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Last updated: 30th January 2017

The 200 Club Draw for January 2017

The 200 Club draw organised by the "Friends of the Choir" took place on Friday 20th January at the White Swan Inn, Llanfrynach.
Prize money totalling £180 was distributed to the lucky six recipients.

 

 

 

 

The Choir Chairman, Edwin Roderick receiving a Certificate of Comendation on behalf of the Choir from Major Derek Adams (Rtd)
for The Choir's participating in the Presentation of Colours to the Royal Welsh by Her Majesty The Queen 11th June 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weekend of 18th to 20th January 2014 was the 135th Anniversary weekend of Rorke's Drift .

A concert given by CÔR MEIBION ABERHONDDU A’R CYLCH (Brecon & District Male Choir) and TALGARTH MALE CHOIR
with the Band of The Prince of Wales Division was attended by about 200 people.
Proceeds going to the Royal Welsh Regimental Museum Appeal.

Dr Haydn James President of CÔR MEIBION ABERHONDDU A’R CYLCH and of numerous Royal Albert Hall "1,000 voices" fame.
Conducting the joint choirs and The Royal Welsh Regimental Band

 

Dechrau Canu from the Plough Chapel being shown on S4c
Sunday 6th October 2013

 

“ Voices of the Beacons”

Our CD is an ideal Christmas Present

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY CÔR MEIBION ABERHONDDU!

.....What a concert!  What soloists! What an occasion! The celebration of the 75th birthday of Côr Meibion Aberhonddu was a musical tour de force; with the Choir in good voice and the three great soloists in top form.

.....Under the baton of our Musical Director, Lynnette Thomas, and singing to a full house, in the beautiful surroundings of the newly refurbished Plough Chapel, the Choir opened with a set including the rousing “Song of the Jolly Roger”, the sweet, tuneful “Unchained Melody” and the stirring “Anthem” from Chess arranged by our Vice President, Dr. Haydn James [conductor of numerous “1000 Voices” concerts and many a Wales International match crowd] who seemed to nod approvingly, from the balcony. Then came the turn of the professionals.

.....Rhys Meirion charmed the ladies with a little opera and a touch of Welsh tradition. Then WOW! - No, sorry - Gwawr Edwards, blonde, blue eyes with a voice and figure to match, to stir the hearts of even the oldest bass, with ballads and the haunting “ Dafydd y Garreg Wen”.  Then, to end this section, a power rendering of Y Dymestl by Iwan Wyn Parry, the “Vet with a Voice”, with tempestuous introduction by accompanist Chris Langworthy. There followed a piece by Mozart and, especially for our conductor. Lynnette, “Master of the House” from Les Miserables.

.....The first half ended with, Lynne Bryer taking over for the Basses favourite “Pan Fo’r Nos yn Hir”, then  “Y Darlun” and a spirited rendition of Ysbryd y Nos.

.....After the Interval the Choir performed a set of romantic love songs, quite a change from Cwm Rhondda and Rachie; “Wise Men Say”, arranged by our M.D, Lynnette Thomas; “When I Fall in Love”and “Some Enchanted Evening”.

.....The professionals returned! Bass Iwan singing two Welsh favourites “Gwlad y Delyn” and “Brenin y Ser” and Wawr thrilling all connoisseurs with “On My Lips Every Kiss is like Wine” and  “The Holy City”. Rhys ended this round with “Nella Fantasia” and “Bugail Aberdyfi “ ; then, to everyone’s surprise and delight, they came together to present their encore, a series of duets which they obviously enjoyed as much as we all did.

.....The build to the finale began with “When the Saints Go Marching In”, which always makes the audience smile when the ending catches them out; a powerful rendering of Mozart’s “O Isis and Osiris” complete with organ accompaniment by our compere, Aled Hopton and finally “Tangnefeddwyr” a piece with a powerful end that brought sufficient encouragement from our friends in the audience for us to sing, as our encore, that majestic Welsh hymn “Morte Christe”, “When I Survey that Wondrous Cross”.

.....After many words of thanks to all who had contributed to the Concert and to all those who have supported Côr Meibion Aberhonddu throughout the years, Chairman, Edwin Roderick, invited all to stand for the Anthem.
.....A spirited, passionate and tuneful outpouring of national pride concluded a memorable evening in a manner suited to the occasion.

 

Post script:- 
.....The Choir is proud to have presented a concert of this quality and wishes to record it’s thanks to the soloists, the Musical Directors, our Chairman and everyone else who has helped.

.....It particularly wishes to express its appreciation of the two young musicians who were key to the performance. Aled Hopton, an old friend of the Choir, who compered the evening, maintaining an amusing, informative and friendly rapport with our audience and also played the organ accompaniment to the Mozart piece.
.....And, Christopher Langworthy our young, undergraduate accompanist who not only played almost 30 pieces during the evening, but also won the applause of all three professional soloists who greatly appreciated his maturing skills in that most difficult role of accompanist.

 

And The Stars Enjoyed themselves too!

GWAWR EDWARDS (Soprano)


.......Gwawr was born in Aberystwyth and studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, The Conservatorio Statale di Musica ‘Giuseppe Verdi’ in Turin and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London gaining a first class Masters degree, under the tuition of Yvonne Kenny.

            She has won all the major awards and competitions in Wales including the prestigious Towyn Roberts Scholarship, the Llangollen International Eisteddfod, and the Violet Mary Davies award for most promising   soprano at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.

            Gwawr sang in the Chorus of Glyndebourne Festival Opera in 2010 and 2011 where she took many solo parts and understudied a number of principal roles. Her Oratorio repertoire is extensive and she has performed as a soloist in venues across the UK including The Royal Albert Hall, The Wales Millennium Centre, and at Highgrove for the Prince of Wales. Further afield, she has performed at concerts and festivals in America, Hong Kong, Patagonia and on three occasions in Beijing to celebrate St David’s Day.

            Her debut CD album was released in 2010 and featured Bryn Terfel with whom she recorded a duet for his 2010 Christmas album. She has been a soloist on BBC Radio with theConcert Orchestra and has made numerous appearances on Welsh Television.  

 

 

 

RHYS MEIRION (Tenor)



.........Rhys was brought up at Tremadog; graduated from Trinity College, Carmarthen and became head-teacher at Ysgol Pentrecelyn, Rhuthun before training as a professional singer. At the Guildhall School of Music and Drama he studied under that doyen of accompanists, Gerald Moore. In 1999, he joined the English National Opera, and was a Company Principal from 2001 – 2004. He has sung a variety of operatic leading roles. 

            In 2008, Rhys made his debut with Welsh National Opera returning again in 2010. He is widely travelled; recently making concert tours to Buenos Aires and Patagonia, the Last Night of the BBC Proms in Singleton Park and performances in Los Angeles and Seattle.

            Rhys is one of the “Three Welsh Tenors”, frequently seen on television and is a regular presenter of ‘Dechrau Canu Dechrau Canmol’ for S4C. His radio performances include Handel’s Messiah on Channel 4 Wales and on BBC “Songs of Praise”. Included in an extensive catalogue of recorded work are three solo CD recordings and a duet album with close friend Bryn Terfel with Catrin Finch on the harp.
.....He is Founder and Artistic Director of the Festival of Hope (Gwyl Gobaith), an annual outdoor music festival in North Wales and has been an adjudicator of the Bryn Terfel Scholarship. In any time left, he lives with his wife Nia and their three children at Pwllglas near Ruthun.

