The hottest tickets in Carmarthenshire this weekend are for a major concert to be staged at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli on Saturday, May 19, 2018 (7pm).
An array of stars will perform a very special evening of song in celebration of Llanelli Rotary Club marking its landmark Centenary Year.
Shan Cothi, one of the country’s most popular sopranos, will be sharing the stage with two great Welsh international choral ambassadors – Côr Meibion Llanelli, under the baton of conductor D Eifion Thomas, and the Hywel Girls’ Choir and Hywel Boy Singers, under the baton of conductor John Hywel Williams.
Both musical directors are holders of the distinguished Paul Harris Fellowship, the highest honour from the Rotary movement, awarded for their years of community service.
Joining Shan Cothi and the choirs will be the delightful sounds of Cor Ysgol Goffa, an ensemble from Ysgol Y Strade under the baton of Catrin Hughes, and the Lewis-Meredith sisters – Calley, Sarah and Steffi.
The event has two aims –
- To help commemorate the centenary of Llanelli Rotary Club
- To raise funds for the Green Light Postrate Cancer Machine at Prince Philip Hospital.
The concert is another event co-produced by Carmarthenshire Theatres and Loud Applause.
Cerith Owens, director of Loud Applause Productions, said: “We are honoured to have Shan Cothi taking part and two great choirs led by Mr D Eifion Thomas and John Hywel Williams.”
Llanelli Rotary Club president John (JC) Williams said: “We’ve had a great centenary year, with many special events to mark the occasion. This concert promises to be the grand finale for our 100 years, with a wonderful and very talented line-up for what should be a great charity fundraising concert for Llanelli.”
“We will also be featuring the winners of the Llanelli Rotary Club Young Musician of the Year competition – Ysgol y Strade pupils Lauren Fisher and Ffion Bates.”
Lauren is just 15 and is a member of the Loud Applause Rising Stars (LARS) – a group of very talented young singers and musicians from across South Wales.
Under LARS, Lauren has performed at many prestigious events such as soirees at Stradey Castle and Llanelly House, at the City and County of Swansea’s Armed Forces Day and Remembrance Commemoration events, at musical evenings at Machynys Golf Club and at the Loud Applaus Night with the Stars Gala Concert in Ffwrnes Theatre.
Lauren’s love of music has led her also to compete in many competitions gaining invaluable experience: The Voice of South Wales Seniors, The Welsh Factor where she was runner up in 2016 and Kids Got Talent 2016 where she gained a second place.
She won a scholarship at 10 years old with the Hywel Girls and Hywel Boy Singers and performed at many concerts with them. Recently Lauren has gained a Grade 8 with distinction in Musical Theatre Singing exam.
Pianist Ffion Bates was the winner of the Instrumental Category of the Rotary Club of Llanelli 2018 Young Musicians Competition.
Ffion Bates is 15 and started having piano lessons with her teacher Alex Esney-Davies at the age of eight, and has sat grades 1- 8 ABRSM exams and is now working towards her diploma.
She has performed in many concerts, including two for her local hospice and one for Marie Curie. Ffion was invited to play at a pre-show reception for a concert with the Britain’s Got Talent winners, Collabro. She was also a finalist in the District Rotary Competition. Ffion is also a grade 4 violinist and a keen netball player. She represented her netball club in national finals and is a part of the Carmarthenshire
Looking further ahead, Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi have their annual concert on Saturday, July 21 at the Princess Gwenllian Centre in Kidwelly.
On the same night, Burry Port Town Band are scheduled to stage their annual summer concert.
Further details about both concerts and guest stars will follow in future editions of this column.
Looking to the autumn, Côr Meibion Caerfyrddin Carmarthen Male Choir’s 60th anniversary concert will be held at the Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen, on Saturday, October 13.
The choir will be joined on stage by four other choirs – Mynydd Mawr, Burry Port, Dyffryn Tywi and Dyffryn Aman.
This will create a combined choir of around 150 voices under the baton of Wyn Maskell, musical director of Côr Meibion Caerfyrddin.
Also taking part will be well known soloists: Jessica Robinson, soprano, and Trystan Llŷr Griffiths, tenor.
The MC for the evening will be television and radio personality Garry Owen.
Soprano Jessica Robinson is from Pembrokeshire and graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with a first class Honours Degree.
As a student at the RWCMD, Jessica studied with Beatrice Unsworth and Jeffrey Howard, winning the Aneurin Davies memorial award, The Mansel Thomas prize, The Margaret Tann Award and the Elias Soprano award.
Throughout her studies, Jessica has been fortunate to participate in master classes with artists such as Michael Pollock, Simon Lepper, Adrian Thompson, Simon Keenleyside, Donald Maxwell and John Fisher. Jessica was also chosen to sing as part of an octet for HRH the Prince of Wales.
Her singing life started at a young age as a competitor in local eisteddfodau in her home county of Pembrokeshire.
