once again joined by Nicola Hughes, Soprano who sang from her extensive repertoire. The Choir has continued to perform occasionally with Nicola since she joined our Tour of North America in 2006. Nicola who graduated from the Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2005, has been a finalist for the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Award.
7 May 2009 A SAD LOSS It is with great sadness that the Choir heard of the passing away of one of our members, Aldo Bacchetta, Aldo had only been in the Choir 27 months but in that time made a great contribution to the work of the Choir, despite having poor health. Aldo was the driving force behind our visit to Bardi, Italy in 2008. The Choir took part in a commemoration for the victims of the Arandora Star tragedy in Bardi cemetery, and later on in 2008 in services dedicated to the disaster in Liverpool and Cardiff. Aldo, together with his brother, made a generous gift to the Choir of a watercolour of Bardi Castle which they commissioned for us. It is now on display in St Fagans Folk Museum (Please see Picture Gallery photographs from 2008 at St Fagans Natural History Museum). Our condolences to his wife Mary, and to the rest of his family and friends, both from within and outside the Italian community. He was a lovely man and will be sorely missed by all.
30 April 2009 GALA CONCERT ST JOHN CYMRU We were delighted to once again support St John Cymru in their efforts to raise money for the St John Eye Hospital, Jerusalem in a Gala Concert in Cardiff on 30th April. Cwmbach Choir, conducted by Emyr Wyn Roberts, were joined by many artistes including Gareth Rhys Davies - Baritone, Michael Clifton- Thompson - Tenor of the Welsh National Opera, and Catrin Aur Davies - Soprano. The audience were also entertained by a brilliant young harpist Benjamin Creighton-Griffiths. The accompaniment was provided by our own Jayne Thomas and WNO’s Russell Moreton. The Concert took place in St Andrews United Reform Church, Cardiff and was compered by television and radio presenter Sara Edwards. Everyone agreed that it was a fantastic evening of entertainment!
25 April 2009 COMING UP ROSES On Saturday 25 April the Choir had their first ‘sing using their newly acquired Sound Shell in the Roses Theatre Tewkesbury. The Choir were delighted with the performance which was greatly appreciated by the audience. The Choir were joined in concert by Rhian Lois Evans, the 2008 winner of the Bryn Terfel Urdd Gobaith Cymru Scholarship. Rhian delighted the audience with her varied repertoire of songs during the evening, which culminated with the Choir joining Rhian to sing “Cymru Fach”. This was the first concert outside Wales for the Choir’s new Compere Ken Jones who continued to thrill audiences with his amusing look at life! The Choir wish to thank all those who helped with the logistics of transporting our Sound Shell to and from Tewkesbury for the evening, including the staff at the Roses Theatre, our storage team in the Royal Opera House Aberdare, and the Choir members who gave up their time to assist in both Aberdare and Tewkesbury to ensure the success of the event.
6 April 2009 INVESTITURE OF HIGH SHERIFF On Monday 6th April the Choir were delighted to take part in the Investiture Ceremony of Anthony Williams to High Sheriff of Glamorgan. Mr Williams is currently one of the Choir’s Vice Presidents and the Choir are grateful for his continued support.
12 March 2009 WELSH WHISKY VISIT We have a long-standing connection with this Penderyn based company. It was Cwmbach who sang “We are the cheeky girls” for a TV advertisement some time ago. This was filmed on a wonderful day in Caerphilly Castle and still features on the Welsh Whisky website. We were invited to view the unique processes involved in producing their wonderful range. We sang in the Visitors Centre and sampled some of their products. Wonderful!! (Please see gallery). If you would like to see our cheeky performance at Caerphilly once again please try this link. http://www.youtube.com/watch? VXJOdNM9TzvM
12 March 2009 A Gala Concert To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the choir’s appearance with the great Paul Robeson the choir will be arranging a Gala Concert in early April 2010 at a prestigious venue and with a famous guest. Full details will follow shortly.
12 March 2009 A bouncing baby boy At our St David’s Day Concert we were joined by a guest tenor soloist, Marcel Xerri. He appeared even though his wife was due to give birth to their first child at any moment. We have just heard that Marcel is now a proud dad to a bouncing baby boy. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Marcel an am for his performance with us and to congratulate him and his wife on the birth of their son.