 

IWAN WYN PARRY (Bass Baritone)

 

......Iwan was born in Llandovery and brought up in Groeslon, Caernarfonshire, in a household where music was given prominence. He was educated in the Primary Schools in Groeslon and the Nantlle Valley where he had the opportunity to perform. While studying at the veterinary college in Edinburgh, he came under the influence of Colin Jones, Rhos. When settled in Dolgellau, he joined Côr Godre’r Aran and received lessons with Mrs. Eirian Owen. He was awarded the Blue Riband at the National Eisteddfod in 1991. 
.....As a soloist, he enjoys performing in concert, oratorio and in opera. As a member of Côr Godre’r Aran, he has visited Australia and New Zealand. But it was, as President of Dolgellau Rugby Club, he really enjoyed singing before an International match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Now, as a conductor, we wish him and his newly formed Côr Meirion-Iechyd da!        
.....Married to Kerry, they have two children, Aron and Ania who also enjoy making music.

 

 

 

 

Gentlemen!  

Tim Rhys-Evans with “Only Boys Aloud” and Gareth Malone with “The Military Wives” have shown us that almost everyone can sing and that singing together is fun, so, why not come and join us?

Practice Friday evenings in Llanfaes Primary School at 7:00pm

There’s lots of support; we are a friendly bunch; you will be very welcome and if you play the piano (Lady or Gent) you, also, will be warmly welcomed!

 

 

 

Reflections over 75 years


Anniversaries
are a time for reflection, a time to share memories of people, places and events and a time to celebrate achievements. Côr Meibion Aberhonddu has much to remember and to celebrate.

Formed originally in 1937, Brecon Male Choir did its bit to raise morale throughout W.W.2 giving many local concerts and reaching the high point of its musical career when, in 1946, with more than sixty members, it won first prize at the National Eisteddfod at Mountain Ash. Sadly, in 1947, the sudden death of its conductor Mr Alf Morgan forced it to disband.

In January 1961, Mrs Ogwen Thomas, then music advisor to the County of Brecon, was challenged to produce a choir to open BBC Television’s, then popular, programme “Going to Town”. In just two weeks some original members and their friends were ready to broadcast. It was a great success and under her baton, with an expanding and entertaining repertoire, Côr Meibion Aberhonddu developed a busy programme of concerts and soon re-established its reputation.

Now, under the energetic leadership of its Chairman, Edwin Roderick, the Choir continues to give some thirty performances each year; raising many thousands of pounds for local and national charities. Although they often perform at prestigious venues throughout the country, including, the Cathedrals at Brecon, Liverpool, Southwark, Rochester and Worcester; the pitch at the Millennium Stadium  and the Albert Hall, where they have taken part in ten “1000 Voices” concerts, they  really enjoy the more intimate atmospheres of local village halls and chapels.

The Choir often performs at civic and military functions and their singing has helped to strengthen national and international bonds of friendship, even in England. In 1966 they were honoured to adopt the Town Arms as their blazer badge and have been proud to represent Brecon on tours to our twin towns of Saline [USA] and Gouesnou [Brittany] and, more recently, have made many friends at Ribe in Denmark.

Continuity of our musical tradition is secure in the hands of our present Musical Director, Lynnette Thomas, who succeeded Ogwen in 1991 after serving an apprenticeship as accompanist lasting some fifteen years. She is ably assisted by her deputy Lynne Bryer and our guest accompanist Val Whiston [with kind permission of our friends at Talgarth]

The Choir encourages young people by supporting musical activity at Brecon High School and is delighted to have recruited a number of young singers and a talented undergraduate pianist/composer, Chris Langworthy, who accompanies us when in town.

We are very grateful to the ladies of our support team, “The Friends”, who raise funds to keep us well dressed and organise our social life AND TO YOU ALL, who have SUPPORTED US THROUGHOUT THE YEARS.

By John 'B'

 

 

 

St. David's Day
75 YEARS
GRAND CONCERT

Cor Meibion Aberhonddu a'r Cylch

with

Gwawr Edwards . Rhys Meirion . Iwan Wyn Parry

Capel Y Plough Chapel

Friday 1st March 2013 at 7pm

Strictly Tickets ONLY at £12.50

Contact Secretary
or
Choir member for Tickets

 

 

 

“GIFT OF LIFE”


Cor Meibion Aberhonddu completed the second phase of their campaign to support the Organ Transplant charities by performing the new Anthem of the Transplant Games at Rochester Cathedral on August 23rd.
The Anthem, “Gift of Life” with words by tenor Paul Silcox and his wife and music composed by our young accompanist, Christopher Langworthy, was received, with acclaim, by an audience of over 1000 gathered to mark the opening of  “Transplant Games 2012”.
The Games, sponsored this year by Medway Council, celebrate the many successful organ transplant operations performed each year by bringing together transplant athletes, their supporters, surgeons and medical staff as well as the families of organ donors and fund-raisers.
The concert gave us the opportunity to launch our new CD “Gift of Life”, sponsored by the Silcox family and recorded earlier this year. The CD is being sold throughout the UK to raise funds for the charities.
A good turn out of members thoroughly enjoyed a leisurely coach journey enlivened by driver John. This ex miner had reinvented himself as international coach driver and tour guide with many a story to tell.
The smart hotel, generously provided by Medway Council, was very comfortable and the large bar became the venue of a protracted “After Glow” much to the surprise and delight of the staff and other guests.
Sad as we were to be without our permanent conductor we were well pleased with the substitute we called off the bench.  Our old friend and vice-president, Hadyn James, took control and with a firm hand and a ready laugh knocked us into shape. Thanks to him we got in an encore before he rushed off to get to Wembley Stadium to conduct the massed choirs at the Rugby League Cup Final.            
Diolch Hadyn, see you soon.
It has been a great experience helping Paul and his family with this innovative method of raising funds.
Having shared the very positive attitude of all those at the Games you have to marvel at the skill of the surgeons and the courage of the donor families and appreciate the work the charities do to support them. We wish them good fortune and hope sales go well.
We can’t have done so badly either, we have been invited back for next year’s Games.

JB

 

 

 

“UP WITH THE JOLLY ROGER BOYS AND OFF WE GO TO SEA”


So starts the first verse of our latest “Pop” number and sure enough, off to sea we went.
A leisurely start for Cȏr Meibion Aberhonddu and their partners from Brecon; an overnight crossing to Roscoff and we were in Gouesnou in time for breakfast.
A quick change and coffee and songs with “les ancients” at the local old folk’s home and a laugh with our other old friends of the Twinning Committee, then off to the quayside for the “Tonnaires de Brest”.
This Festival of the Sea, a great coming together of ships and things and people, celebrates the link between Brest and the sea, to which it owes its reason for being.
The festival occurs every four years and brings together all things to do with the sea. Tall ships and small ships, fishing smacks and leisure craft, round the world sailors, racing dinghies and icebreakers.
Four kilometres of quayside are taken up by exhibitions, demonstrations of nautical skills and artefacts, bars and restaurants and a wide variety of entertainments.
We were one of the many shows including Indonesian  folkdancers, Funky dance bands, Breton Pipe bands, Cornish sea shanty singers and a circus.
We sang some six concerts, some informal and all enjoyed by our audiences.
We walked and sang and ate and walked some more and after four days returned to BRECON  exhausted but still full of “Joi de Vivre”

The trip was arranged by our friends of the GouesnouTwinning Committee who, once again, received us with great good humour and generosity; providing guidance and support when ever needed.
We were able to respond by giving a couple of formal concerts. At Briec we were played in by the local champion youth pipe band and royally entertained afterwards by the embryo twinning committee who wanted to see what might happen if they chose to twin with a town in Germany.
I think we showed some of the very positive results and much enjoyed the battle of songs which took place during a supper fuelled by some “Magic Apple Potion”
The visit was rounded off with an official reception at Ti-Kêr the Town- Hall at Gouesnou followed by dinner at our hotel where much “Bonne hommie” was in evidence along with the wine and yet more singing.
We are very grateful to our hosts for there friendship, their generosity and their boundless good humour.
At six AM the next day it was not “Goodbye” but “Au revoir”

John B.  

 

 

 


Click on CD cover for information

“A GIFT OF LIFE”

We have been saying, for a long long while, that “SINGING IS GOOD FOR YOU” now we are pleased to confirm that “SINGING CAN SAVE LIFE” too.

