We sang at
Fulton House, Swansea University, at lunch time, on March 1st to
celebrate St David’s Day. This has become a regular date in our diary
and there was a good audience, many of whom, stayed for the entire
performance. We were also treated to a lunch afterwards, even though
Les Carmichael, the former catering manager at the University, has now
retired. In fact, many of the choristers passed comment about how the
catering has improved!! Only joking, Les. The following day we sang at
The Core, at the Swansea Bay Campus of the University, again at lunch
time, where another meal was provided after the concert. Thanks to the
catering staff at the University, for looking after us so well.
We were pleased to welcome another chorister to the choir. Meirion
Howells passed his audition and has joined the first bass section.
Meirion is a well known member of Swansea Rugby Club and sang with
Morriston Orpheus many years ago. We hope he enjoys his time with us.
We were very pleased to be asked to sing at All Saints, Oystermouth, on
Friday 17th. There was a small commemoration service to start where
further names of local people, killed in the First World War, were
added to the existing plaque in the church. We then sang our medley of
First World War songs and further items and we were joined by Ros
Evans, who also sang a few items. The highlight of the evening was when
Ros and the choir ended the evening by singing ‘The Holy City’
together. We also had Steve on the organ for the last chorus. A great
We held our AGM on 22nd, where all officers were re-elected and it was
great to have our President, Geoff Wheel, at the meeting. We were also
pleased to have Carl Sullivan join our committee. Carl is one of the
newest and youngest members of the choir and we hope he enjoys his time
on the committee.
Wednesday 15th we were delighted to sing at the funeral of Terry Osborn
at St Paul’s Church, Sketty. There was a small congregation in the
church and one of our former choristers, Howard Phillips, spoke about
Terry’s life. Cremation followed at Swansea Crematorium.
our very busy December, we started the year very quietly. Our MD was
away for the first two rehearsals, but Steve ably stood in to take them
and we were also delighted to welcome back Gareth Staddon to the second
tenors. Gareth has found it difficult to attend rehearsals for the past
few years, but he is now in a position to attend regularly. We also had
a number of new probationer choristers at the rehearsals, which is
excellent news. It has also given us a chance to add some new items to
our repertoire and we have started to learn a new arrangement of ‘The
We were very sad to learn of the passing of Terry Osborn following a
long illness. Although Terry was unable to attend rehearsals for a few
years he had been a long serving member of the choir and was a past
Chairman, having served on the committee for many years. He was also
our representative for the South Wales Association of Male Voice
Choirs. He is survived by his son Charles and daughter-in-law Kate and
we send our sympathies to them. Terry will be greatly missed by us all.
It was with
great sadness that we heard of the passing of
Terry Osborn at the age of 89. He was a very long standing choir
member who sang with the baritones
and was their part steward. He
served as a Committee Member for very many years and was a Past
Chairman. He was also responsible for organising very many choir
ips both home and abroad, adopting the role of choir “transport
He will be greatly missed by all
his family, friends and especially by the choir members.
We had a very
busy period this December. Our first concert was at Clyne Golf Club on
Saturday 3rd, where we were introduced by club captain Ken Dent. We
sang a number of Christmas items including ‘Santa Claus Is Comin’ To
Town’ and an arrangement of ‘Silent Night’. Added to these were ‘In The
Bleak Midwinter’, ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ and one of
our favourites ‘Merry Christmas, Everyone’. We also sang a number from
our normal repertoire interspersed with community singing of Christmas
carols. We had a small but very receptive audience and it was a good
start to our busy programme.
On Tuesday 6th
we held our annual Ladies Committee Christmas evening at the Scout Hut,
Brynmill. Once again there was a packed audience and again we sang a
and items from our normal repertoire. We have added a few new items
since our annual in June and include ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley
Square’ and our own arrangement of ‘God Only Knows’ by Brian Wilson.
Following the concert we had a lovely buffet supplied by the Ladies and
everyone joined in by singing a number of carols.
On Thursday 8th
we sang at the Vivian Hall in Blackpill, where we were pleased to see a
full house again. There was a great atmosphere in the hall and we sang
our usual concert bolstered by a great rendition of ‘The Twelve Days of
Christmas’, with audience participation. A real highlight!
On Saturday 10th we sang at the wedding of Katy Smith at St Hillary’s
Church, Upper Killay. We sang our usual requests before the bride
arrived including ‘Somewhere Only We Know’, ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’
and ‘Stop The Cavalry’. The bride had requested that she walk in to the
choir singing ‘Silent Night’ and there were a number of people from
‘over the border’ present so we were requested to sing ‘Calon Lan’ and
‘Delilah’ at the signing. We have been told that all our English
friends present had never heard a male voice choir at a wedding before
and they were so impressed that they now want a choir at their own
weddings. We are available!
