Cwmbach Male Choir

Founded in the Heart of Aberdare - Queen of the Valleys

 

Music Staff

 

Dr Mike Thomas PhD, MA

Musical Director

Mike was born in Tonmawr, a small village in the hills above Neath. He has been involved in music all his life: as a member of the West Glamorgan Youth orchestra and choir, a church organist, a soloist with various Operetta Societies and, for the last 25 years, Musical Director of the Pelenna Valley Male Voice Choir based in his home village of Tonmawr.

Another of Mike’s other passions is rugby. He gained 6 school boy caps as captain of the Welsh Schools rugby team, went on to captain Loughborough Colleges and is now the President of Tonmawr RFC.

A Craft teacher by profession he worked at Blaengwawr Comprehensive School for 31 years, retiring in 2014 as deputy headteacher. Mike was passionate about his subject as means of engaging all pupils in learning. This theme formed the basis of his Doctorate awarded from Loughborough University in 2008.

Mike is married to Margaret and they have two sons:  William, a former organ scholar at Oxford, and Jac, who has recently been awarded a scholarship to study trumpet at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. It is a musical family underpinned by Margaret’s unerring support and understanding.

Retirement has brought opportunity to pursue his musical interests. He was invited last year to conduct the recently formed Cwmdare Voices. Mike is honoured and delighted to have been invited to assist Cwmbach Male Voice and hopes that his involvement will make a positive contribution to Cwmbach’s proud history of music making.

 

 

Ben Pinnow

Deputy Musical Director

Ben Pinnow is a South Wales based choral conductor, accompanist singer, composer and musical educator with over ten years musical experience. He is currently studying on the Masters Choral Conducting Programme at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, studying under Neil Ferris, Sarah Tenant-Flowers and Simon Halsey.

Ben has a varied and wide experience the world of music as repetiteur, performer and accompanist.

As well as his work with Cwmbach Male Choir, Ben is also at the present time Musical Director of Cor Cyfoes, Opera Mint, Dodecantus UK, and Roath Community Chorus.

Ben also works with Radyr Parish Music Group and Wales International Academy of Voice. He has worked as MD with Llandaff Musical Society and  also with RWCMD as Assistant Chorus Master to name a few.

Ben is also an accomplished pianist and holds the ABRSM Diploma in Performance (Piano) – Distinction.

 

 

Jayne Thomas

Accompanist

Originally from Neath but now living in Cardiff Jayne is a Music Graduate of Goldsmiths College, London. She teaches piano, keyboard, music theory and groupsinging privately, at schools and Adult Education Centres.

 

Jayne is involved with local Operatic Societies and it was at "Opera Mint" that she renewed an association with Emyr Wyn Roberts who was Musical Director at Cwmbach Male Choir at the time. This meeting resulted in her being introduced to Cwmbach Male Choir. From that time on Jayne has grown from strength to strength as accompanist to Cwmbach Male Choir.

Jayne, a competent soloist on piano in her own right, has also delighted audiences with her classical and modern repertoire.

Jayne frequently accompanies artists appearing with the Choir throughout the United Kingdom and on regular tours abroad.

 

Stefanie Harvey-Powell

Resident Soloist

Local girl Stefanie Harvey-Powell is from  Penderyn and is the resident soloist representing the choir.

Stefanie is a coloratura soprano and is currently studying for a Post Graduate Diploma in vocal studies at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama under the tutelage of Gail Pearson.

Stefanie began singing at a young age, participating in school plays and musical theatre groups. However, following the completion of her ‘A' Levels, Stefanie decided to follow a career in law and undertook a degree in law at Cardiff University, she is now a qualified solicitor.

Stefanie has always enjoyed singing musical theatre and following the completion of her Legal Practice Course in 2009, she began taking singing lessons with Soprano Elizabeth Donovan, as a hobby. She soon developed a huge passion for classical singing particularly opera and has continued to expand her vocal technique and operatic repertoire ever since. 

Stefanie regularly performs as a concert soloist with choirs, as well as competing in the Welsh Eisteddfodau.

Sheridan George

Organist

 

Sheridan is well known in British Organ Circles, particularly when as a local secondary school head-teacher, he rescued, and restored a wonderful old chapel pipe organ and rebuilt it in his school assembly hall. Now retired from teaching, Sheridan has accompanied the Choir at the organ in places far and near, in such venues as Llandaff and St David’s Metropolitan RC Cathedrals, both in Cardiff, in the Gozo Basilica, Malta, the Church of San Salvador, Venice and the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral of Portland, Oregon, USA. Sheridan is currently Organist and Director of Music at Green Street Methodist Church, Aberdare.