CÔR MEIBION ABERHONDDU is proud of their new CD, “THE GIFT OF LIFE”, dedicated to the courage and generosity of organ donor families everywhere and to be sold to raise money for three three National Charities; The National Kidney Foundation; Kidney Research U.K and The Donor Family Network.

The Project, inspired and led by Paul Silcox and his wife, has involved Paul’s family, the Choir and its young accompanist, Chris Langworthy in period of hard work and an experience that has made us all appreciate and value our own lives even more.

Paul is one of our own tenors. His life was saved some 35 years ago when he received a new kidney from an unknown donor. The new organ has allowed Paul to live a full and successful life, marry and bring up his family.

He has recently learned that the donor kidney came from a young boy, the same age as his own son, who had been killed in a road accident. The idea for the Project came from a desire to express how grateful he is and how much he has appreciated how difficult it must have been to make the decision in such tragic circumstances.

He has done this wonderfully well in this song, with words written by Paul’s wife Claire and the music composed by our very talented young accompanist Christopher Langworthy.  To complete the family's involvement the CD also includes a haunting, acoustic arrangement sung by Paul’s daughter Olivia. We also had a bit of fun singing two of our old favourites.

The choir will be involved in promoting sales of the CD nationwide and will be singing it at the opening of The World Transplant Games in Rochester Cathedral on August 23rd.

We are fortunate to have the opportunity to use all the talents of the Choir and be involved in such a innovative fundraising project.
We sincerely hope that the money raised will indeed enable SINGING TO SAVE MANY LIVES.

Copies of the CD can be obtained from our Secretary Mike Weaver.
Cost per CD £5.00 plus postage & package.

Article taken from "The Post "
Your Local Free Community Magazine Number 58 November 2011

AEPOW Programme.jpg

 

Local Welsh Rugby star says,

"Singing together give Wales the X Factor"

In a article, written for the Daily Telegraph, local hero Andy Powell declares that his team’s decision to sing together has been the secret ingredient that has brought some outstanding form to the Welsh national team as they prepare for their semi-final against France.

He says that taking singing seriously, learning the words and practicing regularly, has given them confidence, improved their public image and has cemented the bonds that unite the members of the team and their support staff. It is this, together with the deep freeze treatment, the grind in the gym and tough training-ground sessions that is giving them the edge on the field.

He says he has never sung in a choir but “….is holding his own” WELL GOOD LUCK ANDY and come and see us when you get back. We’re sure there’s a place for you somewhere in Côr Meibion Aberhonddu and you will be very welcome.

You may not be in such august company but if you too feel that you would like to enjoy the friendly company of a happy group of men and together achieve important goals, get fit and develop a great public image then why not drop in at one of our rehearsals at Llanfaes Primary School on any Friday night at 7.30. You will be very welcome.

 

The Good, the Bad and Even Better.

A busy weekend full of sorrow and joy. Wales lose to South Africa by a point and we say goodbye to our young and well respected accompanist Christopher Langworthy, but that was well offset by a couple of good performances by the choir and a pleasant surprise!

After almost three years with the choir,” Young Chris”, as we still think of him, has played his last Amen for us before he leaves for the next stage in his musical career. Chris joined us as a sixteen year old and almost immediately won our respect with his sensitive interpretation of his role as accompanist and supporter of the voices of all sections. He responded accurately to the conductor’s baton and remained calm and patient when rehearsals went pear shaped.

He soon established his credentials as a very competent musician, reading everything at sight and getting most notes right and almost always in the right order; readily responding to the banter on those rare occasions when he got things wrong. We will long remember his soft touch in the quiet passages at the end of “Y Darlun” and the joyful syncopation that concludes “One”...Yeah! And if that’s not all, his compositions for the piano, inspired by excerpts and places in his life in Brecon are brilliant.

It has been a pleasure and a privilege for us to be part of his development and to watch how his confidence and character have evolved in such a short time. We believe his introduction to the ethics and rigours of touring with the Choir, during our recent visit to Denmark, in the company of the Top Tenors, will have prepared him for his new life as an undergraduate at Manchester University. We wish him well.

And here is where the good news starts. Chris has promised to keep in touch and play with us when he can.

The rest of the week-end went well too. In the afternoon a grand wedding at Brecon Cathedral with handsome groom and blushing bride and a congregation inspired and entertained by the choir. Despite the fact we sang Troyte’s Chant in unison, to the disgust of "She who must be obeyed", although we did get an appreciative round of applause.

Then a rapid 100 mile round trip to meet up with our old friends at Caldicot who had invited us as guests at a concert dedicated to the memory of their late Secretary Roy Shuck. The Caldicot Choir are some 80 strong so the contrast between their power and our more delicate tone was appreciated by a large audience. Their repertoire differs from ours and it was good to hear old favourites like “Nidaros” sung with power, accuracy and passion. It was good too to join with them to sing, as a massed choir, those stirring anthems “An American Trilogy” and “O Gymru” with the sweet voice of their other guest, soprano Holly Holyoake, singing the solo.

As always, we were greeted as old friends and royally entertained in their fabulous Choir Hall after the concert. There were new songs too in the ”Afterglow” where choirs traditionally exchange favourite party pieces like “Gospel Shoes” and “Rachie”.

The coach was quiet on the return journey in the early hours of Sunday morning but spirits revived when we heard that “Young Chris” had been awarded the prize for the “Best young accompanist” by the South Wales Association of Male Voice Choirs. Well done again Chris and “Good Luck”.

 

 

“Only Men Aloud”
appear with
CÔR MEIBION ABERHONDDU.

Although he tried hard, our Chairman Edwin Roderick, was not able to convince the sell-out audiences at either the matinee or evening performances, that we were “Only Men Aloud”.
It may have been our red blazers or the number of shiny bald heads or even the less than agile way we move. Never the less they gave us a rousing reception and good support as we completed our half hour stints.

It is quite a different experience singing on a theatre stage from performing in some of the venues we have visited lately. The long lasting echoes of the cathedrals and the warm atmosphere of small country churches make the sound take on a different character each evoking a unique feeling for the choir.

The Theatre has a tall ceiling and the stage is surrounded by sound absorbing material so we get little feed back. Sensitive microphones and tuned amplifiers hear what you sing and take it directly to the audience and with all those spot lights you can’t actually see who you are singing to.  

Fortunately our Deputy Musical Director, Lyn Briers, took control and supported by our accompanist Christopher Langworthy, we remembered what she had told us and we sang our programme with enthusiasm and to the delight of both audiences.

Post performance comments have confirmed that we did well and have sustained the standards set by Lyn and our Musical Director Lynnette Thomas who had been unable to be with us on a very enjoyable evening.

It was a great pleasure to work with "Only Men Aloud". They are a nice bunch of professionals who are very supportive and have done a tremendous job to breath new life into Male Voice Singing in Wales. Thank you Boys, it was an honour to appear on the same stage.

Our only problem now is that Lynnette may decide that we should work a little movement into our act; perhaps employ a choreographer and buy some hats. Now that would be interesting !!!!

 

On the same Bill as "Only Men Aloud"

CÔR MEIBION ABERHONDDU are sharing the stage at "Theatr Brycheiniog" ( Brecon Theatre) with Only Men Aloud. Following the unbelievable demand for tickets, the 2008 winners of BBC One’s hit Saturday night show, Last Choir Standing, have added a 2.30PM performance to their Brecon visit on August 7th. A truly memorable and exciting day awaits CÔR MEIBION ABERHONDDU.

 

Choir Tour May 28th – 5th June 2011

It was a lucky that two Danish visitors just happened to see our invitation, on a church door, to sit in on our Friday night’s rehearsal at Llanfaes School. A chance remark then sparked the idea that we might, one day, sing in Denmark.

