Gwalia Singers

(Swansea)
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Cantorion Gwalia

(Abertawe)


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2010s

 

Previous decade: the 2000s

 

 

February 2010

 

There were a number of personnel changes during the start of the year. One of our newest members, Dave Nicholls, had been lured out of retirement to take up a post in Abu Dhabi. We wished him the best of luck and hoped that he would continue to join us when he comes home on his fortnightly breaks. Congratulations to Haydn Crosby, affectionately known as 'Bing', who left for a new life in the USA, where he also got married. He had been a loyal member for over 10 years. It was also announced that Dave Wisby became engaged to Bex Taylor on Boxing Day last year. Congratulations to both of you and we wish you a happy life together.

 

We have also had 3 new members who passed their auditions. Anthony Marmont and Hefin Jones joined the 1st tenors and John Haslam joined the baritone section. Congratulations.

 

On February 5th we sang at St Catherine's, Gorseinon, to raise money for their organ appeal. It was an excellent concert and we were joined by an old friend of the choir, Martin Bell, who played a number of pieces on the organ. Martin is the organist at St Catherine's and has played for us on a few occasions in the past.

 

We held our annual dinner on Saturday 20th February at the Gower Golf Club. We had an excellent meal which was followed by some dancing by the more energetic of us. Over 70 choristers and guests attended and the 'skull' was presented by our Chairman Des Criddle to George Bowen. In September, we were performing at a wedding in Alltwen Chapel and wondered what had happened to George and Wally Carey. We found out the following Tuesday that they went looking for the chapel a bit further up the valley - in Onllwyn!! Thanks to Des and Lawrence Sutton for organising the event and to Linda Lewis and Val Peters for running the raffle.

 

We entered the final few weeks of rehearsal for our 3rd visit to Disneyland, Paris for their annual Welsh Festival. This year, a number of children, who won their various age groups at the Urdd Eisteddfod last August, would be joining us on stage on the Saturday.

 

 

March 2010

 

We performed at the St David's Welsh Festival over the weekend of 6th & 7th of March (see the Gallery for some pictures). This is now the 3rd time in as many years that we have sung at this festival.

 

We left Swansea on Thursday 4th and travelled through the day, arriving in Paris where we were picked up and taken to our hotel in Disney Village. We had 34 choristers along with Rhian and Nick. We were aware that we would not be singing outdoors as construction work was being carried out at Sleeping Beauty's Castle. However, this was a blessing in disguise as it was bitterly cold throughout the weekend, despite the sunny skies!

 

On Friday we were taken to the Fantasyland Festival Stage to carry out sound checks and also meet with a number of officials of Disneyland and the Urdd Welsh Youth Movement. A new partnership is being developed between the Urdd and Disneyland following "Mickey's" appearance at their Eisteddfod in Cardiff last year. The theatre was wonderfully decorated with a large Welsh flag behind the boys on the stage and large numbers of daffodils and leeks displayed around the hall. After the sound checks we spent some free time in the Park before having a quiet night in preparation for our heavy workload during the weekend.

 

We were taken to the stage for the concerts on the Saturday where we started by recording 'Cwm Rhondda' for television, which was to be shown later in the week on 'Wedi 7', on S4C. We then performed 4 concerts and were joined in the first 3 by some of the Urdd National Eisteddfod winners from last year. This was a new initiative and proved a huge success. The theatre was packed on each occasion with around 250 people, and the first concert finished with our National Anthem, which received a huge ovation and set the tone for the weekend. All the soloists were absolutely brilliant and it was a joy to perform with them. Our last performance finished at around 4.30pm, and we went into the Park again before meeting for our evening meal and a quiet night in the hotel bar.

 

We were up early again on Sunday morning and taken to the theatre for another 4 concerts during the day. Again we were pleased with the attendances and it was clear that the organisers had taken heed of our suggestions from previous years and much more advertising was in evidence. We ended the day with a lovely meal in our hotel and, once again, enjoyed a great 'afterglow' in the bar until the early hours of Monday morning!!

 

This was another fabulous trip for the choir and the organisation by our secretary, Alan Clewett and the officials at Disneyland was perfection. Special thanks must go to Freddie and Nora, who looked after us so well during the weekend and to Sue who was in charge overall. Also thanks to Nick, Rhian and Steve for all their hard work in preparing the choir for this weekend.

 

 

April 2010

 

We had just the one concert during April, which was held at All Saints Church, Oystermouth. It was organised by the Rotary Club and raised funds for The Longfields Association, a local charity. We were joined by 14 year old pianist Oliver Feng and a group of flautists from Sketty called 'Tutti Flutti'. It was a very enjoyable occasion and well attended by an appreciative audience.

 

 

May 2010

 

Our Annual Concert took place on the 29th May at the City Temple, Swansea. This year we had the Mousehole Male Voice Choir from Cornwall appearing with us and soprano soloist Laura Nicholas.

 

The concert was wonderfully compèred by Kevin Johns and he firstly introduced the Lord Mayor of Swansea, Councillor Richard Lewis, who welcomed the Mousehole Choir and Laura to Swansea. The concert started with both choirs singing 'Trelawny', the national anthem of Cornwall, and then the Mousehole Choir sang their first set. Included in this was a lovely arrangement by Stephen Lawry, their Musical Director, of 'The Fields Of Athenry' and they ended with our own arrangement of 'Calon Lân', which they sang very well in Welsh! Next up was Laura who sang three items including Puccini's 'O Mio Babbini Caro'. She was accompanied by David Doidge, a fellow music student at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. We then sang, starting with 'Let All Men Sing' and rounding off the first half with 'Cwm Rhondda' accompanied by Rhian on piano and Steve on the organ.

 

The second half began with us singing 'Seize The Day' from Disney's 'Newsies' and finishing with the rousing 'An American Trilogy', again accompanied by Rhian and Steve, which was enjoyed by a number of visitors in the audience from America. Laura then sang another three items, finishing with 'Poor Wand'ring One' from The Pirates Of Penzance. This was particularly appropriate for Laura, as she hails from Penzance, and it was the highlight of the evening. There were gasps of amazement from the audience, as she ended the piece, and Laura received a well deserved standing ovation. The Mousehole Male Voice Choir then sang their final set including 'Speed Your Journey' and ending with Eric Jones' 'Christus Salvator'. Both choirs then took to the stage and, directed by Steve Lawry sang 'As Long As I Have Music' and 'Morte Christe'. Then Laura joined the two choirs to end the concert with 'You'll Never Walk Alone', directed by Nick. A thrilling climax to a very enjoyable evening.

 



Before singing the National Anthem, our Chairman, Des Criddle, thanked all who participated in the concert and made a number of presentations. The Chairman of Mousehole Choir also thanked all responsible for a wonderful concert and made presentations to Nick, Rhian and our Secretary Alan Clewett.

 

On May 15th we sang at the Methodist Church in Sketty to raise funds for the church. The concert was well attended and was opened by Mike Whitehouse welcoming the choir and soloist, Laura Nicholas. This was almost a dress rehearsal for our Annual Concert in a few weeks' time, as Laura would be joining us again. The concert raised approximately £900.

 

 

June 2010

 

We joined forces with the Spirit Choir for a concert in the Workmen's Hall, Blaenavon on 12th June. The Spirit Choir is a mixed choir and was celebrating its 10th anniversary. Their musical director is Simon Oram, who was the previous MD of the Gwalia Singers.

 

We met with the Mayor of Torfaen in the World Heritage Centre during the afternoon before having a rehearsal in the hall with the Spirit Choir. The concert was the first fundraising project for the Mayor during his year of office and all proceeds were to go to his chosen charities. We then had a buffet prepared by the Spirit Choir.

 

The hall was packed for the concert which was opened by the Mayor and compered by Simon. Both choirs were in fine form and the concert ended with the two choirs joining together to sing Simon's arrangement of 'Light A Candle' and 'You'll Never Walk Alone', which brought the audience to its feet in appreciation of a great concert. We were then entertained in 'The Riflemans', a local hostelry, where more food was prepared for us and the usual 'afterglow' took place, before returning to Swansea a few hours later.

 

Many thanks to the Sprit Choir for inviting us to join in their celebration. Also many thanks to everyone involved in arranging the hospitality. We were well looked after!

 

St. David's Hall, Cardiff

We were busy preparing for a Remembrance Day Concert in St David's Hall on November 6th. We would be singing with a number of other choirs in a massed choir of 450 voices and it would be a great experience for a number of our new members, who had not sung in this sort of concert before.

 

 

July - August 2010

 

We gave a short concert at Swansea University on July 6th for around 80 lecturers in French,  from all over Britain. They were attending a conference at the university and we were asked

to give them 'a taste of Wales', and we duly obliged. They all thoroughly enjoyed our programme and a number of the lecturers said that it was the highlight of the conference for them. We were, once again, well fed after the concert, with a buffet supplied by Les Carmichael, Catering Manager, at the university.

On Tuesday August 10th we made a return to the Mechanics Institute in Pontarddulais for a concert to raise money for Arthritis Research. The hall was full and it was obvious from the appreciative applause, and the vote of thanks at the end, that the evening was very successful. A note of appreciation has also been put in our 'Guestbook'. Thanks to the ladies for providing the food and drink after the concert.

 

The Ladies Committee organised a family barbeque at the Commercial Inn, Killay on 22nd August to raise funds for the choir. We were very fortunate with the weather and over 80 people turned up. Many thanks to Linda, Haydn and Gareth for doing the cooking, and also to Linda for arranging a music quiz later in the evening. Thanks also to Gareth and Nova for the use of the Commercial.

 

The choir was pleased to have another new full member. John Rickard passed his audition and joined the first tenors. Not only does he enhance the choir, but will also improve our golf team!!

 

 

September 2010

 

Well, this was been a busy month!!

 

We started by singing at the wedding of Kelly and Craig at Llangyfelach Church on Saturday 4th and then on Friday 17th we sang at Holy Cross Church,

West Cross. The concert was in aid of church funds and we were joined by Tutti Flutti, a flute choir from Sketty. This was the 2nd time that we have 'shared the stage' with them. We were also treated to a couple of piano solos from Hywel Evans, the organist for the parish of Llwynderw, and accompanist to a number of choirs in the area. We have been rehearsing a number of pieces for the Welsh Festival of Remembran

ce Concert at St. David's Hall, Cardiff, in November and we sang 'There Is No Death' for the first time. This is a great piece of Victorian melodrama, with many moods and contrasts, and it went down well with the audience. We finished the concert by singing 'An American Trilogy', with Hywel joining us on

the organ. The evening was a great success with over £500 being raised for the church funds.

 

 

On Saturday 25th we had 2 engagements. The first was in Penclawdd for the wedding of James and Charlene. We sang 'The Rose' and 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight' during the signing of the register and 'You Raise Me Up' as the bride and groom processed out. The entire congregation stayed to listen to our rendition and we had a great ovation at the end. We then moved on to St Paul's, Sketty, for a concert for the Soroptomists. We were joined on this occasion by a brass ensemble of young musicians who played beautifully. We were fortunate to have the organ available and Steve joined Rhian for a number of the choir items. The concert ended with piano, organ, brass ensemble, and the choir singing Gordon Langford's 'The Lost Chord', which created a truly amazing sound. Thanks to James Davies for organising the brass ensemble and arranging The Lost Chord for them.

 

 

October 2010

 

On Saturday 9th we sang at a Harvest concert at St Peter's Church, Newton. Our guest artiste on this occasion was Bronwen Beckett-Evans who recently played 'Casilda' in a production of the Gondoliers by Uplands Arts at the Taliesin Theatre. Bronwen sang a varied programme including 'Show Me' from My Fair Lady and Dvořák's 'Song to the Moon'. Our own Steve Wilson accompanied her on the piano. We included in our programme for the first time an original composition by Mark Burrows using the words of the famous poem by W. H. Davies called 'Leisure'. This is another piece that we have learned to perform at St David's Hall, Cardiff next month. The evening ended with Bronwen joining the choir for 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. All funds raised at the concert went to the new Newton Community Hall.

 

We had another quiz night at the Commercial Inn, Killay on Thursday 21st. This was organised by the Ladies committee in conjunction with Gareth and Nova. It was a great success and the winning team included the Chairman, Musical Director and Gareth, which some might think was a fix!! The truth is that whichever team Gareth was in would have won. We raised £200 for choir funds.


 




November 2010

 

We sang at 2 events to mark Armistice Day. The first was a massed choir concert of around 400 voices in St David's Hall, Cardiff. The evening was billed as the Welsh Festival of Remembrance and was compèred by Roy Noble, from BBC Wales. Others to take part included tenor Wynne Evans (Go Compare advert!) and the Siren Sisters. We were accompanied by Huw Tregellis Williams on the organ, and the Band of the Royal Welsh. The musical directors for the evening were David James and Alwyn Humphries.

 

The following Thursday we took part in the 'Silence in the Square' at Castle Square, Swansea. There was a wet and windy start to the day which did not deter a large crowd from attending. Mal Pope hosted the event on behalf of the British Legion, bringing a mix of reflection and smiles to the crowd. Sarah Lark, finalist of BBC 1's I'd Do Anything sang 2 songs and Brigit Forsyth, best known for playing 'Thelma' in Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads performed a reading. We sang 2 items, including 'Bring Him Home' before the two minute silence and then performed 'There Is No Death' to conclude the event. An article on the British Legion website recalled 'The superb Swansea-based male voice choir, the Gwalia Singers moved the crowd with their powerful rendition of classic English and Welsh songs'. This event was linked live via satellite to Trafalgar Square, London and these were the only 2 events broadcast live to the nation via the internet.

 

On the membership side we acquired a new 2nd bass, as Adrian Crowley passed his audition. Well done Adrian.

 

 

December 2010

 

Our series of Christmas concerts appears to be taking on a familiar look! Our first concert, on Tuesday December 7th, was the annual Christmas carol concert arranged by the Ladies Section. This took place at the Brynmill Scout and Guide Hall and was again well attended. Our next concert was on Thursday 9th at the Vivian Hall, Blackpill. This is the 6th year running that we have performed here and it is very much part of the Christmas celebrations in the community. Again the hall was packed and the audience participation in 'The Twelve Days Of Christmas' was a highlight of the evening.