7 March 2009 Three wheels on my wagon It was a fantastic night of music in aid of leukaemia research at the Bethany Baptist Church in Rhiwbina, In addition to the choir there was Elicia Griffiths, a fine harpist, and two of our Musical Director’s young daughters Elen and Hannah playing viola and double bass. All were fantastic including the choir, although the second tenor section sounded a little ‘light’, particularly in the first half as two of our choristers were delayed when a wheel came off the car they were travelling in on the way to the concert. Luckily all the occupants were unharmed and one joined his section for the second half of the concert. Linking it all together was Ken ‘Cardy’ in only his second appearance in his new role as compere. He brought the house down with a few funny stories, which he assures us are all true. We are going to watch out that we are not rebilled as the Ken ‘Cardy’ show accompanied by the Cwmbach Male Choir! March 2009 Photo Gallery In the not too distant future we will be adding a new section to the website which will contain photographs from the past and to which we will add to. At the moment we are experimenting and attempting to iron out a few teething problems but we are hopeful that the gallery will be added by the end of March. If you have any photographs of the choir please pass them, or email them if possible, to the choir. (See the Contact Us page). Compromising photographs of choristers may not make it to the gallery but send them anyway. I could find a use for them!!!!
1 March 2009 St David’s Day Debut After twenty or so years as our compere, bottom bass Mr Ray Davies handed over the reins to another from the depths of that section of the choir, Mr Ken ‘Cardy’ Jones. As Ken acknowledged, Ray will be a very hard act to follow having entertained our audiences for all those years with his dry wit and flawless delivery. It is rumoured that members of the audience came to our concerts to listen to Ray as much as listen to the choir. It is also rumoured that Ray started this rumour!! Our thanks go to Ray for his outstanding contribution to the choir and we wish him all the best for the future. He is not leaving the choir but has decided to concentrate his efforts on helping to keep the bottom bass section in tune As for Ken, he made an admirable start to his new career and as no-one else has volunteered I am sure he will be our compere for years to come. Well done Ken. The occasion also saw life membership bestowed on two long serving members, Mr Ken Rees and Mr Derrick Williams, more commonly known as ‘Herbie’. Again our congratulations to both for this achievement and to their contribution to the choir over the years. The St David’s Day concert is a favourite with the choir. It’s on home turf which usually means a good turnout of choristers and audience but it also the one concert in the calendar where we have the opportunity of keeping alive many of the favourite Welsh hymns of old as we sing in the native tongue more in this concert than in any other. This is not an easy task as the majority of the choir are not Welsh speaking and therefore the credit for us being able to perform to such a high standard is down to our musical team led by our Musical Director Mr Emyr Wyn Roberts. Our thanks to them for their skill and perseverance. As well as being entertained by the Merry Men of Cwmbach the audience were delighted by our guest tenor soloist Mr Marcel Xerri who delighted with a mixture of operatic songs sung in Italian and English and who rounded off the evening with a rendition of the classic Nessun Dorma with the choir as his backing singers. This is the second time we have sung with Marcel and we are hoping that it will not be the last. Our thanks go to all involved in the organising of a very special evening.
17 January 2009 Another choir first? Was this the first time the choir has sung in a bus shelter? Seriously, we were honoured to be invited to sing at the Edwards Coaches open day at Llantwit Fardre, an event which also celebrated a new addition to the Edwards fleet of coaches. This new executive coach is of a very high standard and is to be used as the official team coach for the Welsh Rugby team. We sung two 15 minute slots with our top tenor Brent Owens surprising his employers at Edwards Coaches by singing the lead solo part in a song from the musical Miss Saigon called Bui Dol. Unfortunately, the one song that everyone wanted to hear is not in our repertoire ‘The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round, the wheels on the bus go round and round all day long’
January 2009 Cyprus here we come! It has been confirmed that the choir has accepted an invitation to perform in the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus in June 2009. Behind the scenes there has been months of preparations, which are still ongoing, but the decision has now been made that we will be flying on 24 June to return on the 1 July.
