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Latest On Song column

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Latest On Song column

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Latest On Song column from the Carmarthen Journal and the Llanelli Star –

The countdown is well and truly on to one of the biggest concerts of the year in west Wales.

Côr Curiad’s plans for a major 25th anniversary concert had to be scrapped during the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the show is very definitely back on – with some star attractions.

Chief guests for the anniversary special being staged at Llanelli’s Ffwrnes Theatre on Saturday, April 15, will be The Welsh of the West End group of singers.

The Welsh of the West End group includes founder and director Steffan Rhys Hughes, Sophie Evans, Jade Davies, Glain Rhys, Siwan Henderson, Mared Williams, Luke McCall, Tom Hier, Samantha Thomas and Rhidian Marc.

The singers normally pick half a dozen singers from their group to represent The Welsh of the West End at individual concerts.

Of particular interest to west Wales audiences is Llanelli-born Samantha Thomas, who is currently in the hit show Wicked in the West End in London.

Côr Curiad musical director Alex Esney was practically breathless with excitement this week when she announced: “We’ve had confirmation that Samantha Thomas will be appearing with The Welsh of the West End at our anniversary concert.

“This is wonderful news and all of us at Côr Curiad are very excited at the prospect of sharing the stage with Samantha. It will be great to see her back on the Llanelli stage after her performances in Wicked in the West End.”

Wicked is based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which in turn is based on the characters and setting of the classic 1900 novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Samantha, 29, has been part of the ensemble cast for the production since last September and is understudy for Glinda in the famous show.

Samantha, a former Coedcae school and Coleg Sir Gâr pupil, is building a powerful CV for herself in British theatre.

From 2015 to 2017 Samantha was part the West End production of Les Miserables, covering for the part of Cosette and acting as swing, an off-stage performer responsible for covering any number of ensemble roles.

She was previously part of Wicked between 2017 and 2019 before expecting to jet across the pond to the US and take on a role in Boston.

However, with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic she was forced to take downtime and returned home to work at her former school at Coedcae, helping pupils with drama.

At the end of term last summer in July, the call came that she was returning to Wicked.

Samantha graduated from Coleg Sir Gâr with an extended diploma in performing arts before being accepted at the famous Guildford School of Acting (GSA) at the University of Surrey.

Her love for performance started at Coedcae School in a Year 7 production of Les Misérables.

Along the way, she has performed with the National Youth Theatre of Wales and had roles in Guildford School of Acting productions of Sister Act, The Addams Family and West Side Story.

To keep up with the latest news about Samantha, follow her Twitter feed on @SamanthaEThomas

Côr Curiad will, of course, be under the musical direction of Alex Esney for their anniversary concert.

The compere for the evening will be ‘Mister Swansea’, panto star, broadcaster and writer Kevin Johns MBE.

All proceeds from the event will go towards the Ty Bryngwyn Hospice in Dafen, Llanelli.

You can book tickets through the Theatrau Sir Gar (Carmarthenshire Theatres) website at – https://www.theatrausirgar.co.uk/en/shows/cor-curiads-25th-anniversary-concert-with-special-guests-welsh-of-the-west-end

In other news, the SA15 Stage School production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid is running all week at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli.

For those who don’t know the story . . .

In a magical kingdom beneath the sea, the beautiful young mermaid, Ariel, longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above.

Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories and the classic animated film, Disney’s The Little Mermaid is a hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages.

Looking further ahead, Ammanford’s very own Youth Theatre have their first ever performance opportunity to show their amazing talent on stage to their parents, friends and family.

The Youth Theatre only started in September 2022 and all performers are aged between 10 and 15.

Everyone is very excited at the opportunity to showcase their singing, dancing, comedy and group routines that they have been rehearsing during their weekly theatre workshops in Ammanford Miners’ Theatre.

The show will be at The Miners’ Theatre in Ammanford on April 22.

Finally, Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir are looking for a new musical director.

The successful candidate will have to follow in the footsteps of Alex Esney, who was the first woman to take on the role.

Alex has decided to relinquish the role to concentrate on her other duties as musical director of Llanelli-based ladies choir Côr Curiad.

Anyone interested in the Côr Meibion Llanelli post should contact choir secretary Fred Elias, Tir Na Nog, School Road, Pwll, Llanelli, SA15 4AL, phone 01554 741027, email llanellimvc@gmail.com or et_freedy@hotmail.com

You can find out more about the choir on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CorMeibionLlanelli

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