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Robert Lloyd

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

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir believe in planning ahead.

They have started arranging a trip to Germany next year.

The choristers have scheduled a visit to their ‘twin choir’ in Laudenbach, Germany, at the end of May and the beginning of June.

The German choir is Singverein 1870 and, as the name suggests, they have a rich history dating back to the 19th century.

“They are a little bit older than us,” choir secretary Fred Elias said with a smile.

“We have only been going 55 years, since 1964!”

Mr Elias added: “The two choirs signed a formal partnership agreement back in 1979 and we have paid previous visits to Germany – and they have come to perform here in Wales.

“In 1996, we helped arrange a very special occasion for Singverein 1870 by making sure they were invited to sing at the Royal Welsh Festival of Male Choirs in the Royal Albert Hall.

“The friendships and the bonds between the two choirs are very special, so we are looking forward with great enthusiasm to touring Germany next year.”

There is now a new team in charge of music at Côr Meibion Llanelli.

Côr Curiad conductor Alex Esney has taken on the baton of musical director.

Jane Jewell, already widely known throughout south Wales as an accomplished pianist, is the accompanist.

And the team is strengthened further by the addition of Stephen Hopkins, from the Llanelli Citadel Salvation Army, as deputy conductor.

Stephen sent in his biography to help On Song readers get to know him better . . .

He explained : “I was born in
Llanelli and have lived here all my life. Married to Janine for 30 years and have three children and one granddaughter.

“I learned to read music at 16 years of age and started to play a brass instrument and sing the choir at
Llanelli Citadel Salvation Army.

“At 21, I became leader of the youth band and Deputy Bandmaster of the Llanelli Citadel Salvation Army Corps Band, progressing to the position of Bandmaster for a 10 year period.

“I also conducted Llanelli Salvation Army Songsters (mixed choir) for seven years.

“I have sung with local choirs such as Cor Glandulais and have performed a number of times in venues such The Royal Albert Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall and Colston Hall Bristol.

“Since 2017, I have also been part of Ammanford Town Silver Band, playing in the Trombone section and the Bass (Tuba) section and on occasions conducting the band.

“Music has always been a major part of my life and I gain great pleasure and enjoyment from it.

“I am employed in the office of a small local company that supplies dairy products to residential homes and day centres in Carmarthenshire, Swansea, Neath/Port Talbot, Bridgend and school milk to children at more than 400 schools in those four counties.”

In other news, here is another date for your diary –

There will be a Cyngerdd Mawreddog (Grand Concert) in Neuadd Sant Iago (St James’ Hall) in Cwmann, Lampeter, on Friday, September 6 (7pm).

The concert will feature soloists Ellen Williams, Cardiff, and Kees Huysmans, Lampeter.

It will also feature Plant Ysgol Carreg Hirfaen and Côr Meibion Cwmann a’r Cylch.

The president for the evening will be Twynog Davies, of Pentre-Bach. Tickets are £8.

Bass baritone Kees Huysmans is something of a folk hero in west Wales.

Kees moved to rural Wales from Holland in the 1980s.

He insisted on learning Welsh and embraced all the Welsh traditions that surrounded him, and he was advised to join a local choir to help him learn Welsh.

During this time he found his singing voice and was introduced to the world of the Eisteddfod.

His interest peaked when he won the Blue Ribbon at the National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny in 2016.

He turned to his business career through necessity and turned to the treats of his native country – waffles.

The business called Tregroes Waffles has been an amazing success and has taken the name of the village Tregroes throughout Europe.

Kees has also published his autobiography – and it’s a good read!

Soprano Ellen Williams completed her studies in opera in 2017 at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) where she studied with Suzanne Murphy and Michael Pollock.