1 December 2008 Christmas Concert Joy As always the children stole the show. This year we were delighted to perform with the children of Abernant Primary School. All of them I think!! In the first half of the concert the smaller children appeared with the older children and gave the audience a real treat. There was laughter and clapping throughout their performance. Unfortunately, we in the choir are behind the children when they perform and cannot always see what is going on down the front of the stage but J am told that the children performed fabulously. The credit must go to Mrs Williams and to Mr Hawkins, the Headteacher, for the hard work and preparation in getting the children ready for the event. The choir boasted a near 100% turnout and had been equally well prepared by our hard working Musical Director, Mr Emyr Wyn Roberts. We always enjoy our ‘home’ concerts and the support we receive from the people of the Cynon Valley and surrounding area is outstanding and very welcome. Our Deputy Musical Director Norman Harris busied himself by videoing the performance and a commemorative DVD will be produced by him. Our thanks to Norman for his contribution, to Emyr for his direction and to our accompanist Jayne Thomas who hardly puts a finger wrong! ¡t was also a special occasion for second tenor Tom Lewis who celebrates thirty years as a chorister and it was with great pleasure that our Chairman, Brian Williams, presented Tom with a memento to mark this wonderful achievement. We now look forward to a busy 2009 with anticipation.
29 November 2008 The best acoustic in Britain? A large sign outside the Hall boasts a venue with the best acoustic in Britain. A statement from the theatre reads “St. George’s has a unique and extremely sensitive acoustic. Please ensure you have turned off any digital watches or mobile phones before the concert begins”. I am pleased to report that this is not an idle boast. This Bristol venue has a fantastic acoustic which helped the ageing voices of the choir enormously. Where we needed to sing quietly we could do so without fear that those at the back of the Hall could not hear and when we ‘opened up’ we feared that ear drums could be damaged It is a venue that we will look forward to returning to as I am sure we will. Many thanks to the theatre staff and especially to our guest soloist, lona Jones, not that she needed any help from the acoustics of the Hall as she would sound fabulous in the acoustic of a padded cell!
3 August 2008 A visit to the seaside We were told to leave our buckets and spades behind as it would be raining and not to nag to go on the pier because it had burnt down, but when we arrived in Western Super Mare yesterday the sun was shining and the pier was still standing. in fact, there appeared to be more visitors than usual trekking as far along the pier as is allowed to view the wreckage! Unfortunately time was short and we did not get the chance to play on the beach or run to the end of the pier. We had the more pressing business of entertaining the local residents at the Playhouse Theatre. Ably led by our deputy conductor Mr Norman Harris and accompanied by Jayne Thomas we set about a varied collection of songs from our ever growing repertoire, mixing traditional hymns in Welsh and English with spirituals and modern popular songs. With us were two ladies, both excellent sopranos, Sally Kingsbury (soprano) and Anne Bra ley (Mezzo soprano). Among Sally’s songs was Mr Snow” from Carousel, and among Anne’s items was “Blow the Wind Southerly”. They sang the beautiful “FlowerDuet” by Delibes and Ivor Novello’s “We’ll Gather Lilacs” together and performed “The Easter Hymn- Cavalliera Rusticana with the Choir as a finale. The audience were very appreciative of both our performance and the two ladies, which made the evening a glowing success. Our after concert ‘party’ was at the Western Super Mare Cricket Club which we left in very good spirits just after midnight. Altogether a very enjoyable day at the seaside.
1 August 2008 Wedded bliss at Caerleon? For the TENTH year in a row, the choir were delighted to sing again at the Annual Writer’s Conference held at the University of Wales, Newport, Campus at Caerleon. Once again, the splendid audience of writers and authors, many of whom had also attended every one of those ten concerts we have given, gave the choir a great reception and ovation. They are one of our favourite audiences, so much so that one of us MARRIED one of them last year !! But not this year ! After retiring to the bar the singing and friendship triumphed once again, and it is with great difficulty that all choristers dragged themselves back to our coaches well after mid-night. Indeed, all of them returned this time. Our grateful thanks go to the wonderful organising team of Anne Hobbs and husband Gerry, and we are pretty sure of the invitation to return next July 2009. Keep on blogging you authors !! 14 July 2008 Inner Wheel Concert This event was originally scheduled for the evening of Thursday 10th July but due to inclement weather was postponed to 14th July. The weather held out but it was an overcast evening and quite typical of what we have come to expect of the great British summer Again we were proud to be associated with this local fund raising event, Unfortunately, due to the change in date many of those who had bought tickets for the Thursday could not make it to the Monday event but nonetheless those who could make it appeared to enjoy the evening. Our thanks go to the organisers who work so hard at making this annual event one of the highlights of our calendar.