The following week we sang at Fulton Hall, Swansea University on
Tuesday 14th and the next day we were in ‘The Core’ at the University
Bay Campus. These were lunch time recitals, with community carol
singing and the choir were treated to a lovely lunch provided by the
university catering staff after singing. Thanks very much to them.
One of the
highlights of our Christmas programme is the Community concert at St
Thomas Church, which, this year, took place on Thursday 16th. This
involves the choirs of
Primary School, St Thomas Community Primary School and Cefn Hengoed
Community School. It was great to see so many children singing and
there were well over 100 on stage between all the choirs. Each choir
was introduced by their respective Head Teachers and were prepared and
accompanied by their own staff members. There was a great mix of items
and the evening finished with the children’s’ choirs, and us, singing
‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’. It was wonderful to see the old church
almost full and thanks must go to Rev Steve Bunting for organising the
event again. We were also treated to mulled wine and mince pies at the
Christmas concert took place at the Pier Cafe, Mumbles on Tuesday 20th,
and this was to prove a wonderful evening. This was a new event for us
and the cafe was packed to the rafters with people standing everywhere
and even standing outside and looking through the windows and doors!
Again we interspersed our regular concert items with carols and our
Christmas repertoire, which proved a great success. Thanks must go to
Hannah Cannon for organising the event and to the many people who
turned out to support it. I’m sure it will become a permanent feature
in our programme of events. Following this, we went to the Commercial
Inn, Killay to have a social evening with carol singing and a short
performance of some of our items. We were provided with a lovely buffet
provided by Gareth and Nova.
On 31st we sang at the wedding of Rhys Jenkins and Ritu at St Peters,
Newton. Sadly there was a mix-up with the start time by half an hour,
but we were still able to sing the bride in, as requested, with ‘This
Is The moment’, which proved a great choice. Considering it was New
Year’s Eve we had a great turnout with 43 singers, and we sang ‘You’ll
Never Walk Alone’ and ‘Calon Lan’ at the signing. We then sang the
bride out with ‘All You Need Is Love’ with all the guests joining in
the chorus making it a great ending to the wedding.
This has to be one of the busiest Christmas programmes we have ever
undertaken and a huge thanks must go to our musical team Nick, Rhian
and Steve for their loyalty and support and to the choristers who
turned out time and again in good numbers to make these events so
We were really
pleased to have two new members pass their audition during the month.
We welcome Clive Dowell to the baritones and Phil Withy to the second
tenors, although Nick may be ‘promoting’ him to the 1st tenors in the
On 30th November we sang at the Tower Hotel for a retirement function
for the person running ‘Cardiac Rehabilitation’. This is a course run
for people who have had heart surgery or who are being treated for
heart problems and was originally arranged by Cliff Prosser. Sadly, as
previously recorded, Cliff passed away earlier in the year but we still
carried out the engagement. There was a great atmosphere in the room
and many of the diners were joining in with the choruses. We wish them
all a complete recovery and, hopefully, someone will step up to take
over the running of the courses.
on 1st October was to sing at the wedding of Jonathan Clewett, the son
of our hard working secretary Alan, and Aleisha, who hails from
The wedding took place at Norton House, Mumbles and, there was a large contingent from
Scotland present. We, somehow, managed to squeeze 52 singers and 2 keyboards into the small area left for us and, as a
surprise to his new wife, Jonathon had requested that we sing the Proclaimers’ song ‘I’m Gonna Walk (500 miles)’.
It was left to Steve Wilson to
arrangement to which, he added a multi-track accompaniment on his
keyboard, and this proved a tremendous success, with everyone joining
in the chorus with great energy!
We held our 50th
anniversary dinner on 22nd at Morgan’s Hotel. The dinner was arranged
by Rob Smith and our hard working chairman, Clive. The evening was a
great success with 120 choristers and friends attending. A new special
award was given for the person who had worked tirelessly throughout the
year to ensure the success of the choir. It was won by Adrian
Crowley who does a tremendous amount of work on the committee and is
always prepared to help out by taking on additional workloads. He also
ensures that our wheelchair user, George, is brought to choir practices
and concerts. Many thanks, Adrian, and well deserved.
On Saturday 24th September we sang at the wedding of Rachel Wilson at
St Catherine’s, Gorseinon. When Rachel and her family visited us at
rehearsal we were learning ‘A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square’ and
her mother liked it so much that we were asked to sing it. This was,
therefore, the first time we sang it in public and it went well.
