Côr Meibion Llanelli will remember their former accompanist, Gethin Hughes, at annual concert ‘with a difference’ at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli this Saturday (June 30, 7pm).
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 choir’s annual concert on Saturday will feature the contest to decide the next winner of the £750 bursary scholarship.
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.
The Gethin Hughes prize is the brainchild of Côr Meibion Llanelli musical director Mr D Eifion Thomas, a close friend of the late Mr Hughes.
“Gethin was a great friend and a long-serving accompanist for Cor Meibion Llanelli,” said Mr Thomas.
“We travelled the world to concerts and festivals and Gethin was famous the world over for being a real character and a wonderful ambassador for Llanelli.
“Gethin made an outstanding contribution to music in Llanelli and in Wales. It is wonderfully fitting that we should honour his memory and celebrate his life with a musical bursary prize.
“Gethin cared very much about supporting and promoting youngsters on their musical careers. Hopefully, this award will go a long way to encouraging, supporting and developing musical talent in Carmarthenshire.”
The bursary organisers also include Cor Meibion Llanelli chorister Richard Christopher, Gethin’s second cousin.
Mr Christopher explained: “The aim is to perpetuate Gethin’s memory by making this a regular competition for young Carmarthenshire musicians. The prize is a £750 cash bursary to the winner to help them in their studies.”
Gethin died just a few days short of his 76th birthday.
He was closely linked with the famous Triniti Chapel in Llanelli and was a much-respected music teacher at Ysgol y Strade, Llanelli.
He founded the Llanelli Young Music Lovers and spent a substantial amount of his free time taking his concert party on the road to support various charitable events.
For many years, Gethin contributed a regular column in the Llanelli Star newspaper.
The ‘Solo Note’ columns later formed the basis of a book called ‘Always be natural’.
It was a title given to him by the late great entertainer Roy Castle, who told Gethin – ‘Never be sharp, Never be flat, Always be natural’.
Gethin’s stories were always liberally sprinked with stardust. The list of stars and celebrities he met and accompanied was endless. He was lucky enough to call many of them his friends.
From Sir Malcolm Sargent to Gracie Fields, from Betty Driver and Bill Roache of Coronation Street, from Jack Warner to Elsie and Doris Waters . . . Gethin had stories to tell about them all.
Gethin was also known for his sense of adventure.
From scuba-diving off The Great Barrier Reef in Australia to riding a mechanical bucking bronco at a Wild West centre in Denver, Colorado, to playing out his inimitable party pieces at post-concert Cor Meibion concerts, nothing was too much of a challenge for Gethin.
Gethin spent 65 years as an accompanist at his beloved Triniti Chapel in Llanelli.
His work as an accompanist and fund-raiser for various charities earned him an MBE – but it also earned him much more. It earned him the affection and respect of the people of Llanelli and beyond.
The six contestants bidding for the Gethin Hughes bursary prize 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.
The talented six are Joseph Cavalli-Price, Osian Clarke, Lauren Fisher, Daisy Owens, Jack Owens and Neve Summers.
Loud Applause Rising Stars (a body directed by Llanelli concert promoter Cerith Owens) is an exciting
The judges will be – Allan Fewster MBE, Eilir Owen Griffiths and Meinir Richards.
The contestants will be accompanied by Jeffrey Howard.
The joint comperes will be Gethin’s second cousin Richard Christopher and Robert Lloyd.
Tickets are available from the Ffwrnes Theatre box office or through the Theatrau Sir Gar website.
Saturday night (June 30) also sees a big night in the Gwendraeth Valley.
Côr Merched Glannau’r Gwendraeth with be joined by some very special guests for their concert starting at 7pm at Pontyates Welfare Hall.
The special guests are Côr Lleisiau Llannerch ladies choir from North Wales and the folk group Tawerin.
The concert will also feature soloist Luke Rees from Pontantwn.
The compere will be the accomplished actor and great West Wales crowd favourite Ioan Hefin.
Tickets are £7, with children admitted free. Tickets from 01269 861922.
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.
The band’s special guests will be Tenovus Cancer Care Swansea Sing With Us Choir and Burry Port Junior Band.
Curtain up is at 7pm on July 21, with tickets £10, under 16s free.
The Burry Port Town Band will be looking to perform an entertaining programme featuring popular classics and music from the stage and screen.
They will also feature their Eisteddfod programme ahead of the Royal National Eisteddfod at the Wales Millennium Centre on Saturday, August 4.
It has been a successful year for Burry Port Town Band, reaching the semi-finals of S4C Band Cymru and again qualifying to represent Wales at the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain taking place on September.
The compere for the Burry Port concert will be Robert Lloyd.
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.
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