12 July 2008 Charity Concert for Leukaemia Research The choir was delighted to be invited to this event which was organised by Mr Alan Watkins, the son of a former chorister, It was held at St.Peter’s Church, Hammersmith, London starting at 6.30pm with a champagne reception with entertainment provided by Margaret Watson on the harp. The choir then shared the stage with an assortment of musicians. Keziah Thomas, another fine harpist, Marcel Scerri, a superb tenor, Sophie Gopsill, a wonderful mezzo soprano and an excellent tuba soloist from Beddau, Mr Kevin Morgan. All were accompanied by pianist John Human. To the choir’s delight the event was sponsored by Fullers Brewery who donated three barrels of beer. The audience were very appreciative of the quality of all performances and as a result of the evening we believe in excess of £3,000 was rose for a very good cause.
June 2008 SAFELY HOME We are safely back from our tour to Northern Italy and (briefly) the South of France. It was a tiring but very enjoyable experience, particularly the time spent in Bardi, where in addition to the Mass and the visit to the Arandora Star Memorial Chapel in Bardi Cemetery (see below), we performed a concert and sang for our Sunday buffet and drank a glass in Cafe Piccolo!! Not only that, but this followed a lovely lunch at Medesano en route to Bardi, where we met Franco (the owner) and the local Mayor who presented us with a momento of our visit. Other momentos were given to us following the concert at the lovely new church in Monticelli Terme, our first tour base, and indeed by the Mayor of Bardi, Pietro Tambini whilst in Bardi. After singing again in a mass at Chiesa San Siro in San Remo, we sang outdoors in the lovely piazza outside the church, where we received, yes you’ve guessed it, a lovely momento of our visit to San Remo. The town also generously gave us bus passes for our time there, a Say Boat Tour and a guided walking visit to Villa Nobel, the former home of the Peace Prize Creator, all FREE of charge. we ended our singing tour at the Anglican Cathedral Church in Nice, following whistle- stop visits to Monaco and Monte Carlo on the way from San Remo. We sang in the evensong service and then performed a concert to a packed appreciative church audience. Our discovery of the tour was to find that Emyr Roberts (our conductor) has two brilliantly talented young daughters, Hannah and Elen, who wowed every audience with their vocal and piano skills. And to think Emyr has another daughter, Catrin, to come A tired but happy group returned home with one question on their lips. . . .where are we going next year?????
23 June 2008 CHOIR REMEMBERS VICTIMS of the ARANDORA STAR When Italy entered World War Two in 1940, Italian men living in the UK, including the Bracchis (cafe owners) of South Wales, were regarded as aliens, and were interned, many to the Isle of Man or prison-type detention centres across the country. There were too many to cope with, so Canada, amongst other Empire countries, agreed to take some internees. On 1st July 1940, the Arandora Star (a converted cruise liner) left Liverpool with 800 Italian internees aboard, bound for Canada. During the first night, she was torpedoed by a U-boat off Ireland, and sunk with 446 Italian men lost, along with many British troops and German prisoners of war. Of the 446 Italian dead, nearly 50 were from the same small town in Italy - BARDI. Most of those lost were Bardi expats living in South Wales, some from the Aberdare area. A memorial chapel to the victims was built in Bardi Cemetery, and during our recent visit to Italy, the Cwmbach Male Choir joined the Mayor and members of the Arandora Star Victims Association for a Mass and commemorative service whilst we were in Bardi. Very emotional. The choir also conveyed a message from the Mayor of Bardi to the Mayor of Liverpool about the commemorations. Since then, the City of Liverpool has contacted the Choir, and asked us to sing at a ceremony and service on Wednesday 2 July 2008, to commemorate the loss of the ship and Liverpool’s part in it (this as part of the Liverpool City of Culture 2008). The service will be at Liverpool Parish Church (St Nick’s), Pier Head, followed by a reception and book launch at the Maritime Museum. The choir will also be singing aboard a Ferry across the Mersey as a wreath is laid in honour of the victims. Relatives of the victims will be at the commemorations. Evan Morgan Jones from Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, is the only known surviving crew member. He was a Merchant Seaman on the ship when it was torpedoed, and spent 12 hours in the sea off Ireland before being rescued. He