 

Our third appearance in the week ended with a lunchtime concert on Friday 10th at Swansea University for their annual Christmas lunch. We sang a mixture of carols, Christmas music and our normal repertoire and were well received by an appreciative audience. This event was organised by Les Carmichael and he also provided a buffet after the performance.

 

We were fortunate with the weather earlier in the month, but our final concert at The Dylan Thomas Centre on Friday 17th was postponed due to the snow. We are hoping that this will be re arranged in the near future. Our Christmas social evening on Tuesday 21st at the Commercial Inn, Killay was also badly affected with only a small number of members able to get there.

 

 

January 2011

 

This has been a quiet month for us except that we are proud to announce that our accompanist, Rhian, is expecting her first child. Congratulations to Rhian and Ben and we all hope that everything goes well. We are also busy preparing for our fourth visit to Disneyland, Paris for the Welsh Festival taking place on March 5th and 6th.

 

 

Disneyland, Paris 2011

 

We completed our 4th visit to the St David's Welsh Festival in Disneyland, Paris. This took place over the weekend of 5

th - 6th March and was, as always, a great success (see the Gallery for a selection of photos).

 

We left Swansea on Thursday 4th and, once again, stopped off at Wootton Bassett to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in respect of soldiers who have lost their lives in recent conflict. Although there was no repatriation that day we sang 2 hymns to a small assembled group, including the Mayor of Wootton

Bassett and the chairman of the British Legion, who organised our visit. We also presented our choir plaque to the Mayor.

 

We then had a carvery lunch at Sally

Pussey's Inn and made our way to St. Pancras International to catch the Eurostar train. We arrived in Paris and were met by Isabelle, who took us to the coach which transported us to Disneyland. This year we stayed at the Newport Bay Club Hotel - the largest hotel on the property and, with 1,083 rooms, one of the largest hotels in Europe.

 

We were very fortunate to have a completely free day on the Friday and some of the choristers took advantage of a day in the Park. Other members decided to go to Paris for the day, while 8 played golf at Golf Disneyland. Following this we are forming our own golf society and will be arranging further golf days during the summer.

 

On Saturday we went to the Disneyland Festival Stage in Fantasyland for a sound check and we then performed 3 conc

erts during the day. Once again, we were joined by the Urdd Eisteddfod winners at each concert and this proved a great success. The theatre was full for all three concerts and a tremendous atmosphere was created, each concert ending with the National Anthem.

 

Sunday morning came too early (!), and we performed another 3 concerts, this time on our own, to very good

audiences. It is estimated that we sang to around 2,000 people during the weekend, from countries all over Europe. After our last concert we had a photograph taken, with 'Minnie Mouse' appropriately dressed in a Welsh costume, outside the theatre and presented the Disneyland staff, who looked after us during the weekend, with gifts from Wales.

 

We then retired to our hotel, where we had dinner in the restaurant and then had our customary 'afterglow', which went on long into the night. It was great to have Sue Arondel join us during the evening, as it was Sue who contacted all the choirs 4 years ago when we were chosen for the event. She is also very involved with the Urdd Eisteddfod winners performing in Disneyland and will be coming to Swansea to attend this year's Eisteddfod.

 

The Welsh Festival is clearly going from strength to strength and we are delighted to be involved. We had 36 choristers this year and many say that this was the best yet and huge thanks go again, to our secretary, Alan Clewett, for his wonderful organisation. Thanks also to Isabelle, Sogwilli, and Sophie for looking after us and, of course, to Nick, Rhian and Steve for their hard work in preparing the choir.

 

 

March-April 2011

 

We sadly reported the passing away of Rose, wife of Cliff Prosser, 2nd tenor with the choir.

 

We gave a concert at All Saints Church, Kilvey on Sunday 27th. This was organised by Rev. Andrew Meredith to raise money for the ongoing work at the church. The roof had been repaired and further redecoration work was being carried out. They must have done a great job as the roof remained firmly 'on', despite our best efforts to remove it! There was a good audience who thoroughly enjoyed our singing and the boys were given a standing ovation as they walked out through the church at the end. The good news from the evening was that Mr Geoff Wheel agreed to become our president. A former Welsh rugby 'great' from the 1970's, Geoff is also organist at All Saints and he is delighted to be appointed. More to follow on this.

 

We sang at a wedding in Murton Chapel on Friday April 8th. Lynn Allderdice, daughter of Bob Allderdice, Captain of Clyne Golf Club was married. We sang before the ceremony and included 'The Skye Boat Song, as a number of guests had travelled from the Isle of Skye to be at the wedding. We also sang 2 items during the signing of the register.

 

Our annual dinner was held at the Gower Golf Club on Saturday 16th and attended by over 60 choristers and partners. The evening was well organised by Lawrence Sutton and the entertainment was provided by Paul Tabram. The meal was, once again, excellent and a very enjoyable evening was had by everyone.

 

 

May 2011

 

On Sunday May 1st we sang at the wedding of Anne-Marie Evans and Troy Clements at St Joseph's Cathedral. It was an early start and unfortunately, through no fault of our own, we did not have time to sing before the ceremony. However, we sang 'The Rose' and 'Calon Lan' during the signing of the register and were then asked to sing an extra item, 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight'. Both bride and groom were delighted with our singing and have left a message on our 'Guestbook' to say thanks.

 

We gave a charity concert at Bishopston Village Hall on May 12th for Christian Aid. There was a small but enthusiastic audience, who enjoyed our evening of entertainment.

 

 

June 2011

 

 Northampton

 

We travelled to Northampton over the weekend of 4th and 5th June. Our first engagement was for the wedding of Jo Tyson, daughter of John Morgan, one of our 1st basses. This took place in All Saints Church, West Haddon, a small village 10 miles from Northampton. We sang a number of items before the wedding and the bride walked in to the singing of 'O Gymru'. We sang 'The Rose' and 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight' during the signing of the register, and the happy couple walked out to 'The Rhythm Of Life'. We then had some refreshments, supplied by John, and made our way to Northampton.

 

We stayed at The Lime Tree Hotel, and had a short rest before changing for our concert in Mount Pleasant Baptist Church on Kettering Road. This venue had been set up by Charles Clewett, who had previously sung there with another choir ('Voices of Pembroke') a few years earlier. It was also great to have Charles along with us for the weekend. We had a short rehearsal to check the acoustics, which were excellent, and then had tea which was prepared by church members. The evening was compered by the Rev Paul Lavender, who also played some excellent piano solos during the concert. We were able to sing two new items to our repertoire, Schubert's 'Sanctus' and 'The Longest Time' by Billy Joel. The concert was a great success, enjoyed by all, and raised over £500 for the church's organ fund.

 

Following the concert we went to the Old Northamtonians Rugby Club for some refreshment and more singing, and returned to the hotel, later, to continue the 'afterglow'.

 

Thanks must go to Stephen Wilson, who did a fantastic job accompanying the choir during the weekend. Also, thanks to Lawrence Sutton, who arranged the weekend in the absence of Alan, who was away on holiday.


On Sunday 12th June we travelled down by coach to Merthyr Church, which is a few miles west of Carmarthen. It was a wet, miserable and misty night, and we were sure that it was a very pretty place, but we couldn't appreciate the scenery! In fact, the concert had been re-arranged from last November, and it felt more like autumn than summer. The evening was arranged by William Bott, after hearing us in a concert last year, and he also arranged for 4 young musicians to perform as soloists. They were all excellent and included was Osian Dafydd, who will perform with us again in our annual concert in a few weeks time. The church was full and we had a great ovation at the end of the concert. The evening concluded with the National Anthem and refreshments were provided by members of the church. Many thanks to William for organising the evening and also for driving the bus.

 

Annual Concert, June 25th 2011

 

What an amazing night! It was held in All Saints Church, Oystermouth, which was packed to the rafters, with extra chairs being put out to accommodate the audience. We had 50 choristers on stage, the biggest choir the Gwalia Singers has ever assembled. However, it all started on a disappointing note when our compere, Kevin Johns, had to pull out at short notice due to illness, but our new president, Geoff Wheel, stepped into the breach and did a great job.

 

We opened with 'Let All Men Sing' and then sang the beautiful 'Sanctus' by Schubert. Our first section ended with 'An American Trilogy' which featured Rhian on the piano and Steve on the organ, and gained rapturous applause. The first soloist for the evening was Jonathan Lycett who is well known in Swansea for taking leading roles in many musical productions. He started with 'Secret Love' from 'Calamity Jane' and finished with the 'Anthem' from 'Chess' by Andersson and Ulvaeus. Next up was Osian Dafydd, a talented young violinist, who won the under 19 string instrumental competition at the National Urdd Eisteddfod in 2010. He played the very technical 'Zigeunerweisen' by Sarasate.

 

Before our final section of the first half, we made a number of presentations. Our chairman, Des Criddle, paid tribute to 3 members of the choir, Vernon Simons, Mal Herbert and Terry Osbourne, who have given outstanding service to the choir.

 

Vernon, Mal and Terry receiving presentations from Geoff Wheel

 

We then sang 3 Welsh items Llanfair, Ar Hyd y Nos, and Cwm Rhondda to end the first half. The last piece again featured Rhian and Steve in partnership with the choir.

 

We started the 2nd half with 'Seize The Day' from Disney's 'Newsies' and followed this with Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah'. Then came Robbie Williams' 'Angels' and we finished with an 'a capella' version of Billy Joel's 'The Longest Time'. This features 6 members of the choir singing the solo part backed by the rest of the choir. Our next soloist was cellist, Saran Davies, who won the regional Texaco Rotary Club competition in 2011. She played 'Rondo' by Boccherini and 'Jewish Song' by Bloch, and was then joined by Osian to play 'Passacaglia' by Handel von Johan Halvorsen. This is a very difficult and technical piece which they pulled off brilliantly. Both were accompanied by Dr Jonathan Morgan.

 

Jonathan then sang his final section which ended with the very moving 'This Is The Moment' from the musical Jeckyll and Hyde. He was accompanied through the evening by Chris Pike. Our final section continued the musical theme when we sung the beautiful 'Bring Him Home' from Les Miserables and our final item was 'Sinatra', a medley of songs starting and finishing with 'New York, New York' arranged by Alan Simmons. A prolonged applause followed, which showed the audience's appreciation for a wonderful concert. Presentations to the guest artistes followed and the evening ended with the Welsh National Anthem.

 

Many thanks must go to Nick, our MD, for all his hard work, and to our accompanists Rhian and Steve.

 

A selection of photos from the night are available to view in the gallery.

 

 

July 2011

 

We were pleased to announce that Rhian gave birth to Mali Olivia on 26th July. Congratulations were passed on to the proud parents and she has also made her first visit to practice to see the boys during this month. More amazing was that she did not wake up during the singing!

 

We sang at the wedding of Anthony Davies on Saturday 23rd, at St Joseph's Cathedral, Cimla. Staging the choir was a little problematic, as quite often happens at weddings, and we ended up singing at the back of the cathedral. However, all went well in the end despite the rather limited repertoire allowed by the priest.

 

 

August 2011

 

The wedding season!

 

We sang at Murton Chapel on Saturday 27th at the wedding of Helen Thomas and Paul Hartness. As usual, we sang a number of items before the wedding, which included 'Sunrise, Sunset' from Fiddler On The Roof - a very appropriate item for a wedding. We were also asked to sing 'We'll Keep A Welcome' during the signing, as the bride had returned to her native Wales to be married.

 

On Saturday 6th August we sang at the wedding of Craig Alliss and Laura Rees at St Peters, Newton. We sang a number of items before the wedding and included 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' during the signing, as requested by the bride. There was a definite 'golf' theme to the wedding with the bride being the daughter of Peter Rees, who plays off single figures at Clyne, and Craig, being the grandson of Peter Alliss, the

well-known golf commentator at the BBC.

 

We were fortunate to sing at Llandaff Cathedral on Friday, August 5th, at the wedding of James Lewis, son of Haydn (of Mumbles!!), one of our first tenors. It was a wonderful building and the acoustics were excellent.

 

 

The celebration was conducted by Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales, as he is Godfather to Anwen, the new Mrs Lewis. Once again the guests were full of praise for our singing and we were well looked after following the ceremony. Unfortunately, when our driver returned to collect us he reversed his bus into a tree outside the cathedral, smashing the back, and one side window. This meant that we had to wait for another bus to pick us up, so we retired to the nearby Butchers Arms, Llandaff, and had a good sing-song in the pub for an hour or so while we waited.

 

We were also pleased to welcome Peter Jacobs to the choir after passing his audition. Peter joined the first tenors. We also had a number of new probation members attending rehearsals, so were hoping to see numbers increasing over the next few months.

 

 

September 2011

 

Our first Golf Society meeting took place at Clyne Golf Club on 2nd September. Unfortunately a number of the members were unavailable, but we enjoyed a fine morning, and some good golf. It was great to see Emil Jones playing again after some major surgery and it was his team, together with Nick and Jimmy Lamb who took the spoils. In fact the other team of John Rickard, Wally Carey and Ed Parton were not even a close second!

 

We travelled to Haverfordwest on Saturday 3rd September to sing at the wedding of Amy Quant at St Mary's Church. It was a dreadful day, with persistent rain, but we sang well and Amy's mother, Hazel, told us after that we were 'amazing'. On the way back we stopped at The Fox and Hounds in Bancyfelin, for food and a few beers, and we sang some items. There were a number of visitors there who enjoyed our renditions and one of the families has posted a message of thanks on our 'Guestbook'.

 

A social evening, organised by the Ladies section, was held on Monday, September 12th in the form of a 'curry night', which took place at the Mumbai Restaurant in Blackpill. There were in excess of 60 choristers and guests present and a great time was had by all. The food was excellent and many thanks went to Mo and the staff at the Mumbai. Our President, Geoff Wheel, came along and donated a number of prizes for the raffle. A total of £200 was raised for choir funds.