So!, some two years later, our tour to Denmark got off to a rousing start at Billund airport, with welcoming flags and smiles and tuneful choruses both sung and waved by our hosts, Brynhild Tophøj and Anders Rasmussen, and members of their three choirs; It was a great start and proceeded to get even better.

There followed a whirlwind of events and experiences the choir will never forget. Neither will they ever forget the warmth of the welcome from all our Danish friends and the abundance of goodwill that accompanied our every encounter.

 After a substantial dinner where we enjoyed the company of most of the organising committee [and learned that at all good dinners in Denmark you always get second helpings] we settled into our very clean, comfortable, modern holiday complex in Ribes, to relax. Not for long.

Our first concert in the cathedral was reassuring. Ribes has the oldest cathedral in Denmark. It is enormous and the space inside gigantic with an echo that goes on for ever so the acoustics were a little difficult but, when we got used to it, the sound became almost ethereal.

A full house enjoyed our programme. They appreciated the dramatic contrast between the powerful “Rachie” and the soft, sweet lullaby “Hine Hine” and, by special request of an expatriate Welsh lady, our rendering of “Myfanwy”. At the end we sang together, much to their surprise, their national anthem [in Danish].

The next day we joined thirty members of the three choirs, who were our hosts, at a coffee and cake reception in the wooded garden of Brynhilde and Anders and then on to the tiny country church at Sneum . What a contrast to the cathedral. The church, with elegant arches was full to capacity and the ambience intimate and friendly. It was just the place to sing “ Y Darlun”.

Our audience, containing many of our hosts sang, as is their custom, a number of psalms. Then the choir, squeezed into a small space, with the sound bouncing back from the whitewashed stone walls, responded with one of our best performances. The three tenors did well too. We even got a couple of VGs from SWMBO.*

A morning off and then a marathon.  Brynhild and Anders conduct three choirs. The Bramming male choir; a ladies choir and a mixed group. Today was their joint Christmas party which had been postponed so that we could be there too.

Preceded by a concert at 4.30 pm, in which all four choirs took part, the dinner had many courses with each choir providing the entertainment between each course. [and second helpings] followed by a dance [where couples actually danced together] then hot soup and home at midnight.

 Exhausted, we were happy that our only commitment on the following day was to act as hosts at a BBQ at our hotel. Even then our most generous guests brought their own food and drink so our contribution was minimal. The entertainment was much enjoyed with less formal versions of songs from our repertoire and a novel interpretation of “Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud” [the famous Flanders & Swan classic] by”Top Dog”, John Clifford. All this attracted quite a number of fellow guests at the hotel who, with a little persuasion, bought many of our CDs.

Ascension Day is a national holiday so Anders, his merry men and their ladies took us to Mandø, a low sand spit off the west coast to see the wild life and, of course to eat two courses at lunch. The farmers in our party went off to see one of the local farms with an automatic milking parlour for 150 cows. Today there was no singing but much laughter.

Sadly we left Ribe and drove to Haderslev for our final concert. On our way we stopped off at Kolding castle where an ingenious conservation scheme, designed by members of Brynhild’s family, has encased the ruins in an elegant wooden shell to house a national museum.

We had looked forward to singing in Haderslev. It is the home town of Brynhild and Anders, the place where they first met and the place Anders built his first pipe organ, a small delicate design that is dwarfed by the original massive instrument.

Again we were to sing in a massive space with narrow knave and a high roof. The echo was a little harder and it was easier to sing. [Thought! The nice thing about an echo is that the applause lasts longer.] It was strange to see only the heads of our audience [which included an expat Welshman from Lampeter] as they sat in their boxed pews but we soon new that they were there. We must have done quite well because we got our first standing ovation and great support when we again sang their anthem.

Our finale, a quick visit to Copenhagen, where we, by public request, gave three “al-fresco performances, on a tourist boat on the canal; in a restaurant and in the street, all causing much excitement and mirth. Then a quick dash back to the airport and many fond farewells.

It was a memorable trip, we have been proud to promote the Welsh Male Voice tradition; we have shared our love of music with an incredibly generous, friendly and happy group of people and we have created a permanent bond between Côr Meibion Aberhonddu and the choirs of Bramming. That can’t be a bad week’s work.

No trip like this just happens and we are all very grateful to the organising committees in Brecon and Bramming who spent much time and nervous energy to ensure its great success.

Diloch yn Fawr”; “Many thanks”  or as they say in Bramming “Mange Tak”

Penned by J.B.

 

 

 

 

Thank You for your very impressive performance in the Cathedral of Haderslev, Denmark -
Says Knud Erik Johansen.

Click the link to view photographs taken by Knud Erik Johansen
https://picasaweb.google.com/Kejodan/Brecon_Male_Choir_Wales?authkey=Gv1sRgCN3Rx4_t_J-z0AE#

 

 

Look-Out Denmark, here we come!

Things are getting hot around here with rehearsals twice a week and whole string of concerts lined up before the end of June.

It is especially exciting because some of the concerts will be in Denmark  where we will sing in five cathedrals and a college at the invitation of new Danish friends who called in on one of our Friday night rehearsals and thought it might be fun to set up a tour.

Through their very generous goodwill  we will  spend a week based at Ribes on the west coast and hope to finish up busking at the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen after a tour of the head-quarters of Carlsberg Lager - Hick!

We have been brushing up on our repertoire and have even learned, with the expert help of immigrant Danes, their National Anthem. We hope we can do it justice. At least they should recognise the tune !!!

It is to be a Good Will tour and not in any way revenge for the visits on their Viking forebears some 1100 years ago when they swept the ancient Celts into the hills of Wales. In fact we should be very grateful. If they hadn’t done that we might all still be living in England.

There a five or six local concerts too and another massed choir event to open the Hay Festival this year. We enjoy these big choirs, they bring together our neighbours from Builth, Rhyader and Talgarth to make a mighty sound. We will also be at the Brecon Mountain Centre for  a BBQ on the 19th of June at 7pm . Why not come and join us?

Enjoy your Summer, we will.

 


 

 

Ymddangosodd yr erthygl yma yn BARN – Hydref 2010 – Rhifyn 573.
Ysgrifennwyd yr adolygiad gan Tristian Evans.

Ers ei sefydlu yn 1937, mae Côr Meibion Aberhonddu wedi hen arfer perfformio mewn neuaddau cyngerdd, cadeirlannau a phriodasau di-ri, ac wrth iddynt baratoi ar gyfer taith i Ddenmarc y flwyddyn nesaf, mae’r CD yma, ac arno 17 trac, yn rhoi syniad da o’r hyn sydd ganddynt i’w gynnig o dan gyfarwyddyd Lynnette Thomas.
Yn ei gyfanrwydd, mae’r detholiad o ffefrynnau cysegredig, ‘canol y ffordd’ a thraddodiadol yn dangos gallu i greu sain gytbwys, gynnes a chlir gan gyfuno farnau gorawl gydag adrannau unawd, deuawd a thriawd ar ambell drac. Yn wir, ceir nifer o berfformiadau cerddorol iawn.
Cymerwch y trefniant o ‘Buddugoliaeth’ er enghraifft – dyma ddehongliad sy’n angerddol a sensitive bob yn ail, tra mae’r newidiadau sydyn yn lefel yr egni yn ‘Adiemus’ yn drawiadol iawn (er y gallai’r canu atebiadol fod yn fwy beiddgar byth hyd yn oed). Mae’r gadwyn o emyn-donau Cymreig tuag at ddiwedd yr albwm wedi eu huno’n gelfydd o ganlyniad i gyfeiliant di-dor y pianydd Christopher Langworthy o drefniant Alwyn Humphreys. Hoffais y defnydd cynnil o organ gan Michael Hodgson ar ‘An American Trilogy’ ac ‘Amazing Grace’, ac mae perfformiad y côr o ‘Y Darlun’ – gosodiad Davey Davies o emyn T. Rowland Hughes – yn hynod effeithiol.
Wrth wrando ar yr albwm hwn mae’n anodd peidio sylwi sut mae gwead a deinameg ‘Lleisiau’r Bannau’ yn adlewyrchiad perffaith o’r ardal fynyddig lle mae’r cantorion yn byw. Heb os, dyma recordiad hynod bleserus i wrando arno.

