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Robert Lloyd

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Latest ‘On Song’ column from Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star

Posted By Robert Lloyd

It’s recruitment time for The Phil Harmonics, the Llanelli-based rock and pop choir.

There’s a general invitation for enthusiastic singers to attend taster sessions to experience life as a ‘Phillie’.

A choir spokesman said: “It’s hard work and requires a lot of commitment. But it’s fantastic fun – and you will be part of a wonderful ‘family’ who raise money for good causes.

The Phil Harmonics have made their entrance onto the West Wales music scene gradually over the last few years.

The group was set up by Sarah Mair Richards, Phil Thomas and Pauline Yudowitz.

Their achievements include holding a charity evening which helped raise more than £1,600 for Prince Philip Hospital Breast Care Unit in Llanelli and a maternity hospital in Uganda.

Choir rehearsals are at The Stradey Park Hotel and the choir members are grateful for the hotel’s continuing support.

The Choir is for 18–80-year-olds who want to be part of a very exciting group which is very different from traditional choirs. The music repertoire is very up-beat and fun.

The Phil Harmonics sing some of the classics and modern pop/rock songs. They have their own instrumental band who accompany them at concerts.

Anyone interested in attending the choir’s rehearsals or joining can contact Pauline Yudowitz on 07706796677; email philharmonics01@gmail.com

As mentioned in last week’s column, the popular Voskresenije (Resurrection) Choir of St Petersburg are on their way to West Wales.

This is the choir’s second visit to the area.

They will be performing at St Mary’s Church in Kidwelly on Wednesday, October 10 (7pm).

The choir is a Russian ‘a cappella’ ensemble of eight singers (two sopranos, two altos, countertenor, tenor, bass and basso profondo). The conductor is Jurij Maruk.

Resurrection was founded by Jurij Maruk in 1993.

The repertoire of the ensemble includes Russian Sacred Music as well as folk music.

Guest performances in Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Austria, the UK, France and Italy have met with great success, and the choir has recorded several CDs of their repertoire, which includes some specially composed arrangements of Burns songs by John McIntosh.

Conductor Jurij Maruk was born in 1961 in Barnaul, West Siberia.

In 1976, he began to study music and conducting at the local music facility in Barnaul.

After finishing musical school, he was admitted to the Novosibirsk State Conservatory (1980-1985) in Professor Boris Pevsner’s class.

At this time, he worked with the Chamber Choir (Novosibirsk) directed by Pervsner, who was working in close cooperation with the Wladimir Minin Choir in Moscow.

Between 1987 and 1989, Jurij Maruk worked at the Mariinsky Theatre (opera and ballet) in St Petersburg as a choir singer.

Here, he had his initial experience as a conductor and artistic leader of the Mariinsky Theatre (sacred music).

Between 1990 and 1992, Maruk worked as the choirmaster of the St Petersburg Radio and Television Choir.

Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi Male Voice choir members are looking forward to events in September and October.

On Sunday, September 30 (7pm), Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi will be staging a special concert at St Maelog’s Church in Llandyfaelog.

The choir will perform alongside a guest choir from Cornwall, the Tamar Valley Male Choir.

Other guest artists include soprano Llio Evans, with guest accompanist Kim Lloyd Jones.

Guest singer Llio Evans hails from the famous village on the island of Anglesey,


With her sparkling vocal tone and charming stage presence, Llio particularly revels in coquettish and comic roles.

Recent highlights include Iris (Semele) for Garsington Opera, The Little One in the revival of Music Theatre Wales’ critically-acclaimed production of The Golden Dragon (Eötvös) and her English National Opera debut as Celia in Iolanthe.

The President for the Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi evening will be Tinopolis TV company boss and founder Ron Jones.

Tickets are £7 and are available from telephone number 01269860996.

Proceeds from the evening will go towards St Maelog Church and the chemotherapy unit at Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen.

On Saturday, October 13, Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi will join Carmarthen Male Voice Choir for their 60th anniversary celebration concert at the Lyric Theatre in Carmarthen.

Crwbin Silver Band will be performing at the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Llanarthne as part of the “Big Bands, Brass Bands and Concert Band Bonanza” on Sunday, September 30 from 11am to 1pm.

On Saturday, September 29, Crwbin Silver Band will be performing at a Gala Concert at Salem Chapel, Llangennech with BBC Radio Cymru’s Beti George, Lleisiau’r Llan Ladies Choir, Côr Ysgol y Strade and soloist Ffion Haf Jones

On Saturday, October 20, at 3pm, Crwbin Silver Band will be taking part in a Parade and Service in Llanarthne for the statue unveiling of World War Two hero DT Davies.