The Ladies Committee organised a social afternoon on Sunday 7th August.
We were very lucky with the weather and the event took place at Ed and
house and garden in the Mayals. There were many stalls and a raffle,
and also a number of games had been set up in the garden. We were also
fortunate that Ed had heated his swimming pool and many of the men took
advantage with a ‘quick dip’. All monies raised went to the choir funds.
We sang at the wedding of Henry Bell and Ruth Henning on Saturday 20th
at St Paul’s Church, Sketty. There was an excellent turnout and
we enjoyed singing in the fine acoustic.
anniversary concert we were quiet in July. However, we had one sad
piece of news in that Cliff Prosser passed away peacefully at Singleton
Hospital. Cliff had been a member of the choir for nearly 40 years and
sang at our anniversary concert last month. His health had been failing
and he did not come back to the choir following the concert, having
spent almost the entire time in hospital. We sang at his funeral in
Reynoldston and he is survived by his daughter Ruth and her family.
Affectionately known as the ‘late’ Cliff Prosser in his latter years,
Cliff had become legendary for being late, or right on time, for many
events and rehearsals. This resulted in him leaving his car in, shall
we say, some inappropriate places. On one occasion we were singing at a
wedding in Salem Chapel, Rhydypandy, and we were waiting for the bride.
A message came that the lane outside was blocked, as a bus could not
get through causing a traffic jam, that included the bride. The
registration plate of the offending car was announced, only for Cliff
to leave the performance to move his car! On another occasion, we were
half way through our items before a wedding in St Peters, Newton, when
Cliff strolled down the centre aisle to take his place in the front row
of the second tenors, without batting an eyelid! He will be sadly
missed by the choristers, and his family and friends.
50th Anniversary Annual Concert, 18th June 2016
Following more than eighteen months of hard work and organisation, we
held our 50th anniversary concert. The committee had worked tirelessly
and the evening was a spectacular success.
We performed at the
marvellous Brangwyn Hall and we had an audience in excess of 600
people. The compere for the concert was BBC’s Roy Noble, who did a
fantastic job in making the evening flow so well. He told a number of
humorous anecdotes and welcomed the choir and artistes on to stage with
a great knowledge of the items being performed.
We were resplendent in our new uniforms and opened the concert with
‘Sanctaidd Ior’, the great Welsh Hymn, which was arranged by our
musical team, and accompanied, by Rhian, and Steve, on the organ, and,
indeed, it was a wonderful sound. We followed this with Robat Arwyn’s
‘Benedictus’ and Malotte’s emotional arrangement of ‘The Lord’s
Prayer’. We finished our first section with the spiritual ‘I’m Gonna
Walk’. Roy welcomed our first guest, Shan Cothi, to the stage. Shan is
a well known Welsh personality and is a versatile performer in both
classical and musical theatre. She is also an experienced actress,
television and radio presenter in Wales. Shan has also performed
outside Wales and played ‘Carlotta’ for fifteen months in Andrew Lloyd
Webber’s West End production of ‘Phantom of the Opera’. On coming to
the stage Shan had picked up the great atmosphere that had been created
in the hall and her first item was Dvorak’s ‘Rusalka’s Song to the
Moon’ finishing her first set with ‘Think of Me’ from ‘Phantom’.
A beautiful performance.
Our other guest, Trystan Llyr Griffiths then came to the stage and
started with ‘La Donna e Mobile’ from Rigoletto by Verdi. Trystan was
named the ‘Voice of Wales’ in 2012 by Decca records and was also the
first recipient of a study award from the Bryn Terfel Foundation. This
year he made his professional operatic debut performing ‘Ferrando’ in
‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ for Scottish Opera. He then sang two Welsh items
‘Bugail Aberdyfi’ and ‘Arafa Don’. For his final item, the choir joined
him for the wonderful ‘Morte Christe’ with Trystan singing the 3rd
verse. We stayed on stage to complete the first half singing ‘Prayer’
from ‘Lohengrin’ and ‘Light A Candle’, arranged by our former MD Simon
Oram, who we were so pleased to welcome back from Pontypool for the
concert. Our final item was our own arrangement of songs from the First
World War entitled ‘Memories of the Great War’ which finishes with the
choir and audience singing ‘Pack up your troubles’.