 

 

Media Release - Lions Club of Keynsham

Following an extremely successful double choir concert in 2009 the Lions Club of Keynsham have decided to bring back one of those choirs, the Mendip Male Voice Choir on October 16th at St John's Church, High Street, Keynsham.

However this year they will be joined by the Aberhonddu Male Voice Choir from Brecon, Wales.  The choir brought out their fourth CD 'Voices of the Beacons' in May last.  The choir will be coming to Keynsham ahead of their appearance at the Grand Concert at the Royal Welsh Showground in late October. At the concert they will be singing with three other choirs. In their past the choir was the first outside choir to sing in the Chapel Royal of St.Peter ad Vincula in  the Tower of London at the request of the Yeoman of the Guard.

Mendip Male Voice Choir are very active locally in raising charitable funds for a variety of good causes. The choirs musical director is Kate Courage who has a deep musical background both in  song writing, singing and conducting.  Their pianist is Carl Speck a graduate of Bath Spa University with a degree in music and drama and he often performs with Bath Opera.   Their resident  soloist is Hannah Lockwood another music graduate of Bath Spa University who has sung with Bath Opera and has been soloist on a number of occasions singing in a number of Bath's historic buildings.

Last year the concert in Keynsham was sold out. Lion President Alan Hale told us "We were almost embarrassed by our own success last year when we came close to having some of the audience standing, thankfully that did not happen but we are hopeful we shall sell out out again. It will be particularly rewarding if we can because the concert this year will raise funds for Help For Heroes which is giving support to our brave men and women who are fighting in Afghanistan and come home terribly wounded. It is a fine charity and in this concert we are going a very small way to saying thank you top the troops."

Tickets can be obtained from the organiser Lion Les Smith, 0117 9325811 or any other Lion and also from the St John Parish Office. The event starts at 7.30pm and the tickets cost £7.

 

The sun is out...

.....and a fine crop of hay is coming in so everyone smiles; it must be Summer again. Soon Lynnette will be sorting out the sleeping bags and heading for her well deserved family holiday; that’s another year nearly gone.

.....It has been a busy year with the usual mixture of weddings, concerts and, sadly, funerals. At weddings it is interesting, sitting in the choir stalls, to watch young couples make their vows. Some arrive and confidently say their piece, others are overcome by the emotions of the occasion and some are so excited they giggle. All of them seem to welcome a well-sung chorus that helps to entertain and unite their families and friends. We were particularly pleased to be at the wedding of our President’s daughter where we impressed her many friends from “Away” with s selection of traditional welsh hymns and songs that brought a tear to many an eye.

.....There was many a tear too at the funeral of one of the stalwarts of the choir. Ken Thomas had been a member for some forty years. A larger than life character who supported and promoted ADMC through his many contacts among the farming fraternity of Wales and who also added spirit and depth to the Bottom Bass section where he loved to suck peppermints and sing his heart out. At a packed funeral service, with choir and congregation in full voice, you could have heard “Morte Christe” from Brecon to Bangor.

.....At a smaller but equally significant funeral we paid tribute to the memory of another stalwart, Alec Blisseset-Martin whose quiet demeanour belied his heroic military experiences. “We will remember them.”

.....A well-attended AGM dealt swiftly with the business of the year, in good spirits. The President complimented the choir on its continuing contribution to the local community and looked forward to the combined choirs concert in the autumn.
.. The Chairman reported on a busy and successful year with only a few disappointments and the sad loss of two of our stalwarts. He looked forward, with enthusiasm, to the trip to Denmark next year and the strong support from choristers and their families to ensure its success.
..Lynnette thanked the choir for their efforts and promised, to loud applause, new pieces to sing next year.
..The Treasurer showed, through an itemised financial report, that we are clearly solvent even after the purchase of a new organ and a new set of uniforms. He hoped the sales of our CD would help raise money for the tour.
..The meeting enthusiastically thanked the Ladies Committee; the Chairman and Officers; Chris our accompanist, Lyn Briers and our Musical Director for their sterling work.
The usual suspects were re-elected to Office, en bloc, nem con.

.....Our Deputy Musical Director, Lyn Briers, is combining her career as a solo soprano with a stint of conducting. We are delighted and thoroughly enjoy her unique interpretation and the occasional solo.

.....Young Chris Langworthy has settled in well. In the last year he has grown in confidence and continues to demonstrate his remarkable musical skills together with a very strong commitment to the Choir. We will miss him badly when he leaves for university next year.

.....In the middle of May we enjoyed a busy, tiring, but very rewarding weekend recording our fourth CD. “ Voices of the Beacons”. With the help of the very professional staff of Sain, the internationally famous recording company, we put together a dozen or so tracks that, we hope, will give pleasure to our supporters and the public in general and perhaps swell the funds a little.
.....At this time the first editing has been done and, even if we say it ourselves, we are very pleased with the final result. Topping and tailing the project should be completed and the final product on sale by the end of the summer. If you would like to know more contact our Secretary.
.....Our Lynnette says that practicing for the CD has already reaped rewards. She feels that, as a choir, we moved up a notch; we seem to understand each other better and she believes that, perhaps, she has not put enough pressure on us, as musicians. So lads - Look out!

.....Preparations are well under way for the Builth Wells; Talgarth, Rhyader and Brecon Choirs to combine to give a Grand Concert at the Royal Welsh Showground on Friday 29th October 2010. The tenor Aled Wyn Davies and the soprano Eirlys Williams are booked and a publicity campaign will begin in early autumn. There will be allocations of tickets direct to each choir to sell and arrangements for a bar are comfortably in hand. It is many years since the four choirs have sung together and we all look forward to a great occasion.

.....We have been invited to DENMARK for a short visit next year, centred on the town of RIBE on the west coast. Our hosts have generously arranged a busy itinerary with a number of concerts at prestigious venues. They have been over to hear us rehearse and our Chairman has been there to prepare the way for us, so all we need now is a big effort to raise the fare and to learn the words.

            It looks like next year will be just as busy and just as much fun. Isn’t that GREAT !

 

 

 

Christmas Is Upon Us

The first snows highlight the Brecon Beacons and Christmas is upon us. Where ever did that year go?
It’s been a busy summer. Our annual tour took us back to our friends at Yarnscombe. What a friendly bunch they are; great support at the concert and very generous hospitality. Thank you one and all.
The concert at Sennybridge went well too. We always have a to do well there, it is the hometown of many of the choir and provides an expertly critical audience. With a full muster and the help of great solos by Lynne Briers and Huw Morgan we seemed to do the trick this time.
Our new accompanist, Chris Langworthy, joined us at the beginning of the year. From a nervous sixteen year old he has matured into a confident young pianist with a real talent and an engaging manner. He even tries to boss the tenors. Welcome Chris.
It has been the season for weddings. Four or five, all very different and all good fun. At one, we were in direct competition with kilted pipers but held our own and helped to cement the Celtic bond. At another we serenaded the wedding party at dinner and joined with the Best Man in a noteworthy rendition of “The Fields of Athenry”.
The next wedding is the social event of the year. We are to sing, at the Cathedral at the wedding of the daughter of our President,
David Jones-Powell. We understand that most of the guests are from beyond Offa’s Dyke and our task is to impress them with the quality of our traditional singing. What a responsibility! – It’s got to be better than “Swing Low Sweet Chario-ott”.
Coincidentally, our new uniforms arrived this week. Very smart and a little redder than the old maroon ones we have worn for years. This and a
brand-new Roland Organ should give us the very best chance of success.
Once again we say a big thank you to the ladies committee,
“The Friends of ADMC”, who have helped us raise the necessary funds. They work very hard on our behalf.
Sadly we have lost one or two of our older choristers but the good news is that three or four new recruits have arrived and are settling in well.
Even more good news is that Lynne Briers has become our Assistant Musical Director and has helped lighten the load on Lyn Thomas who continues to amaze us with her dedication and commitment to the choir.
With a full compliment we look confidently to the future. A quiet spell in the New Year will allow us to learn a modern repertoire before lambing starts and finally produce the CD we have been promising ourselves.  Watch this space !! 
Meanwhile,  Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd da.
Happy Christmas to you and best wishes for a peaceful New Year.