Ellen has been praised for her “poise and promise, her voice agile with silvery charm” (The Guardian), and has been described as singing “with heart-piercing sweetness” in The Times. Ellen has given performances in Cadogan Hall, Royal Concert Hall Glasgow, Bridgewater Hall, the Wales Millennium Centre and St. David’s Hall, where she was a finalist in the Welsh Singers Showcase 2018 and performed with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Gareth Jones.

During her studies at the RWCMD, Ellen was awarded the Aneurin Davies Memorial Prize and the Elias Soprano Prize and was fortunate to sing the role of Nannetta (Falstaff) conducted by Carlo Rizzi, Barbarina and cover Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Emmie (Albert Herring), and Cinderella in Massenet’s Cendrillon.

Ellen was delighted to perform Baroque favourites with Rachel Podger in the Dora Stoutzker Hall, as well as scenes as Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier) and Lakmé with the Welsh National Opera Orchestra under the baton of Simon Phillippo.

In 2016, Ellen was honoured to perform the final fugue in Verdi’s Falstaff as Nannetta in a celebratory concert for the RWCMD to HRH the Prince of Wales at in Buckingham Palace.

Ellen is also an alumna of Tibor Varga Music Academy in Switzerland, Dartington International Summer School, and COSI Opera Festival in Italy, gratefully supported by the Arts Council of Wales and the Elizabeth Evans Trust.

Festival performances include recitals at Fishguard International Music Festival, Bangor Music Festival, Cowbridge Music Festival, and the Royal British Legion Wales Festival of Remembrance, and concert works include Handel’s Messiah in St. David’s Hall, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana in Gloucester Cathedral, conducted by Adrian Partington, Bach’s Magnificat, and Christmas Oratorio in Llandaff Cathedral.

Ellen has won numerous awards at the National Eisteddfod of Wales including an Eirwen Griffiths Jones Scholarship and a Violet Mary Lewis Memorial Scholarship, has been a finalist in the W Towyn Roberts Scholarship competition and in the Llangollen International Voice of the Future competition. She appears regularly on Welsh TV and radio with highlights including appearing as a soloist in the British premiere of The Bards of Wales conducted by Karl Jenkins.

The choristers from Llandyfaelog-based Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi are getting ready for their annual concert. It will be at the Princess Gwenllian Centre in Kidwelly on Saturday, October 12, 7pm. The choir will be joined by Gwendraeth Valley’s Côr Meibion Mynydd Mawr.

The members of the Hospital Notes Choir, based in Llanelli, are getting ready for a big concert in September. Hospital Notes will be joined by Cor Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir for ‘The Greatest Show’ on Friday, September 6 (7.30pm) at The Diplomat Hotel, Llanelli.

  • 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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Latest Carmarthen Town AFC match report from John Collyer

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Llanelli (24 July 2019)

Carmarthen Town (8) Llanelli (0)

Carmarthen continued their pre-season programme with this stunning, high-scoring performance against local rivals Llanelli who, regrettably, were relegated from the Welsh Premier League at the end of last season.

And what a performance this was.  For long periods Town monopolised possession, particularly during the second-half, while they frequently produced attractive, incisive approach play and impressive, clinical finishing – at times the visitors were simply overwhelmed.

Right at the start of the match the Old Gold produced a move that offered a hint of how this game would evolve.  Straight from the kick-off Ceri Morgan initiated a slick six-man passing sequence that finished with Elliott Scotcher, just outside the penalty area, releasing a rasping drive that flew narrowly wide of the post – no Llanelli player had yet touched the ball.

Then, for a spell, the play was confined to the midfield area with both sides enjoying moments of possession without making much progress or seriously testing the opposition defence.

But after 12 minutes the game sprang to life when Town took the lead.  Greg Walters made progress along the right-wing before firing a deep cross into the penalty area where Liam Thomas neatly played the ball back to Chris Jones who from 20 yards struck a fierce shot that ‘keeper Kyle Coughlan parried with a full-length save only for the ball to roll into the net.

