There’s a musical and multi-media event with a difference coming up at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli, next weekend.
The Armistice Suite is a special performance piece consisting of words, music and visuals, to commemorate the centenary of the end of the Great War (World War One) and the signing of the Armistice, in November 1918.
The Armistice Suite is written, edited, collated and produced by Gruffydd (Griff) Harries a musician, writer and producer who is a familiar figure throughout West Wales.
Original music has been composed by BAFTA winning and EMMY nominated Welsh musician Mark Thomas.
Readings, poems, quotes and enactments from diaries, letters and documents will be performed by three eminent and popular Welsh television and stage personalities.
The Armistice Suite will be at Ffwrnes Theatre for two performances, at 2.30pm and 7.30pm on Friday, September 7.
The Armistice Suite received its premiere at Neath Little Theatre in June and was also performed earlier this summer at the Gower Festival.
The performances will feature musicians from The Chamber Orchestra of Wales.
There will be a continuous slide show of relevant images and video, synchronised to the words.
These include rare photographs and film of people, places and events, alongside works by notable war artists such as Sir Frank Brangwyn.
Producer Gruffydd Harries said: “The Armistice Suite suite stirs the emotions as only words and music can, with moments of poignancy and sadness but also with ‘feel good’ moments and humour. It is certainly not full of blood, gore and destruction – although elements of such cannot be totally avoided.
“A century ago, this country was involved in the Great War. This was a conflict on a scale hitherto unknown on this planet.
“A total of 32 countries were involved and although estimates vary, at least twelve million people were killed and countless more injured. The number of individuals and families adversely affected cannot be quantified.
The First World War has passed out of living memory now but should never be forgotten. It seems therefore appropriate in 2018 to bring the story to the widest audience possible, using the arts.
“The project has a strong Welsh bias. Stories from towns and villages throughout the Principality are recounted and the lives of the populace – including recruits and serving military are considered and re-enacted in various scenarios.
“The significant contribution of Welsh women certainly isn’t forgotten. The fortunes of the military units serving under the Welsh banner are used to illustrate relevant chapters and the legacy of the conflict in Wales is examined.”
Meanwhile, this coming weekend will see Carmarthen baritone Mark Llewelyn Evans hosting ‘An Afternoon of Music at The Orangery’ at Margam Park on Sunday, September 2.
The event will feature the young up-and-coming members of the Llanelli-based Loud Applause Rising Stars group.
Youngsters performing at the Orangery will include Callum Howells, Lauren Fisher, Neve Summers, Jack Owens, Sydney Richards, Thomas Bytheway, Daisy Owens and Osian Clarke.
The special guests will be violin virtuoso Charlie Lovell-Jones and the Kenfig Hill youth choir Crescendo.
The concert starts at 3pm.
Saturday, September 8 will see the famous Llanelli-based Academy Amateur Company celebrate 35 years of performing great musicals with a special concert in Llanelli.
They will be staging ‘Thank you for the Memories’ at Ffwrnes Theatre.
This special celebratory concert will feature songs from their favourite productions over the years, promising a musical journey down memory lane that will leave you singing all the way home.
There will be songs from shows such as Singin’ In The Rain, Guys And Dolls, Anything Goes, The Full Monty and Jesus Christ Superstar.
On the same night, Burry Port Male Voice Choir will hold their 55thannual concert.
St Mary’s Church in Burry Port will be the venue for the concert at 7pm on Saturday, September 8.
The guest artists will be – Soprano Mary-Jean O’Doherty, baritone Ben Anthony, Adrian Williams on trumpet and Caradog Williams on piano.
Tickets are £10 and are available from Sewards the grocer on Llanelli Market, Barry Lewis at Llanelli Market and all choir members.
Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi Male Voice choir members are looking forward to events in September and October.
On Sunday, September 30 (7pm), Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi will be staging a special concert at St Maelog’s Church in Llandyfaelog.
The choir will perform alongside a guest choir from Cornwall, the Tamar Valley Male Choir.
Other guest artists include soprano Llio Evans, with guest accompanist Kim Lloyd Jones.
The President for the evening will be Tinopolis TV company boss and founder Ron Jones.
Tickets are £7 and are available from telephone number 01269860996.
Proceeds from the evening will go towards St Maelog Church and the chemotherapy unit at Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen.
On Saturday, October 13, Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi will join Carmarthen Male Voice Choir for their 60thanniversary celebration concert at the Lyric Theatre in Carmarthen.
Côr Meibion Dinefwr Male Voice Choir will be holding their annual concert at Capel Newydd, Llandeilo, on Saturday, October 27 (7.30pm).
The special guests will be Côr Meibion Llandybie Male Voice Choir.
The conductor will be John Williams, the accompanist will be Sara Morgan and the chairman for the evening will be Eifion Davies.