The second half opened with our Chairman, Clive Walters, giving a short
talk about the choir and thanked numerous people for their hard work
and commitment in putting the concert together. We then sang ‘Rhythm of
Life’ followed by ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ by ‘Keane’. Among our guests
for the evening were nine people from Mannheim, Germany, as, for many
years, we have had a connection with GV Teutonia 1862, a male voice
choir from Feudenheim. On one of our visits in 2007 they wanted to
present us with a gift and asked what we would like. They very kindly
bought a set of copies of ‘You Raise Me Up’ arranged by Alan Simmons,
and this was the next item we sang with three of our baritones, Gareth
John, Craig Thomas and Rob Smith, taking the solo line. We ended this
section with our own arrangement of the wonderful Earl Brown song ‘If I
Can Dream’. Trystan then came back to sing ‘Anthem’ from ‘Chess’,
Morricone’s ‘Nella Fantasia’ and ending with the famous ‘Granada’.
Following this Shan sang ‘I feel Pretty’ from West Side Story and
Puccini’s ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’. Her final item required a bit of
support from a couple of people!
She asked Roy Noble to join her and also Craig, from the choir to
perform ‘Laughing Song’ fro
m Die Fledermaus. This was a great end to Shan’s items, which showed
off her wonderful performing ability, and she had a tremendous ovation.
The choir then joined with Shan to sing the atmospheric ‘O Gymru’, a
very patriotic Welsh song, to a brilliant new arrangement by Jeff
Shan sang it with terrific power and emotion and the ending, with the
choir, was superb. It was also great to have the arranger, Jeff Howard,
as accompanist to the soloists for the evening. He was a wonderful
addition to the evening and, of course, was a member of ‘Only Men
Aloud’ and is the present MD of Treorchy Male Choir.
Sian and Trystan then sang the wonderful duet ‘Time to Say Goodbye’,
which brought to an end a wonderful contribution by our guests and they
received a great ovation.
We then completed a memorable evening with Huw Rees’ arrangement of
‘This is the Moment’ and the haunting and powerful ‘You Are So
Beautiful’ culminating with ‘Wind beneath My Wings’. The final item of
the evening was Alwyn Humphreys’, now classic, ‘An American Trilogy’
which was accompanied by Rhian and Steve, and was a fitting climax to a
tremendous evening. The audience were on their feet in appreciation of
a great programme and performance by the choir.
During the concert we presented ties to several members of the choir
who have reached another milestone in their life with the choir. Alan
Short and Roger Burrell were given 5 year ties,
Emyr Price, John Morgan, 10 year ties, and Emil Jones and Des Criddle
received their 15 year ties. John Davies has made it to 25 years and
our hard working chairman Clive Walters has been in the choir for 30
years. The special award on the evening went to Chris Shaw, who is the
only surviving original member of the choir, so was presented with a 50
year tie. Well done to them all. Another special presentation went to
our wonderful President, Geoff Wheel, who has now been with the choir
for 5 years. Geoff is tremendously proud to be involved with The Gwalia
Singers, and we hope he will continue his role with us for many more
This was, indeed, a wonderful evening and it certainly doesn’t happen
on its own. There are so many people to thank and probably some will be
left out. Thanks to the Ladies committee for attending to the front of
house and selling programmes. They also handed us a cheque for £5,000
towards the cost of our new uniform. A huge ‘thank you’ to Linda and
her fellow committee members. The uniforms were supplied by Aidan
Sweeney from Brecon and Aidan deserves a special mention in taking so
much care and diligence in ensuring they fitted so well. Thanks to
Adrian Crowley, Len Fuge and Glyn Williams for collecting and returning
the flowers, which were kindly supplied by Wyevale. Thanks to Tony
Brooks for the work in putting together our celebration programme and
to all the businesses that provided adverts for us. Thanks to Terry
Green for taking the photos and Ken Geen for recording the concert.
Thanks to our hard working committee, especially Alan Clewett,
secretary and Laurence Sutton, treasurer and also to Walter Jones who
took care of the ticketing. Lastly thanks to Nick, Rhian, page turner
Carl, and Steve for their hard work and dedication in putting together
such an enjoyable programme of music.
We sang at the wedding of Claire Thomas and Owen Smith on Saturday 4th, once again returning to St David’s Church, Morriston.
On Wednesday 15th June we sang at the Great Hall for the Swansea U3A,
who were celebrating 30 years in existence. There was a full day of
events including the Ukulele Big Band which grew out of the U3A ukulele
group and another choir ‘Singing For Pleasure’. The guest speaker was
Wynne Evans, one of the UK’s leading tenors and probably best known for
his character, Gio Compario, in the series of adverts for ‘Go Compare’.
