WE must begin with some sad news for followers of the music and choral scene in west Wales.
It was with great sadness that the members of Lleisiau’r Llan Choir learned of the sad passing of choir conductor Jill Evans.
It was a huge loss and the ‘hiraeth’ for her family, friends and community was considerable.
Jill received her education in Felinfoel Primary School, and later in Llanelli Girls’ Grammar School.
She then trained as a teacher at Cyncoed College in Cardiff.
Her first teaching post was as at Saron Primary School, and later she spent most of her career at Ysgol Gymraeg Rhydaman, where she became the Deputy Head Teacher.
Jill was a highly regarded member of staff and contributed significantly to musical and cultural aspects of school life.
Under her leadership, the school had great success on a county and national level at the Urdd Eisteddfod.
As the co-founder of Lleisiau’r Llan choir, with the late Gaynor Long, Jill was a very accomplished conductor, and insisted on the highest standards as well as ensuring that rehearsals were an enjoyable and entertaining experience.
The choir was formed in 1995 with the intention of meeting together to sing, socialise and raise money for charities.
To date, more than £300,000 has been raised for both national and international charities including the Breast Care Unit at Prince Phillip Hospital, Tŷ Bryngwyn Hospice, Prada Willie Association UK, Maggie’s Swansea, Dementia Wales, the Salt Peter Trust and Llanelli Food Bank.
Under Jill’s direction, the choir has performed in many locations in south Wales.
Over the years, many concerts and different events have been organised, including grand concerts, charity dinners, Christmas carol services and Nosweithiau Llawen.
The choir also accepted invitations to participate in events organised by other societies and competed in Eisteddfodau.
2021 was the Choir’s 25th anniversary. Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions, it was impossible to make plans to note this special event.
However, in September 2022, a marvellous evening was held at the Diplomat Hotel to celebrate the special anniversary and to raise money for Marie Curie.
The choir presented a cheque of £4,400 to the charity in the 2022 Christmas concert.
Despite our sadness at the loss of our conductor and friend, members of the choir have decided to continue as a mark of respect and tribute to Jill.
A spokesman for the choir said: “We hope that this will prove to be Jill’s legacy to the choral and Welsh cultural life in Llanelli.”
In other news, just days after ‘wowing’ his home fans in Llanelli with a performance at Ffwrnes Theatre, Samuel Wyn-Morris now finds himself touring China.
Sam was one of the stars of the recent Loud Applause Rising Stars ‘Night With The Stars’ production staged at Ffwrnes.
He dashed home to take part in the show after completing rehearsals in London for the touring production of Titanic The Musical.
One of Sam’s roles will be as Frederick Fleet in the popular musical.
Sam recently completed a long series of shows with the UK touring production of Les Miserables, playing the role of Enjolras.
Before his departure for China, Sam said: “Titanic is a wonderful opportunity and a great show and I’m looking forward to the experience of touring China.”
Based on real passenger accounts, the musical premiered six months before the famous 1998 Titanic movie by director James Cameron.
“The musical is very much the beginning of this story, rather than a musical based on the movie,” said Danielle Tarento, the UK producer of the musical.
While the film focused on romance, this production emphasises more on the virtues of humanity.
“It is about a true story that happened. Every character you’ll see on the stage was a real person,” said Tarento when mentioning what makes this story so moving.
The latest touring production in China features a new cast of 25 actors who will play more than 126 roles. The cast includes eight members from the original London cast and 17 veteran West End performers.
All the sets, costumes and lighting have been shipped directly from London’s West End. The 600 costumes featured in the production are from the new movie musical.
Tarento said that the characters become a part of the crowd during the show, allowing the audience to feel as if they are passengers on the ship.
The winner of Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Scenic Design, Titanic The Musical also received a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Orchestrations and a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theatre Album.
Shanghai is the first leg of the production’s China tour. Shows will also be held in other cities including Wenzhou, Hangzhou, Shenzhen and Beijing.
Meanwhile, Llanelli’s Curtain Up Theatre Company have revealed their plans for Christmas.
They will be performing for two nights at Stiwdio Stepni at Ffwrnes Theatre in Llanelli, on Tuesday, December 5, and Wednesday, December 6 (7pm).
The show is called ‘Christmas Magic’ and will feature best loved songs from musical and movies.
The concerts are in aid of the Breakthro charity.
Curtain Up musical director John-Paul Jones said the concerts will feature songs from many iconic Christmas films, including Home Alone, Elf, The Muppets Christmas Carol and White Christmas.
Finally, if you are a fan of ballet, Swan Lake will be coming to The Lyric Theatre in Carmarthen on November 10.
The Crown Ballet will present Tchaikovsky’s great work.
Swan Lake is regarded as one of Tchaikovsky’s best works, featuring some of ballet’s most memorable music and breath-taking dance.
Swan Lake is a tale of two young women, Odette and Odilie, who resembles each other so strikingly one can easily be mistaken for the other.
It is the compelling legend of a tragic romance in which a princess, Odette, is turned into a swan by an evil curse. Prince Siegfried chances upon a flock of swans while out hunting. When one of the swans turns into a beautiful young woman, he is instantly captivated – will his love prove strong enough to break the evil spell that she is under?
Swan Lake is full of mystery and romance and has captured the imagination of generations over the years and it continues to attract worldwide audiences, young and old.
For more information please visit: www.crown-ballet.co.uk