The lucky six contestants have been revealed for this month’s Gethin Hughes Memorial Bursary competition.
The event – designed to provide a cash bursary to help with musical education – is part of Côr Meibion Llanelli’s annual concert at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli, on Saturday, June 30.
The six contestants are all members of Loud Applause Rising Stars, the group set up by Llanelli concert promoter Cerith Owens to help mentor and encourage young talent in Wales.
They are Joseph Cavalli-Price, Osian Clarke, Lauren Fisher, Daisy Owens, Jack Owens and Neve Summers.
Here’s a brief spotlight on the six contesants –
Born in Neath, Joseph is studying on the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama’s Vocal and Opera course under the tuition of renowned Tenor, Adrian Thompson.
The Inaugural Welsh Association of Male Choirs Layton Watkins Accompanist Award Winner, Joseph made his debut at the Royal Albert Hall in May as guest accompanist of the Festival of Massed Male Choirs. Joseph is also this year’s recipient of the Llanelli Grammar School Old Boys and Graig Former Pupils Association Bursary.
Joseph is a former double Organ and Choral Scholar at St David’s Cathedral, Cardiff and now sings as a tenor on the Back Row of Llandaff Cathedral Choir. As Organ Scholar, he accompanied and sang with the choir in a performance for HRH the Prince of Wales, a live broadcast on BBC Radio 4 to an audience of 1.5 million and a performance in the historic Gonville and Caius College Chapel, Cambridge. Joseph was also a Choral Scholar with the BBC National chorus of Wales. Joseph is principle accompanist of Cardiff Arms Park Male Voice Choir, assistant accompanist for the Welsh Musical Theatre Orchestra, accompanist of Côr Caerdydd and was a semi-finalist in the Kathleen Ferrier Bursary Award for young singers. He was honoured to be selected as the official page-turner for the Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize Final 2017.
Joseph was a founding member of the Welsh choir, ‘Only Boys Aloud.’ Highlights included: placing third in Britain’s Got Talent 2012, performing at Buckingham Palace for the Royal Family for the Coronation Festival 2013 and performing at the Royal Opening of the Senedd in 2015, for the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. As a soloist with the choir, he performed for HRH Prince Andrew at the Welsh Mental Health Arts Festival and sang with the choir on their best-selling album ‘Only Boys Aloud’.
Joseph has been a member of Loud Applause Rising Stars for three years and has performed in many prestigious events on their behalf.
Osian is a member of the Junior Conservatoire at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, attending sessions each Saturday. He is currently working towards his Grade 5 Piano, Grade 6 Music Theory, Grade 6 Classical Voice and also his Diploma in Musical Theatre. That’s in his spare time! He is also studying Welsh, Music, Drama and English Literature A Levels at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman. He recently received this year’s St Elli Masonic Lodge LARS Annual Bursary and was presented with his trophy, certificate and bursary at the Lodge’s annual Sunday Lunch event at Stradey Park Hotel.
He is a fluent Welsh speaker who regularly performs at local events. One of the highlights of his experiences so far was being chosen to play the part of Courfeyrac in the Welsh Junior production of Les Misérables. This was held at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff, and the cast also performed on the West End stage in London as part of the 30th Anniversary celebration of Les Misérables.
Osian is a member of the Mark Jermin Stage School, and has been involved in a number of youth productions with this group. He joined LARS in September 2017 and has performed at a number of LARS events over recent months. After finishing his studies, Osian would like to pursue a career in music.
This year has been a very successful one for 15-year-old Ysgol Gyfun y Strade pupil Lauren Fisher. She had considerable success in the Rotary UK Young Musicians Competition. She was the overall winner of the Rotary Club of Llanelli competition, the Area Competition winner and a finalist in the Southern Wales District final held in Blackwood. Lauren was then invited to be a guest artist at the Centenary Gala Concert of The Rotary Club of Llanelli.
As a member of LARS (Loud Applause Rising Stars) she 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 Loud Applauses’ 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, She was runner up in both the Welsh Factor and Kids Got Talent in 2016.
She won a scholarship aged 10 with the Hywel Girls’ Choir and Hywel Boy Singers and performed at many concerts with them. Recently Lauren has gained a distinction in Grade 8 in Popular Music Vocals Examinations London College of Music.
