The Russians are coming!
The popular Voskresenije (Resurrection) Choir of St Petersburg are on their way to West Wales.
This is the choir’s second visit to the area.
They will be performing at St Mary’s Church in Kidwelly on Wednesday, October 10 (7pm).
Further details will be announced in a future edition of the ‘On Song’ column, but be advised that it is well worth making a note of the date to catch a truly inspirational group of singers.
There’s a musical and multi-media event with a difference coming up at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli, on Friday (September 7).
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 for his work with Swansea Sound radio station, South Wales orchestras and the Gower Festival.
The original music for The Armistice Suite 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 performers include David Thomas, the former station controller at Swansea Sound and former press officer to Llanelli Borough Council.
The Armistice Suite will be at Ffwrnes Theatre for two performances, at 2.30pm and 7.30pm on Friday (September 7).
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.
The Academy Theatre Group was established in 1981 and is run by Peter Sharp (Director) and Diane Williams (Musical Director).
They are the longest-surviving musical theatre group in Llanelli.
On the same night, Burry Port Male Voice Choir will hold their 55th annual 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.
Mary-Jean O’Doherty was the first recipient in 2008 of the Australian International Opera Award to study at the Cardiff International Academy of Voice, directed by the international tenor Dennis O’Neill.
Mary-Jean won first prize in the 2013 Paris Opera Awards. She has been a second prize winner in the Australian singing competition, won The Mathy Award, and sung in the final concert with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra conducted by Maestro Richard Bonynge; and was also a finalist in the 10th Jaume Aragall Singing Competition in Sabadell, Spain, in 2010, and a finalist in the Stuart Burrows International Vocal Competition in 2011.
While at the Academy of Voice, she performed the role of Carolina in Il Matrimonio Segreto in Barga, Italy and the role of The Queen of the Night in Opera’r Ddraig’s production of Die Zauberflöte in Cardiff.
In 2010, Mary-Jean performed the role of Naiad and covered the role of Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos for Welsh National Opera.
In 2011 she performed the title role of Lucia in Prague State Opera’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor, and reprised the role there the following season.
In Australia, Mary-Jean sang the role of Galatea in Pacific Opera’s production of Franz von Suppé’s Gorgeous Galatea in Sydney and was Young Heidi in Stephen Sondheim’s Follies in Melbourne for The Production Company.
In 2011 she made her debut at the Royal Albert Hall, London, singing in Raymond Gubbay’s Classical Spectacular concert.
2012 saw Mary-Jean take a young artist residency with the Opera Theater of St. Louis which included understudying the role of Alice in the American premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland.
In 2013 Mary-Jean understudied the Title Role in Lulu for Welsh National Opera. She sang the role of Antonia in The Tales of Hoffmann for Opera Project, Vassal Lady in Götterdämmerung at the Longborough Festival, Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte for Opera Project and Anne Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor for Burry Port Opera.
Mary-Jean has Australian, Greek, American and Armenian citizenship and represented Armenia in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest as a member of the group ‘Genealogy’.
Tickets for the Burry Port Male Voice annual concert 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 60th anniversary celebration concert at the Lyric Theatre in Carmarthen.
In other news, 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.
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.
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