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Latest ‘On Song’ column from Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star

Robert Lloyd PR, Media and Marketing Consultancy Blog posts Latest ‘On Song’ column from Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star
Robert Lloyd

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Latest ‘On Song’ column from Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir members are back in rehearsal sessions after their summer break.

Choir chairman Tony Crossman said: “We are looking forward to a busy autumn and winter, with ‘away trips’ mixed with ‘home games’.

The date for the choir’s popular Christmas concert has been fixed and tickets are now on sale.

‘Christmas With The Choir’ will be held at 7pm on Saturday, December 1, at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli.

The choir’s special guests will be Burry Port Town Band and the St John Lloyd School Choir.

Mr Crossman said: “We are giving everyone a very early ‘heads-up’ on the Christmas concert date as we know tickets for our festive special always go well and many people will want to book their seats early.”

The choir’s guests, the Burry Port Town Band, have had a long and very successful association with Côr Meibion Llanelli.

The band has a long and colourful past, with the first historical mention of the band, originally named the Elliots Smelting Works Band, found in 1896.

Since 2001, the band has six times claimed the title of “Welsh League Champion Band of Wales”, four times won the National Eisteddfod of Wales, and three times represented Wales at the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain at the Royal Albert Hall in London, competing against the country’s top 20 bands.

In recent years, Burry Port Town Band members have enjoyed performing alongside Paul Potts, John Owen Jones, Richard Allen, Timothy Richards, Lleisiau’r Cwm, Cor Curiad, Twrw Tawe, The Tenovus Cancer Care Swansea Sing With Us Choir, Cor Aelwyd y Waun Ddyfal and former S4C Cor Cymru Champions, Parti Llwchwr.

The band has a new conductor in Gareth Robinson, who took up the baton in the spring.

Gareth made his conducting debut with Burry Port Town Band at the SEWBBA Spring Championship in April this year where the band claimed Second Prize in the First Section Contest.

Côr Meibion Llanelli, meanwhile, are launching a major recruitment drive.

Chairman Mr Crossman said: “Just like many of the larger male voice choirs in Wales, we are always looking for new members to strengthen our ranks.

“This is a great time for people to think about joining a male voice choir. The camaraderie in a choir is something special and it’s been proven that singing in a choir gives you health benefits – improved breathing, a more active, challenging and stimulating lifestyle. It keeps the mind active and singing is good for the soul.

“So, if there is anyone out there thinking of joining a male voice choir, then please get in touch.

“Anyone interested can pop along to our sessions at Furnace Community Hall at 7pm on Mondays and Thursdays.”

Mr Crossman added: “Now is a great time to join as we have a couple of away trips planned. The choristers are great ambassadors and always look forward to spreading the singing gospel to other parts of the country.

“On Saturday, September 22, the choir will travel to Brailes on the Warwickshire/Oxfordshire border.

“And, at the end of October and the start of November, the choristers will be embarking on a mini tour of the Isle of Wight.

“So, my message to the proud men of Llanelli is, Come and join Côr Meibion Llanelli and enjoy to the power and energy of choral singing at its best.”

As mentioned in last week’s column, the popular Voskresenije (Resurrection) Choir of St Petersburg are on their way to West Wales.

They will be performing at St Mary’s Church in Kidwelly on Wednesday, October 10 (7pm).

This is the choir’s second visit to the area.

The choir is a Russian ‘a cappella’ ensemble of eight singers (two sopranos, two altos, countertenor, tenor, bass and basso profondo). The conductor is Jurij Maruk.

Resurrection was founded by Jurij Maruk in 1993.

The repertoire of the ensemble includes Russian Sacred Music as well as folk music.

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.

Guest singer Llio Evans hails from the famous village on the island of Anglesey,


With her sparkling vocal tone and charming stage presence, Llio particularly revels in coquettish and comic roles.

Recent highlights include Iris (Semele) for Garsington Opera, The Little One in the revival of Music Theatre Wales’ critically-acclaimed production of The Golden Dragon (Eötvös) and her English National Opera debut as Celia in Iolanthe.

The President for the Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi 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.

Crwbin Silver Band will be performing at the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Llanarthne as part of the “Big Bands, Brass Bands and Concert Band Bonanza” on Sunday, September 30 from 11am to 1pm.

On Saturday, September 29, Crwbin Silver Band will be performing at a Gala Concert at Salem Chapel, Llangennech with BBC Radio Cymru’s Beti George, Lleisiau’r Llan Ladies Choir, Côr Ysgol y Strade and soloist Ffion Haf Jones

On Saturday, October 20, at 3pm, Crwbin Silver Band will be taking part in a Parade and Service in Llanarthne for the statue unveiling of World War Two hero DT Davies.

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.

Guest tenor Osian Wyn Bowen is from Burry Port.

Currently he is an undergraduate student, studying under English National Opera Tenor Jeff Stewart at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.

Osian has already performed in concert with Sir Bryn Terfel, Soprano Rebecca Evans, Soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, Baritone Gary Griffiths, Tenors Aled Hall and Rhys Meirion.

Venues include the RWCMD Dora Stoutzker Hall, St. David’s Hall, The Principality Stadium, Wales Millennium Centre, Llandaff Cathedral, Venue Cymru, The O2 Arena, The Queen’s Theatre, London, Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and the Milford Haven Music Festival.