 

Summer Thoughts

Well that’s the summer over "Three fine days and a Thunder storm" the Met man says. Let’s hope the three fine days was enough for all our farmers to gather in hay, silage, haylage etc. The winter will be a sad time in the bottom basses if the Chairman can't afford a pint or two.

With the first concert on September 6th (Sennybridge Show Concert) followed by another 6 days later [and that being an away fixture] we will have a couple of very busy weeks to brush away the cobwebs and to remember our words.

Before the holidays there was some excitement as a decision was almost made on our new uniforms. Sample blazers were inspected and a new pocket crest designed. All we have to do is get all the Committee to say YES at the same time and then persuade the Treasurer to sign a cheque. Hopefully we should look very smart in time for Christmas.

This lavish spending spree makes fund raising a priority. Time to have a go at another CD perhaps? The new pieces we have been breaking in would make a good start. "Pan Fo'r Nos yn Hir" sounds pretty good, even at this stage.

Our Newsletter Editor has brought some bad news from Scandinavia and just in time too, as we have the prospect of a trip to Denmark under consideration. He reckons that a pint of beer would cost more than £7.00. !!! They did say there was a Global Financial Disaster but he didn't think it was that bad. Perhaps we could arrange visits to the Carlsberg and Heineken breweries to compensate but I don't think they would welcome us twice a day.

We are all looking forward to the coming year. We have a busy schedule and a challenge from our Musical Director to be more like “Only Men Aloud".

What's life without an objective?

 

    The Annual Outing

...Phew! what a scorcher? The hottest day of the year and we're off on tour. Super start, everybody on time [including the Chairman], lovely first phase, over the Bridge to that other place. [By the way, did you know that the Welsh name for England is "Lloegr"; yes its an old welsh word for "The Lost Lands", referring to the lands lost to the invading hoards of Anglo-Saxons and the rest in the days before the Bridge was built.]
    A long stop for lunch and we're all on board again and then - nothing. Pregnant pause while bewildered driver turns the key yet again and still nothing. Long conference with other experts, including four coach drivers, three farmers and a second tenor. Still nothing.
    "Thank goodness for the mobile phone!" I say. Soon we've got action and in only two hours we're on our way - in a new coach and a little short of cash; hot but happy and all knowing a lot more about the common-or-garden names for plants and for engines that won't work.
    Everything's OK at the hotel and we are just enjoying an after dinner rehearsal in the Bar [where else? did I hear you ask?] when our new Hon Sec, ever keen to make a name for himself, brokers his first booking. The groom at a wedding reception invites us to entertain the guests. After a quick "Wise Men Say only fools rush in" and the warning that "......life has killed the dream I dreamed" we exited to a full blown "Rachie" to tumultuous applause. Well they seemed very pleased except that half way through "Rachie" the Bride did look as if she had her mind on other things.
    With the sun still shining and a short sleep behind us we took our annual trip to the sea-side and enjoyed the harbour at Ilfracombe before a quick change and a tortuous journey through the glorious Devon countryside to arrive as the sun was setting at what must be the most friendly village in the county.
    Yarnscombe sits in the middle of almost nowhere, a bit like Crai, surrounded by acres and acres of gently rolling pasture land where cut hay lay in the fields, just to remind some of us that there was still work to get back to on Monday. The village is tiny but boasts a fine Village Hall complete with bar, skittle alley and concert hall where some 200 enthusiastic locals had come to listen.
    The choir and the three tenors were in good voice and the concert went well, according to the ladies of our support team. The audience seemed to enjoy the performance and the innovations too with Lynette taking the solo part in that beautiful arrangement of " Ai Am Fod Haul Yn Machlud"  and the Rev. Michael acting as our MC for the first time.
    The Rev. Michael has recently joined as part of the elite second bass team and had volunteered to MC the evening because he comes from Barnstaple and says he has a better grasp of the language than most. He did very well, much to the delight of Hywel who has been trying to give up the job for years. In the hand over, Hywel confessed that, as MC, he had never told a joke. He reckons it better to kid the audience along when things don't go well than suffer that awful silence when they don't get the joke at all. Well it worked for him anyway.
    We did well in the raffle as usual. John B did best, winning a daring corseted figure, in puce with white lace and made with a twisted wire rack to hold his jewellery. He was over the moon.
    The afterglow was a little muted, we had had a long day and on return to the hotel all but the youngest made for their beds only to miss another wedding. Stories differ on the circumstances but somehow a hard core were tempted by offers of free drink to entertain once more. That they did it well and to the credit of Cor Meibion Aberhonddu is not in doubt.
    The final sun-filled morning saw us off to Street and the temptations of a retail park. Many, excited by the prospect of a good dose of retail therapy, grabbed a VISA card and disappeared into a maze of factory outlets to return later with elegantly designed carrier bags containing who knows what. The rest found a shadowed room and took to discussing the troubles of the World, over a quiet pint, or two, as one does.
    A trouble free run home and a welcome friendly bed brought the weekend to a climax.
 Where next? 
"Denmark" says the Chairman.
Start saving boys that really would be different.

Annual Outing

We are all looking forward to a long weekend in Barnstaple at the end of May. It is an honour to be invited back to give a concert in the impressive Yarnscombe Village Hall and also enjoy a relaxing stay at the Durrant House Hotel. We had such a warm reception there last time and made so many friends that it doesn't seem anything like four years ago.

It should be less stressful this time without the BBC cameras following us everywhere as they filmed the life of our Chairman for a series of TV programmes.
With a cast like us we were a little disappointed that the film failed to get an OSCA.
May-be next time !!

The AGM

 Another AGM has come and gone and all the usual suspects back in place [Thank goodness] except for the post of Hon Sec. After many years service Wyn Lewis felt that the pressures of work and family made it necessary for him to relinquish the post he had enjoyed for so long. His worthy successor is Mike Weaver and our new Marshall will be David Evans. Good luck both!! 

The meeting was well attended and held in the best of spirits with plaudits going to all those that deserved them. In particular to Edwin, our Chairman and Lynnette, our Musical Director, the Committee and young Chris our teenage accompanist who improves by the minute.

The big question of Uniform was again discussed. Should we go for a dinner jacket or retain our well loved maroon blazers or perhaps both? What ever is decided we need to get on and produce a new CD so that our funds will stand the strain.

Fortunately our accounts showed that we are in a good position with "The Friends of ADMC" contribution for the year exceeding £5,000. What would we do without them? Thank you Ladies!

An Apology

We have had to apologise to the Top Tenors for a scurrilous rumour that is circulating and are happy to confirm that the pain in Lynnette's left ear was easily cured by a small adjustment to her new glasses.

Good News

Prof Takeshi Tanigawa of Ehime University School of Medicine claims that Singing is good for you. He says that Singers use deep breathing, which is good for the nervous system and after singing they usually receive applause. This is a good kind of social support and helps in the face of adverse occasions or stressful events.  He also says that it keeps you looking young as you're gently exercising the muscles of the face. [ If this is so some of us must be well over 100 years old !!]
Finally he recommends "Responsible drinking with good friends"; because it "...makes you feel happy and healthy" [They know a thing or two these Japanese so we must try that sometime!!!!!.] If you would like to try it, keep healthy and look younger, why not join us on a Friday night and see if it works for you. You would be very welcome.