 

 

October 2011

 

October was dominated by our visit to Kraków, Poland, which took place from Thursday 6th to Monday 10th. The first day was mostly travelling, but we were able to take in a few sights of the city during the late afternoon and evening, especially as it was quite warm.

 

Unfortunately the weather turned on the Friday when we had a tour of the city arranged for the morning. However, we saw the outside of Schindler's factory (which has now been turned into a museum about World War 2) and visited the old town and square. We went into the Old Synagogue and a number of churches including St Mary's, on the square, which had an amazing blue marble stone interior. We had some rest in the early afternoon and, later, visited the salt mine at Wieliczka. This was a magnificent experience culminating in the fantastic underground cathedral, where we sang a few hymns. The acoustics were wonderful! We had walked down over 800 steps to a depth of 300 metres by the end, but, thankfully, there was a lift to take us back to the top.

 

Before leaving Wales, we knew that we had to find a bar which was showing the Rugby World Cup matches, and early on Saturday morning we had 6 taxis waiting outside the hotel to transport a number of the choir to the Irish bar, Nics Nowego, which had been located. As we all know, Wales won, which left us in a good mood for the rest of the trip! We then had the rest of the day free until our first concert at St Mary of Lourdes R C Church. The concert took place straight after the mass, which is traditional in Poland. Apparently, if the choir doesn't go straight in, the congregation will leave! However, before that, we sang Schubert's 'Sanctus', during the mass, from a balcony at the back of the church which our ladies said was beautiful. In fact, it was so good they didn't realise it was us! The concert was a great success and the choir sang well, and we had a standing ovation from the audience at the end.

 

The next day we went to Auschwitz II Birkenau and Auschwitz I. It was a dank, cool, still day which only added to the atmosphere of the place. We were taken around a number of the buildings and our guide gave a very detailed account of the atrocities which went on there. We had arranged to sing in the camp, but were informed that we could only sing outside the boundary fence after the tour. However, when the time arrived no-one really felt like singing, so we respectfully declined. We then went to Pijarist Church to sing our second concert of the weekend. Again we went straight in after the mass which caught out a number of our ladies, who were in the pub, as the service finished early, so we went on earlier than expected. Again, the choir was on form and another standing ovation followed our last item and we were requested to sing an encore. After the concert our MD spoke to one member of the audience who had enjoyed our first concert so much that she also came to the second one. Later in the evening we had arranged to experience a typical Polish night at a local restaurant. A group of musicians welcomed us in and we enjoyed some traditional food. The whole tour was arranged by Mark Burrows of Melody Music, Cardiff, and he was also there and bought a drink for everyone in our party.

 

On Monday we spent the morning at our leisure and travelled to Wroclaw in the afternoon to catch our flight home. While on board, the chief stewardess asked if we could sing to a new bride and groom, who were making their way back to Britain. We duly obliged by giving a rendition of 'Sunrise, Sunset', which brought tears to the eyes of the new couple and the stewardesses! A note of thanks from both the stewardess, Ewelina, and the 'newly weds' can be found in our 'Guestbook'. This meant that we sang at both 35,000 ft in the air and 300 metres underground - The 'highs and lows' of a male voice choir!

 

This was the first concert tour our choir had organised for many years and was a great success. Many thanks went to Mark Burrows and Maciej Pezerwa, our guide for the weekend, and, although we had some problems with late changes to our flights, the organisation of transport, hotel accommodation and concerts was excellent. Thanks also to Alan Clewett, our secretary, who liaised with Mark and Maciej and made sure that everyone was on time for trips, concerts, etc. Thanks also to Nick and Steve, our musical team, who had worked so hard to get the choir to perform so well.

 

For more pictures of our visit, please visit the gallery page.

 

 

November 2011

 

This was a quiet month for the choir, but it helped us prepare some music for our Christmas concerts. However, we had a social evening, to raise funds for the choir, in the form of a quiz night which was held at the Commercial Inn, Killay. Once again, Nova and Gareth did us proud with their hospitality and a very pleasant evening was had by all. Thanks to the Ladies Committee for organising the event and also to Gareth for acting as quizmaster.

 

We are pleased to see that we have been included in a brochure entitled 'Royal Wootton Bassett - An Exhibition of Appreciation Gifts'. This has been produced in association with the town being granted royal patronage by the Queen, in recognition of its role in military funeral repatriations since 2007. We have stopped in the town for the last 2 years on our way to Disneyland Paris to lay a wreath at the cenotaph, and this year we presented our choir plaque to the mayor, Mrs Mary Champion.

 

 

 




It was with sadness that we reported that Percy Bowling passed away on Boxing Day.

 

Percy was with the Gwalia Singers for 30 years. He retired from the choir just a couple of months before losing his battle with cancer at the age of 87.

 






December 2011

 

Our first concert in December was held at The Gorseinon Workingmen's Club to raise funds for the Gleision Colliery appeal. Although there was a disappointing turnout, the small audience was very appreciative.

 

We sang at the Vivian Hall, Blackpill, again, on Thursday 8th December, to a full house. We did a number of new Christmas items including 'Mistletoe and Wine' and 'In The Bleak Midwinter' along with items from our usual repertoire. Following the concert we adjourned to the Woodman for the 'afterglow'.

 

On Tuesday 13th we held our annual Christmas Concert organised by the Ladies Committee at the Scout Headquarters, Brynmill. The hall was again packed and, as usual, an excellent buffet was provided by the ladies. A number of raffle prizes were donated and two big Christmas hampers were auctioned and these, alone, raised a further £50 for choir funds. 

 

We sang in the foyer of 'Morrisons' supermarket, at the Morfa on the Tuesday before Christmas at 7pm and followed this with an evening of carols at the Commercial Inn. Once again, thanks to Gareth and Nova for providing the refreshments.

 

We have had a number of new members passing their auditions this month. Tony Young and Terry Green have joined the 2nd tenors and Craig Thomas has become a member of the baritone section. Our average age has dropped again, thanks to Craig, and it is really wonderful to have another younger member in the choir. We now have 56 members.

 

 

January 2012

 

On January 14th we sang at Oldwalls, Llanrhidian, for the wedding of Sara Thomas and John Morgan. Sara is the granddaughter of Vernon Simons, one of our longest serving members and, from a very small girl, always said that she would have the Gwalia Singers at her wedding. Her dream came true!!

 

We recorded a CD over the weekend of 20th and 21st, a Friday evening and Saturday morning. The recording took place in All Saints, Oystermouth, and was done by Black Mountain Records. After the session we had agreed to be 'guinea pigs' for a new initiative by Black Mountain, where a video was shot of 2 of the songs, The Longest Time and Light A Candle. These will appear shortly on our website. The CD will take about 6-8 weeks before it is available and has been entitled 'A New Dawn'. Watch this website for details.

 

 

March 2012

 

 

After a quiet February we had a busy fortnight at the beginning of March. On March 1st we sang at the Woodman, Blackpill as part of their St. David's Day celebrations. Although staging the choir was difficult we managed to squeeze in by the bar in the hope that everyone could hear. We sang two groups of items and were given some refreshments and a free 'pint' for all the boys.

 

The next day we sang a lunchtime recital in the first floor main hall at Fulton House, Swansea University. There was a good mix of students, staff and visitors present and we are told that many people stayed to listen, as there were no tables available at one stage for anybody wishing to eat! Again refreshments were provided after the singing by Les Carmichael's team and they were excellent. Thanks to Les for organising the event.

 

On March 10th we went on our travels to Penybont, near Llandrindod Wells. We sang at the Village Hall in aid of the Welsh Air Ambulance. The evening was compared by Phillip Gayther and also taking part were Christine Burbridge (soprano) and Gareth Davies (tenor) who hail from Crickhowell. They sang a number of solos and duets of varying styles. We sang very well and were well received and also had many comments about our varied repertoire, which was enjoyed by all. The evening was organised by Lynda Price and it was announced that over £1,900 was raised by the event. After the concert we were treated to a buffet in the Severn Arms, next door to the hall, and many stayed overnight in the Commodore Hotel l, Llandrindod Wells.






 

 

We have secured the services of Joshua Mills, baritone and Andrew Millard, violin for our Annual Concert which will be held at All Saints Church, Oystermouth on Saturday June 23rd. Tickets will be available from choir members and it is advisable to obtain them before the evening to avoid disappointment.

 

Two of our members, Frank Quinn and Roy Wood, have decided that they can no longer commit to the choir. This is always disappointing, but we know that they have both left for good reasons. Frank is not enjoying the best of health and Roy finds that he is often away in London on Tuesday evenings, with work commitments. He also intends to move to the Cheltenham area in the future. However, a number of new probationary members have started with us during February and March, so hopefully we will see a further increase in our numbers in the next few months. It also lead to us having 52 singers in rehearsal on March 27th.

 

 

April 2012

 

On Saturday 28th April, we had 2 functions. Our first engagement was at Oldwalls, Llanrhidian, for the marriage of Sam and Danny. Sam is the stepdaughter of Anthony Marmont, one of our first tenors. We sang a number of items and included 'All You Need Is Love', requested by the bride and groom, which featured Steve Wilson on the trumpet, who also arranged the song for us.

 

In the evening we held our Annual Dinner which was at the Gower Golf Club. There were over 60 people at the event and the entertainment was provided by Paul Tabram. Our president, Geoff Wheel, made a short, but entertaining, speech and our chairman, Clive Walters, thanked all the officers for their work during the year. There were a number of contenders for the 'skull' but he presented it to himself for his 'solo', during 'Amen', in the wedding at West Haddon, last year. Yes, he did take a bit of stick over that!! The evening was well organised by Lawrence Sutton and thanks go to him.

 

 

May 2012

 

We had another busy weekend at the beginning of May. On Friday 11th we sang at St Hilarys, Killay. The church was full and joining us for the evening was Jonathan Lycett, who was accompanied by John Davies. We sang 'Hiraeth' arranged by Alwyn Humphries and 'America' from West Side Story which has been arranged by Les Ryan, both of which were performed for the first time at this concert, and both went well. The evening was humorously compered by Fr Tim Williams, vicar of St Hilarys. Following the concert we called at the Commercial, Killay and once again Gareth very kindly put on food for us.

 

On Sunday 13th we sang at Pennard Village Hall, for a fundraising concert for Christian Aid. Joining us on this occasion was Reuben Nicholas, who has featured on a programme about young Welsh tenors on BBC Wales with Tim Rhys Evans. This was an afternoon concert and was well attended by a very appreciative audience. The concert was organised by Clive Rees, who also acted as compere.

 

 We were pleased to welcome another new member to the choir. Nigel Norman passed the audition and became a member of the 1st tenor section. Congratulations to him.

 

Our CD, 'A New Dawn', was finally released. Please see the Recordings page for further details.

 

 

June 2012

 

On Friday 15th June we sang at the wedding of Nicola Kelly at St Joseph's RC Church and the following day we were booked to sing at the re-opening of Oystermouth Castle. However, due to the high winds and impending rain, we decided to cancel the performance. There was no way that either Nick or Rhian could have stopped their music from blowing away!

 

Annual Concert

 

Our annual concert took place at All Saints Church, Oystermouth, on Saturday, June 23rd. The church was full, with about 350 people present. Our soloists were Joshua Mills, tenor, and violinist Andrew Millard. Joshua is a final year undergraduate student at the Guildhall School of Music and his ultimate ambition is to become an operatic tenor. Andrew sits his finals next year and hopes to complete a masters in violin at the Royal College of Music. They both delighted the audience with their renditions and we are sure that they will fulfil their ambitions.

 

The evening was compered by Father Tim Williams, vicar of St. Hilary Church, Killay, and it was good to see a number of guests including the Lord Mayor of the City and Council of Swansea, Councillor Dennis James and our own president, Geoff Wheel, attending the concert. Our chairman, Clive Walters, spoke at the start of the second half and he gave a brief resume of the past year.

 

We were once again accompanied by Rhian and Steve Wilson played the organ for a number of our items including The Lost Chord and An American Trilogy. We also included an arrangement of Shenandoah, by Steve, for the first time.

 

This was another wonderful 'annual' and thanks must go to Nick and the music team for their tremendous commitment and effort to ensure a well performed programme. Once again, the choir broke a record, as we had 52 choristers on stage.

 

 

July 2012

 

On Saturday 21st July we travelled down to the Kiln Park, Tenby. to entertain at the Executive Members Summer Ball. This was an outdoor event, but fortunately the weather was hot and sunny, and there were over 200 visitors at the event. We had a little trouble staging the choir on a small platform, but everything went well. Other performers appearing included 'Nu Skool', a young dance group from Port Talbot who won through to the finals of 'Britain's Got Talent'. We stopped at the Fox and Hounds, Bancyfelin, on the way back for a meal and 'afterglow'.

 

 

September 2012

 

This has been a very busy month for us. Our first performance was on Friday 7th at the wedding of John Hopkins at Christchurch on Oystermouth Road. Then we had a busy weekend with 2 weddings and a concert. Friday 21st saw us singing at St Hillary's, Killay, for the wedding of Sian Hopkin and then on Saturday 22nd we sang at St Peters, Newton, for Lisa Morgan. We have added 'Pan Fo'r Nos Yn Hir' to our repertoire and were asked to sing it at this wedding. It was very pleasing to see over 30 choristers for each of the Friday weddings, especially as so many members are working on those days. Then, in the evening, we sang at the Gala concert for the 'All Saints Alive Music Festival' at All Saints Church, Oystermouth, where we were joined by Joshua Mills and Celline Forrest.
 

'GV Teutonia 1862 e.V. Mannheim-Feudenheim' - 150 Years Jubilee

 

On Thursday September 27th we left Swansea for a 5 day trip to Germany following an invitation from GV Teutonia 1862, a male voice choir from Feundenheim on the outskirts of Mannheim, with whom we have had a long relationship over the past 20 years. As their title suggests they have been in existence for 150 years and they were celebrating with a number of events over the weekend.

 

On Friday we went to Oppenheim to visit the underground labyrinth of cellars and were fortunate to have the opportunity to sing at the church of St Katerine. We gave a rendition of 'Cwm Rhondda' where we were able to use the amazing acoustic, with the ends of phrases ringing around the building for a number of seconds (see video below).