The Old Gold quickly began to monopolise possession and dominate the midfield action where Scotcher, Lewis Harling, Morgan and Jones, with their energy and vision, were particularly influential. And on 19 minutes they went close to extending their lead when Jones fired a right-wing cross to the edge of the penalty area where Scotcher played the ball forward to Thomas who dispatched an angled volley that Coughlan, showing sharp reactions, turned around the post.

Although Llanelli occasionally managed to make decent progress beyond the half-way line, they were unable to penetrate the Town defence in any meaningful way due, in particular, to the formidable presence of experienced central pairing Lee Surman and Dave Vincent while on the flanks Walters and Jordan Knott gave them valuable support.  And behind them, commendably, Academy ‘keeper Tom Windsor demonstrated safe and assured handling on the few occasions necessary.

Yet in the 30thminute the visitors, for the first time in the match, posed a serious goal threat – Zac Brown, from near the corner flag, fired an inviting cross to the far side of the goalmouth where Andy Hill rose above defenders only to direct his firm header over the bar.  This would prove to be Llanelli’s only notable scoring effort.

Carmarthen quickly regained their earlier control over the proceedings with the significant action contained in the visitors’ half of the pitch.  On 39 minutes after another delightful sequence of passes Harling, from the right-touchline, slid the ball infield to Jones who released a stunning 35 yard drive that, disappointingly, Coughlan was well-placed to claim.

Then after 43 minutes Jones was again involved when he sent a right-wing cross into the goalmouth where Thomas produced a subtle glancing header that defeated Coughlan but went narrowly outside the far post.

But moments later the Old Gold were justly rewarded for their first-half dominance when Gwion Howell sent a fine pass upfield that Knott pursued to the by-line before driving the ball into the penalty area where Scotcher struck a powerful volley that flew beyond Coughlan’s reach and into the top corner of the net.

After the interval Town soon again asserted their hold on the match – yet this time there was the added bonus of more accomplished finishing.

On 57 minutes Jones, from the half-way line, split the Llanelli defence with an excellent pass that sent second-half substitute Josh Bull racing free towards the penalty area – as Coughlan advanced out of his goal the young striker neatly took the ball around the stranded ‘keeper and fired it from a sharp angle into the empty net.

Soon afterwards Carmarthen went further ahead.  Scotcher, near the centre-circle, sent a fine ball out to the right-wing to reach Walters who swiftly cut inside to the edge of the penalty area then produced a superb curling shot that sailed beyond Coughlan’s reach and into the corner of the goal.

After 63 minutes Knott won the ball on the left touchline and quickly sent it forward to Bull just inside the penalty area – he then set up a promising chance for Thomas but his 15 yard angled strike slid narrowly wide of the far post.

However in the 76thminute they were successful – Jordan Vickers embarked on a strong run along the right-wing before firing an inviting cross into the goalmouth where Howell arrived with perfect timing to sweep the ball past Coughlan and into the net.

And moments later the ball was back in there again.  Morgan delivered a sublime long pass out to Jones on the left flank and the ex-Llanelli mid-fielder quickly moved inside to the edge of the penalty area before releasing a rasping shot that flew into the goal leaving Coughlan well beaten.

Yet still the Old Gold were not satisfied.  In the 85thminute Jay Woodford, from the centre-circle, slid a fine pass through to Bull who comfortably outpaced his marker to reach the penalty area then struck a fierce drive that defeated Coughlan and finished in the back of the net – this young striker, in his first few games for the Old Gold, continues to impress with his pace and mobility and sharpness in front of goal.

Town’s eighth and final goal arrived on 89 minutes.  Morgan, with another excellent long pass from well inside his own half of the pitch, found Bull on the left-wing.  He quickly slipped inside to the wide edge of the penalty area then drove an inviting cross towards the goalmouth where Howell again applied the vital final touch to ensure that the ball was once more soon nestled in familiar surroundings – the back of the net!