What we like to Sing

 A recent poll of members showed that top of our ten favourites is "American Trilogy" an arrangement of “Mine eyes have seen the coming of the Lord, with its huge finish.
 A close second was "Ysbryd Y Nos" a modern song that we sang, for the first time, at the Royal Albert Hall this year; it gives the Top Tenors a chance to show off.
And our best loved Welsh Hymn was "Gwahoddiad".
   
 Llynette is anxious that we push on with some new stuff so "Watch this space"

Man of the Month

 Every now and again our Newsletter prints a short interview with a choir member and this Quarter it was the turn of our new Hon. Sec., Mike Weaver. A Top Tenor with a long experience of Army life and a few years “Whistling” as our Marshall. He says the Army was easier.
Mike thinks the TTs get the best lines to sing and they deserve it. The rest of us are not so certain.  He enjoys his Jazz and reckons ROCK is a group of guys playing three chords, listened to by 3000 people but JAZZ is 3 people listening to one guy playing 3000 chords. The debate is about to start.!!

A Day to Remember

Picture the scene. A crowded rehearsal, a new piece to attempt and the opening lines to be sung, pianissimo, by the basses. Young Chris plays the intro with great sympathy and after quiet intake of breath; the words softly permeate the silence. 
 "Pan fyddo'r nos yn hir, a phell y wawr .........

Surprisingly we are stopped and with a certain misapprehension we await the verdict.

Imagine our consternation as "That Smile"; the one that has comforted many a grieving child, and one or two aging second tenors too, flickers across the face of our MD and she utters those never-to be-forgotten words "THAT WAS WONDERFUL"

It was May 8th 2009.
Write it in your diary and remember the day that the basses
GOT IT RIGHT FIRST TIME.

[Enjoy the moment while you can it may not happen again for some time - Lynnette]

Gouesnou Twinning

Over the Easter weekend Brecon will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Gouesnou Twinning Association when some 75 guests will be entertained by famillies in and around the town.

   

Last year the choir was entertained like royaly as we celebrated the 20th visit from Wales to Brittany. This year it is our turn to reciprocate so keep the following dates open so that you can help the Twinning Committee make this year memorable.

 

Please note the following schedule:

Saturday 11th. April:

            Visitors arrive, at 6pm, hopefully to a formal civic reception at the             Guild Hall.
                [We may be needed to greet them]
Sunday 12th April:
            Trip to Dan yr Ogof and social evening - "Twmpath" with Jac y Do.
            [Your dancing feet and moral support probably needed]

Monday 13th April:
            Trip to Caldicot and Caerleon and evening with Host Families
            [Your evening off - perhaps?]

Tuesday 14th April:
            Official Twinning evening reception in Theatr Brycheiniog.
            Choir to give a formal performance after dinner.

 

2008  The Year in Retrospect

            The DVD of the London Welsh Festival Concert at the Albert Hall has just arrived and has become the sole topic of conversation after rehearsals. There is an air of modest satisfaction as we wonder at the power of the music and take pride in our participation in such a life enhancing experience.
It is no surprise, therefore, that the following extracts from our occasional Newsletter should reflect how members feel about the “1000 Voices” and the other major event of lasts year’s calendar, our trip to Britanny to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Twinning Agreement between Brecon and Gouesnou.

 

The Chairman said


……….. after the long hard build up, with (to be fair) some big WELSH words and with no summer break, we all deserve a pat on the back
…………. our special thanks to Lyn for putting in weeks of hard and, in some cases, daunting rehearsal and, of course, our thanks to our musical team, Lyn B and all our accompanists for helping out.                        

    Edwin

Our President said:-


………….I am sure that the dome over the auditorium moved slightly during the final rendering of Mae hen wlad fy nhadau to release the noise and enthusiasm of the capacity audience.
…………..It sounds as if you spread your traditional and unconditional goodwill to the hotel staff and passers-by, which I hope they will not forget.  It’s not just the Rugby you know!
……………It is good to know that in a rather mercenary age there are people who are prepared to give their time and skills in the service of the community.  Without a tangible sense of community one place seems much like any other and has no distinctiveness. That cannot yet be said of Brecon and District but the voluntary spirit needs all the voluntary support it can get.


David J-P

 

First impressions by our new Assistant Conductor

………..however, I didn’t think that working with men was going to be so similar to working with a ladies choir. I had thought that I had escaped the “what are we wearing?” question that is asked before each concert. But, oh no!  At my first rehearsal, out it came!  Thankfully, male choirs do not have as many dress options as ladies choirs and so the debate didn’t last long.

  …………..All in all, being part of the musical team at Aberhonddu Male Choir is immensely great fun and quite an experience.  The welcome that I have been given by Lynette and the boys has been tremendous.  I thoroughly enjoy the rehearsals and concerts and the time passes so quickly.  I am very much looking forward to more evenings of laughter and music making.                                                                                                           Lynne Bryer

Reflections of a Second Tenor.     

…………. all the waiting is finally over. We have rehearsed ourselves until exhaustion and bewilderment set in. Would we ever remember the words? What will Lynnette say about “Goldfish” when she watches the DVD? Seriously, the honour of singing in the Albert Hall was almost overwhelming. I had dreamed of maybe being in the audience one year, never, ever had I imagined I would be up there in the choir.
…………….. seven o'clock and we are on stage. [Good job no one suffers from vertigo as we stand and try not to fall headlong into the Cory Band.]  Lynnette and Aled are strategically placed to keep an eye on us but our families are lost in a vast sea of faces.
……………….with the audience are in place and off we go. A rousing trilogy of welsh hymns to start and it gets better as we go along with Haydn James giving us the thumbs up and a little clap at the end of some of the numbers.
…………… too soon it is over. Have we really spent 18 months practicing and now it has gone, gone in a flash!                                                                                                                                                                                    Ian

“Novices Abroad”


………… when I joined the choir a year ago I never imagined that we would do trips to exotic places like Brittany. The first impressions of France were “Gosh, they do like speeches!” however the unfailing kindness and generous welcome our hosts will stick in my memory for a very long time.
…………...both of our concerts were given to full houses although the local custom of arriving at the very last minute gave rise to some anxious moments as we sat waiting in half empty churches. Any anxiety was quickly dispelled by their warm reception and the enthusiasm with which we sang together the Welsh and Breton national anthems which, fortunately, share the same tune.      

……………. on the homeward journey we were joined by a “ strange” Breton man in traditional beret and striped jumper,

carrying a string of onions. Alert immigration officials at Plymouth soon detected his false moustache, identified him as a vagrant Second Tenor, and sportingly joined in the fun unlike HM Customs who proceeded to take our coach apart [including the toilet] and delayed our departure somewhat.
…………….. all in all a wonderful trip, great company; great food; great concerts and above all “ dim problem” !!! I just hope the trip to London will be as good.
First Bass

First Impressions of a Second Bass


………….. over 60 years ago my solo singing debut was as a compulsory soprano, every Sunday evening, at the Leamington Spa Railway Mission with my mother’s harmonium accompaniment. I’m sure it was excruciating, it was definitely terrifying and a modern example of a young lion being thrown to the Christians.

…………….by contrast, the Albert Hall Concert was easy and a great pleasure. I was surrounded by a huge choir, most of whom, like me, found the Welsh words difficult.
It was my great fortune, however, to be flanked by a couple of Welsh farmers, who have no Italian, to whom English is an occasional second language but whose pronunciation of the Welsh words was perfect. Diolch yn fawr, Hywel and Edwin.
GH

 

First Time Reflections of a First Bass.


……………the Conductor, Haydn James, put everyone at his ease and brought out the best in us. 
……………there was a hint of rugby’s fraternal spirit during the rehearsal as generous applause supported a sick chorister being helped off stage; even more so when, on his return, he was greeted with a near standing ovation.