 

 

We stopped at Nierstein for lunch and from there we went to Bad Durkheim. We visited 'Weingut Wegner', a winery, where we were treated to a meal and a wine tasting session. In all, we tasted 6 different wines, and were given a guided tour around the winery.

 

We had free time on the Saturday morning, so most of us went into the city of Mannheim. There was a festival taking place in the gardens by the Water Tower with a variety of musical acts performing on the main stage. We then returned to our hotel to change for the main concert in the evening. We arrived at the SportHalle in Mannhein-Feudenheim and were supplied with a meal where we met up with the 3 other choirs that were singing at the concert. The choirs were 'GV Teutonia 1862 e.V. Mannheim-Feudenheim', 'Teutonia 1854 Pittsburgh', a German Ex-Pats choir from USA and 'Chor Kronshagen'. There was an audience of around 1000 at the hall and we started the second half and gave a wonderful performance, getting a number of standing ovations after individual items. One came after we sang 'You Raise Me Up', the copies of which were bought for us by the Teutonia choir following our previous trip in 2007. We finished with 'An American Trilogy', which again brought the audience to their feet and a request for 'more'. We duly obliged with 'I'm Gonna Walk' arranged by Alwyn Humphreys. Our chairman, Clive (Cliff!) Walters, then spoke on behalf of the choir, aided by chorister Nigel Norman, who was able to translate into German. A number of presentations then took place, and the concert continued with Chor Kronshagen, an excellent mixed choir from Northern Germany. They ended their set with 'Ar Hyd Y Nos', in Welsh, which they learned following their trips to the Harlech area. The evening ended with all the choirs singing 'Klinge Lied, Lange Nach' which we learned in German for the event. The concert did not finish until 11.00 o'clock, but we were able to get back to our local pub to finish off the evening in style!

 

We unfortunately had an early start on the Sunday when all 4 choirs sang again at the morning service at the Kulturhalle, which adjoins the Sporthalle, and this was followed by more food and drink (!) in the form of a Bavarian Afternoon. An excellent band, 'The Happy Bavarians', played for many hours containing a number of the traditional Bavarian items and also some more modern songs. Dancing and socialising continued and some impromptu performances from the choirs also took place. We ended the day by all going back to our local pub for an evening meal, but a reasonably early night was had due to the tiring weekend.

 

This was another great weekend for the choir. We took 40 choristers, and a number of wives came along as well. Huge thanks must go to our secretary, Alan, and chairman, Clive, for organising the itinerary, which ensured that we all turned up at the right time and at the right place! Also to our musical team of Nick, Rhian and Steve for their hard work in preparing the choir, which gave such a wonderful performance.

 

 

 

We sadly announced the passing away of Frank Quinn. He had a lovely top tenor voice and we were very sad when he left the choir due to ill health. He will be remembered most for his job as a 'Lollipop Man' at Oystermouth Primary School and he also acted as Father Christmas for many years at events over the festive period.

 

 

 

 

 

December 2012

 

Following our trip to Mannheim we had a quiet few months before the busy Christmas period. However, this gave us the opportunity to have some additional rehearsals to learn some new items.

 

We started December by welcoming another new member, David Ambrose, who has joined the 1st tenor section. Congratulations David. We also arranged our next trip which will take us to Bruges in September 2013 and so far we have had 39 'deposits'.

 

We had an excellent Christmas lunch on Saturday 1st in 'The Wig', which was organised by Hefin Jones and Lawrence Sutton. The food was excellent and the afternoon coincided with the Wales - Australia rugby match. We ran a sweep for the final score which was won by Mrs Lynn Jones, wife of Walter. Unfortunately Wales lost by the narrowest of margins 14-12, but the mood was lightened when we were able to watch the end of the Swans' match at Arsenal. The Swans won 2-0. This was the first time a social event of this type has been organised and, hopefully, will become an annual event. Thanks to Hefin, whose idea this was, and Lawrence, for ensuring that everything went smoothly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Tuesday 4th we sang at lunch time at Swansea University, once again organised by Les Carmichael, who also provided an excellent buffet after.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Thursday 6th we performed at the Vivian Hall, Blackpill. This is now an annual event and the hall was packed. We were able to perform our new pieces 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town' and 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' along with others from our Christmas repertoire. We also sang a number of our usual items, but included 'All You Need Is Love', which we have only previously done at weddings. All the items were well received, with a bit of 'audience participation' in some!

 

On Friday 7th we sang at Clyne Golf Club for the Captain's Charity and on Tuesday 11th we had our annual Ladies Christmas concert at the Scout Hut, Brynmill, organised by the Ladies Section. This took its usual format with the choir singing first, followed by refreshments. We then had a carol singing session to end the evening. Thanks to Linda Lewis, chairwoman, and all the ladies for organising the evening and providing excellent food and drink.

 

We did not practice on Tuesday 18th, but instead, a social evening was organised at the Commercial, Killay. Thanks to Gareth and Nova who provided a wonderful buffet and this was followed by an evening of impromptu singing.

 

We have a break from practice over the Christmas period, but we had a call from Dan Rodde on the Thursday before Christmas requesting us to sing at his wedding to Rachel Parnell in St Hillary's, Killay, on New Year's Eve at 11.30am! Apparently they had been let down at the last minute by another choir. Both Nick and Rhian were available and in true Gwalia fashion, a choir was assembled in no time. Although it was a 'working' day we managed to get 35 singers and both the bride and groom's mothers thanked us after the wedding for helping out at such short notice and performing so well.

 

 

January 2013

 

We did not have any concerts in January, so took the opportunity to have some additional rehearsals to start learning new pieces for our annual in June. The new items are an arrangement by Alwyn Humphries of 'What Would I Do Without My Music' and the amazingly powerful 'Prayer' from Lohengrin by Richard Wagner - one for the bass section to enjoy! The music team has also been working on an arrangement of 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' and we will also be learning a modern arrangement of the hymn tune 'Rhys'. A lot of work to be done!

 

We were sad to learn that Ken Hutin passed away on January 10th. Ken was a stalwart of the choir for many years prior to leaving through ill health some time ago. We were pleased to sing at his funeral at Capel-y-Crwys, Three Crosses.

 

 

February 2013

 

We performed at St David's Church, Morriston on Sunday 3rd. It was a concert for the charity 'Chernobyl Children's Lifeline', which raises funds so that children from Belarus can come to Britain to get away from the contamination, which is still prevalent, and have dental treatment etc. and take advantage of a clearer atmosphere. Joining us for the evening was Keely Morgan, with whom we sang 'You'll Never Walk Alone' to close the concert, and Cwmrhydyceirw Primary School Choir. Over £1000 was raised during the evening and once again we did not charge for our services.

 

We returned to sing for the Pontardawe Senior Citizens, in their hall, on February 8th. This has been a regular place to visit for the choir over the years, but now that we have increased our numbers, we are struggling to fit on the stage! However, the small audience is always very appreciative and we have a good 'spread' afterwards.

 

On Saturday 16th we sang at the wedding of Claire Izat and Adam Knowles at All Saints, Oystermouth. Claire is the daughter of Pip George, 2nd Bass. She has left a message of thanks in the 'guestbook'.

 

We visited the studios of Swansea Sound to promote the concert for Chernobyl Children's Lifeline where Nick and Clive chatted to Leighton Jones 'live' on air. Apparently they should have recorded the interview so that it would be broadcast a few moments later, but Leighton decided, at the last moment, to do it 'live'. Hopefully we will be returning to promote our annual concert at a later date. This was all organised by our new media officer, Adrian Crowley, who is being very proactive in the role.

 

 
Nick and Clive at the Swansea Sound radio studio on 1st February with Leighton Jones.

 

 

March 2013

 

We performed again at Swansea University on March 1st, St David's Day, at a lunchtime recital. The main hall at Fulton House was packed with diners who stayed throughout the performance and were very appreciative. Thanks again to Les Carmichael for organising the event and providing another wonderful meal for us.

 

 

April 2013

 

We had our annual quiz night, organised by our Ladies Committee, on Thursday 11th, which was held at the Commercial, Killay. It was another successful evening raising funds for the choir and the main event was won by the Liles/Stone family after a dead heat between the Jones/Parton/Debbie Rogers team. A great buffet was once again provided by Gareth and Nova and raffle prizes were donated by our president, Geoff Wheel.

 

On Saturday 13th we sang at the wedding of Jemma Shadrack and Paul Daniels at Salem Chapel, Rhydypandy. Jemma is the niece of one of our choristers, Len Fuge. This was an interesting afternoon with the bride being 40 minutes late after being stuck in the narrow lanes outside the chapel, which were blocked by parked cars. We sang a number of extra items to keep the guests entertained on a rather wet afternoon. We also sang 3 items during the signing of the register, which also took an unusually long time. However, we were able to sing one of our new pieces 'Prayer' from Lohengrin, which was really well received. Eventually the bride and groom emerged from the vestry and stood in the pulpit behind the choir as we started to sing 'All You Need Is Love', to which they walked out. Although it was a lot longer than usual there was a lovely warm family atmosphere in the chapel, and it was very enjoyable.

 

We sang at the wedding of Angela Vickery and Michael Donnelly at St David's Catholic Church on Friday 26th. Angela is a great friend of Rhian, as they have worked together in the Gowerton Veterinary Surgery for a number of years. We also had our own Stephen Wilson playing the organ for the hymns. We sang the bride in with 'The Rose' and 'You Raise Me Up' and Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' was sung during the signing of the register. The bride and groom then processed out while we, again, sang 'All You Need Is Love'.

 

We have confirmed our soloists for the annual concert. Laura Nicholas is making a return to Swansea following her performance with us 3 years ago. This will be her first time in All Saints, and we are very much looking forward to hearing her fine soprano voice again. Also joining us is young 17 year old Ashley Rogers, who is a member of CATS theatre school based in Pontardawe. Ashley will be singing a number of items from 'the shows' in which he has performed and we also look forward to hearing him sing.

 

We are really pleased to be invited back to sing at the 'All Saints Alive!' music festival Gala Concert on Saturday 14th September. This is always a great night and is a huge compliment to us for our performance last year.

 

 

May 2013

 

On Friday May 3rd we were the guest choir for the first annual concert of the Swansea Tenovus 'Sing With Us' choir. This choir comprises singers who are suffering from cancer or whose immediate family have been affected by the condition. Under their energetic and inspirational musical director, Shoshana Pavett, they thoroughly entertained the audience with a number of upbeat songs, including 'Walking On Sunshine' and 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough'. They ended the concert with a song that has become synonymous with the choir, 'Lean On Me', a very emotional performance. We were also joined by the wonderful Bishopston Primary School Choir and pianist Joshua Stokes. We were pleased to hear that over £1000 was raised from the concert and, once again, we donated our entire fee to the charity.

 

We gave a concert on Saturday May 25th at All Saints Church, Kilvey. This was in aid of church funds and we were able to sing our entire programme for the forthcoming annual concert. This included 2 new items to our repertoire, 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' arranged by our own musical team, and 'Rhys', a Welsh hymn tune arranged by E R Harry.
We were also joined by Ashley Rogers, a member of CATS based in Pontardawe, who sang a number of songs from the shows. The evening was introduced by Rev Andrew Meredith and we were given some wonderful refreshments at half time. Many thanks to our president, Geoff Wheel, for organising the concert.

 

 

June 2013

 

On Saturday 1st June we held our annual dinner dance at the Marriott Hotel, Swansea. There were over 90 choristers and friends at the event and the meal was excellent. We had the usual raffle which was followed by an auction, run by Les Carmichael. Our chairman thanked everyone for coming and our president, Geoff Wheel, also spoke briefly. We also had the 'awarding of the skull'. This is an annual 'fun' award for the chorister who has made the biggest blunder of the year, awarded by the chairman. There were a number of nominations but the winner was Dai Griffiths for the infamous 'collapsing chair' at the winery, while we were in Germany, last year. No further details are available, as 'what goes on tour, stays on tour'! Many thanks to our chairman, Clive, for organising the event, and to the Marriott, for looking after us so well.

 

We held our annual concert on Saturday 15th at All Saints Church, Oystermouth. This was, again, a tremendous success, although, not without drama, as our soloist, Laura Nicholas, had to pull out the night before, due to illness. Thankfully, she was able to secure the services of a fellow student at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Fran Gregory, who thrilled the audience with her renditions. These included Mozart's 'Laudate Dominum' and 'Als Luise die briefe', Gershwin's 'Someone to watch over me' and she concluded with 'I could have danced all night' from 'My Fair Lady'. Fran was accompanied by Conal Bembridge-Sayers, who was also superb, especially as he had to play a totally different programme at such short notice.

 

We also had 17 years old Ashley Rogers, a member of Class Act Theatre School (CATS), Swansea and Pontardawe, as a guest soloist. He sang a number of his favourite Musical Theatre songs which included 'Being Alive' from 'Company' and 'Stepping out with my baby' from 'Top Hat'. He then sang 3 items from Les Miserables in the second half finishing with 'Bring Him Home' ('Adren 'Ol'), which he sang in Welsh.

 

A number of ties were presented to choristers during the concert. Ed Parton and Walter Jones were presented with 5 year ties; Lawrence Sutton, 15 years; Cliff Prosser, 35 years; and a special presentation was made to Vernon Simons, who has been in the choir for 45 years.

 

We sang a number of new items to our repertoire which included 'What would I do without my music' and 'He ain't heavy, he's my brother', which was arranged by our musical team. We also finished the first half with a Welsh hymn tune 'Rhys' with organ accompaniment from Steve Wilson. Steve had a very busy night and showed his versatility, as he accompanied 'He ain't heavy' with the harmonica, and 'All you need is love' with the cornet. He also played the organ for our final item 'Anthem' from 'Chess'.

 

Our concert concluded with Fran joining us for 'You'll never walk alone' from 'Carousel'. Fran did a fantastic job, as we only had a very short rehearsal with us before the concert, and she said that she had never heard the song before! The end of the song brought the audience to their feet in appreciation of a wonderful night.

