The spotlight falls on young talented musicians and performers from across South Wales at a special concert in Llanelli on Saturday night (November 10).
The concert marks the fifth anniversary of the LARS musical organisation, which is based in Llanelli.
LARS stands for Loud Applause Rising Stars.
Over the last five years, LARS has helped mentor and nurture talented young singers and instrumentalists from across South Wales, providing them with opportunities to take to the stage, along with cash bursaries.
Currently LARS has 14 members aged between 15 to 23.
They perform everything from blues and jazz, musical theatre, popular and traditional music to classical and opera.
To mark the fifth anniversary, Loud Applause Productions will be hosting a big Gala Concert titled ‘A Night with the Stars’ at Llanelli’s Ffwrnes Theatre.
The nine LARS Singers performing will be Lauren Fisher, Daisy Owens, Sydney Richards, Jack Owens, Neve Summers, Osian Clarke, Callum Howells, Nia Rees and Stephen Davies.
Sharing the stage with LARS will be the famous Richard Williams Singers from Tonyrefail, under the baton of Margaret May, the daughter of the founder conductor.
Also appearing will be Côr Y Cwm, the award-winning youth choir from the Rhondda.
The highly-popular Callum Howells and Friends from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff will also be featured.
Also on stage will be the young choir of Ysgol Gymraeg Ffwrnes in Llanelli, prize winning trombonist Rhodri Thomas, from Llanelli, and the accomplished compere, TV broadcaster Garry Owen. Accompanists supporting the LARS singers will be Andrew Pike and Ryan Wood.
The LARS performers are making a name for themselves throughout South Wales.
For example, it has been quite a year for Lauren Fisher.
The Ysgol Gyfun y Strade pupil enjoyed considerable success in the Rotary UK Young Musician 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.
Lauren also won the 2018 Gethin Hughes Bursary Prize in a very tough competition which was hosted at the annual concert of Côr Meibion Llanelli at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli.
As a member of LARS, 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 and at musical evenings at Machynys Golf Club.
Lauren’s love of music has led her also to compete in many competitions – The Voice of South Wales Seniors, as an example, and she was a runner-up in both the Welsh Factor and Kids Got Talent in 2016.
She won a scholarship at the age of 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.
Callum Howells has been one of the most popular members of LARS in recent years.
He is quite rightly regarded as something of a showman in stage.
Callum studies Drama, Music, Welsh and Dance in his A Levels at Treorchy Comprehensive School.
He has just returned from London where he was a member of the professional cast in the highly successful production of ‘’She Loves Me’ at the Menier Chocolate Factory, where he played the role of Arpad Laszlo to rave reviews.
Callum started off his performing career as Oliver as part of Selsig Operatic’s production of Oliver, The Musical, not knowing that a year later he would be part of the Children’s Ensemble in the UK Tour of Cameron Mackintosh’s production of the hit musical.
Other parts which Callum has played include Billy in Billy Elliot, Archie in 13, The Musical, Don Lockwood in Singin’ In The Rain and Electra in Starlight Express.
Callum also has a passion for Tap Dancing. He has attained his Gold Medallion (with Honours) and Grade 4 (with Distinction) with IDTA. Callum has also achieved his Grade 8 in Singing (with Distinction) with the London Trinity Guildhall examination board.
As well as theatre, Callum has been seen on television when he travelled to South-East Asia to film a documentary on CBBC about the contrast in other children’s lives on the other side of the world called ‘Show Me What You’re Made Of’ – a show which was later nominated for a Children’s BAFTA Award.
Early last year, Callum worked with CBBC’s Blue Peter as their Royal Correspondent for a number of special events which they covered, including the Queen’s Coronation Anniversary, Prince Charles visiting Wales and interviewing Black Rod in The Houses of Parliament.
Callum is also a member of the successful choir Only Boys Aloud.
Callum has performed in a contemporary dance production with Matthew Bourne’s company New Adventures at the Wales Millennium Centre called ‘Lord of the Flies’, a show which had exceptional reviews all across the UK.
He was chosen out of over 8,000 auditionees to join National Youth Music Theatre’s production of ‘Prodigy’ (a brand new musical written by Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary) and has performed at the St James Theatre in London.
Callum played the role of George in ‘Of Mice and Men’ performed at Treorchy Comprehensive School for various schools in the locality and beyond. He has also played the role of ‘George’ in NYMT’s production of Brass at Hackney Empire, London.
Callum was a finalist at the 2016 National Final of The Young Rotary Musician of The Year competition.
Tickets for ‘A Night with the Stars’ are going fast and are available from the theatre box office.
On Friday night, there’s a concert with a difference in the Gwendraeth Valley.
It will manage to combine the launch of a book about a modern-day Welsh hero with a musical evening showcasing some of our finest singers.
A new book, called ‘The Stories of Grav’ and compiled and edited by the celebrated tenor Rhys Meirion, is being launched on Friday, November 9, in Pontyberem Hall.
After the book launch, Rhys Meirion will be the star player in a concert at Pontyberem Hall, starting at 7pm.
The concert will also feature Elin Fflur, Aled Wyn Davies and Theatr Ieuenctid Menter Cwm Gwendraeth Elli.
The Pontyberem concert is being sponsored by Castell Howell, the Carmarthen and Cross Hands-based food business.
Tickets for the concert are £15 and £5 for children.
Sunday, November 18 (7pm) sees a grand concert at Myddfai Community Hall near Llandovery.
The guest artistes include the celebrated tenors Rhys Meirion and Aled Wyn Davies, two of the popular Welsh Three Tenors.
Also on stage will be the Treble C Group.
The compere will be Glyn Owen and the president for the evening will be Robyn Richards.
Tickets are £10 and available from Emlyn on 01550 720484.
Llanelli District Music and Drama Club have a special evening at the Lliedi Suite, Selwyn Samuel Centre on Friday, November 30 (7.30pm).
They will be presenting A Fine Romance, with Tony Jacobs and Catherine Sykes and Jim Barry at the piano.
The evening will feature music and songs by George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin.
Tickets are £10 (students £5) and are available from Barrie Lewis, Market Precinct, Llanelli, phone 01554-772594 or at the door.
Crwbin Silver Band are getting ready for Christmas.
Their Christmas Concert will be at Pontyberem Hall on Friday, December 14 (7pm).
The concert will also feature Ysgol Maes y Gwendraeth choir and wind band.
Tickets are £8 (children £5) and will be available at the door or from band members.
Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir members are also looking forward to the festive season.
‘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.
The West End at Christmas
Also, in December, The West End At Christmas returns to the Lyric Theatre in Carmarthen with their brand new concert for 2018!
Stars from the West End present a magical evening of entertainment featuring hits from the musicals and the best of Christmas songs.
The talented cast have starred in many West End productions and national tours including Les Miserables, We Will Rock You, South Pacific, Singing in the Rain, Starlight Express, Phantom Of The Opera, Wicked, Godspell, Joseph and Cats . . . to name but a few!
The West End At Christmas will at The Lyric on December 18.
The Kidwelly Festival Ladies Choir will be performing at a Grand Christmas Concert and Vintage Fashion Show at Carmarthen Museum, Abergwili, on December 15 (6pm). Tickets are £10 adults and £5 children. It promises to be a fun night.
Finally, in case you missed the news about Russell Watson . . .
His Carmarthen concert has been re-scheduled to Tuesday November 27 at the Lyric.
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