He has also made many TV performances and hosts his own daily show on
Radio Wales. This gave us a great opportunity to sing some of our new
items for the upcoming ‘Annual’, which we sang really well to a very
On Saturday 25th we sang at the wedding of our baritone Craig
Thomas who married Christine Mylan at St Thomas church, St Thomas. This
was a lovely occasion and we cannot remember the last time we sang at a
chorister’s wedding! Craig was really pleased with everything and said
that the guests were very impressed with the choir and that we were an
integral part of the day for him and Christine. We wish them a long and
happy life together.
had a quiet May but the Ladies had organised an ‘Italian Night’ at the
Linden Centre in West Cross. A good number of choristers, wives and
friends turned out and a good time was had by all. We had a 4 course
meal, prepared by ‘Wendy’, followed by coffee and a raffle and the
evening was hosted by our Ladies Chairperson Linda Lewis.
We are pleased to welcome Carl
Sullivan to the choir. Carl had his audition and, although during his
probationary weeks, he spent his time with the baritones, Nick has
‘promoted’ him to the second tenors, where he feels Carl will be a
great asset. Carl is a Radiologist at Singleton Hospital and has some
musical background, so he will be able to pick up the new part quickly.
7th we sang at the 100th Theology Public Lecture at the Great Hall,
Swansea University Bay Campus. This is a new venue in Swansea and we
were the first choir to have the privilege of singing here. These
series of lectures have included such speakers as BBC newsreader Huw
Edwards, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr Rowan Williams and
The Right Honourable Ann Widdecombe DSG. The main speaker this time was
The Most Reverend Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for the Holy See’s
Relations with States (The Vatican’s Foreign Minister) and he was
supported by comedian Don McLean. We opened the evening with ‘Cwm
Rhondda’ and we soon realised that this will become a very popular
venue in which choirs will want to perform. The sound of the choir,
piano and organ in full flow was superb. Thanks to Reverend Nigel John,
the University Chaplain for inviting us to the event.
We are also very lucky to have moved our rehearsal night to this wonderful venue.
We sang at St David’s
Church, Morriston on Sunday 17th, once again supporting the excellent
charity ‘Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline’ which allows children from
Belarus to visit Britain, to have time away from the contamination that
still exists in their country. We were joined by Cwmrhydyceirw Primary
School choir. There was a good audience and it gave us the opportunity
to sing our new arrangement of the great Welsh hymn ‘Sanctaidd Ior’.
On Friday 22nd we sang
at Holy Cross Church, West Cross to raise funds for the church. On this
occasion we were joined by Mayals Primary School choir, which was
formed especially for this occasion. Also performing was Hywel Evans,
former organist for the parish, who played a number of items on organ
and piano and, as ever, he was brilliant.
We sang at lunch
time in Fulton House, at Swansea University, on Tuesday, March 1st.
This has become an annual event to celebrate St David’s Day. This
always goes down well with the students and staff alike, who regularly
stay during their lunch to listen to us. We followed this with another
lunch time concert at ‘The Core’ at the Swansea University Bay Campus
on March 4th. Again it was well attended by the lunch goers and was
well received. On both occasions we were supplied with a fantastic
lunch organised by the catering manager at the University, Les
Carmichael, who also happens to sing with the choir. Huge thanks to
We held our AGM on Tuesday 15th March where Clive Walters took over as
Chairman from Ed Parton after two very successful years. We were
sad to see Terry Osborn and Jim Lamb leaving the committee and wish to
thank them for so many years of good service. We are pleased to
welcome Mike Phippen and Robert Smith onto the committee to take their
It was with
great sadness that we heard of the passing of Keith Davies. Keith has
been a member of the choir for 25 years and was a great and faithful
chorister. He rarely missed a rehearsal or concert until the last few
months of his illness, which he fought with great courage and humour.
He leaves his wife Sue, and will be missed not only by her, but by all
his friends and colleagues, especially with the choir
It was great to
welcome a new chorister to the fold. James McCarry has passed his
audition and has taken his place with the first tenors. Well done James.
we sang at the wedding of Daniel Kirten and Rebecca in the lovely Clyne
Chapel. We were able to sing ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ by ‘Keane’ for
the first time. This has taken a long time to learn and has a very
tricky opening section, but we got through it well.
had a quiet start to the year. We sang in the early evening at the
School of Management in the new Swansea University Bay Campus on Monday
25th. This was part of the prize giving ceremony that started earlier
in the day at the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea. It turned out to be a
wonderful place to sing with a great acoustic and was enjoyed by a very
we have been quiet on the singing side, we have been working very hard
on our 50th anniversary concert at the Brangwyn Hall on Saturday, June
18th. We have now finalised our line-up and it will be compered by the
inimitable Roy Noble, and the soloists will be the wonderful soprano
Shan Cothi and the young tenor Trystan Llyr Griffiths. This should be a
memorable occasion and tickets will be on sale shortly.
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