 

Many thanks must go to our musical team for their dedication and hard work in making the concert such a success. Our accompanist Rhian Stone, who also played for Ashley, our MD, Nick Rogers and to Steve Wilson. Also many thanks to Gwalia Group for sponsoring the concert and to the many local businesses that provided us with adverts for our programme. Thanks to our Ladies committee who looked after ticket sales on the night and for providing refreshments after the concert.

 

 

July 2013

 

On Saturday 20th we sang at St Hillarys, Killay. We were joined by Jonathan Lycett, who sang a number of songs from the shows. The evening was compered by Rev. Tim Williams and funds were raised for the church.

 

Our rehearsal venue was changed on Tuesday 30th, as we had been asked to accommodate 35 visiting students who wanted to hear a male voice choir. It seems that we may be the only male voice choir in the Swansea area that do not break during the summer and we did not think that we could fit them into the Swansea Sub Aqua Club, so we moved to Swansea Metropolitan University for the evening, where the students were staying. Nick gave them a brief talk about the history of the Welsh male voice choir and we then carried on with our rehearsal, as usual. Nick did explain that the first part of the rehearsal may be boring for them, as it was 'note bashing', but nevertheless they listened very attentively. We gave a short concert for the second half which they all thoroughly enjoyed.

 

 

August 2013

 

Although we did not have any performances, we carried on with rehearsals, as usual, and attendances were very good. We are pleased to announce that Cyril Garbutt has passed his audition and has joined the 2nd tenor section.

 

 

September 2013

 

We had a very busy weekend to start September. On Saturday 7th a 'cultural' trip around Gower was organised by Hefin Jones. A bus picked us up at the Uplands Tavern and we stopped at a number of public houses on the way, having a late lunch in the 'Brittania' in Llanmadoc. We finished up in the 'Plough' in Murton, although some went into 'town' to complete the day. Thanks to Hefin for arranging the day out and, although not very well attended, we're sure that this will become an annual event.

 

We sang at the wedding of Gemma Barry and Robert Kendal on Sunday 8th at St Illtyd's RC Church in St Thomas and the following evening the Ladies committee held a curry night at the Mumbai, Blackpill. This was very well attended with 83 people turning up and funds were raised for the choir. Thanks to Mo and the staff at the Mumbai for the excellent food and for being one of our sponsors for the annual concert. We also managed to sing a few songs and we have been informed that this was the first time that singing has been heard at the Mumbai.

 

On Saturday 14th we sang at the Gala concert to end the All Saints, Oystermouth, Music Festival. This was the second year running that we performed at this prestigious concert and were joined by Joe Gorvett and Holly Anne Lloyd. Both sang excellently and they finished with a duet from 'Spamalot', called 'The Song That Goes Like This' which is a send up of the final song of a musical.

 

We were sad to learn of the passing of Ken Richards' wife, Maureen, after suffering a number of illnesses over the past year. Our thoughts are with Ken and his family at this sad time.

 

We sang at a 'Celebration of Life' for Haydn Crosby on Wednesday 18th. Haydn was a member of the choir for 11 years before meeting and marrying Cheryl Tommey, from Colombus, Georgia, US, and moving there in January 2010. Haydn tragically died a year later and his wife had organised a memorial service for Haydn at St Peter's Church, Cockett. It was a very moving occasion with a number of eulogies reflecting on his life being spoken. Although Haydn had left the choir over 3 years ago, we managed a good turnout for him.

 

Another sad announcement is the passing of Joy Osborne, wife of Terry, who was a very active member of the Ladies committee until she became ill a few years ago. Joy had fought her illness with tremendous courage and our thoughts are with Terry, Charles and their families.

 

Bruges

 

We went to Bruges, this year, for our annual concert tour. We had a party of 64, made up of 37 choristers, wives, partners, and friends and left Swansea on Thursday 26th September and travelled to Dover, where we stayed overnight. On the way we had lunch in the 'Sally Pussey Inn' just outside Royal Wootton Bassett, which has become a regular venue for us to eat. In the evening we gave a concert at SS Peter and Paul, Charlton-in-Dover RC Church in aid of the Kent Air Ambulance. The church was a fine building in which to sing and we had a great reception following our performance, which ended with 'An American Trilogy' and enabled us to use the fine organ. The concert raised £350 . It is hoped that we can return one day to sing again.

 

The next day we boarded the ferry to Calais and made our way to Bruges. We booked into the Park Hotel and settled into our rooms. In the early evening we went on a canal cruise, which was paid for by the Ladies committee. This was very enjoyable and enabled us to see some well known landmarks from different sides. The rest of the evening was free for everyone to relax and enjoy the local hostelries.

 

On Saturday we had an early start and took the coach to Ypres. We had pre-booked a visit to the Flanders Fields Museum, which proved to be a very moving experience. We also saw the Menin Gate, and it is sad to see so many names, etched into it's walls, of soldiers who gave their lives during the first world war. Later in the day we visited Tyne Cot cemetery, and again, to see the lines of grave stones, so many unnamed, was a stark reminder of the terrible loss of life. We returned to the hotel and changed for our concert which was held at the OLV church in De Panne, about an hour's drive from Bruges. This was another fine building with a fabulous acoustic and organ. The church was nearly full and, again, we gave another fine performance. We were treated to a glass of wine during the interval, but, unfortunately, had to return to Bruges straight after the concert, as our bus driver was short of hours! This was a pity, as we had a tremendous ovation following our singing, with the audience standing and shouting for more. During the concert we sang 'There Is No Death', as our tribute to the men and women, who lost their life during the 'great war'.

 

We had a free morning on Sunday and met up in the early afternoon to give our final concert, which was held at St Salvator's Cathedral at 3pm. This was the largest of 12 churches in Bruges and was another fine building. It wasn't the easiest of places to sing, as the sound disappeared to all parts, but the echoes filled the church for a long time after each line. However, again, we had a tremendous ovation at the end of our concert, which was richly deserved for the fantastic effort that all the boys had put in during the weekend. Thanks must go to Nick, Rhian and Steve for all their hard work throughout the weekend. We had the rest of the day to relax and everyone met up at the hotel to spend a great evening together to enjoy a good 'afterglow' and joke telling session!

 

On Monday, we left just after midday to return to Calais for the ferry back to Dover and arrived in Swansea about 10pm. A thoroughly enjoyable time was had by all and we must thank Rayburn tours for organising the trip and also Joanne, for looking after us so well during the tour. Also thanks to Alan, our secretary, for all the work he did liaising with Rayburn from our side.

 

 

October 2013

 

Following our trip to Bruges, we had a week off from rehearsal, but then went straight into another concert at Holy Cross RC Church, Gendros, on Sunday 13th. The concert was organised by Tony Young and was in aid of the Northern Cleft Foundation which is a charity set up to relieve sickness, and preserve the health, of poor persons by providing free cleft lip and cleft palate surgery in developing countries. We were joined by soprano, Teresa Hacche, and the evening raised £560 for the charity.

 

We are pleased to report that Tony Brooks has passed his audition and joined the 2nd bass section. He says that he really enjoys the choir and, although unable to read music, has bought a keyboard and is having lessons, so that he can learn items quickly. A great example to all members - new and old!!

 

 

November 2013

 

On Saturday 23rd November we went on our travels again - this time to Holy Trinity Church, Llandrindod Wells. We sang at a concert for the Twinning Association between Llandrindod Wells and Contrexeville, France, and Bad Rapennau, Germany. On this occasion there were a number of dignitaries from Contrexeville present, including their mayor, and the evening was compered by Rev. Geraint Hughes. Joining us were the Mid Powys Youth Choir and their musical director Eleanor Madoc Davies. Some of the choristers enjoyed a game of golf in the morning on the great Llandrindod course and we took the opportunity to stay overnight at the Commodore Hotel. A lovely buffet was provided by the Twinning Committee before we sang and the concert was a great success. The evening ended with an 'afterglow' in the Commodore which went on until the early hours of Sunday morning!

 

We are now into our final preparations for the Christmas period and are looking forward to a busy schedule.

 

 

December 2013

 

We are pleased to welcome Glyn Williams to the choir following his audition. He has joined the baritone section and we wish him a long and happy stay with us. We have also started planning a trip to France for next year's concert tour. We have arranged to go to St Paul Les Dax, which is about an hours drive inland from Biarritz. Our chorister, Walter Carey, has been very involved in organising this, as he has a property in the town which he regularly frequents. We are really pleased that, after booking 70 seats on a flight from Gatwick next September, all places have already been taken!

 

Our annual Christmas lunch was organised by Hefin Jones, and held at The George, Mumbles. We had a lovely meal and were able to watch the Wales - Australia match after. Thanks to Hefin for organising the event and congratulations to him and Molly Malan, who announced their engagement on the day. We all hope they have a long and happy life together.

 

We started our Christmas concerts at the Vivian Hall, Blackpill, on Thursday 5th where we sang a mixture of Christmas items and some from our usual repertoire. We also sang a number of carols and invited the audience to join with us. Following the concert we adjourned to the 'Woodman Inn' to continue the singing.

 

The next day we sang a lunchtime recital in Fulton House at Swansea University. Again we sang a mixture if items and it was pleasing to see the hall full of students, many of whom stayed for the entire performance. Les Carmichael organised the event again, and he provided a lovely buffet following the singing. Many thanks to Les.

 

On Tuesday 10th we sang at the annual Ladies Christmas concert, organised by the Ladies Committee. We always use the event to raise money for charity and this year we raised over £400 for Prostate Cancer. The event was held at the Scout Hall, Brynmill, and was full to capacity. We enjoyed a buffet provided by the ladies and the evening ended with community carol singing.

 

We had a social evening on Tuesday 17th at the Commercial, Killay, where we sang a number of Christmas items interspersed with community carol singing. Steve Wilson provided the accompaniment on his keyboard and Gareth and Nova provided an excellent buffet and an enjoyable evening was had by all.

 

On New Year's Eve we sang at the wedding of Ed Bevan and Diane Putica at St Peter's Church, Newton. We sang a few items, as arranged, before the ceremony, but the bride was not on time. There was a great atmosphere in the church and we were encouraged by the guests to sing a few more songs and ended up doing 9 in total! We also sang at the signing and had a huge ovation when we finished with 'All You Need Is Love'. It was a great end to a very busy year and just reward for the choristers who turned out on a 'working' day.

 

Just before the end of the year, a couple of newspapers came across some information about a recording the choir made in 1981 along with the Cory Band - a version of Jona Lewie's "Stop The Cavalry". The song is still quite popular in the USA but unfortunately the choir receives no royalties from any copies that may be sold. An article appeared in both Wales on Sunday and the South Wales Evening Post.

January 2014

We had an early start to our concerts this year when we sang at the Tabernacle Chapel in Mumbles. They were raising awareness and funds for Prison Fellowship and a school in Zambia. It was a very spiritual affair with a number of former prisoners and serial offenders giving us an account of how their lives have been turned around since finding God. The church was full and the audience were very appreciative. The concert was organised by John Sampson and raised over £400 which has been shared between the two charities.

February 2014

On Sunday 2nd we returned to St David's Church, Morriston, to sing at a charity concert in aid of Chernobyl Children's Lifeline. This is the second time we have supported this charity following on from the success of the concert last year. Once again we had Keely Morgan singing with us and also the Cwmrhydyceirw Junior School choir. The children sang with tremendous enthusiasm and were ably led by Miss Amy Hanley and Mrs Rebecca Wisby. The charity was formed following the nuclear explosion at Chernobyl in 1986. Belarus was the region worst hit and people still till the fields and eat produce affected by radiation. The charity gives children a chance to have a break from the relentless bombardment of radiation and medical opinion suggests that fresh food and good air will boost their damaged immune systems. A wonderful cause, which we are very happy to support and for more information please visit www.ccll.org.uk/swansea.

 

We are delighted to welcome Rob Smith to the choir following his successful audition. He has joined the baritone section and has also made a big difference to our Photo of choir at Swansea University with Bonnie Tyleraverage age. We have also had Josh Lehmann, from Berlin, singing with us for the last 2 months, but, regrettably, he is returning to Germany in March. We hope he has enjoyed his short time with us and it was great that he could join us for the concert in Swansea University on 28th.

 

We held a lunchtime concert in Fulton Hall in Swansea University on Friday 28th where we were fortunate to perform in front of international singing star Bonnie Tyler. Bonnie is originally from Swansea and she introduced the choir in her inimitable style! Bonnie was the guest of the 'Welcome To Wales Food Festival' at the university to mark St David's Day and was invited by the catering manager of the university, Les Carmichael, who also sings in our choir. The choir sang brilliantly, mainly singing items associated with Wales including 'Cwm Rhondda''Delilah''O Gymru' and the haunting melody of 'Hiraeth', a song about longing for your homeland. We were followed by a lovely performance from Amy Sinha, a singer, songwriter, who was ably accompanied by our own Steve Wilson. We had a superb lunch after the performance, again, provided by Les and his staff. To see some more pictures of this event please click here.


March 2014

On Thursday 27th we sang at St Thomas church with the St Thomas Junior Community School choir. It was great to sing in the old church, which is not used during the winter, and for one of our choristers, Des Criddle, it was a return to where he sang, as a boy, in the church choir. Both choirs sang a number of items and we were able to perform Malotte's 'Lord's Prayer' for the first time. The concert ended with both choirs joining to sing 'Amen', 'This Little Light Of Mine' and 'All You Need Is Love' which brought the appreciative audience to its feet. The evening was compered by Rev Steven Bunting. To see some more pictures of this event please click here.

 

We are pleased to welcome back Roger Burrell to the choir following almost 10 years living in Spain. He said that he loved living in Spain but could not find a good choir to join and certainly not a male choir! We are delighted to have him back in the 2nd basses.