Tom Windsor;  Greg Walters (sub Jordan Vickers 70);  Dave Vincent;  Lee Surman  (sub Lewis Rocke 79);  Jordan Knott; Elliott Scotcher;  Ceri Morgan (sub Jay Woodford 46);  Lewis Harling (sub Ceri Morgan 70);  Gwion Howell (sub Josh Bull 46);  Liam Thomas (sub Gwion Howell 70);  Chris Jones;

Goals:  Chris Jones (12,78);  Elliott Scotcher (44);  Josh Bull (57,85);  Greg Walters (60);  Gwion Howell (76,90).

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Robert Lloyd

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

Posted By Robert Lloyd

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

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

You can expect plenty of excerpts from the hit film musical The Greatest Showman.

It’s been quite a year for the Hospital Notes choir as they were featured as the Choir of the Week on the popular Roy Noble radio programme on Radio Wales earlier this year.

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

The initial aim of the choir was to bring together colleagues from the hospital and community sectors, past and present, to celebrate the anniversary of the NHS.

Under the talented leadership and direction of musical directors Andrew Harries and Stacey Harris, the choir rehearses at Prince Philip Hospital.

The choir’s first concert performance was at Dafen Church at the annual Remembrance Service. The choir also sang at Their Light Still Shines service at the National Botanic Gardens in Llanarthne.

The choir performed Christmas Carols around the wards at both Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen, and Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli.

Meanwhile, it’s going to be a busy August at St Peter’s Church in Carmarthen.

Wednesday, August 7 (1pm) sees the accomplished organist Carl Grainger performing at the church.

Carl Grainger started playing the piano at the age of 12, studying with Tom Bromley.

He read music at the University of East Anglia where his instrumental tutors included the well-known harpsichordist Sir Philip Ledger and David Parkhouse, pianist of The Music Group of London.

On leaving university he took up playing the organ, studying with the respected concert organist David Sanger.

He was appointed as Director of Music of the important Princes Street Church in Norwich, and subsequently served as Organist and Choirmaster of Beccles Parish Church in Suffolk, St James’ Shere and St Saviour’s Church in Guildford.

Carl is well known as an organ recitalist and has performed widely throughout the England and Wales.

Performing regularly as a harpsichordist, Carl has appeared on S4C television with the Chamber Orchestra of Wales and recently gave a critically acclaimed performance of Bach’s 5th Brandenburg Concerto with the Welsh Sinfonia.

Carl has lived in South Wales for many years, but now divides his time between homes in Mid Wales and France.

If you can’t get to Carmarthen, then Carl will be performing an organ recital at St Catherine’s Church, Gorseinon, on Tuesday, August 6 (7pm).

On Wednesday, August 14, the Wales Clarsach (Harp) Society will be performing at Carmarthen’s St Peter’s Church (1pm).

The Clarsach (harp) is Scotland’s oldest instrument, having been played throughout the land from very earliest times.

Two old clarsachs, from the 15th and 16th centuries survive, and may be seen in the National Museum of Scotland.

The modern instrument, though larger and with gut rather than wire strings, is based on their design.

Wednesday, August 21 (1pm) sees classical guitarist Duncan Leigh perform at St Peter’s.

Duncan is a classical guitarist, composer and teacher based in Swansea.

He performs the Renaissance and Baroque era music of Scarlatti and Handel, the Classical and Romantic compositions of Sor and Giuliani, traditional Spanish and Latin American guitar music (e.g. Tarrega and Villa-Lobos), up to modern day pop tune arrangements and his own original compositions.

The summer concert season at St Peter’s will finish on Wednesday, August 28 (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.

In other news, tickets have just been just released for the popular Loud Applause Rising Stars (LARS) afternoon concert at The Orangery in Margam.

It takes place at 3pm on Sunday, September 1 at The Orangery.

The concert will feature LARS singers, the group Melodynamic from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (which includes Callum Howells), Crescendo Youth Choir from Kenfig Hill and host Huw Tregelles Williams.