In other news, Côr Meibion Dinefwr Male Voice Choir will be holding their annual concert at Capel Newydd, Llandeilo, on Saturday, October 27 (7.30pm).

The special guests will be Côr Meibion Llandybie Male Voice Choir.

The conductor will be John Williams, the accompanist will be Sara Morgan and the chairman for the evening will be Eifion Davies.

Other special guests include tenor Osian Wyn Bowen, soloist Martha Harries and accompanist Gareth Wyn Thomas.

Admission is £8 and £3 for children and students.

Proceeds will go towards the choir’s funds.

On Saturday, October 13, there’s a special concert at Pontyberem Memorial Hall (7.30pm).

Sinfonia Cymru and and soloist Caroline Pether will breathe new life into well-known classics.

The concert will feature Eric Whitacre’s October Suite, Grieg’s Holberg Suite, Op. 40, Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

Sinfonia Cymru will be back in Pontyberem on Friday, March 8 (7.30pm) with a concert featuring cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

The concert programme includes – CPE Bach Symphony 1 in D major H663; Haydn Cello Concerto No. 1 in C major; Ives Unanswered Question; Beethoven Symphony No. 1, Op. 21.

The conductor for Sinfonia Cymru will be Jonathan Bloxham.

He is the Assistant Conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Artistic Director of Northern Chords Festival.

Sinfonia Cymru is made up of musicians in the early stages of their careers and is the first and only orchestra of its kind to be revenue-funded by the Arts Council of Wales.

Sinfonia Cymru works in partnership with The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) through the Professional Pathway Bursary scheme and regular performances at The Dora Stoutzker Hall. Sinfonia Cymru is also resident orchestra at The Riverfront, Newport and performs in venues across Wales.

The orchestra works with Young Classical Artists Trust to create opportunities for the next generation of solo artists including the orchestra’s current Leader/Director Bartosz Woroch. Sinfonia Cymru has worked with a number of celebrated guest artists including Bryn Terfel, Llŷr Williams, Paul Watkins, Carlo Rizzi, and Alina Ibragimova.

The orchestra enjoys a long-standing relationship with Deutsche-Gramophon harpist Catrin Finch.

Past projects with Catrin include Classic BRIT nominated album ‘Blessing’ with John Rutter, which reached number one in BBC Radio 3’s classical chart, and a performance at Universal Live ‘Yellow Lounge’.

In 2013 Sinfonia Cymru embarked on a major project to develop and launch a new way of working for chamber orchestras. With funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the orchestra established Curate; a collective of orchestral musicians, administrators and other young creatives who come together to express their artistic ideas
and develop their own projects.

Over the last three years, Curate has developed the flagship UnButtoned and Unease events in collaboration with BAFTA-Cymru winning musician Tom Raybould, the orchestra’s classical pub gig ‘Quartet’ with Fizzi Events, and a live Silent Film event at Chapter Arts Centre.

2014 was Sinfonia Cymru’s busiest year, performing 44 concerts to over 13,000 people and working with actor Richard Harrington (star of S4C Y Gwyll / Hinterland), harpist Catrin Finch alongside young conductor Ben Gernon, world-renowned baritone Bryn Terfel, and on an experimental collaboration with theatre director Tom Morris at The Bristol Proms.

The orchestra also played a major role in the ‘Emerging Classical Talent in the EU’ project; an International collaboration that brought together a number of European partners and culminated in Sinfonia Cymru’s Small Nations Big Sounds Festival, which it delivered in partnership with RWCMD.

In 2015, Sinfonia Cymru performed with BBC Young Musician winner Laura Van der Heijden and with period violinist Rachel Podger on the orchestra’s first all-baroque concert.


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 rlloydpr@btinternet.com

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Phil Evans

Blog posts

The latest Phil Evans column

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Comedian Phil Evans is from Ammanford. He is known as the man who puts the ‘cwtsh’ into comedy. This column appears in the South Wales Evening Post, Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star. Website – www.philevans.co.uk


If you visit Lower Cwmtwrch today, you’d never know that flesh-hungry aliens once walked the streets, terrorised the residents and called into the pub for a couple of pints and a game of darts.

The aliens sneakily landed on New Year’s Eve, knowing their presence would hardly be noticed among the cacophony of fireworks, renditions of “Agadoo” and the general revelry for which Lower Cwmtwrch is renowned, not just at the turn of the year but most Saturday nights.

As I reported back in July 2017, the aliens were characters in the new science-fiction comedy film “Canaries” and were accompanied by a film crew under the supervision of Swansea-born director and writer Peter Stray.

One year on, “Canaries” can be seen in selected cinemas around Wales and on Sky Cinema.  (Some of you clever folk may even have downloaded it and viewed it already!)