is to be the Guest-of- Honour at the 2 July commemoration in Liverpool, at which Cwmbach Male Choir will be singing. We discovered him by accident as his daughter-in-law works with one of our choristers. The choir also has a chorister, Mr Aldo Bacchetta, who had a family member lost on the Arandora Star. 24 May 2008 Piccolo ciao ciao buon giorno The time is nearly upon us. Next week we are off to Italy. We have practised our Italian and had test runs at Cwmbran and St.Fagans. the reception to our Italian renditions has been amazing, but what will the Italians think? We would like to take this opportunity of thanking everyone involved in the organisation of this tour. There are in excess of 120 in the tour party which takes some organising. Special thanks to our Chainman, Mr Brian Williams, for all his efforts. Also, to Mr Aldo Bacchetta and the Amici Valceno Galles Society for helping arrange this tour. Again, special thanks to Aldo for the gift he presented to the choir last week at St Fagans, being a painting of Bardi Castle. This painting will now be hung at Cafe Bardi at the Welsh National History Museum. Unfortunately, Webmaster cannot make the trip but would like to wish everyone a safe journey and a fantastic time. April 2008 A latte to sing about For a little bit of practice before we go on our second tour of Italy, on Sunday 18th May the choir will be performing in Cafe Bardi at St. Fagans National History Museum. “The name Café Bardi was chosen to highlight the Welsh-Italian community that exists in South Wales,” said Sioned Hughes, Curator at St Fagans. “It will be a real treat to have Cor Cwmbach, which through this initiative is highlighting the strong connection between both countries, perform at St Fagans.” The choir will perform at St Fagans’ Oakdale Workmen’s Institute at 2pm & 3pm and will finish their visit at Café Bardi at 4pm. Perhaps we will find a few Italian’s who can help us perfect our accents while singing Italian Salad or better still, one who will serve us steamed pies or pasties. Do you remember them? yumiil! All are welcome to this event which is free, as is entry to St Fagans.
April 2008 Friends from Europe In October 2007 we entertained 50 visitors from Belgium at one of our rehearsals. On Monday 21 April we will again be entertaining a large party of visitors from mainland Europe. Glenboi Community Primary School are the hosts to visitors from three partner schools who are all involved in an international project entitled ‘the riches of nature for art’. The partner schools are from the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic and Poland. The visit to Wales is the last in a series of cultural exchanges. In 2005 the school representatives met in the Czech Republic, in 2006 in Poland and in 2007 in Slovakia, There is a full programme of events lined up for the eighteen travellers including visits to The Big Pit, Caerphilly Castle (to see where that famous Welsh Distillers advert for Merlyn was made), the Waterfront Museum & Mumbles and a trip to our capital city, by train. The highlight of the week will obviously be their visit to us !!We look forward to welcoming our visitors and hope that we can successfully demonstrate and delight them with the riches of our particular art form.
12 March 2008 St David’s Day Success A special concert was promised and after concert reaction suggests that we did not disappoint. It is It’s always a pleasure to perform in front of a full house no more so than at your ‘home venue’ and our local supporters did not let us down by filling the 597 capacity of the Coliseum. In fact, rumour has it that a few may have been beaten to the rush for tickets by a group from Taunton who could not get their hands on tickets for our concert there on 19 April! Highlights of the evening included the chastising of our compere by 12 year old violinist Hannah Roper after he had introduced her as being 11 years of age. How that matters to a 12 year old, but just wait until she is 30 something!! There were the tales of how the recent earthquake had affected the folk of Cwmbach to the point that the Cwmbach Earthquake Appeal had been launched. And what was the significance of the dragon facing the wrong way on the Welsh flag hanging behind the choir? Then there was the music. The men of Cwmbach performed with gusto, Rhian Lois our guest soprano soloist sang serenely and Hannah’s performance was magical, being worthy of a performance of a maestro of her genre. She is a very special 12 year old. Our thanks go to all involved in making this first performance of 2008 a resounding success and to our very appreciative home audience for their continuing support.