The Stage 8 Theatre School will be taking over Ffrwnes Theatre in
Llanelli on July 27, 28 and 29 to stage Hairspray Jr.

Picture the scene . . . it’s 1962, and Tracy Turnblad has one big dream – to dance on the popular Corny Collins Show.

When she finally gets her shot, she is transformed from social outcast to sudden star.

In balancing her newfound power with her desire for justice, Tracy fights to dethrone the reigning Miss Teen Hairspray, Amber von Tussle, and integrate a TV network in the process.

With the help of her outsized mom Edna, and guest DJ Motormouth Maybelle, the rhythm of Tracy’s new beat just might prove unstoppable.

The intimate surroundings of Stiwdio Stepni in Ffwrnes Theatre will provide the setting for An Evening with the Songbirds, 7.30pm on July 27.

Songbirds are a trio of local ladies with their unique and exciting sound. They promise to bring you an evening of eclectic music from the charts, the movies and the world of musical theatre. You can be serenaded in a relaxed cabaret style as they showcase some magnificent melodies and heart-warming harmonies. The ticket price includes a glass of prosecco!

For those, who appreciate their music with the volume cranked up a few notches, Ffwrnes Theatre will stage another ‘Cadno Music Live Presents . . .’ evening at 8pm on August 3. Full details of the show line-up will follow in due course.

Top harmony group Blake will be back at The Lyric on September 26 (7.30pm) as part of their Live in Concert Tour.

Their latest (and seventh) album went straight into the charts at No1. Blake have been performing for more than 10 years.

  • 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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Latest Carmarthen Town AFC match report from John Collyer

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Swansea City U23s (20 July 2019)

Carmarthen Town (1) Swansea City U23s (1)

Carmarthen continued their pre-season programme with this attractive fixture against Swansea City’s Under 23 team and produced an impressive performance against the Championship club’s talented youngsters, having held the lead until just the closing seconds of the match.

And remarkably this was achieved with a relatively weakened squad since key experienced players Lee Idzi, Lewis Harling, Luke Bowen and Jordan Knott were all absent.

Yet during the opening stages of this match that outcome seemed highly unlikely since City proceeded to monopolise possession and dominate the play as they launched a series of spirited attacks that kept the Town defence under notable pressure.

Even so, it was not until the 7thminute that the first significant scoring opportunity arose when Kieran Evans played the ball forward along the right flank to Liam Cullen who instantly crossed it into the penalty area where an unnamed trialist struck a fierce 15 yard drive that Jordan Vickers blocked in front of goal before the ball was cleared safely away.

But gradually the Old Gold began competing more effectively in midfield and showing some welcome signs of attacking intent – and on 9 minutes, with their first scoring effort, they went close to taking the lead.  Vickers made progress along the right-wing before sending a long pass through to Josh Bull near the corner of the penalty area – he slid the ball out to Chris Jones who hit a promising angled strike that ‘keeper Steven Benda palmed against the underside of the bar then recovered to claim the ball on the goal-line.

The visitors responded immediately – Evans, close to the by-line, played the ball back to Cullen who dispatched a rasping shot that Greg Walters, well placed near the post, guided to safety.

Shortly afterwards the industrious midfielder, once again very effectively deployed in a defensive role, was instrumental in Town’s next scoring effort on 17 minutes.  He fired a long free-kick to the far side of the penalty area to reach Jay Woodford who neatly set the ball up for Liam Thomas only for the all-time top goal-scorer to see his crisp 15 yard drive blocked on the goal-line.

City, however, continued to enjoy the greater share of possession and territorial advantage but without, by this stage, managing to seriously breach the home defence or stretch Carmarthen’s stand-in ‘keeper Josh Gould (curiously, ‘loaned’ from Swansea U23s for the first 60 minutes of the match!) – whenever called on, his handling and positioning was exemplary.