There will also be a gala screening in Ystradgynlais on October 21st, at the Brecon Road Cinema, followed bya cast and crew Question and Answer Q and A session.

“Canaries” stars Kai Owen, Robert Pugh, Hannah Daniel and Cwmtwrch-born Craig Russell, who is also the producer.

Apart from Craig’s home town, locations included Washington DC, Vietnam and Martha’s Vineyard – on a budget of less than £30,000!

Because the cast and crew believed in the script, they were willing to defer salaries. Craig explained that the film also had enormous help from the local community

“My mother, who owned the post office, together with Ruth Levy, did all the catering, and housed the cast, crew . . . and the aliens!

“We filmed next to my mother’s shop in a converted chapel, knocked on doors asking if we could plug things in and filmed late into the night, but no-one complained.

“They even closed The Castle pub just to let us film.”

An eerie alien invasion movie with a dash of Welsh humour sounds like a winning formula that’ll appeal to science fiction fans around the world . . . and, possibly, other worlds, too!


Too often, I find myself witnessing unhygienic actions in public toilets.

Not that I make a habit of hanging around in such places, but when nature calls, needs must.

It’s now very common to witness men leaving the toilets in pubs, cafes and restaurants without washing their hands.

I can’t speak for the ladies, as the issue of me observing such activities in ladies toilets brings with it consequences . . . and a warning that I took onboard immediately.

Moving on . . .

Recently, I saw a man leaving a pub toilet without washing his hands. He then went on to share a bowl of crisps with his partner.

It would be so funny if he was reading this . . . hang on…. was it you?

In supermarkets, I’ve witnessed men return to their shopping without washing their hands after visiting the toilet.

What’s the hurry?

It takes less than a minute and would prevent germs from spreading and people becoming ill.

Mark my words, the next step will be hygiene police employed at all public places.

OK, maybe a slight exaggeration – but, possibly, not a bad idea!


You can follow Phil Evans on Twitter @philevanswales and www.philevans.co.uk

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Free online course supports Welsh Bacc students

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Aberystwyth University and the University of Bath have worked in partnership to produce a free online course to help pupils studying the Welsh Baccalaureate.

Launched at Aberystwyth University on Friday 7 September 2018, the Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) will be available in Welsh and English.

How to Succeed in Your Welsh Bacc: The Individual Project Essentials / Sut i Lwyddo yn dy Fagloriaeth: Hanfodion y Prosiect Unigol has been designed to support post-16 students in Wales who are working towards the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate.

The MOOC will offer practical support to pupils and will take two weeks to complete from the point of enrolment (approximately three hours study per week).

Openly published and free to access, the Welsh Baccalaureate will be the first Welsh-medium MOOC to be offered on FutureLearn, the leading social learning platform owned by The Open University.

Kirsty Williams, Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Education, said: “The Welsh Baccalaureate prepares individuals for further education, training and future employment, and I urge everyone working towards achieving the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate to take full advantage of this free and accessible platform. Ensuring students have the support they need to reach their full potential is crucial. It’s a pleasure to see institutions working collaboratively, across the border, to help individuals succeed in gaining this qualification.”

The new online course builds on the work already carried out by Aberystwyth University to support schools offering the Welsh Baccalaureate.

Since 2012, the University has been welcoming learners from across Wales to Aberystwyth to take part in the one-day Welsh Bacc Experience at Aberystwyth – a joint initiative between the University, the National Library of Wales and the Welsh Government.

To date, more than 2,700 sixth-form students have completed the Welsh Bacc Experience with Aberystwyth hosting 73 visits by schools and colleges.

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, said: “One of the aims of the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate is to equip post-16 students with the essential skills they need to go on to their next destination – be that university, further training or employment. As a University, we have worked with schools in Wales on developing some of those key transferrable skills and offering expert guidance on how to research, write and reference the individual project component of the qualification. By launching this bilingual Massive Online Open Course, we aim to give schools and colleges in Wales an additional toolkit which they can use as part of this valuable learning process.”

Mike Nicholson, Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach at the University of Bath, said: “The University of Bath is delighted to have worked in collaboration with Aberystwyth University in the development of the bilingual Welsh Baccalaureate MOOC. We recognise the value that additional breadth of study, particularly the development of project skills, gives to students. We give additional credit to students applying to Bath who achieve a B grade in the Skills Challenge Certificate, and many of our students find that they can use their experience when securing placement or internship opportunities, which we offer in all our degree courses.

