on song with ROBERT LLOYD

Llanelli Star - - WHAT’S ON TELEVISION -

CÔR Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir be­lieve in plan­ning ahead.

They have started ar­rang­ing a trip to Germany next year.

The cho­ris­ters have sched­uled a visit to their ‘twin choir’ in Lau­den­bach, Germany, at the end of May and the be­gin­ning of June.

The Ger­man choir is Singverein 1870 and, as the name sug­gests, they have a rich his­tory dat­ing back to the 19th cen­tury.

“They are a lit­tle bit older than us,” choir sec­re­tary Fred Elias said with a smile.

“We have only been go­ing 55 years, since 1964!”

Mr Elias added: “The two choirs signed a for­mal part­ner­ship agree­ment back in 1979 and we have paid pre­vi­ous vis­its to Germany - and they have come to per­form here in Wales.

“In 1996, we helped ar­range a very spe­cial oc­ca­sion for Singverein 1870 by mak­ing sure they were in­vited to sing at the Royal Welsh Fes­ti­val of Male Choirs in the Royal Al­bert Hall.

“The friend­ships and the bonds be­tween the two choirs are very spe­cial, so we are look­ing for­ward with great en­thu­si­asm to tour­ing Germany next year.”

There is now a new team in charge of mu­sic at Côr Meibion Llanelli.

Côr Curiad con­duc­tor Alex Es­ney has taken on the ba­ton of mu­si­cal di­rec­tor.

Jane Jewell, al­ready widely known through­out south Wales as an ac­com­plished pi­anist, is the ac­com­pa­nist.

And the team is strength­ened fur­ther by the ad­di­tion of Stephen Hop­kins, from the Llanelli Ci­tadel Sal­va­tion Army, as deputy con­duc­tor.

Stephen sent in his bi­og­ra­phy to help On Song read­ers get to know him bet­ter . . .

He ex­plained : “I was born in Llanelli and have lived here all my life. Mar­ried to Ja­nine for 30 years and have three chil­dren and one grand­daugh­ter.

“I learned to read mu­sic at 16 years of age and started to play a brass in­stru­ment and sing the choir at Llanelli Ci­tadel Sal­va­tion Army.

“At 21, I be­came leader of the youth band and Deputy Band­mas­ter of the Llanelli Ci­tadel Sal­va­tion Army Corps Band, pro­gress­ing to the po­si­tion of Band­mas­ter for a 10 year pe­riod.

“I also con­ducted Llanelli Sal­va­tion Army Song­sters (mixed choir) for seven years.

“I have sung with lo­cal choirs such as Cor Glan­du­lais and have per­formed a num­ber of times in venues such The Royal Al­bert Hall, Birm­ing­ham Sym­phony Hall and Col­ston Hall Bris­tol.

“Since 2017, I have also been part of Am­man­ford Town Sil­ver Band, play­ing in the Trom­bone sec­tion and the Bass (Tuba) sec­tion and on oc­ca­sions con­duct­ing the band.

“Mu­sic has al­ways been a ma­jor part of my life and I gain great plea­sure and en­joy­ment from it.

“I am em­ployed in the of­fice of a small lo­cal com­pany that sup­plies dairy prod­ucts to res­i­den­tial homes and day cen­tres in Car­marthen­shire, Swansea, Neath/Port Talbot, Brid­gend and school milk to chil­dren at more than 400 schools in those four coun­ties.”

In other news, here is an­other date for your diary -

There will be a Cyn­gerdd Mawred­dog (Grand Con­cert) in Neuadd Sant Iago (St James’ Hall) in Cw­mann, Lam­peter, on Fri­day, Septem­ber 6 (7pm).

The con­cert will fea­ture soloists Ellen Williams, Cardiff, and Kees Huys­mans, Lam­peter.

It will also fea­ture Plant Ys­gol Car­reg Hir­faen and Côr Meibion Cw­mann a’r Cylch.

The pres­i­dent for the evening will be Twynog Davies, of Pen­tre-Bach. Tick­ets are £8.

Bass bari­tone Kees Huys­mans is some­thing of a folk hero in west Wales.

Kees moved to ru­ral Wales from Hol­land in the 1980s.

He in­sisted on learn­ing Welsh and em­braced all the Welsh tra­di­tions that sur­rounded him, and he was ad­vised to join a lo­cal choir to help him learn Welsh.

Dur­ing this time he found his singing voice and was in­tro­duced to the world of the Eisteddfod.

His in­ter­est peaked when he won the Blue Rib­bon at the Na­tional Eisteddfod in Aber­gavenny in 2016.

