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The latest ‘On Song’ column from the Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star

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

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The latest ‘On Song’ column from the Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star

Posted By Robert Lloyd

There’s a new male choir in town in Llanelli.

It has been set up by former Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir musical director D Eifion Thomas.

And the choir’s accompanist is former Côr Meibion Llanelli pianist Aled Maddock.

The choir is called Meibion Elli – The Sons of Elli.

The autumn series of rehearsals for the choir start on Thursday, September 5 at 7pm at Llanelli Library’s
Athenaeum Hall.

Musical director Mr Thomas said: “Meibion Elli aims to perpetuate, develop and extend that male choral excellence for which Llanelli enjoys a worldwide reputation.

“If you feel that you could contribute to this goal, then please visit us when we meet at the Llanelli Library on September 5.

“You will not have a formal audition, other than a brief informal chat to find your vocal range.

“You do not have to possess a ‘great voice’. We can help you become a valued chorister.

“Call in to see and hear us at Llanelli Library. You’ll have a warm welcome – Fe gewch groeso cynnes!”

Mr Thomas has achieved most things in Welsh choral singing.

Under Mr Thomas, Côr Meibion Llanelli were successful at all the major Welsh choral competitions.

The honours list included five National Eisteddfod first prizes – at Lampeter in 1984, Fishguard in 1986, Llandeilo in 1996, Bridgend in 1998 and Llanelli in 2000.

Mr Thomas initially served as accompanist to the choir from 1965 until 1974, under the direction of founder-conductor Denver Phillips.

Mr Thomas helped spread the name of Llanelli across the world, with successful tours and visits to Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland, and England.

He had the honour of conducting the North American Welsh Societies National Gymanfa Ganu on four occasions – Vancouver (1980), Victoria, Canada (1990), Seattle (1994), and San Jose (2001).

As a result of his work in the sphere of music in the community, Mr Thomas was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship by Rotary International and was inducted into the highest level of Wales’s Bardic Circle in 2007.

In 2000, he was the conductor of the National Eisteddfod Choir when the Festival was held in Llanelli. 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 also a fine tenor soloist 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.

Perhaps one of the most memorable choral experiences was the choir’s appearance at The Brit Awards in 1993 – sharing the stage with such musical giants as Take That, Elton John, Meatloaf and The Pet Shop Boys.

Mr Thomas is an honorary member of Cor Meibion Llanelli’s twin choir in Germany, the 1870 Singverein of Laudenbach.

The summer concert season at St Peter’s Church in Carmarthen will finish today at 1pm, with the organist Meirion Wynn Jones.

A native of Rhewl, Llangollen, Meirion was educated at Wells Cathedral School, before winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he studied piano with Alexander Kelly, organ with Nicholas Danby, organ improvisation with Naji Hakim, and choral direction with Patrick Russill.

As a student, he held organ scholarships at Winchester Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, working with David Hill and Martin Neary, respectively.

Having held organist posts at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, the Birmingham Oratory and Brecon Cathedral, Meirion now pursues a freelance career as a composer, accompanist and teacher.

He was for many years a staff accompanist at the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen and at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.

His choral and vocal works have been recorded and broadcast on BBC radio and S4C.

In 2011 he was awarded the Musician’s Medal (Tlws y Cerddor) for composition at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.

Recently commissioned works include Ffrindiau Bach a Mawr for Côr Heol y March, and the anthem Beloved, Let Us Love for the John S. Davies Singers, marking the 40th anniversary of their founding.

The members of the Hospital Notes Choir, based in Llanelli, are getting ready for a big concert next week.

Hospital Notes will be joined by Côr Meibion Llanelli for ‘The Greatest Show’ on Friday, September 6 (7.30pm) at The Diplomat Hotel,
Llanelli.

The Hospital Notes Choir was founded to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service.

Choir member Linda Williams explained it has been an eventful and exciting time for the choristers.

She said: “The choir was founded to bring together colleagues from the hospital and community sectors, past and present, to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the NHS.

Linda added: “We secured the talented leadership and direction of our musical directors Andrew Harries and Stacey Harris. We rehearsed weekly at Prince Philip Hospital.

“Our first concert performance was at Dafen Church at the Remembrance Service. We also sang at ‘Their Light Still Shines’ service at the National Botanic Gardens in
Llanarthne.

“We sang at the Prince Philip Hospital Carol Service and performed Christmas Carols around the wards at both Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen, and Prince Philip Hospital. We continue to go from strength to strength, with a busy and diverse performance schedule for 2019. We are excited and proud to have become the only integrated health, care and emergency services choir in the UK.

“We believe that the choir is a way of creating a wonderful community, getting to know people that you may never have come in to contact with and forging new friendships. Being able to sing is not as important as wanting to have fun and be part of the choir.

“The rehearsals and performances and the fundraising activities of the choir all support our well-being and provides us with the opportunity of giving back to our community.”

There’s a big night coming up in Burry Port next month when Côr Meibion Porth Tywyn (Burry Port Male Choir) hold their 56th annual concert. It is taking place at 7pm on Saturday, September 21, at St Mary’s Church in Burry Port.

The guests include bass baritone Anthony Stuart Lloyd, soprano Keely Morgan, harpist Rhian Griffiths and accompanist Caradog Williams, the compere will be Iwan Jenkins. The musical director will be Ryan Lee and the choir’s accompanist will be John Evans. Tickets are available at £10.

There’s a chance to see and hear the Three Welsh Tenors coming up in Llanelli next month when Y Tri Tenor perform at a charity fundraising concert at the Stradey Park Hotel,
Llanelli.

The event, on Friday, September 27 at 7pm, is part of Lleisiau Llan choir’s year-long fundraising for the Uganda Dr Vaughan Fund.

The host for the evening will be Carmarthenshire councillor and former TV presenter Glynog Davies.

* If you have news about the choral or concert scene in Llanelli, email robert.lloyd01@walesonline.co.uk or rlloydpr@btinternet.com

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