Daisy might well be in the first year of her GCSEs in Ysgol Gyfun Y Strade, but she has already achieved a great deal on the road to fulfilling her ambition to be a professional singer. One of LARS’ newest members, she has performed in the Wales Millenium Centre as a member of the Children’s Chorus in a Disney Production featuring the renowned actor Brian Blessed, and she was given the solo part in a Welsh Music Theatre Concert in the Lyric Theatre Carmarthen.
Daisy has performed at many Eisteddfodau, including successful performances in the recitation competition. She has also reached Grade 5 in her Duets Grade Exams, the highest level in that category. Her duet partner was her older brother Jack! She has gained a distinction in her solo Grade 8 Musical Theatre Singing Exam and is now working towards her diploma. She has been involved with SA15 Stage School and appeared in many of their productions.
Since joining LARS, she says that she has had opportunities she would not otherwise have had. She has performed in Stradey Castle, Llanelly House, Machynys Golf Club as well as in the prestigous Night of the Stars concert in Ffrwnes Theatre. Her focus is quite clear: she wants to be a professional singer.
Jack is the older brother of LARS member Daisy Owens. They both joined LARS at the same time. Jack is in his last but one year of school at Ysgol Gyfun y Strade, where he is studying Welsh, R.E. and Drama for A Level. Like his sister, he has his mind firmly set on being a professional singer. He has a Grade 5 in his Duets Exam, gained a distinction in his Grade 8 Musical Theatre Singing Exam and now working towards his diploma.
He has performed in productions at school, such as the very successful Grav, Ray Gravell’s compelling story, but his big break came in a Trimsaran Primary School’s, production of the children’s classic Gruffalo, in whch he played the Mouse. He is a member of SA15 Stage School and has appeared with the Performance Factory Theatre Company.
Since joining LARS he has been able to focus on developing the singing that he really wants to do for a living. He says that he has enjoyed and appreciated the opportunities that have come his way in the name of LARS. His aim after finishing school is to study in the BIMM Institute in Bristol. That could be a good move. That’s where contemporary star George Ezra studied! Watch this space!
Neve Summers, 17, has already had varied experiences of both singing and performing. She performed in the Welsh version of Les Misérables in the Wales Millennium Centre, which led to a performing in the West End. She has been a soloist at many concerts, including LARS events at Ffwrnes Theatre and Stradey Castle. She says that joining LARS has brought out the best in her and given her more confidence and opportunities to perform. She has taken grade 6, 7 and soon to be grade 8 exams in musical theatre and will be doing some classical grades in order to vary her style and repertoire.
Neve has also been in many choirs, such as Lleisiau Hardd, and has auditioned for roles on TV programmes. She says that performing solo and in choirs has given her experience in two separate disciplines of being on her own and part of a team.
Not only can Neve sing, but she can play instruments as well. She is learning to play the piano and she has learned to play flute.
She is studying Music, Drama, Welsh and Welsh Bach for A Level at Ysgol Gyfun Dyffryn Aman and she has started working in Tesco, where she wants to gain experience of meeting different people in different situations, as well as earn some money for herself!
The competition will honour Côr Meibion Llanelli’s former accompanist, Gethin Hughes.
Gethin was affectionately known as Llanelli’s ‘Mr Music’ prior to his death in 2011.
Following his death, a special Gethin Hughes Memorial Bursary Scholarship was established.
The first winner of the cash bursary was Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama student Megan Thomas, from Trimsaran.
The competition will form the centrepiece of the concert by Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir, with the choir performing a wide-ranging repertoire dovetailing the competition.
In other news, Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi have put together an exciting line-up for their annual concert on Saturday, July 21, at the Princess Gwenllian Centre in Kidwelly.
The evening will feature the popular North Wales act Piantel.
Piantel are pianist Annette Bryn Parry and harpist Dylan Cernyw. They are described as ‘a magical musical experience not to be missed!’
The concert will also feature the much-acclaimed Tywi Valley musical duo, the husband and wife team of Aled Edwards and Eleri Owen Edwards.
The compere for the Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi concert will be Ioan Hefin
On the same night (July 21), Burry Port Town Band are scheduled to stage their annual summer concert.
Further details about this concert 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org