Yet the Old Gold once more went close after 24 minutes when Jones, from the half-way line, produced a superb pass that set Thomas racing clear into the penalty area but he was denied when Benda came quickly out of his goal to smother the striker’s scoring effort.

However they were soon rewarded for their spirited recovery having withstood the visitors’ early domination.  On 28 minutes Elliott Scotcher, in the centre-circle, threaded a delightful pass through to Bull who burst free into the penalty area and, as Benda advanced from his goal, the lively striker calmly and confidently drove the ball past the stranded keeper and into the empty net.

A further spell of City pressure was successfully resisted by the home defence, well marshalled by the experienced central pairing of Lee Surman and Dave Vincent, before Town launched another promising attack in the closing moments of the first-half.  In the 42ndminute they fashioned a stunning five-man passing move, initiated by Ceri Morgan in the centre-circle and finishing with Woodford firing a right-wing cross deep into the penalty area where from 12 yards Bull headed the ball over Benda’s outstretched arms but saw the ball clip the bar and bounce safely behind.

After the interval the pattern of play developed in much the same way as in the first-half with the visitors methodically building pressure and probing the Carmarthen defence but with no tangible success.

The first notable threat arose on 64 minutes when Ollie Cooper sent a fine pass into the penalty area for Simon Paulet to pursue only to be denied by Town’s substitute ‘keeper Thomas Windsor who was quickly off his goal-line to claim the ball.

Moments later Cooper, on the edge of the penalty area, rolled the ball back to Jacob Jones who struck a promising curling shot which Windsor carefully watched fly narrowly outside the far post.

Yet in the 73rdminute the Old Gold interrupted this early spell of City pressure when Scotcher, from just outside the penalty area, dispatched a stunning free-kick that cleared the defensive ‘wall’ but was turned against the post by substitute ‘keeper Josh Hutchings and bounced safely behind.

Shortly afterwards Vincent, with a smart pass, set Walters racing along the left-wing before sliding the ball across to Woodford who dispatched a fierce angled drive that Hutchings, with an impressive flying save, turned aside.

As the match went into the closing stages City pressed forward with even greater intent and were close to drawing level on 89 minutes when their trialist burst infield from the left-wing before hitting a crisp volley towards the goalmouth – Surman, in attempting to head the ball clear, managed only to divert on to the near post but thankfully it bounced safely away.

Yet cruelly the Old Gold were not so fortunate moments later – just 60 seconds from the final whistle they conceded an equaliser when Jacob Jones, on the left flank, fired the ball across the face of the goal and saw Cullen stab it home at the far post to the great dismay of the Town players and supporters.    However, despite that disappointment, on the overall balance of play a draw was certainly a fair result after this entertaining encounter.


Josh Gould (sub Tom Windsor 60);  Jordan Vickers;  Dave Vincent; Lee Surman;  Greg Walters;  Chris Jones (sub Lewis Rocke 86);  Ceri Morgan; Elliott Scotcher;  Jay Woodford;  Liam Thomas; Josh Bull (sub Gwion Howell 46):

Goal:  Josh Bull (28).

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

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Burry Port Town Band will stage an evening of ‘Music from the Stage and Shows!’ at the Memorial Hall onSaturday (July 20) at 7pm.

The concert will feature the Senior Band, the ever-growing Junior Band and a very special guest artist, Samuel Wyn-Morris.

Samuel is already a familiar name on the West Wales concert circuit.

He is a 22-year-old proud Welsh-speaking Llanelli boy; a former head boy at Ysgol y Strade.

In 2017, Sam graduated from the prestigious Guildford School of Acting (GSA) with a First Class Honours Degree in Musical Theatre.

In 2018, he made his professional debut at The Old Vic in London.

While training at GSA, he was one of the few chosen as a nominee for the Andrew Lloyd Webber Scholarship.

In his graduating year, Sam played leading roles in Guys and Dolls, Catch Me If You Can and Forbidden Broadway.