April 2014

We were fortunate to sing in the lovely church of St Peter's, Newton, following an invitation from the Singleton Singers, a ladies choir. The evening was introduced by Canon George Bennett and ably compered by Phillip Rogers. We were also joined by pianist Robert Marshall who played a number of solo items. During the concert we presented Alan Clewett with a 20 year tie. Alan is secretary of the choir and also sang at St Peter's, as a boy, in the church choir. The concert ended with both choirs joining together to sing Mark Hayes' beautiful arrangement of 'The Water Is Wide'. The concert raised over £800 for church funds and the choir gave its services free of charge.

 

Following the concert we went to Clyne Farm to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of George and Ann Bowen. George is a very popular and faithful member of the choir (although he was allowed to miss the concert!!) and the food and drink provided was excellent. Music was provided by 'Crying Out Loud - Cymru' who feature our own Steve Wilson on keyboards (they are an excellent band - look them up on Facebook). The highlight of the evening was everyone joining to sing 'Stand By Me'.

May 2014

The Skull

On Friday 9th we were guests, for the 2nd year,  at the Tenovus Swansea 'Sing With Us' choir's annual concert at All Saints, Oystermouth. Once again the Bishopston Primary School Choir also took part and they were very well drilled and sang beautifully. The Sing With Us choir were led by the inspirational Shoshana Pavett and were over 80 in number and they sang a number of upbeat items including some 'Take That' songs such as 'Shine'. It was a highly entertaining evening and we brought the audience to its feet following our rendition of 'All You Need Is Love'. The concert was a great success and raised over £1300 for the charity.


We held our Annual Dinner Dance on Saturday 31st at the Marriott Hotel. There was a good turnout with more than 80 choristers, wives and friends attending. The evening was organised by Clive Walters who put in a great deal of effort to make it such a success. Our president, Geoff Wheel, made a speech of thanks and the presentation of the 'skull' was made. There were a number of 'misdemeanours' this year, usually around turning up in wrong uniform, but the award went to Cliff Prosser, for his rather late attendance at a wedding on New Year's Eve. We were well into our performance when he walked down the middle of the church, seemingly totally unaware of his lateness (20 minutes!), and just took his place in the middle of the front row of the 2nd tenors! Priceless.

June 2014

Annual Concert

Our Annual Concert took place on June 28th at All Saints Church, Oystermouth. The venue was full to capacity and the choir was introduced by our Chairman, Ed Parton. We started with the rousing Welsh hymn 'Cwm Rhondda', which set the tone for a wonderful evening of singing.

Gwalia at All Saints


Parti Llwchwr

 

 The Gwalia Singers 





Parti Llwchwr



(For more photographs of this event please click here
.)


Our guests this year were Parti Llwchwr, a small ladies choir from Loughor. They were formed in 1955 and have appeared many times on S4C and competed very successfully in Eisteddfodau across Wales. They were directed by Mrs Janet Jones and accompanied by D Huw Rees, who is also musical director of the Morriston Rugby Club Male Voice Choir. The blend of the excellent voices and musical phrasing makes them a joy to which to listen, and they closed their first section with 'Anthem' from 'Chess' to rapturous applause.
During the concert our President, Geoff Wheel, presented a 20 year tie to John Moses, one of our bottom bass section. John is a very loyal member of the choir and rarely misses any of our choir engagements. We completed the first half with the rousing 'Prayer' from 'Lohengrin'.
After the interval we sang our next set including our own arrangement of 'Delilah' and Parti Llwchwr sang a number of Welsh items including 2 pieces by Robat Arwyn, 'Anfonaf Angel' and 'Yfory'. We then sang our last set, starting with 'This Is The Moment' which was arranged by D Huw Rees, and ended with our own commemoration of the First World War entitled 'Memories of the Great War'. This is a medley of songs put together by our musical team, which came out from the war and includes 'It's A Long Way To Tipperary', 'Over There', and 'Keep The Home Fires Burning'. The choir then marches on the spot for 'They Were Only Playing Leapfrog' to the tune of 'John Brown's Body' and we close with 'Pack Up Your Troubles'.

The concert ended with the 2 choirs joining together to sing 'An American Trilogy', which featured our own Steve Wilson on the organ, and when it ended the audience rose to its feet in appreciation of another wonderful 'annual'.
The choirs and guests then adjourned to a splendid buffet laid on by Carol Clewett and members of the Ladies section, and a bar was available organised by John Rickard. Many thanks to them and to the invaluable help we get from our Ladies section on the night, for stewarding and selling CD's and during the year. Thanks to our main sponsor 'Grwp Gwalia' and to the many businesses and individuals who provide adverts for our programme. Thanks must also go to our musical team, Nick, Rhian and Steve who work so tirelessly to ensure the evening is a great success.

We sang at the Woodman on Friday 6th as part of the fund raising weekend held at the pub. There was a lot of entertainment going on and we were pleased to take part. It was windy outside so we had to sing among the tables (getting 45 singers in was a bit of a squeeze!), but it went well considering the difficulties. We gave our services for free and the weekend raised over £5000 for charity.

We are pleased to welcome Richard Adlam-Hill to the choir. He has passed his audition and taken his place in the first tenors. Congratulations to Richard.



July 2014

On Sunday 27th, the Ladies committee had organised a garden party at our chairman, Ed Parton's house. An excellent number turned up and over £450 was raised by the ladies through a number of raffles, games and bar takings. Perhaps the highlight of the afternoon was when a number of the men got into their swimming trunks and jumped into the pool! (Click here to see pictures in our Photo Gallery or click here to see some pictures on 'Facebook' ) Many thanks to Ed and Jan for letting us use their house and, once again, to the ladies for organising the event.

Party         Bathing


Following our annual concert we enjoyed a well earned rest of one week (!) before starting rehearsals again. We sang at the wedding of Robin and Emma Louise Wilson on Saturday July 26th, at St Michael's Church, Loughor. Once again it was a bit of a squeeze getting us all in, but, with the help of the vicar, we managed to stage the choir partly in the sanctuary. This was possibly the quickest wedding at which we have ever sung. The bride was a few minutes early, which meant that we did not sing all the songs before, as planned, and twenty minutes later we were singing for the signing of the register!


Wedding Loughor          Wedding Loughor

August 2014

Clyne Clyne
Choir meeting up before the Clyne concert. Singing at the Clyne concert with the war memorial in the forground.

On Monday 4th we sang at a service at Clyne Chapel to commemorate the beginning of the First World War. It was a beautiful evening and it was held in the gardens of the church. Singing outdoor is never the best acoustic and, with a slight breeze blowing, brought a few difficulties for the accompanist and MD. However, apart from a few pages trying to get away, it went well. Thanks to Brenda Stevens for organising the event and putting on refreshments after the singing.

We sang at St Hillary's Church, Killay, on Saturday 9th. We were fortunate to be joined by Jonathon Lycett who was accompanied by John Davies. Jonathon, as always, was excellent even though his movement w
as hampered by a leg injury sustained while on holiday the week before. The concert was in aid of church funds.

On Saturday 23rd August we sang at the wedding of Suzanne Bessant at St Peter's Church, Newton.

September 2014

QuizmasterWe travelled to St Paul les Dax, south west France, for our tour this year, leaving on Thursday 18th.  We had our usual stop in Sally Pussey's Inn, just outside Royal Wootton Bassett, for lunch and went on to Gatwick for our evening flight to Bordeaux. Keeping us entertained on the bus was Gareth John with his 'famous' quizzes. We arrived at just past midnight at our hotel,Mayors Parlor the Hotel Caliceo, which was excellent. However, the lack of an open bar made us retire to our rooms at a reasonable hour!

On the Friday morning we were invited to the Mayor's Parlour for refreshments and we sang 'La Marseilliaise' (the French National Anthem) and our own anthem for the dignitaries present.  We then went for an excellent lunch at 'Campanile', which was a short walk around the lake from the hotel.


Following this, we spent a quiet afternoon in preparation for our first concert later in the evening, which was held at St Paul's church. The concert started at 8.30pm, which was rather late for us, but it is the tradition in France. This became evident when we were about to enter the church to sing, but were held up, due to the last minute arrival of many of the audience. In fact, the church was full when we started (surely holding 250), which was a huge fillip for the choir, who then enjoyed the excellent acoustic to give a rousing performance. We were joined by a small singing group from the locality, led by Antonio, who had a fine voice. We hadOutside the church at Dax learned 'Cantique de Jean Racine' by Faure, in French, which went down very well and suited the lovely ambience of the church. We finished with 'An American Trilogy' and received a deserved standing ovation. We then sang our own National Anthem, which seemed very popular in this rugby playing area of France. Following the concert we went back to 'Campanile' for refreshments and a few drinks.
Auberge le Tucq
We had arranged a visit to Jurancon on Saturday, for lunch and a trip around the famous Jurancon vineyard. We also had a short session of tasting their award winning wine and then made our way back, which somehow took half an hour less than getting there, as we took a 'shortcut'! We then got ready for our concert, which was held at St Bartholomews Church in Castets, which was about a half hour drive from our hotel. Again it was a late start and this time we were joined by 'A mi Chant' under the direction of Monique Gracie. They were an excellent local choir, singing the complete programme 'a capella' and many of the songs were of African origin. They finished their set with a very rhythmical version of 'Kwmbayah' accompanied by a conga drum. Following our last set we had another standing ovation from the packed audience. We were then treated to some great hospitality from 'A mi Chant' and had a really good afterglow with both choirs singing alternate items. A very enjoyable night was had by all.  Our concert in Castets was recorded, to hear this recording please click here and to see some photographs please click here.

On Sunday a number of us went to Capbreton, a beautiful
Castets Concertvillage on the coast and about 45 minutes drive from St Paul les Dax. We were dropped off and sent on a long walk around the harbour, which was full of sailing boats. Eventually we arrived at the seafront, which was really worth the wait. There was mile upon mile of golden sands and many restaurants by the beach. We had a lovely meal and walk, soaking up the warm sunshine, and found a shorter way back to our bus on our return (There's a theme here!). We then went to St Paul les Dax rugby club, in the evening, for a short informal concert and spent many hours enjoying the hospitality of the club's members.

We left on Monday after having a wonderful meal at the Hotel Caliceo and went to Bordeaux. We had a guided tour around the city, which is a fabulous place, on the Garonne River. It has lots of narrow streets, full of restaurants and shops, and many historical buildings. We eventually got back to Swansea at about 6.00am on Tuesday morning.

The entire trip had been organised by our hard working committee, but John 'Wally' Carey was the one who set the ball rolling. He has had an apartment in the village for many years and visits it regularly (we can see why!), and knows a number of influential contacts. He set up the concerts, meals, trips and visit to the local rugby club. He was ably assisted by Alan Clewett, secretary, and Adrian Crowley. We must also mention Nigel Norman, who is our linguist, and he was able to converse by email and phone and acted as our translator during our stay. This was a memorable trip - and arguably the best yet. Many thanks also to Nick (who also tried to introduce the concert items in French!), Rhian and Steve for their tremendous efforts in making the concerts such a success.


To see photographs of the highlights of our tour please click here.

October 2014

No sooner had we returned from France, than we had a phone call from 'Channel 4 TV' who were recording a programme about popular Christmas songs. They wanted to include 'Stop The Cavalry', which we recorded over 30 years ago, with The Cory Band, and they wanted us to sing it again. Unfortunately, no chorister had a copy of the music, and, in fact, only 5 members remain who were on the original recording. Also, Channel 4 wanted to start recording from 13th October, just a couple of weeks to learn what was, basically, a new piece!! We also had no copies, no accompaniment, and no arrangement to work from. However, the boys worked very hard to learn the words and Steve created a wonderful multi-track accompaniment on his keyboard, and away we went.  Then, thank goodness, the date for the recording was put back to Tuesday 28th, at All Saints Church, Oystermouth.Joint Choirs

In between all this, we had a wonderfully successful concert with the Sydney Welsh choir, from Australia, who were on a tour of Ireland, England and Wales. The concert was held in St Mary's Church, Swansea, which proved a great venue, and was really well supported, with over 300 in the audience. The concert opened with both choirs singing the Australian National Anthem 'Advance Australia Fair' and the Sydney choir sang their first set. They started with 'A Seekers Celebration', a medley of songs by 'The Seekers' and they also included the piece 'African Allelujah' which was accompanied by a conga drum. Their last item was 'Arglwydd Dyma Fi' to the tune of Gwahoddiad, which was sung in Welsh.  (To watch recordings from this concert please click the links  'I'm Gonna Walk', 'You Raise Me Up', 'Delilah'  and 'African Alleluja')

We were then treated to some wonderful solos by Greg McCreanor, who had travelled with the choir from Australia. His superb baritone voice filled the church with ease and he sang a varied repertoire. We then sang our first set and ended the first half with our medley of songs from the First World War entitled 'Memories of the Great War'.

We started the second half and our final item 'An American Trilogy' brought the appreciative audience to their feet. Greg then sang again and he finished with a great old favourite 'The Floral Dance' and this was followed by a narration by Clive Woosnam. The Sydney choir then sang their last set and finished to another standing ovation, when they sang 'Y Tangnefeddwyr', again, in Welsh. The two choirs then joined to sing 'Cwm Rhondda' which brought to an end a very special concert.

Des1

There were a number of presentations made by our President, Geoff Wheel, and our Ladies Committee presented a commemorative badge to each of the choristers from Australia. The concert finished with our National Anthem. We all then adjourned to the Cross Keys who provided a splendid buffet.

On Saturday 11th we sang at a special evening at the Marriott. Our chorister, and past chairman, Des Criddle was celebrating his Golden Wedding anniversary with his wife, Barbara. Des is a very faithful member of the choir and it was a great pleasure to sing for him.

We had another similar evening the following Sunday when we sang for an event organised by Chris Shaw. Chris is a founder member of the choir and he was celebrating his wife's 70th birthday at the Village Hotel. Once again, we were delighted to attend, and the highlight of the evening was when Chris' young grandson, Jack, joined us for a song. A new chorister in the making!!