March 2008 Acoustic Shell Some people say we are loud enough as it is but we are about to get louder! In 2006 we travelled to western Canada and the USA and in the majority of venues we sung with the benefit of acoustic shells, which enhanced the quality enjoyed by our audiences as the shells ensured that sound was not lost in the rafters above the choir. Now we have our own. It will not be suitable for use at all venues but we will be using it where we can and we are sure that our future audiences will appreciate the difference it will make to their listening experience.
March 2008 Aur Cymru - Welsh Gold Our new CD entitled ‘Aur Cymru - Welsh Gold’ will be released later this month. This offering is a compilation album of song in the Welsh language which includes recently recorded items together with popular tracks from previous recordings. Once available we will publish further details on the ‘Recordings’ page of this website, together with further details and sound samples of our December 2007 release called ‘Take Me Home’.
March 2008 Tribute to Ron Jones MBE The choir is honoured to have been invited to perform at a tribute dinner being held to celebrate the achievements of one of the Cynon Valley’s finest athletes. Ron Jones competed in three Olympic Games and in four Commonwealth Games. He captained the British team at the Mexico Olympics in 1968 and the Welsh Commonwealth Team in Jamaica in 1966. He was regarded as one of the most talented sprinters of his generation and was a member of the British team that equalled the world record in the 4 X 100 metres (or was it yards in those days?) relay. Tickets for the dinner are available from Mr John Cynon Davies on 01685 874456.
February 2008 Italy Tour 2008 The details are finalised. We enjoyed Italy so much in 2007 that we had to return. Therefore the choir, together with guests totalling a party of 125, leaves for Italy on Wednesday 28th May and flies home on Friday 6th June. Whereas in 2007 we toured North Eastern Italy this time we are visiting North Western Italy and also crossing into Southern France for a few days. The tour has been arranged with great help and cooperation from Amici Val Ceno, the South Wales Society of Bardi exiles. Early in the last century many families from Bardi emigrated to South Wales and opened cafes throughout the valleys. More details can be found on their website at www.amicivalcenogalles.com. We will be performing in Bardi and also in Parma, San Remo and Nice Anglican Cathedral. Also, watch out for further details of a promotional day at St Fagans Museum in May where we will be performing at their new Cafe Bardi.
February 2008 60 Years for Mr Ray Challenger At our St David’s Day Concert we will be celebrating Mr Ray Challenger’s 60th year as a member of the choir. For a short while Ray has been residing over the border but is ¡in regular contact with the choir and is looking forward to being with us on 1 March at the Coliseum. He is also looking forward to meeting up with choristers, old and new, past and present. All former choristers are invited to attend. Please contact Brian Williams on 01685 874782 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details.
27 January 2008 St David’s Day Concert A Happy New year to you all. Our audience will be in for a very special treat on 1 March. Performing with us will be two young ladies who shared the stage with us in 2007 and impressed us so much we had to invite them to perform with us again. Hannah Roper is a violinist of maturity beyond her eleven years (although she may be twelve by now!). Miss Rhian Lois is an excellent soprano. Hannah performed beautifully with us last July in Hereford and Rhian delighted us in September at Malvern. There are still a few tickets remaining but they will be gone soon so if you are quick you may be lucky. Contact the box office at the Coliseum, Aberdare on 01685 881188.
13 December 2007 St John City Parish Church, Cardiff Apologies for the late report but the webmaster was forced to attend his office Christmas party on the same night so missed this highly prestigious Christmas Carol Service organised by the Order of St John, which attracts people from far and wide including local dignitaries and local celebrities. The choir performed several items including a joint item with the guest soloist Mr Seungwook Seong, a fine baritone. The Church was full to capacity and the audience showed their appreciation by giving the choir a standing ovation. Our thanks go to all those involved in the organising of this wonderful event.