As a part of a 100 strong-choir, he performed at the prestigious BBC Maida Vale studios and the Royal Festival Hall in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Olivier Awards, a show which was broadcast live on BBC Radio 2.

Since graduating, Samuel has pursued his ambition of performing in London’s West End and he hopes 2019 will be his breakthrough year.

He is proud of the fact that he was the first and founder member of LARS (Loud Applause Rising Stars).

One of his highlights with LARS was in 2018 when he performed at the Second World War Liberation Commemorations in the city of s’Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands.

Samuel has appeared on TV in the Noson Lawen programme, Heno and Prynhawn Da.

He is also a popular guest soloist, having performed with Pendyrus Male Choir, Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir, Noteworthy, Morriston Ladies Choir and the Morriston Orpheus Choir.

Burry Port Town Band musical director Ceri John said: “The band are looking forward to entertaining our audience back home in Burry Port and sharing the stage with Samuel Wyn-Morris.

“We will be featuring some of the best loved music from the stage and shows, all celebrating the musical diversity of today’s modern brass band. This show will have something for everyone.”

The senior band are delighted to share the stage with the youngsters of the Burry Port Junior Band.

The youngsters are rehearsing in earnest for their performance, planning to bring some of their youthful fun and enthusiasm to the concert.

The evening will be all under the control of a skilful compere in the shape of Gwendraeth Valley actor Ioan Hefin, a favourite with the audiences at the Memorial Hall.

Ioan is known for a wide range of acting performances, both on television and film. His film appearances include Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016), Apostle (2018) and The Watcher in the Woods (2017).

Tickets will be available on the door for £12.50, or at a special early bird rate of £10 if you buy in advance from band partners – Premier Store, Burry Port and Elgan Jones Butchers, Burry Port.

Burry Port Town Band has a long and colourful past, with the first historical mention of the band, originally named the Elliots Smelting Works Band, found in 1896.

The band grew from this humble, industrial beginning and established itself as a community favourite, playing at local fetes and marches and raising money to support both itself and worthy causes.

One such worthy cause came at the turn of the century when the band organised a march for the destitute and unemployed of Kidwelly, which raised the princely sum of £8.

However, the band had wider ambitions than its local stage, and during its first period the lifeblood for the band quickly became the contest stage.

Indeed, a major highlight during this time was the band’s performance at the Crystal Palace in London.

Sadly, just before the outbreak of the Second World War the band’s fortunes took a turn for the worse and it disbanded.

Gone, but not forgotten, decades later, in 1972, a group of local enthusiasts held a meeting with the aim of re-establishing the band.

Old instruments and a library of music were discovered, and these, together with some new purchases, a place to rehearse and a keen group of volunteers, sowed the seeds of the band’s renaissance.

The band continued to grow in terms of its level of performance throughout the 1980s and 1990s, winning a host of prizes in 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st Sections and in 2000, the band was promoted to the elite Championship Section.

Since 2001, the band has seven times claimed the title of Champion Band of Wales, four times won the National Eisteddfod of Wales and three times represented Wales at the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain at the Royal Albert Hall in London, competing against the country’s top 20 bands.

In 2005, the band also claimed victory in the British Open Senior Cup competition at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, beating off the challenge of 20 other bands from across the United Kingdom.

In recent years, Burry Port Town Band have enjoyed performing alongside Paul Potts, John Owen Jones, Richard Allen, Timothy Richards, Côr Meibion Llanelli, Lleisiau’r Cwm, Côr Curiad, Twrw Tawe, Côr Aelwyd y Waun Ddyfal, The Tenovus Cancer Care Swansea Sing With Us Choir and S4C Côr Cymru Champions Parti Llwchwr.

The band prides itself on remaining a top-flight brass band.

Band organisers are keen to ensure that future generations of young players enjoy the opportunity of playing a brass instrument without any financial pressure on their families.