He turned to his busi­ness ca­reer through ne­ces­sity and turned to the treats of his na­tive coun­try – waf­fles.

The busi­ness called Tre­groes Waf­fles has been an amaz­ing suc­cess and has taken the name of the vil­lage Tre­groes through­out Europe.

Kees has also pub­lished his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy - and it’s a good read!

So­prano Ellen Williams com­pleted her stud­ies in opera in 2017 at the Royal Welsh Col­lege of Mu­sic and Drama (RWCMD) where she stud­ied with Suzanne Mur­phy and Michael Pol­lock.

Ellen has been praised for her “poise and prom­ise, her voice agile with sil­very charm” (The Guardian), and has been de­scribed as singing “with heart-piercing sweet­ness” in The Times. Ellen has given per­for­mances in Cado­gan Hall, Royal Con­cert Hall Glas­gow, Bridge­wa­ter Hall, the Wales Mil­len­nium Cen­tre and St. David’s Hall, where she was a fi­nal­ist in the Welsh Singers Show­case 2018 and per­formed with the BBC Na­tional Or­ches­tra of Wales con­ducted by Gareth Jones.

Dur­ing her stud­ies at the RWCMD, Ellen was awarded the Aneurin Davies Me­mo­rial Prize and the Elias So­prano Prize and was for­tu­nate to sing the role of Nan­netta (Fal­staff) con­ducted by Carlo Rizzi, Bar­ba­rina and cover Su­sanna (Le Nozze di Fi­garo), Em­mie (Al­bert Herring), and Cin­derella in Massenet’s Cen­drillon.

Ellen was de­lighted to per­form Baroque favourites with Rachel Podger in the Dora Stoutzker Hall, as well as scenes as Sophie (Der Rosenkava­lier) and Lakmé with the Welsh Na­tional Opera Or­ches­tra un­der the ba­ton of Si­mon Phillippo.

In 2016, Ellen was hon­oured to per­form the fi­nal fugue in Verdi’s Fal­staff as Nan­netta in a cel­e­bra­tory con­cert for the RWCMD to HRH the Prince of Wales at in Buck­ing­ham Palace.

Ellen is also an alumna of Ti­bor Varga Mu­sic Academy in Switzer­land, Dart­ing­ton In­ter­na­tional Sum­mer School, and COSI Opera Fes­ti­val in Italy, grate­fully sup­ported by the Arts Coun­cil of Wales and the El­iz­a­beth Evans Trust.

Fes­ti­val per­for­mances in­clude recitals at Fish­guard In­ter­na­tional Mu­sic Fes­ti­val, Ban­gor Mu­sic Fes­ti­val, Cow­bridge Mu­sic Fes­ti­val, and the Royal Bri­tish Le­gion Wales Fes­ti­val of Re­mem­brance, and con­cert works in­clude Han­del’s Mes­siah in St. David’s Hall, Carl Orff’s Carmina Bu­rana in Glouces­ter Cathe­dral, con­ducted by Adrian Part­ing­ton, Bach’s Mag­ni­fi­cat, and Christ­mas Ora­to­rio in Llandaff Cathe­dral.

Ellen has won nu­mer­ous awards at the Na­tional Eisteddfod of Wales in­clud­ing an Eir­wen Grif­fiths Jones Schol­ar­ship and a Vi­o­let Mary Lewis Me­mo­rial Schol­ar­ship, has been a fi­nal­ist in the W Towyn Roberts Schol­ar­ship com­pe­ti­tion and in the Llan­gollen In­ter­na­tional Voice of the Fu­ture com­pe­ti­tion. She ap­pears reg­u­larly on Welsh TV and ra­dio with high­lights in­clud­ing ap­pear­ing as a soloist in the Bri­tish pre­miere of The Bards of Wales con­ducted by Karl Jenk­ins.

The cho­ris­ters from Llandy­fael­og­based Côr Meibion Dyf­fryn Tywi are get­ting ready for their an­nual con­cert. It will be at the Princess Gwen­l­lian Cen­tre in Kid­welly on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 12, 7pm. The choir will be joined by Gwen­draeth Valley’s Côr Meibion Mynydd Mawr.

The mem­bers of the Hos­pi­tal Notes Choir, based in Llanelli, are get­ting ready for a big con­cert in Septem­ber. Hos­pi­tal Notes will be joined by Cor Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir for ‘The Great­est Show’ on Fri­day, Septem­ber 6 (7.30pm) at The Diplo­mat Ho­tel, Llanelli.

■ If you have news about the cho­ral or con­cert scene in Llanelli, email robert. [email protected] waleson­line. co.uk or rl­loy­[email protected] bt­in­ter­net.com

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