December 2007 Take Me Home I Our new CD has just been released and is entitled Take Me Home. Full details will be included on the Recordings page in the New year. In the meantime if you would like further details or wish to place an order please go to the Contact Us page. Nigel from Kent who made a posting in the guestbook in August 2007 will be delighted to learn that The Impossible Dream is on the CD. December 2007 A Concert at Christmas The choir performed to a full house at the Aberdare Coliseum on a cold wintry evening. The performance included carols, sung in Welsh and English, and mixed in were a small number of songs from our concert repertoire. Two choirs were on stage that night. The Cwmbach Primary School Choir, very ably conducted by their Headteacher Miss Sian Yeo, delighted the audience performing carols accompanied by their very own percussion section. Both choirs sung together the carol O Holy Night. Apparently, at the same time Rhydian Roberts was also singing the same song in the X Factor final. One local wag suggested that Rhydian lost the final to Leon because there were so many people at the Coliseum who did not get the chance to vote!!! Obviously they preferred to be with us and who would blame them. Thanks go to all involved in making the night very special, in particular the children of Cwmbach Primary School. A Merry Christmas to you all.
November 2007 Shrewsbury Webmaster missed this concert on 3rd November as he was looking for a suitable venue for the choir in Mexico. (one must remember to submit the expenses claim!). The main feedback from the choristers was that despite the ‘dead’ acoustic on stage which made it difficult at times, this also lifted concentration levels with the result that the evening was a complete success reflected by a very appreciative audience that approached 700. In fact our Secretary met his brother-in-law at the theatre and he said that he has heard many a choir sing but nothing like Cwmbach. Enough said.
October 2007 Future Engagements Were you thinking that after a very busy 2007 we were about to have a year off? you could be forgiven for thinking that as our Future Events page stops in December. However, the programme for 2008 is nearly set and includes return visits to Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon, the Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton, the Forum Theatre in Malvern, the Playhouse Theatre in Weston-Super-Mare, as well as our first ever visit to the Congress Theatre in Cwmbran. We will also be performing in Chiswick, West London and in Redditch for the local Welsh Society, in addition to our annual St David’s Day and Christmas Concerts at the Coliseum Theatre, Aberdare. For the tenth year in a row we will be appearing at the Annual Writer’s Circle Conference at Caerleon College and once again giving a “Choir in the Quad” performance in the courtyard of the visitor centre of the Dare Valley Country Park. All this in addition to our concert tour to Italy and France in May and June! That’s just for starters. No doubt we will be asked to sing at weddings and now that we are stars of the small screen with our appearances in Britain’s Got Talent and ‘the’ advert the TV work could start flooding in. Who knows, we could be Dancing on Ice next!! Seriously, watch out for an update to the Future Events page in the very near future, which will confirm the dates.
October 2007 A record for a rehearsal On Monday 29 October, the choir will welcome its largest group of visitors to a rehearsal when a party of more than fifty people from Belgium will be welcomed in true Welsh style in song!! Our guest book is full of special comments from visitors from all over the world, most recently from Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Japan, as well as “locals” from Lincoln, Portsmouth and Dundee!!! We just hope that our guests from Belgium enjoy the evening, and take up more space in our prized guest book. Many thanks to Mr Ed Hillier of the Ty Newydd Country Hotel, Hirwaun, for pointing the group in our direction.
13th October 2007 Penderyn Wedding On a dark dismal day Miss Emma Jones became Mrs Andrew Williams. Not that the weather affected the bride as she looked like a ray of sunshine, brightening up the proceedings with a sparkling smile. With the promise of a bottle of the best Penderyn whisky to one of the attending choristers the choir boasted a near full turnout which was a bit of a problem in a very pretty but rather small church In fact we were all given a bottle of whisky which lit up the choristers (usually dour) faces, in competition with the brides smile. We would like to thank Andrew and Emma and we wish them all the very best for the future and look forward to seeing them at all our concerts.
October 2007 Have you seen us on TV? I Another first for Cwmbach Male Choir. Our own regular TV slot. The problem is it’s a very short slot and we never know when we are going to appear!! Never mind. Ever resourceful we can take you straight to our latest appearance, Just copy the link into your browser, press go and enjoy the show: http ;//www , youtube.com/watch?v =XJOdNMgTzvM Press BACK on your browser to come straight back to us and then tell us what you think in the guestbook.
