The popular soloist Samuel Wyn-Morris will be the featured guest at one of the highlights of the West Wales concert calendar – Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir’s annual festive special.
‘Christmas With The Choir’ will be held at 7pm on Saturday, December 1, at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli.
Samuel is a 22-year-old Llanelli Boy who is a former head boy of Ysgol Y Strade.
In 2017, Samuel graduated from the prestigious Guildford School of Acting with a first class honours degree in musical theatre.
Since then, Samuel has continued to perform and made his professional debut at The Old Vic at the beginning of 2018.
Samuel is a founder member of Loud Applause Rising Stars, the group set up to mentor and develop young talent in Wales.
Samuel now hopes to continue working professionally in 2019 with the aim of making his West End debut.
In October 2018, Samuel, along with other members of Loud Applause Rising Stars (LARS), was a representative of Wales at the Liberation Celebratory weekend in S’Hertogenbosch, Holland where he performed at the prestigious Liberation Concert, to great acclaim, and at the 53rdWelsh Division Memorial Service.
Samuel’s accompanist for the concert will be Andrew Pike.
The other special guests at the Côr Meibion Llanelli concert will be the award-winning Burry Port Town Band.
“It promises to be a very special evening,’ said Côr Meibion Llanelli chairman Tony Crossman.
“It’s been another busy year for the choir and the Christmas concert is regarded as our grand finale for 2018.
“The choristers are in fine voice and we are looking forward to being joined on stage by our guests.”
Côr Meibion Llanelli probably need no introduction for followers of the concert scene in West Wales.
It would take a fairly hefty book to summarise the achievements of the choir over a history spanning 54 years.
But there are some keynote events . . .
Côr Meibion Llanelli was formed in the village of Bynea under the baton of the late Denver Phillips BA. in 1964.
The choir’s longest-serving music director is the present holder of the baton, D Eifion Thomas, who has helped the choir grow in stature and strength to become one of the leading male choirs in Britain.
They have been successful at all the major choral competitions that Wales has to offer. The honours list includes five National Eisteddfod first prizes – at Lampeter in 1984, Fishguard in 1986, Llandeilo in 1996, Bridgend in 1998 and Llanelli in 2000.
The roll-call of wins also records seven firsts at the Miners Eisteddfod at Porthcawl, six firsts at Cardigan and three Pontrhydfendigaid Eisteddfodau. The choir was successful in winning the Corwen Choral Competition at its first attempt in 1987.
The Llanelli Male Choir has graced many leading auditoriums and concert halls in the land – London’s Royal Albert Hall and Festival Hall, Birmingham’s Town and Symphony Halls, Oxford Town Hall, Plymouth’s Guild Hall, The MacRoberts Centre at Stirling, as well as Cardiff’s St David’s Hall and Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall.
Cathedrals have also featured high on the choir’s touring list – Coventry, Bury St Edmunds, Wells, Brecon, Gloucester, St David’s and Llandaff cathedrals have been concert venues, as well as Westminster Abbey.
The choir has travelled extensively throughout the world – Germany, Canada, USA. France, Ireland, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand. The choristers have raised thousands of pounds for charities such as Cancer and Leukaemia Research, The Red Cross, Heart Foundation and Tenovus as well as local charities and school groups. The choir’s future is secure and their motto of “Ymlaen Llanelli” will surely hold the choristers in good stead for another 50 years! The choir rehearses twice weekly on Monday and Thursday evenings at Furnace Community Hall, 7pm start. Visitors and new members are welcome.
This year, the choir’s musical director, D Eifion Thomas, has celebrated 43 years as Music Director of Côr Meibion Llanelli, having initially served as Accompanist to the Choir from 1965 until 1974 under the direction of founder-conductor Denver Phillips.
Mr Thomas has had the honour also of conducting the North American Welsh Societies National Gymanfa Ganu on five occasions – Vancouver (1980), Victoria, Canada (1990), Seattle (1994), and San Jose (2001).
His expertise in the field of choral performance has been recognised by the National Eisteddfod of Wales by inviting him to be one of three music adjudicators at the 2003 Eisteddfod in Meifod, and the 2011 Eisteddfod in Wrexham.
As a result of his work in the sphere of music in the community, Mr Thomas has been awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship from Rotary International and been inducted into the highest level of Wales’s Bardic Circle in 2007.
In 1998, Mr Thomas was the guest conductor at the London Welsh Festival of 1000 Male Voices, and was guest soloist at the Festival in 1994, 1996, 2000, and 2002.
In 2000, Mr Thomas was the conductor of the National Eisteddfod Choir when that Festival was held in Llanelli, and the Eisteddfod Choir’s singing under his direction at the Gymanfa Ganu of the anthem “Dyn A Aned O Wraig” still remains as one of the most memorable occasions in the Eisteddfod’s history.
Mr Thomas is a fine tenor soloist in his own right, and has appeared as soloist in performances of Handel’s “Messiah”, Haydn’s “Creation”, and “Mass in Time of War”, Stainer’s “Crucifiction”, Maunder’s “Olivet to Calvary”, Coleridge-Taylor’s “Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast”, and Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” and “Lobegesang”.
The choir will be accompanied on stage by pianist Aled Maddock.
Mr Maddock attended Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera before graduating in Music at Bangor University. He is a former pupil of Madame Eileen Gethin-Jones and the Czech pianist Jana Frenklova.
After graduating in 1990, Mr Maddock was appointed as Musical Director of Craig y Nos Castle where he was responsible for arranging numerous musical events held at the famous Patti Theatre. During this time, he also began his association as accompanist with Neath and District Ladies Choir, Côr Meibion Onllwyn who performed with Côr Meibion Llanelli at the Brit Awards at Alexandra Palace and Bryncoch Male Voice Choir.
He was appointed Musical Director of Tonna Male Voice Choir in 1998 a post he held until 2002 forming his own mixed choir “Côr Al” in the Swansea Valley.
He has conducted the popular S4C religious programme “Dechrau Canu Dechrau Canmol” on several occasions from Ystradgynlais, Resolven, Ystalyfera and the Christmas service broadcast from St David’s Church Neath in 2015.
After obtaining his PGCE in 1994, Mr Maddock was appointed to his current post as Head of Music at his former school Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera. He is particularly proud of the musical achievements of many past pupils, some of which grace our TV screens and concert halls throughout the world. He has toured extensively with the performing arts faculty visiting Canada, South Africa, Malaysia and Singapore and has been Musical Director for two Urdd National Youth Productions, the most memorable being the revival of the Rock Opera “Jiwdas” which was performed in the open air in the ruins of the former Gnoll estate in Neath.
Tickets for Saturday’s Côr Meibion Llanelli concert are available from the Ffwrnes Theatre box office or from the Theatrau Sir Gar website.