Musical Team



Click on the link to see photos of the four sections of our choir.




Musical Director: Sandra Knight


Sandra is delighted to be appointed the MD of this prestigious choir and she looks forward to further expanding the choir's programme repertoire in partnership with the very talented Music Team.  She also welcomes the opportunity to build upon the success the choir has achieved, setting new challenges and to further develop its high standard of performance.

She feels the Gwalia Singers have an excellent reputation of being different by singing a varied and wide range of music, from the traditional to more modern songs, which widely appeal to audiences.  They also sing their own arrangements of music.

Singing in a choir brings many rewards such as enjoyment, improving breathing, posture, overall health and well-being.  You become part of a special family: Camaraderie is second to none.  Throughout her connections with choirs she has often heard the words from new choristers; "I wish I had joined earlier". Of course, a choir cannot sing without choristers and it is always necessary to further increase choir membership in order to uphold the longevity of the choir and to maintain a balanced sound of voices and harmonies when singing in parts.

Sandra says that we all need inspiration from time to time and she shares with us a few of her favourite quotations:

    "As long as we live, there is never enough singing" - Martin Luther.

    "Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to
    everything" – Plato.

    "The music is not in the notes but in the silence in between" - Mozart.

Sandra's love of music stemmed from the very early age of five years when one Christmas her father, Dennis, had taken apart an old piano and restored it for her to play (A wonderful surprise present from Father Christmas!).  She later went on to study the Double Bass.

In 1978, she completed her studies in Music and Modern Contemporary Dance and pursued a long and enjoyable career as a Teacher, Deputy Headteacher and Acting Headteacher being fortunate to visit schools in China, Holland, Norway and Iceland to learn about their educational systems and practices.

Sandra brings to the choir a wealth of experience in music.  Whilst being responsible for co- ordinating the music curriculum in the schools where she taught, she tutored and conducted on residential music courses and at the orchestral centre with West Glamorgan music.  She had also been the MD of Neath Ladies Guild Choir.

One of Sandra’s highlights happened in 1989: Sandra was involved with an ambitious musical pioneering journey to China with Primary and Secondary pupils.  Unheard of in those days!  It was Wales’s, and indeed UK's, first Music Performance and Cultural Tour and they were followed around by radio and television broadcasting crews.  An appearance on Blue Peter followed (yes, she has the badge!)

For many years, Sandra conducted the Alderman Davies C/W School Choir. She has worked with Peter Karrie who is known for his role in the West End musical Phantom of the Opera.  In 2012 she worked with Mid Wales Opera Company and the choir to performed Benjamin Britten's Opera -Noye's Fludde at the Gwyn Hall, Neath.

As former Musical Director of Bryncoch Male Voice Choir, Sandra has undertaken numerous concerts with the choir performing in Crathie Church, Balmoral, Newcastle, Plymouth, Cheltenham, Oxford and St David's Hall in Cardiff to name but a few. She has also worked with BBC’s Newcastle Radio, Polperro Fisherman's Choir and the Military Wives Choir.

On a personal note, Sandra is a keen gardener, the President of Soroptimist International in Neath and a RNLI volunteer at Mumbles Lifeboat Station where she is the Station's LVO.  She is married to Steve and they have two sons; James is teaching in Vietnam and Alex works in London.


Accompanist: Rhian Stone


Rhian hails from Loughor, Swansea, and after completing her studies at the prestigious Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, Wales' national conservatoire for the performing arts, she obtained an honours Music Degree (Keyboard Studies). She is now pursuing a very successful career as a professional accompanist and private tutor for the piano.  For more information please go to her website.

 

Her experience with the Gwalia Singers over the last 20 years has proven invaluable for her professional career. She is particularly pleased with being able to continue her association with the singers now she has returned full time to Swansea. When not involved in her music activities, she relaxes by horse riding and has her own horse 'Omar'. Rhian has also recently taken up an additional career as a veterinary nurse.

Rhian



Assistant Accompanist: Stephen Wilson


Stephen was born in Chorley, Lancashire, but has lived in Swansea since the age of 7. He played the violin with the West Glamorgan Youth Orchestra and joined his first choir at Christ College Brecon at the age of 13. He returned to Swansea after obtaining an honours degree in Engineering Physics at Sheffield Hallam University. Gaining employment with the NHS, he soon became involved in the Swansea music scene. He has been accompanist for the Cockett Amateur Operatic Society and Moonlight Theatre, and appeared on stage with Uplands Arts and the Abbey Players.


Stephen is the organist for St. Stephens Church in Port Tennant and the Swansea Unitarian Church. He has played keyboard with a number of local bands and is currently a member of "Sounds of Santana", a tribute to Santana. He was the MD and arranger of a number of original songs for 2 short musicals written by Arthur Hendy which were performed at the Dylan Thomas Centre in 2007/8 and also plays for Limelight, a youth drama group based in  Gorseinon.



Gareth is another product of the highly successful West Glamorgan Youth Music system. After obtaining degrees in Music and Education at Cardiff University, Gareth pursued a teaching career, firstly as a violin/viola teacher and then as a Primary School teacher.


Gareth taught in a number of schools across Swansea and Llanelli, before becoming a Headteacher for fifteen years concluding at Bishopston Primary, a school that gained a reputation for its strong singing, music and performance.
 


Whilst primarily a chorister, Gareth has assisted the music team by playing violin and piano, taking a number of rehearsals and conducting a concert when required.

Gareth



The Team

Sandra, Rhian, Steve, Nick and Gareth work very hard to select a wide range of music for us to sing.  We sing in several languages; some Welsh, mainly English but with some other languages as well. We sing many types of music including traditional Welsh, music from films & shows, opera and popular music.

Not only do  they select the music but as a team they arrange pieces into four part harmony for male voices.  The team will always give you a very warm welcome if you would like to come and join the choir.   For details of all our future concerts please click here.