To which end, they run, without any cost to the young brass and percussion players, a Junior Band which rehearses on a Sunday evening from 5pm to 6pm, in the bandroom on Morlan Terrace, Burry Port.

In other news, the choristers from Llandyfaelog-based Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi are getting ready for their annual concert.

It will be at the Princess Gwenllian Centre in Kidwelly on Saturday, October 12, 7pm.

The choir will be joined by Gwendraeth Valley’s Côr Meibion Mynydd Mawr. The evening will also feature special guests Pantel and Trio.

The popular Concerts and Cakes initiative returns to The Lyric in Carmarthen at 1pm on Wednesday, July 24.

Concerts and Cakes helps bring people together regularly to provide a forum for the sharing of high quality live music.

Each session is delivered in cabaret style and begins with an informal participatory music session led by Live Music Now musicians, followed by tea and cakes.

Live Music Now is the UK’s leading musicians’ development and outreach charity.

They provide exceptional live music experiences to people with limited access to the arts, due to disability, illness or social disadvantage.

Participants benefit from the amazing therapeutic, social and emotional benefits of engaging with live music – an experience that transforms and enriches lives.

You can find out more about Live Music Now on their website – www.livemusicnow.org.uk

Feedback on the Concerts and Cakes idea has been great, so do pop along.

There will be a chance to see the Live Music Now team again when they visit Ffwrnes Theatre at 1pm on August 28. Make a note in your diary!

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

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Press releases

Japanese Knotweed warning

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Japanese knotweed is one of the world’s most invasive species, leaving some homeowners unable to sell their homes.

Garden experts from GardeningExpress.co.uk have revealed the five main signs of the weed in an attempt to save Britain’s buildings.

Garden gurus from  GardeningExpress.co.uk  have revealed the tell-tale signs of the destructive weed so Brits can protect their homes and gardens.

Listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the world’s worst invasive species, the weed’s root system and rapid growth can damage concrete foundations, buildings, roads and paving.

Some UK homeowners have even been unable to sell their homes because of evidence of knotweed on the property.

Chris Bonnett from  GardeningExpress.co.uk  said: “Just going from its appearance, Japanese Knotweed is the kind of thing you might welcome in your hedgerow.

“To some it can look quite attractive with its creamy white flowers and heart shaped leaves – but before you know it, it’s taken hold and is eating through the walls of your house.

“Japanese knotweed is so invasive that it can grow by a metre a month and can cause damage to your home – but the trouble is it can very easily be mistaken for a shrub by a novice gardener.

“These tips should help Brits identify this pesky plant, but if you’re still not sure, check online or ask an experienced gardener.”

1. Red shoots

(Image credit:  https://knotweeddoctor.co.uk/ )

New shoots will start to emerge in the spring – these are red/purple and can look a bit like asparagus spears. The leaves are normally rolled up and dark green or red in colour.

2. Leaves

As the leaves start to spread out, they’ll become a vibrant green colour and heart/shovel shaped with a point at the tip. Some can be as big as 20cm across and they grow staggered at the stem.

3. Flowers

In late summer and early autumn small clusters of white/cream flowers will appear. The clusters grow to approximately 0.5cm wide but up to 10cm long. The leaves will still be apparent and along with the flowers, it will create a dense foliage.

4. Stems

The stems are mostly hollow and bamboo like, with nodes and purple speckles. The general growth habit has a distinctive zigzag appearance. Stems can also grow up to 3 metres tall. In the winter, the stems become brittle.

5. Roots/rhizome

The rhizomes are the underground part of the weed. If fresh, they will snap easily. The outside is dark brown, and the inside is usually an orange/dark yellow colour. The Japanese knotweed rhizome system can grow to depths of 2 metres and can extend up to 7 metres horizontally from the plant. As little as 0.7g of rhizome can give rise to a new plant – which is one of the reasons this weed can become such a nuisance.

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