Caroline Morgan, Welsh Baccalaureate Framework Manager for the Welsh Joint Education Committee, said: “I am very appreciative of Aberystwyth University and the University of Bath for bringing their expertise and experience to provide an online research course for students in Wales.  Both universities have developed this bilingual online course that will be available free to all Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate students to support them in completing their Individual Project. The WJEC Welsh Bacc team have provided guidance in developing this project, and I am sure the students and their teachers will be extremely grateful.”

Emma Davies, Head of the Welsh Baccalaureate at St John’s the Baptist School in Aberdare, said: “The Individual Project is increasingly becoming part of the university application process and many students include it as part of their personal statements so to have an online resource that can support them at each stage of the process will improve their confidence and attainment not only for the Individual Project but also to prepare students for Higher Education.”

How to Succeed in Your Welsh Bacc: The Individual Project Essentials / Sut i Lwyddo yn dy Fagloriaeth: Hanfodion y Prosiect Unigol will be available on the FutureLearn social learning platformfrom Monday 10 September 2018.

Schools and colleges interested in arranging a Welsh Bacc Experience at Aberystwyth should contact the University’s Schools Liaison Team on 01970 621735.

Photo: Aberystwyth University and the University of Bath have jointly launched a Massive Online Open Course for post-16 students studying the Welsh Baccalaureate.


AU Schools & Colleges Liaison

University of Bath www.bath.ac.uk

FutureLearn www.futurelearn.com

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Press releases

Latest news from Swansea Bay Business Club

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Latest news from Swansea Bay Business Club –

September Lunch 2018
with Chris Jones, Dwr Cymru

Swansea Bay Business Club is pleased to announce that Chief Executive of Welsh Water, Chris Jones, will be joining us for our first networking lunch after our traditional summer break.

The lunch will be hosted at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea, on Friday September 28 at 12:15 for a 1pm lunch, kindly sponsored by Lloyds Bank.

Chris became the Chief Executive of Welsh Water in 2013 having previously held the role of Finance Director at the not-for-profit company for over 12 years. Before joining Welsh Water in 1995, Chris was a Director at National Economic Research Associates and also worked for HM Treasury.

He will be discussing his career path that has led him to the helm of Wales’ biggest water provider as well as talking about what the future holds for the water industry in Wales.

If you are interested in booking, you can reserve either full tables or individual seats for networking purposes on our website.

Tickets for Swansea Bay Business Club’s September lunch with Chris Jones are priced at £25 per member and £30.50 for non-members. This will include a two-course lunch. Bookings for this event can be made here and will close at midnight on Friday 21st September.

Prior to the event all guests are invited to attend a session with Tidal Lagoon Power to hear a presentation by Mark Shorrock (CEO).

The event will present members with the opportunity to discuss the progression of a new delivery plan directly with the developers following the UK government’s disappointing decision not to back the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.

Guests will be encouraged to feed in the views from the local business community.

This pre-event presentation will take place in a the Gower Suite in the Liberty Stadium at 11am, concluding at 12pm in time for the lunch. To register your attendance at this free pre-event please sign up separately to the main lunch event here.

If you have any further questions please e-mail info@swanseabaybusinessclub.com or call 03300 417180.

Paul Gardner
Swansea Bay Business Club

Upcoming Events

Celebration Event: Re-arranged St. David’s Day lunch with guest speaker, Jonathan Davies OBE – Sponsored by Andrew Scott
18 October 2018. Click here for more information or to book.

Beaujolais Day Lunch 2018 with comedian Tiff Stevenson
15 November 2018. Click here for more information or to book.

Christmas Lunch 2018 with Stifyn Parri
14 December 2018. Click here for more information or to book.

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Press releases

Pupils put an end to dog fouling outside their school

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Primary school children get together to put an end to dog fouling outside their schools.

The Federation of Carwe, Gwynfryn and Ponthenri schools have been working hard to raise the issue of dog fouling issues in their villages.

The pupils decided that they’d had enough and wanted to stop this disgusting and dangerous problem happening outside their schools and on their streets.

A blog was created where pupils discussed the issue with children throughout Carmarthenshire, receiving ideas on what they could do to resolve the issue. They also decided to write to the local Community Council to highlight the issue.

A poster design competition was held in each school, and the winning artwork was turned into a banner and displayed in a prominent position on the school fence.

The pupils’ hard work has paid off, with a reduction of dogs fouling in the area, although there is still a lot more work to be done.

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New outdoor seating area at Jenkins Bakery in Cross Hands

Posted By Robert Lloyd

There’s a new outdoor seating area at the Jenkins Bakery Cross Hands branch.

The new area was unveiled this summer at the popular coffee shop and bakery.

Area manager Fiona Snook said the new seats would be a welcome addition to the branch.

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