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.
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.
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.
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 '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.
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!!
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.
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 Dvorak'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.
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
On the membership side we acquired a new 2nd bass, as Adrian Crowley passed his audition. Well done Adrian.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Ãƒâ€š£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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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! This month Alan (Curly) Davies passed his audition and we are pleased to welcome him into the bass section of the choir, well done Alan.
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.
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'.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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 average 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.
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.
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'.
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.
|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
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 was 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.
We 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, 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 had 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.
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 village 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.
On 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
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.Julie 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.