22 September 2007 Malvern It was the first time for the choir to sing at the Forum Theatre in Malvern and it won’t be the last. It is a fabulous venue and the 700+ audience were very warm and appreciative. We sung a mixed programme consisting of traditional Welsh hymns, a melody of songs from the SO’s, other modern day favourites such as You Raise Me Up, a number of songs from Musicals including Bui Doi from Miss Saigon with our Brent Owens singing the solo lead and in tribute to the recently departed Luciano Pavarotti we sung our version of Nessun Dorma. The highlight was the Middlebrooks/Belland song What Would I Do Without My Music which was very apt (you had to be there). We were joined by an excellent soprano, Miss Rhian Lois who was accompanied on piano by her mother. I am sure we will have the pleasure of her company at future concerts. Our thanks to all those involved in the organisation and to the wonderful audience who made it all worthwhile for us.
13 September 2007 Cwmbach to New Mexico One of the choir’s elder statesmen, Mr Jack Palmer, informs us that his granddaughter Helen is performing missionary work in New Mexico. Helen is working in a hospital in New Mexico while studying to be a Doctor and while she is there she has been spreading the good news about Cwmbach Choir. Jack has sent CD’S to help her educate those poor souls who have until now been ignorant of Welsh Male Choral Music. Will Helen’s work lead to a concert tour of New Mexico? We will have to wait and see. Go Doc!!
14 September 2007 There’s no business like show business Tradition has it that we take a break in the month of August but last Thursday we met for a rehearsal before performing at the wedding of Lisa Roberts to Christian Bowen on Saturday 1. September. It was a beautiful day, the bride was beautiful, the groom looked happy and the service was wonderful. The choir wishes Lisa and Christian all the best in the future. At that rehearsal it was announced that during the break we had been approached to perform in a TV advertisement for Welsh Whisky Distillers, promoting their new products. So, having quickly added a new song to the repertoire, today we found ourselves in a recording studio followed by a trip to Caerphilly Castle for the filming using the castle as a backdrop. It is a cheeky advert which should be on your screens in October. Don’t miss it.
July 2007 Cutting a new CD “Simon Cowell declined to offer us a recording contract so we will have to go it alone, again. So, on Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th July you will find us at Cwmbach Primary School surrounded by microphones and sound engineers as we toil through our most recent repertoire. It will be hard work but worth it when not one but two CD’s are released, hopefully by the end of September. One CD will include many of the newer songs in the repertoire and will be recorded in English. The second CD will contain new recordings of traditional Welsh hymns and will also include a number of tracks previously recorded. Place your orders now! “
July 2007 Hereford Concert Saturday 14th July and the choir made their way to the Courtyard Theatre, Hereford. A full house of 450 were entertained by a varied programme of old and new songs, but the star of the show was Hannah Roper, an eleven year old violinist with an outstanding talent and a maturity beyond her years. Hannah has been accepted to study at the Yehudi Menuhin School based in Surrey. Yehudi Menuhin founded his famous school in England to provide the environment and tuition for musically gifted children from all over the world to pursue their love of music, develop their musical potential, and achieve standards of performance on stringed instruments and piano at the highest level. Entry to the school is limited and acceptance is a fantastic achievement. It was a privilege to share the stage with Hannah and the choir wishes her every success in the future. tune 2007 Britain’s Got Talent Did you spot us? We featured for approximately 30 seconds on the first show! We did well to get down to the last 120 acts out of the 50,000 who auditioned for the show but we just could not compete with the dancing dogs and the girl with the grinder, even though there are said to be sparks flying when we perform. Our best wishes go to the eventual winner, Mr Paul Potts from Port Talbot.
May 2007 Italy Tour A wonderful tour. We flew to Pisa and travelled across country, with a short stop in Florence and then on to Riccione. We stayed in Riccione for four nights and sang at a music festival! which was based in San Marino. A long trek followed, moving north to Lido de Jesolo. Lido de Jesolo is a resort not far from Venice and we enjoyed a sunny and hot day in Venice before singing in the Chiesa San Salvador, a concert which was attended by the British Honorary Consul. Our final concert was outdoors at Piazza Aurora in Lido which was attended by an audience approaching 1,000. It was so enjoyable that we are considering a return trip to Italy in 2008. May 2007 New President The new president of Cwmbach Male Choir is Cynon Valley pharmacist Alan Sheppard. Mr Sheppard. who was formerly a Vice President has just come to the end of his year as the High Sheriff of Glamorgan and the Choir is delighted that he has accepted the position which became vacant due to the sudden death of Mr Keith Rowlands, who served the Choir for many years and whose death saddened us all.