He has worked with some of Wales and the world’s best coaches and accompanists including, Jeff Howard, Simon Lepper, Joseph Middleton, Kathryn Harries and Dr. Laura Osgood Brown.

Choral performances and concerts include ‘Gloria – Vivaldi’, ‘Beethoven’s 9th Symphony’, ‘Mozart’s Requiem’, and ‘Stabat Mater – Szymanowski’.

Osian is also a popular soloist for various concerts and oratorios under the baton of Edward Rhys Harry, the most recent being Saint Sëan Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes De Confessore.

Television appearances include S4C’s ‘Heno’,‘Les Mis – Y Daith’, Cyngerdd y 10 Tenor, Noson Lawen and BBC’s Songs of Praise.

Recent highlights include performing as part of trio in a live broadcast on BBC1 to mark the Passchendaele Centenary at Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium. The tribute to Welsh poet Hedd Wyn was performed in the presence of members Royal Family and European Ministers.

Other highlights include playing the lead role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables as part of the Urdd’s National Theatre company’s 10 Year Anniversary production at the WMC, Cardiff.

In addition to his busy schedule, Osian is a patron of the charity Welsh Hearts and is an active volunteer crew member of Burry Port Lifeboat Station.

His list of awards includes – 2017 & 2018 – Minnie Morgan Scholarship Recipient. 2018 – Douglas Rees Young Opera Singer of the Year – Finalist.

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.

In October, one of Carmarthenshire’s finest will be 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.

John has played the lead role in The Phantom Of The Opera more than any other West End actor.

He was the youngest actor to ever play Jean Valjean in Les Misérables.

He will release his brand new album, called Spotlight, in the autumn.

John trained in acting at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama and, after a varied career so far, is probably best known for his portrayals of the iconic leading characters in The Phantom of The Opera and Les Miserables.

He has a long and happy association with ‘Les Mis’ in particular, for, at the age of 26, John became the youngest actor ever to play the role of Jean Valjean in the West End production of Les Miserables.

He is one of a handful of actors to have played the role of Valjean both in the West End and on Broadway and was the first British actor to do so.

In an online poll, John was voted the “Best Ever Valjean” and “Best Ever Performer in Les Miserables” by fans of the show worldwide.

John returned to play the role of Jean Valjean in a brand new production of Les Miserables for its 25th anniversary tour and was awarded the Manchester Evening News Award for the Best Actor in a Visiting Production for his performance as Jean Valjean.

The Manchester Evening News described his performance as “a truly astonishing achievement that must be one of the greatest stage performances of all time.”

John was also part of the Valjean quartet featured in the finale of the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert at the O2 Arena, London.

He has played Jean Valjean to great acclaim twice on Broadway and most recently appeared as Valjean in the show’s Middle East premiere at Dubai Opera, Dubai.

He can be heard playing Jean Valjean on the official cast recording, Les Miserables Live! (2010)

John originally played the role of The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera between 2001 and 2004 in the West End production to great acclaim.

The Daily Mail said he was “better than all the actors that preceded him in the role”.

He returned to the role of The Phantom in the West End in 2011 culminating in a performance as part of the Phantom quartet in a special finale at the Phantom 25th Anniversary Concert at The Royal Albert Hall.

He is the West End’s longest running Phantom with nearly 2000 performances in the role.

He appeared in a special finale of the show at the Majestic Theatre, New York to celebrate Phantom’s 25th year on Broadway and is the first British actor to have appeared as The Phantom in Russia – in a special excerpt from the show commissioned for the 2014 Golden Masks Awards at the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow.

After reinterpreting the role of Valjean on the 25th Anniversary tour of Les Miserables in 2010, John was asked to reinterpret the role of The Phantom in the brand new production of The Phantom of the Opera for its 25th anniversary UK tour in 2012.

His performance on the tour earned him a nomination for Best Actor in a Visiting Production from the Manchester Theatre Awards and he is in the unique position of being the only actor to have the opportunity to reinvent Valjean and The Phantom – two of the greatest roles in musical theatre history.

John has performed extensively in other theatre productions throughout the UK and he has appeared on television and radio numerous times. He has performed as a soloist in concerts all over the world.

John has released six solo albums.

The independently released ‘Hallelujah’ (2006) and on the Sain Records label ‘John Owen-Jones’ (2009) and ‘Unmasked’ (2011) and ‘Rise’ 2015; and two compilation albums – “Bring Him Home” (2017 Sain records) and the Japan only compilation “Music of the Night” (2015 Sony Records Japan).

John’s very busy diary for 2018 also includes the following appearances –

September 22-24, Concert, Yomiuri Otemachi Hall, Tokyo, Japan.

Monday, October 8, The Best Of The West End, Royal Albert Hall, London.

October 15-19, Floating Festivals: Stages, Navigator of the Seas, Amsterdam to Southampton.

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.

Russell is widely regarded as “The People’s Tenor”. Captivating to watch and enchanting to listen to, Russell Watson continues to wow audiences with his enigmatic and entertaining live performances.

The New York Times said of Russell Watson, “He sings like Pavarotti, and entertains the audience like Sinatra”.


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 rlloydpr@btinternet.com

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