Back in 1981 the Gwalia Singers and the Cory Band recorded their version of 'Stop the Cavalry'.  Since then it has continued to be popular and every year is a hit at Christmas time in the USA.  Jona Lewie wrote and recorded the original version in 1980. A year later a record company brought together Swansea's Gwalia Singers and Cardiff's Cory Band to record a new arrangement of the song.  This version of the song remains one of the most requested of all holiday songs in parts of the USA and it has been suggested that it is "probably the most popular song ever by an artist who never had a charted recording".Stop the Cavalry
Stop the CavalryThere are still five active members of the Gwalia Singers who took part in the original recording thirty-three years ago.  They are Chris Shaw, Ray Davies, Vernon Simons, Cliff Prosser and Terry Osborn.

They and the rest of the choir recorded and filmed a new version on Tuesday 28th October in All Saints Church in Oystermouth.

The recording company is Fresh One, a TV filming company set up by Jamie Oliver in 2000.  Jamie was determined to make popular television that lived up to the word 'fresh', new, unexpected, alive, and compelling.  He wanted to make quality programmes that were honest, intelligent and wherever possible, fun.  Since then Fresh has grown and built on these creative strengths delivering amazing, award winning content around the world.


The film will be shown as part of a programme called 'Christmas Songs with a Story' and will be shown on Channel 4 in the week leading up to christmas.

November 2014

BathOn Friday 14th we travelled to Bath to sing at a wedding in St John's RC Church. Chloe Jeffries was marrying Lee Gavin and Chloe's father, Barry, was a member of the choir for a short time some 15 years ago. Barry tragically died at a relatively young age, but Chloe had always wanted the choir to sing at her wedding, and, of course, we were delighted to oblige. It was a beautiful wedding and the church was a lovely place in which to sing. What's more, the priest, and music director of the church, Rupert, were really helpful with moving instruments and arranging where we sang. We were also allowed the use of the church hall to change and leave our uniforms, until we were ready to leave. After the wedding we were treated to a buffet and drink at Garfunkel's, at Chloe's expense, and spent a few hours (having a few more drinks!) in Bath, until making our way back. We were really pleased to take 38 choristers with us, on a Friday, and many thanks to Chloe, Gavin and Stephanie, Chloe's mother, for inviting us to join their special day.

Strangely, for the time of year, we are very busy, singing at a number of weddings. On Saturday 28th we sang at the wedding of Jay Lovell and Leanne Powell at St Illtyd's Church, Port Tennant. It was a beautiful day and we sang at the signing, but, on this occasion, we were also treated to a solo from the bride's father, Andrew. He was accompanied by our own Steve Wilson, who also played the organ for the service. We have another 2 weddings booked for next month, and also had to turn one down, as we are so busy! In fact, we will be singing at 7 events altogether during December.

On Thursday October 23, aged 72, Alvin Stardust, whose real name was Bernard Jewry, died from prostate cancer.  He married a Swansea girl, Julie Paton, and so had a close connection with Swansea.  Julie requested that his funeral be held at St Thomas's Church, Port Tennent where they had a home for some time.  The funeral took place at 1:30 pm on Wednesday November 5th followed by a Harley Davidson Parade to the crematoriam.

Thirteen years ago the choir were invited to Guildford in Surrey to sing at the christening of Alvin Stardust's daughter Millie. There were several stars present at this celebration including Boney M and Sir Cliff Richard, who subsequently became a patron of the Gwalia Singers.

MovemberJulie contacted the choir to ask if we would sing at his funeral. Although we don't as a rule sing at funerals, except for choir members, we felt that an exception had to be made.  Julie said that as a result of their marriage Alvin always felt half Welsh and remembering the choirs visit to Surrey he wanted his funeral in Swansea and the Gwalia Singers to sing 'Calon Lan' which he loved.  We also sang 'The Lord's Prayer' by Albert Hay Malotte.

Most of the choir were looking a bit untidy with stubble on their faces as it was week one of our Movember project.  During the month of November the Gwalia Singers are going to grow moustaches to raise money for Movember.  The photo is of the Gwalia Singers Movember Team at the start of the month.  To see our Movember webpage please click here.

Movember is a charitable organisation committed to changing the face of men's health.  Movember challenges men to grow moustaches during Movember (formerly known as November), to spark conversation and raise vital funds for its men's health programs. 

The Movember charity has raised £346 million since it started and has funded over 800 programmes in 21 countries. This work is saving and improving the lives of men affected by prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems.  To date, 4 million moustaches have been grown worldwide, and we hope to add to this total.

The Gwalia Singers could not think of a better project for a Male Voice Choir to support and hope to raise a large amount of money for this good cause.


December 2014

Well, this was a December to remember. We sang at 7 events, altogether, in 17 days, and an appearance on television! The first, on Thursday December 4th, was our annual concert at the Vivian Hall in Blackpill. We have been doing this for at least 10 years now and it is the start of Christmas for many, especially the enthusiastic audience. We added a few new pieces to our repertoire this year including the lovely 'Christmas Song' and, of course, 'Stop The Cavalry'. We also sang 'O Holy Night', 'Winter Wonderland' and 'The First Noel', which is sung to Pachelbel's 'canon in D'. We also sang a number of Christmas carols and the '12 Days of Christmas', with audience participation! On Friday 5th we made a return to Clyne Golf Club for their annual Christmas concert, and it was great to see the club full. Thanks to Clive Aston for his kind welcome and the committee for providing mulled wine and mince pies. We must also thank Steve again here, for taking his keyboard around all the events and accompanying 'Stop The Cavalry' and adding strings accompaniment for 'Christmas Song'. He also played a duet with Rhian for 'The First Noel' and 'Rhythm Of Life'.

We had our annual 'Ladies Carol Concert' on Tuesday 9th, which is organised by our ladies committee. Once again the scout hall at Brynmill was packed and the ladies provided an excellent buffet. The first part of the concert is given by the choir which is followed by the buffet. We then joined together to sing carols. A vote of thanks was given by the chairwoman, Lynda Lewis, and a raffle was also held.

On Thursday 11th we sang a lunch time recital at Swansea University, for the students and staff. This is always well received and organised by Les Carmichael, who is the catering manager at the University. He also provides us with a tremendous meal afterwards, which is very much appreciated. Thanks, Les.

We sang at St Thomas church, St Thomas on Tuesday 16th. We were delighted to be asked to be involved with this and managed to fit it in on our usual rehearsal night. Once again the St Thomas Community Primary School choir took part and also Cefn Hengoed Community School choir. The evening was introduced by Rev Steven Bunting and each choir sang items in turn. The school choirs were introduced by their headteachers and they sang some traditional Christmas items. We also sang a few Christmas carols with the audience and finished with all 3 choirs singing 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas'. Following the concert we were treated, once again, to mulled wine and mince pies, in the church hall. Many thanks to Steven for organising the concert and, hopefully, we can make this an annual event.

On Friday 19th we sang at the wedding of Claire-Louise Collier and Andrew Millin at St Peter's church Sketty. This wedding had structured our Christmas music, as Claire had requested a number of Christmas items, including 'Christmas Song', which the musical team arranged for the choir. There was a lovely relaxed atmosphere in the church and we sang the happy couple out with 'All You Need Is Love' and received a standing ovation from the guests, who stayed in the church until we finished. The following day we sang at another wedding at Llangyfelach church, this time it was for Deborah Bines and Justin Hastings. The church was full and we sang a number of items, as usual, including 'Rhythm Of Life', which we had to re-learn for the wedding. It was also great to have Stephen join with Rhian on the piano for this piece and he then played the organ, again with Rhian on piano, for 'Cwm Rhondda'. We had another standing ovation from the guests, following these items. The most pleasing thing about these two weddings was that we had 40 singers on both occasions, a fantastic effort by the choristers following such a busy time. In fact, we can barely remember such a busy December, so huge thanks must go to Nick, Rhian, Stephen, and all the choristers, for their commitment to the events and making them so successful.

On Saturday 20th we featured on Channel 4's programme 'Rewind The Christmas Hits', which was shown at 8.00 o'clock in the evening. The programme told a number of stories behind the well known Christmas hits over the last 40 years. As previously documented on our website, we sang 'Stop The Cavalry', but unknown to many of us, the original, by Jona Lewie, released in December 1980, was kept off the number 1 spot by the St Winifred's School choir singing 'There's No-one Quite Like Grandma'!! Not strictly true, as 'Stop The Cavalry' actually only reached number 3, as there was a re-release of '(Just Like) Starting Over' by John Lennon, who tragically died earlier that month, which went to number 2.

January 2015

We've had a quiet January following our very busy end to 2014. However, we have taken the opportunity to have a few extra rehearsals to learn a new piece to our repertoire, the wonderful 'Y Tangnefeddwyr' by Eric Jones. We have also been busy in organising our next tour, which, this year, will take us to Emmeloord, about an hour's drive from Amsterdam. This will take place over the weekend from 8th October until 12th, and we have arranged 2 concerts and hopefully, an informal night on the Sunday. Thanks must go to Adrian Crowley for a lot of the work here. We are also pleased to have a number of new choristers joining us at rehearsals and hopefully they will all pass their auditions soon.
Tom

Tom Bartley

It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Tom Bartley following a long illness. Tom was a very popular chorister and a great ambassador for the choir. He filled many roles in his 9 years with the choir, acting as a very active publicity officer and member of the committee. Tom always made new members very welcome, quite often being the first to make himself known to them. Most of all he was an excellent 2nd tenor and rarely missed a choir event.  A native of Liverpool, he was a very keen football fan and it was fitting that we were able to sing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' at his funeral. Tom will be sadly missed by all who knew him.




February / MarchFulton House Concert

 
We have had a slow start to the year, which continued through February and March. Our only concert in February was on Friday 28th at lunch time in Fulton House, Swansea University. There had been a Food Festival all week and we were also celebrating St David's Day. We, therefore, included items associated with Wales which gave us an opportunity to sing 'Without You' by Swansea born Peter Ham, for the first time. During the performance we were treated to 2 solo items by Jessica Rees, a member of the catering team at the University. Following the concert we had a wonderful lunch provided by Les Carmichael, the catering manager for the University, who is also in the choir. Many thanks, Les.

We have also added another chorister to the choir, as Clive Westcott has passed his audition and has taken his place in the second tenors. Well done Clive.


Curry 1 Curry 2

On March 4th we had a social evening organised by the Ladies Section. This was a curry night held at the Mumbai, Blackpill. We had a lovely buffet, and a few games and raffle were organised. Many thanks to Linda Lewis, Chairperson, and her hard working committee, for putting on this event.
  
We have had another 2 new members during March. First to pass his audition was Mike Phippen, and he has joined the first bass section. Then Richard Keane also passed his test and has joined the second basses. Well done to both Mike and Richard.

Our AGM was held on Tuesday 10th. The meeting was opened by our president, Geoff Wheel, and he spoke about how much he enjoys being part of the choir and appreciated the work done by the choir in raising funds for local organisations and charities. Clive Walters was voted in, as Vice Chairman, for the next 12 months and Tony Brooks was added to the committee. All other officers remain unchanged.


After a quiet time it was a bit like 'London buses' on Saturday March 28th when we sang at 2 events on the same day! The first was at the wedding of Kate Garland at St Peter's Cockett and then, in the evening, we were guests of the Swansea Excelsior Ladies Choir at their annual concert in St John's, Gowerton. It was a great pleasure to sing with the Ladies choir again, as we have not sung with them for many years. Also appearing were 'Saxophony Cacophony', a saxophone choir based in Ty Coch, who are all pupils of their director Lynne Novis. They were excellent and featured a number of their younger members playing solos such as Josh Williams and Sam Ludbrook playing alto sax. The ladies were also excellent, under their musical director, Lynda Richards and accompanist, Yeojin Chi, and sang a varied programme including Bugelioi'r Gwenith Gwyn and the lively 'Ev'ry Time I Feel The Spirit'. We included 'Y Tangnefeddwyr' for the first time and the concert finished with both choirs joining together to sing 'Cwm Rhondda'.

April

On April 20th we sang at the Waterfront Museum at a conference organised by Swansea University College of Engineering. It was for Ser Solar, and the conference was entitled 'Printed Photovoltaics: From Materials to Manufacture'. We sang while the delegates arrived for their pre dinner drinks and we were well received.

We have added our support to Blaenafon Male Voice Choir's film project aimed at attracting more people to join male choirs before the wonderful Welsh tradition literally dies out. We have had a number of illnesses lately affecting our numbers, and this is a problem for just about every male choir. Although we have been successful in attracting a few younger members over the past few years, we still require a lot more to ensure our continuing existence. We wish them every success and will give as much help as we can.

Our annual concert line-up has been finalised and we are pleased to announce that LaSe will be joining us for this year's concert. LaSe are a group made up of sisters from South Wales and will sing a variety of items including classical, jazz, pop, gospel and traditional Welsh and Irish songs. Their name is made up of their initials Laura, Alex, Sarah and Emma. We are also doing something different this year, as we have obtained the services of 'Crying Out Loud' to accompany us for the second half of the concert. They are a band, which include our own Steve Wilson on keyboards, so we will also have drums and guitar, as well as Rhian, to accompany us. We will include items such as Robbie Williams' 'Angels', 'He Ain't heavy, He's My Brother' and a version of Joe Cocker's 'You Are So Beautiful' incorporating 'Wind Beneath My Wings', with a few others as well.

June

On Saturday 13th we sang at the wedding of Daniel Lloyd Jones and Christina Viviani at St Paul's, Sketty. Christina hails from the USA and a number of her family were at the wedding and Daniel is a local man, having played football for Mumbles Rangers in his early years and later, rugby for Swansea RFC. He now lives in America. We had a good turnout but had to wait nearly 45 minutes for the bride to arrive, which meant that we sang a few more items before she arrived. At the end we sang the happy couple out with 'All You Need Is Love' to rapturous applause.