She went on to gain success nationally in the Urdd and the National Eisteddfodau.
Jessica has represented Pembrokeshire in the Young Farmers Eisteddfod winning the under 26 solo in 2008 and again in 2012. She was awarded Vocalist of the Year in the Pembrokeshire Chevron Music Awards and Musical Student of the Year in her secondary school, Ysgol y Preseli, Crymych.
as an oratorio and concert soloist, Jessica has performed in venues such as the Wales Millennium Stadium, The National Museum of Wales, Dorking Halls and The Dora Stoutzker Hall. She regularly appears in concerts all over the UK as guest artist with many of Wales’ most renowned Male Voice Choirs such as Blaenavon, Bridgend, South Wales and the London Welsh Male Voice choir. A personal highlight for Jessica was being asked to perform to the Welsh rugby team at the Welsh Assembly during the champagne reception celebrating their success in the Six Nations Championship and also alongside Paul Potts in a Charity concert for the Philippines disaster.
Recent oratorio performances include Handel’s Messiah ( Symffonia Tywi and The Mega Messiah), Vivaldi’s Gloria, Rutter’s Mass of the Children, Karl Jenkins’ Peace Makers and Joseph Parry’s Emmanuel (Côr Bro Ogwr). Jessica performed her first operatic role as the Spirit in ‘Dido and Aeneas’ by Purcell with ‘Opera’r Ddraig’, scene credits include Despina (Cosi fan Tutti), Violetta (La Traviata) and the Countess (Le nozze di Figaro).
Jessica is an artist on the prestigious Live Music Now scheme and also performs regularly as an artist with Music in Hospitals.
Jessica performed in China in March as part of a Welsh Government Scheme; she toured around the country introducing Welsh music. Then toured with the Harry Ensemble as their soprano soloist around New York in May.
Welsh tenor Trystan Llŷr Griffiths, who hails from Clunderwen, Pembrokeshire, is a popular concert soloist throughout Wales and further afield.
One of the first recipients of a Study Award from the Bryn Terfel Foundation, he was named the Voice Of Wales by Decca Records in 2012 in an S4C TV series.
Trystan studied initially at University of Wales Trinity Saint David for a Theatre, Music and Media degree. He subsequently completed an MA degree in Vocal Studies at the Royal Academy of Music and a further postgraduate degree in Opera Performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. He has recently completed his studies as a Trainee at the National Opera Studio in London.
Prizes and awards include: Ian Stoutzker Prize 2014; Richard Van Allan Award 2014; Bruce Millar Gulliver Singing Prize 2014; RWCMD HRH Prince of Wales Scholarship 2013; Dunraven Welsh Young Singer of the Year 2013; MOCSA Young Welsh Singer of the Year Prize 2012; Sybil Tutton Award 2012; London Welsh Young Singer of the Year Prize 2011; W. Towyn Roberts Scholarship 2011; Osborne Roberts Memorial Prize 2009.
Concert highlights include appearances at the Royal Albert Hall, Hay-on-Wye Festival with Bryn Terfel, the Brynfest at the Southbank Centre, a concert performance of Tristan und Isolde with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and recitals at St Martin-in-the- Fields and the Cardiff Music Festival.
He took the role of Carlos in a recording of Le Duc d’Albe with the Hallé Orchestra for Opera Rara and during summer 2015 received a scholarship to attend the Mozart Residency at Festival d’Aix-en- Provence.
Trystan made his first professional operatic début in the role of Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte on tour with Scottish Opera.
Finally, here’s another date for your diary for later in the year. The Annual Royal British Legion Charity Gala Concert will be held at the Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen, on October 27 (7pm).
This year, 2018, marks a significant year for our Armed Forces. It is the centenary of the end of The Great War (First World War) and also commemorates 100 years of the Royal Air Force.
The prestigious annual Royal British Legion Concert has become one of the landmark events in the calendar of South West Wales, providing a platform for the Royal British Legion to pay tribute to the fallen of current and past conflicts.
It also helps the British Legion launch the Poppy Appeal in South West Wales.
The concert features leading soprano and TV and radio personality Shân Cothi, one of Wales’s premier choirs in the form of Dunvant Male Choir, the highly popular Carmarthen-based mixed youth choir Côr Seingar, Swansea-based Dancerama performing arts group youth choir, the stirring sounds of the City of Swansea Pipe Band and the unforgettable Corps of Drums of the 215 City of Swansea Squadron.
The compére will be Brian Sullivan and the guest accompanist Jeffrey Howard.
The evening ends with the poignant Tribute to the Fallen and a Service of Remembrance.
The Royal British Legion is being supported with this event by Loud Applause Productions, the production company run by Llanelli’s Cerith Owens.
Robert Lloyd works as a media consultant – www.rlloydpr.co.uk
If you have any news about the choral scene in Llanelli, the please contact him on 07777 683637 or email email@example.com