Cwmbach Male Choir

Founded in the Heart of Aberdare - Queen of the Valleys

 

Mr Ray Davies

Ray Davies (formerly of the Bass Section) passed away on Saturday 9th July aged 87 after a long illness. He joined the choir in 1988 and became its Compere and MC not long afterwards. He had a dry wit and a sharp sense of humour, and brought a lot of his material with him from his time in the Merchant Navy. He was an expert on the sinking of the Titanic and was invited to many organisations to provide his informative and enlightening insight into the famous loss of the ship. ...He was a long-standing Rotarian, and is credited with starting the “Aberdare Talking News for the Blind”, a service he continued to lead until his recent ill-health prevented him from continuing.

Ray represented the choir on the Welsh Amateur Music Federation, served as Bass Section Leader for many years, and served a term of three years as Vice Chairman. Ray enjoyed many overseas tours including Canada, the States, South Africa and all over Uk and Europe. He fronted the choir when it appeared on the first series of “Britain’s Got Talent”, and when asked about the average age of the choir by Simon Cowell, quickly replied “103”which brought great laughter and applause from the sell-out audience at the Wales Millenium Centre. Ray was also a faithful, long-term chorister with Mountain Ash Choral Society.

We extend our condolences to his wife Shirley and their daughter, and will advise you of the funeral arrangements once they are known. We will remember Ray with affection and gratitude.

Dare Valley Country Park - Concert with Only Signs Aloud - Thursday 30th June 2016

On Thursday 30th June Cwmbach choir held a fantastic concert at Dare Valley Country Park with Aberdare Rotary and the unmissable Only Signs Aloud. We raised over £1,100 for these fabulous people who despite their disadvantages take great joy from music. Our musical director Dr. Mike Thomas conducted us through a varied repertoire from the secular “Benedictus” to the unofficial Welsh football anthem, “Your Just Too Good To Be True”. We performed fifteen different and varied songs in total and two songs from our Welsh section, “Sarah” and “O Gymry” can be viewed on You Tube by following THIS link. You can also view Only Signs Aloud performing “Any Dream Will Do” by following THIS link. The choir debuted “The Song Of The Jolly Roger” which drew smiles and laughter from the packed audience. The evening drew to a close with the 200 strong audience crammed into the Cwtch giving the joint choirs a standing ovation following the final our performance of “Jacobs Ladder”. A special thanks is extended to all those who helped organise the event and to Jayne Thomas who accompanied the choir so beautifully.

  

  

Croatian Tour 2016

On Sunday 15th May a party of around 120 choristers, music staff, family and friends departed the UK on our 9 day tour of Northern Italy and Croatia. Our first destination was a three night stay at Lido De Jesolo just outside of Venice. We stayed at Hotel Sofia which was a quaint little 3 start hotel just off the beach front. From here many of the tour party spent the next day in Venice taking in the sights and sounds. One of our choristers managed to get on the wrong ferry back to the hotel and ended up on a seven hour tour of his own of Northern Italy! On Tuesday 17th May we held out first concert at the Piazza Aurora where a crowd of around 400 heard Ben Pinnow our musical director for the tour and our accompanist Jayne Thomas professionally guide the choir through 18 songs including Speed Your Journey, Y Tangnefeddwyr and Rachie. Our two soloists Kirk Lewis and Brent Owen also took us through I’se Weary and Ride The Chariot.

 

On Wednesday 18th we departed from Italy and headed to the beautiful country of Croatia. We stayed at the Resort Hotel Belvedere in Vrsar which provided delicious half board meals for the touring group which meant for the first time we all managed to sit down together and eat and drink.

Our first concert in Croatia was on the 18th May at St Bernado's Church in Funtana. We formed part of a joint concert with the church’s resident choir and also the Zbor Roženice choir led beautifully by Ines Kovačić Drndić. We kicked the concert off withA Voice of Singing” and ended with the fantastic Amen of “Tydi a Roddaist”. After the concert the choir enjoyed local hospitality in the church hall where we were fed and watered and we also spent a few hours singing to each and other and together cementing that special bond between performing amateur choirs.

On Saturday 21st May we completed our formal part of the tour when we performed in the Basilica of St. Mary of the Sea in Vrsar. This was a joint concert arranged as part of the FAKS festival and again we performed with Zbor Roženice. We started our concert with the rousing song, “Men of Harlech” which in the wonderfully acoustic church woke up the audience. Ben Pinnow and Jayne Thomas again led us seamlessly through 14 varied songs ending with a fabulous joint choir rendition of “Speed Your Journey” (sung in both Croatian and English), “Neka Cijeli Ovaj Svijet” and last but by no means least an impromptu performance of Elvis Presley’s, “Wise Men”!

The morning after the concert the choir had an early breakfast before setting off to mass at the Parish Church of St. Martin in Vrsar where we joined in mass by singing “Benedictus”, “Gwahoddiad”, “Morte Criste”, “Heilig Sanctus” and “The Lords Prayer”.

 

The singing at mass went down so well the priest asked us to perform a few songs after the religious ceremony and our performance of “With A Voice of Singing” and “Rachie” were warmly received by the local community.  Our choir Chairman, Robert Davies was also put on the spot during mass by the priest when he was asked to read a sermon to the congregation. Rob (or Father Bob as we now like to call him) conducted himself great aplomb and delivered the sermon as if he had been practicing it for a month!

And finally we would like to extend our warmest thanks to the people that made this trip happen so smoothly. Brian Williams has worked tirelessly on every detail to ensure that 110 choristers, musical team and friends and family were moved en-mass from Aberdare to Italy to Croatia, everywhere in between and back home again. Further thanks to Rob Davies our chairman and Denzil Boaler our Vice chairman and all members of the team that made this trip happen and for their organisation and commitment to the choir whilst out on tour. And there ended the 2016 Croatian tour! The Croatian organisers and the audiences we performed to were so thrilled that we have already been asked back next year to perform in the choral section of the FAKS festival! Committee members have already started looking into 2017 and a return trip to Vrsar and Croatia!!

Malvern Priory Church Concert with Malvern Primary School

On Saturday 18th June, Cwmbach choir joined forces with Malvern Primary School at the historic Malvern Priory Church. The audience and both choirs had a fabulous night to help celebrate the schools Centenary. The evening was fantastic and we were professionally led by our MD for the evening Rhiannon Williams-Hale.

Rhiannon guided us through an array of songs from “American Trilogy”, the beautiful “Gwahoddiad” to the choir’s final song which was performed with the school, “Jacobs Ladder”. The evening was well-received by the packed audience and the joint choirs were clapped off stage with a standing ovation.

A special thanks is extended to all those who helped organise the event. Jayne Thomas once again accompanied the choir with precision and aplomb (despite the fact she has a broken ankle and had to play the piano with her wrong foot). Special thanks to Cwmbach’s own Sheridan George who independently travelled to Malvern to set-up the piano and help arrange the stage (and of course for playing the 1,000 year old church organ to accompany Jayne and the choirs in song!)

 

 

Massed Concert with Pelenna Male Choir & Cwmdare Voices - St David's Neath

On Saturday 4th June Cwmbach choir joined forces with Cwmdare Voices and Pelenna at a massed choral concert at St. David’s Church in Neath. The evening was fantastic and we were professionally and entertainingly led by our MD Prof. Mike Thomas. Mike guided us through an array of songs from “What A Wonderful World”, “Unchained Melody”, the rousing Amen’s of “Tydi a Roddaist” to the choir’s latest song called, “The Song Of The Jolly Roger”. The evening was a well-received by the packed audience and the joint choirs were clapped off stage with a standing ovation.

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