Annual Concert, 27th JuneAnnual15

Our annual concert was held again at All Saints Church, Oystermouth, and our guest artistes were LaSe. We also added an extra dimension to the concert by inviting 'Crying Out Loud' to join us. Our Chairman, Ed, started proceedings by welcoming everyone to the concert, thanking our sponsors, and thanking our Ladies Committee for looking after the ticketing and seating on the night. We opened up with the great Welsh hymn 'Cwm Rhondda', with Steve Wilson playing the organ for the last verse, and this set the atmosphere for the rest of the evening. We finished our first set with Eric Jones' 'Y Tangnefeddwyr', and we welcomed LaSe to the stage. LaSe are made up of four sisters Laura, Alex, Sarah and Emily, and come from Penpedairheol, near Caerphilly. They sang beautifully in the wonderful acoustic and included Lloyd Webber's 'Pie Jesu' in their first set which ended with 'Calon Lan'. We then finished the first half with 'Rhythm of Life', 'The Rose' and our own compilation of songs from the First World War entitled 'Memories of the Great War'.

During the interval we were entertained by 'Crying Out Loud' who played four items. They are made up of our own Steve Wilson on keyboards and vocals; Jason Davies, lead vocals and guitars and Steff Rees on drums.

LaSeWe started the second half with 'Delilah' not only accompanied on piano by Rhian but with 'Crying Out Loud', as well. This was a total break from 'tradition' and we sang the entire second half with the same accompaniment. We included Robbie Williams' 'Angels', 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' and ended our first set with Peter Ham's famous 'Without You'. It was, indeed, a thrilling experience to have the additional accompaniment and it really worked well. After all, these pieces were originally written, and recorded, with such an accompaniment. During this set our President, Geoff Wheel, presented long service ties to Tony Marmont and John Haslam for being in the choir for five years. Tony Porter was presented with a fifteen year tie and Roy Snaydon was also due to receive his ten year tie, but unfortunately, he has had to leave the choir due to serious illness. We then heard the second set of LaSe who sang another five items and included 'Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree' and they ended with 'You'll Never walk Alone' to a great ovation.

Our last set was made up of Alan Simmons' arrangement of 'My Way', 'You Are So Beautiful' incorporating 'Wind Beneath My Wings' and we finished with 'American Trilogy'. During this item LaSe came on to join us for the last 'Glory, Glory Hallelujah', and when we finished the packed audience were all on their feet to give us a huge ovation.

This was another wonderful annual concert and we have been overwhelmed by the favourable comments regarding the second half which included the band, 'Crying Out Loud'. Indeed the boys of the band were a credit to work with and Steve's arrangements were excellent. We are sure that this will not be the last time that we will include them with us. Huge thanks to them for their hard work and, of course, to our own accompanist, Rhian, who held it all together. Thanks also to our MD, Nick, who, along with Rhian and Steve, has been longing to sing items with a band accompaniment for some time and we also wonder if it's ever been done before?

Also present for the evening was Daniel Harries from Focus Shift Films. He is making a documentary with Blaenavon Male Choir about the plight of male choirs in Wales, as we are all struggling to recruit younger members, which may, eventually, see choirs folding due to lack of new choristers coming in. It is hoped that this documentary will eventually be broadcast on television. He is also helping us, and will provide a promotional video for us, which will include items from this annual concert. He will also be interviewing members of the choir at a later date. We feel that choirs have to change and be more 'up to date', and hopefully, our concert format tonight is a start, and will help to attract new members to our choir.

July

Following our annual concert we had a week off from rehearsal to recharge the batteries. On July 18th the Ladies Committee organised a barbeque at The Commercial Inn, Killay. We were very lucky with the weather and there were a number of stalls lined up selling various items. The cooking was done by Gareth, the landlord and member of the baritone section, and a great time was had by all. There were about 60 choristers, family and friends altogether and thanks to Gareth and Nova for allowing us to use the venue. The ladies raised almost £500 towards their fund.

We were pleased to welcome Daniel Harries to our rehearsal on 28th. Daniel is heading a project by Focus Shift Films, who are trying to put together a documentary about the problem of recruitment for male voice choirs, and in particular, younger men, in Wales. He filmed around our rehearsal and interviewed our MD, Nick and Chairman Ed; and also three choristers Tony Brooks, Tony Marmont and Rob Smith. Daniel had already filmed at our annual concert and he has now put together a ‘promotional video’ for the choir, which has been put on our Home page or click here to see it. Although our numbers are holding up fairly well, we know that we have to keep on recruiting to keep us in existence. Talking to Daniel afterwards he said that the film is going really well and he has had interest from Channel 4 to, possibly, broadcast it in the future. What started out as a small project has’ mushroomed’ and Daniel has been very impressed with the co-operation and enthusiasm of many choirs.

August 2015

On Saturday 15th August we sang at the wedding of Sara Nash and Mark Rowland at the lovely Clyne Chapel.  This is a very small church and we are limited when we can sing there, but on this occasion there was just enough room.  It was a beautiful day and we were able to use both keyboard and organ for a few items.

We do not stop rehearsing during the summer, unlike most choirs.  It has been found that we have as many, if not more, at rehearsals during this time.  In fact, we averaged over 47 choristers on Tuesday evenings, which is better than some other months during the year.  Perhaps other choirs are missing out on something!

September 2015Annual15

On Friday we sang at a concert in Langland Bay Golf Club.  Their captain, Tony Lovell, introduced the choir and we sang our usual varied programme.

We had a very enjoyable time, created a great atmosphere in the intimate surroundings and received a standing ovation at the end.  A wonderful evening, which we hope will be repeated in the future.  Many thanks to Tony and his committee for inviting us and money raised was given to a Seve Ballesteros charity.

We sang at the wedding reception of Sara Coltman on Saturday 19th September at the Waterfront Museum.  We started our sets by singing outside while the guests and wedding party arrived and, luckily, it was a reasonably still day, with the music for Nick and Rhian only fluttering around
occasionally! We then moved upstairs to sing our final set.

October 2015

On Friday 2nd October we sang at the wedding of Lois John at Oldwalls, Gower.  This is a lovely setting, but a bit awkward for the choir to stage.  Unusually, we did not sing before the ceremony but sang during the signing of the register, then after the wedding, in the main hall, once everything had been cleared out. 

We were, unfortunately, unable to sing at the wedding of Ria Thomas at Clyne Chapel on 4th October.  As mentioned earlier, this is a small church and we found out that there were over 100 guests invited to the wedding, so there was not enough ro
om left for us to perform.  A great shame.

Emmeloord - 8th to 12th October

Our annual tour, this year, took us to Emmeloord, Holland, which is a small town, about an hour's drive from Amsterdam.  The idea came from Adrian Crowley, who has friends in the area, and he, along with our Secretary, Alan, organised the hugely successful trip.  This would not have been possible without local contacts and we are very grateful to Sjanie Sterk and her committee who made us so welcome.  We left Swansea on Thursday 8th and we had 40 choristers, which was the largest choir that we have ever taken on tour.  We flew from Heathrow and arrived at our hotel, the Van der Valk, just outside Emmeloord, at around 8.00pm in the evening where we were treated to a 'light' meal, which was excellent.

EmmeloordEmmeloordParots

On Friday we visited the 'Orchid House', which houses hundreds of varieties of orchid, along with a butterfly house, and various displays.  The highlight for many was a chance to feed some very colourful and noisy parrots, which flew on to your hands, arms, or anywhere (!) to feed
on some nectar.  In the evening, we sang a concert at the Nieuw Jeruzalemkerk in Emmeloord and were joined by Chr.  Mannenkoor Emmeloord.  They are a Christian Men's choir and were over 70 on stage and their MD was Johan Bredewout.  They opened the concert with a number of items, including Samuel Wesley's 'Lead me Lord'.  We then sang our first half and started with Cwm Rhondda, with Steve on the organ, and combined, this made a great sound in the lovely acoustic of this modern church.  We were very well received and when we finished our set in the second half with 'An American Trilogy', the audience of around 450 got to their feet in appreciation.  The concert finished with both choirs joining together to sing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' which included Rhian on piano and their accompanist on the organ, which was a fitting end to a great concert. 
EmmeloordEmmeloord

We went to the small fishing village of Urk an Saturday morning and received a great welc
ome.  We went to see a lighthouse and took a short boat trip and were treated to a local lunch of soup, fish, salad and rice.  We then went back to the hotel for a short rest before going to the village of Tollebeek, some 10 miles away, to sing at St Hubertus Kerk in the evening, which, again, was full to capacity holding around 300 people.  On this occasion we were joined by 'Canticum', Emmeloord, and 'Cantabile' from Tollebeek, both of which were mixed choirs.  Once again, it was a modern church and the acoustic was wonderful.  We started the concert and included our medley of World War One songs and then the other choirs took it in turn to sing.  The highlight of their performance was when they joined together to sing 'De Zegenbede', which was a beautiful song, where the choirs formed up around the church, creating a fantastic atmosphere.  On this occasion we finished the concert and, once again, received a standing ovation from the enthusiastic audience.  We then joined together with the other choirs to sing 'The Rose'.  Refreshments were served after the concert and many friendships were made.  Thanks to Marian and Martine, the musical directors of the choirs, for joining us in a memorable evening's music.

EmmeloordEmmeloordEmmeloordEmmeloord

We had a free day on Sunday, so a trip was arranged to Amsterdam where we took in the sights of the city and many went on river cr
uises and bus tours.  In the evening we went back to Emmeloord for some light refreshments and a few presentations were made to our hosts for the weekend.  We then went back to the hotel for some further drinks and singing until the early hours of Monday morning.

EmmeloordEmmeloord

We arrived back in S
wansea late Monday evening following another very successful tour.  Huge thanks must go to Alan Clewett and Adrian Crowley for organising the trip.  Thanks also to Nick, Rhian and Steve who ensured the choir sang to a great standard and that the concerts were excellent.

November 2015

On Monday, 2nd we gave a short concert at Clyne Golf Club at an evening in aid of ‘Save The Children’. There were many different small stalls set up selling a variety of items and £725.00 was raised for the charity. We were delighted to help this cause and we gave our services for free. On Saturday 7th we gave a lunchtime recital at the Arts Wing (The Depot) at the Grand Theatre. This time it was in aid of Swansea Macular Degeneration Society. In between these concerts we held a ‘quiz night’, organised by the Ladies committee, at the Commercial, Killay. We had a good turnout and Gareth very kindly put on some refreshments for us. The Ladies raised in excess of £400 for their funds.

We are pleased to welcome David James to the choir. David passed his audition and has taken his place in the second tenors. However, on a sad note, Terry Green has ‘upped sticks’ and is moving to Kent with his wife Pat. Terry has been a very faithful member of the choir for 4 years since joining in November 2011. Pat has also been an active member of the Ladies committee and both will be missed.

On Saturday 28th November we gave our first ‘Christmas’ concert at All Saints, Oystermouth. Unfortunately our accompanist, Rhian, was unable to be there, as she was attending a wedding in Bath. However, our deputy, Steve, did a wonderful job in accompanying us and we were lucky to have Les Ryan playing the organ for various items. We always learn a number of Christmas songs and this time we sang the Shakin’ Stevens number, ‘Merry Christmas, Everyone’ to a keyboard accompaniment, arranged by Steve. We also sang the wonderful Chris DeBurgh song ‘One More Mile To Go’. The soloist for the evening was Keely Morgan, who sang items including, ‘The Holy City’ and ‘Nella Fantasia’ by Morriconi. There was an excellent audience who gave a standing ovation when we joined with Keely to sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ to finish the concert. The concert was in aid of ‘Maggie’s’, Swansea, which is a drop-in cancer centre offering practical, emotional and social support to local people with cancer, and their friends and family. This is a wonderful facility and we raised over £1400 and, once again, gave our services free of charge. Mrs Pat Steane gave a vote of thanks and dedicated the concert to Yvonne Gabriel, a great friend of the choir, who had helped to arrange the concert, but sadly lost her battle against cancer last month.

December 2015

Vivian Hall Concert

Our Christmas concerts had a familiar feel about them this year, as, having been invited back, we sang at the same venues as last year. Firstly was our visit to the Vivian Hall, Blackpill, on Thursday 3rd, and then to Clyne Golf Club on Saturday 5th. We sang a number of items from our usual repertoire and also some Christmas items, as our previous concert in All Saints in November. We also had some ‘audience participation’ for “The Twelve days Of Christmas”, which is always well received.

Ladies ConcertOur next event was the annual Christmas concert on Tuesday 8th, organised by our Ladies Committee. This is a fund raising event for the choir and, this year, we also raised £300 for the Salvation Army, to give people a lunch on Christmas Day. A great effort by everyone involved and thanks to the Ladies Chairwoman, Linda Lewis and her committee for their continued support.

On Friday 11th we sang at lunch time in Fulton Hall, Swansea University, for students and staff. Afterwards we enjoyed a wonderful meal organised by Les Carmichael, the catering manager at the University and a member of the choir. Thanks, Les.

Our last ‘official’ concert was held at St Thomas Church with the school choirs of Danygraig Primary, St Thomas Community Primary and Cefn Hengoed Community School. There were some congregational carols and each choir sang a number of items. One item was of particular interest to us, as the soloist in the Cefn Hengoed choir for ‘The Wizard and I’ was Caitlin Phippen, the granddaughter of our chorister, Mike. Caitlin sang beautifully and had one very proud granddad! We sang our Christmas items and created a wonderful atmosphere in the church when we sang ‘Stop The Cavalry’ and ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’, with the audience joining in with us. Many thanks to the vicar, Steve Bunting, for organising the event for the 2nd year, and it was great to see the fine old church nearly full.

Following the concert a good number of us adjourned to the Commercial, Killay for a Christmas sing along. Once again we sang a number of carols and Christmas items with many of the locals joining in.  Gareth very kindly provided us with a buffet and a very enjoyable evening was had by all.

Our rehearsal was cancelled on the Tuesday before Christmas, so a social afternoon was held at the Queen’s by the Marina. We all met at about 3.00pm and had a great few hours singing. Gary, the landlord, very kindly provided us with a bottle of whiskey during the early evening in thanks for our entertainment, and, by now the pub was packed.  In fact, we went on to at least 10.00pm when many of us went to a local restaurant to finish the evening. The rest of the evening is a bit hazy.....!

We were pleased to learn that our concert for ‘Maggies, South Wales’ cancer charity last month raised £3000.00!   Well done to everyone and special thanks to Keely Morgan and Les Ryan for performing with us at the concert.

 

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