Other special guests include tenor Osian Wyn Bowen, soloist Martha Harries and accompanist Gareth Wyn Thomas.
Admission is £8 and £3 for children and students.
Proceeds will go towards the choir’s funds.
On Saturday, October 13, there’s a special concert at Pontyberem Memorial Hall (7.30pm).
Sinfonia Cymru and and soloist Caroline Pether will breathe new life into well-known classics.
The concert will feature Eric Whitacre’s October Suite, Grieg’s Holberg Suite, Op. 40, Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.
Sinfonia Cymru will be back in Pontyberem on Friday, March 8 (7.30pm) with a concert featuring cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.
The concert programme includes – CPE Bach Symphony 1 in D major H663; Haydn Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major; Ives Unanswered Question; Beethoven Symphony No. 1, Op. 21.
The conductor for Sinfonia Cymru will be Jonathan Bloxham.
He is the Assistant Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Artistic Director of Northern Chords Festival.
In 2017-18, Jonathan has made several debuts including the Malaysian Philharmonic, RTE Concert Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. His continuing work with the CBSO included several concerts during the Debussy Festival in March 2018.
In 2019 he will also be celebrating the tenth anniversary of Northern Chords in a festival programme featuring 10 new commissions.
Originally an acclaimed cellist, Jonathan is the recipient of several prestigious awards such as the Guilhermina Suggia Gift and Royal College of Music Cello Prize and in 2012 gave his concerto debut at the Berlin Philharmonie.
He was a founding member of the Busch Trio until 2015, during which time the group won prizes at many international competitions including the Royal Overseas League in London, Pinerolo Competition in Italy and the International Schumann Chamber Music Award in Frankfurt.
Jonathan performs regularly at Wigmore Hall, Kings Place and the Southbank Centre and is a frequent guest on BBC Radio 3.
Sinfonia Cymru is made up of musicians in the early stages of their careers and is the first and only orchestra of its kind to be revenue-funded by the Arts Council of Wales.
Sinfonia Cymru works in partnership with The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) through the Professional Pathway Bursary scheme and regular performances at The Dora Stoutzker Hall. Sinfonia Cymru is also resident orchestra at The Riverfront, Newport and performs in venues across Wales.
The orchestra works with Young Classical Artists Trust to create opportunities for the next generation of solo artists including the orchestra’s current Leader/Director Bartosz Woroch. Sinfonia Cymru has worked with a number of celebrated guest artists including Bryn Terfel, Llŷr Williams, Paul Watkins, Carlo Rizzi, and Alina Ibragimova.
The orchestra enjoys a long-standing relationship with Deutsche-Gramophon harpist Catrin Finch.
Past projects with Catrin include Classic BRIT nominated album ‘Blessing’ with John Rutter, which reached number one in BBC Radio 3’s classical chart, and a performance at Universal Live ‘Yellow Lounge’.
In 2013 Sinfonia Cymru embarked on a major project to develop and launch a new way of working for chamber orchestras. With funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the orchestra established Curate; a collective of orchestral musicians, administrators and other young creatives who come together to express their artistic ideas and develop their own projects.
Over the last three years, Curate has developed the flagship UnButtoned and Unease events in collaboration with BAFTA-Cymru winning musician Tom Raybould, the orchestra’s classical pub gig ‘Quartet’ with Fizzi Events, and a live Silent Film event at Chapter Arts Centre.
2014 was Sinfonia Cymru’s busiest year, performing 44 concerts to over 13,000 people and working with actor Richard Harrington (star of S4C Y Gwyll / Hinterland), harpist Catrin Finch alongside young conductor Ben Gernon, world-renowned baritone Bryn Terfel, and on an experimental collaboration with theatre director Tom Morris at The Bristol Proms.
The orchestra also played a major role in the ‘Emerging Classical Talent in the EU’ project; an International collaboration that brought together a number of European partners and culminated in Sinfonia Cymru’s Small Nations Big Sounds Festival, which it delivered in partnership with RWCMD.
In 2015, Sinfonia Cymru performed with BBC Young Musician winner Laura Van der Heijden and with period violinist Rachel Podger on the orchestra’s first all-baroque concert.
October will also see one of Carmarthenshire’s finest returning ‘home’ for two special concerts.
John Owen-Jones is a Burry Port boy who has gone on to be an award-winning West End and Broadway star.
He will play Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli, on Wednesday, October 3 and the Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen, on Sunday, October 7.
In October, Carmarthen will also see another big name singer roll into town.
Russell Watson will be performing his new show, Canzoni d’Amore, at the Lyric on October 19.
Having sold more than seven million albums worldwide, Russell Watson is firmly established as the UK’s best-selling classical crossover artist of all time.
To date, his illustrious career has included performances for Her Majesty The Queen, The Pope and two US Presidents.
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