…………….then there were the soloists.  We already knew that Annabel Thwaite was a corker as well as a supreme accompanist, but nothing had prepared us for the impossibly slim Gwawr Edwards and her heavenly soprano voice. The Cory band added a thrilling extra dimension                                            
…………….We’ve achieved a tremendous amount this year with the ’08 Festival and all. We’ve all worked so hard and we should be very proud of your achievements in London.

JC

Postcard from Gouesnou


Dear all,
Hope all’s well at home as this leaves me here.
We had a good trip over although they shut all the bars on the ship and we had to sleep in cabins, which were quite small and noisy. Well ours was as we were next to some tenors who were practising something about “ a thousand trumpets” all night long. Unfortunately, in the middle of the ocean, there is nowhere else to go so it seemed to be a very long night!
This place “Gwenno” is great. The people are very friendly but I can’t understand what they’re saying. You can’t read the menu either so you never know what you’re eating so even when you’ve eaten it you don’t know what it was.
Sometimes we have picnics with crusty bread rolls called “cross aunts” and “bag- etts” which crumble and go all over the place and make a proper mess. The pubs though serve a nice drink called “press-on” which is very healing and makes the pain go away.

The Director has split us into two parties – those who have their wives with them and are pretending to be well behaved and those of us who are on our own and likely to be a nuisance. We have been put in B&B miles away so as not to cause trouble.              
Anyway I am going to have to go now because we’re off to a wine tasting. The boys say the Chairman has gone off somewhere else so we might all get to have a sample.                      
See you soon, 
Yours,  
Bari Tone

December 2008

Crickey! It’s nearly Christmas!  Where did that year go? They say that time flies when you’re having fun so we shouldn’t be surprised that it has gone so quickly.
It’s been a busy year with more than the average number of concerts, weddings and, sadly, funerals on top of a serious commitment to rehearsals for the “1000 Voices” concert in October. But we’ve survived, we have an extensive new repertoire and we still laugh a lot.
The Albert Hall “London Welsh Festival of Male Choirs” was, of course, the highlight of the year and the culmination of two years hard work, made possible through the support of “The Friends of ADMC” and the dedication of our musical team headed by our indefatigable M.D., Mrs. Lynnette Thomas.
That team now includes Lyn Bryers who has already established herself as a solo artiste and conductor of children’s and ladies choirs, and has now entered the macho world of Male Voice choral singing. Having overcome the initial shock, both parties are enjoying the new experience.
We have assembled a formidable team of accompanists, Aysha Waghorn, Penny Hughes and Aled Hopton, who willingly share the burden of concerts and rehearsals and will also sing solos, or produce virtuoso performances on flute, or piano on request. Our latest recruit is young Chris Langworthy who, although still at school, shows a competence and confidence well beyond his years. It is reassuring that such talent exists and is available.
We have lost a number of our older members during the year and with them have gone the experience of many years. Inevitably the balance of the choir has changed and we will now have to recruit, evolve and build on their legacies to continue our small, but significant, contribution to the tradition of Welsh Male Voice Singing and to the entertainment of the community.
From the grandeur of the Albert Hall to a freezing Christmas Fayre in Brecon we get a kick out what we do. The reaction of our audiences, particularly of those who hear a male voice choir for the first time, is ample reward for all our efforts, so if you are in the area, come and see us in concert or at rehearsals, YOU WILL BE MADE VERY WELCOME.
And now, almost another New Year, we look forward to the challenges and opportunities it will offer us and wish all our readers, “NADOLIG LLAWEN A  BLWYDDYN NEWYDD DDA.”

 

November 2008

Now it’s November and the first snows have come and gone. Pen y Fan was a picture, like a jewel in the bright sunshine.
The choir too has had its’ moment in the sun and for a time enjoyed brief celebrity as it shared, for the tenth time, the platform at the Royal Albert Hall with 800 other choristers from 16 other choirs, drawn from countries across the world, at the London Welsh Festival of Music.
According to some of our more senior members, this year’s concert was one of the best. Great soloists, great sounds from the Cory Band and an exceptional programme of choral music marshalled with humour and precision by that master conductor Hadyn James.
In the “after glow” the smart hotel in Buckingham Palace Road resounded to reprise after reprise of those parts of the programme we really enjoyed. We hope Her Majesty [who lives just up the road] was not disturbed and those who came in off the road to listen for free enjoyed our offerings.
The coach was quiet on our journey home as a spirit of anti-climax pervaded the party. We had been there, we had done that and we had the hang-over to prove it. What we had as well was a real determination to do it all again in 2012 and next time - know all the words!

 

...

September 2008

What with harvest and a full programme of rehearsals, September has been a busy month but, at last, a few fine days have brought smiles to the well chiselled features of our farming colleagues and has inspired some lively performances from the basses and tenors alike.

We enjoyed singing for our friends at Llanfillo in the beautiful setting of their 13th century church with its ornate rood screen. Again the acoustics were very sympathetic and we were well received. Then, in a very different context, we sang for the small community of Llaneglwys at their tiny village hall where the welcome far outweighed the size of the room.

Here Lynnette shared her duties as conductor with Lyn Bryers. Lyn is known throughout Wales as a fine soprano soloist but wants to expand her musical interests to include male choirs. We hope we will not put her off and that Lynnette will enjoy sharing the burden from time to time.

We also welcomed Aled Hopkins. Recently graduated at Bangor University, Aled has joined us as an accompanist. He is settling in well, adding his own individual variations to some of the better know works and remaining patient in times of crisis. He is an important addition to our team.

Final preparations for the Albert Hall Festival have reached the panic stage with numerous new techniques being developed to learn words in Welsh and Italian. It is obvious from the comments of our esteemed Musical Director that these have not all been successful. Never-the-less we all persist in the view that all will be well on the night!

This view was sorely tested at Morriston where all the choirs from this part of the world [including one from Ulster] met for a final mass rehearsal under the baton of that master of male voice choruses, Hayden James. As always it was hard work with a successful outcome and great fun. The sound we generated made the back of your neck tingle and we all came away inspired and raring to get to London.

 

Its September already ! What ever happened to the "Summer Break" ?
 
There certainly was no "Summer" and for us there was no break with preparations for the Albert Hall concert reaching the panic stage.
 
For weeks we struggled with "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat" under the eagle eye of our deputy conductor Lyn Bryers and then, with even more energy than usual after a holiday in France, Lynette pounded the three Welsh folk songs into shape. It was painful but good for our musical souls. From now on there will be two rehearsals each week and special Welsh lessons for the wayward.

Three concerts , in entirely different settings, gave us great pleasure.
A Sunday evening performance in the sympathetic surroundings of Defynnog Church was well received. Helped by the acoustics of the church and a large appreciative audience, we sang well.
 
Two, less formal, fund raisers at Llangynidr Village Hall and at a Hog Roast on a beautiful evening at Cwmdu were fun. The Hog Roast helped to provide funds for the visit of our friends from our twin town, Gouesnou. They gave us such a good time over there in the Spring that we have much to do to match their generosity.
 
There was also sadness as we paid our choral farewells to two of our longserving colleagues. In the intimate atmosphere of Crai church we sang the favourite party piece of Elvet Williams, "Lily of The Valley " 
  and in the grandeur of Brecon Cathedral we sang "Gwahoddiad" for Gerald Phillips. Their friendship, talent and commitment will be sorely missed.
 
Onward then to the "1000 Voices" [or thereabouts] in October. Its a sellout this year so we've got to give it our all.
 


July 2008

HOLIDAY TIME……?

The first weekend of the holiday season meant a change in routine that gave us a chance to subject our new deputy conductor to the rigours of a practice evening. Lyn kept us on our toes particularly with our pronunciation of God’s own Language. She says she will come again if we can get a pianist.

It was quite an experience as we struggled with three modern welsh folksongs in the company of a third party, a very appreciative family from Normandy. Our French friends seemed to enjoy the outcome but we all realised that there are not many weeks to go before the Albert Hall and there are a lot of words to learn yet.

The usual good-humoured banter was subdued at the news of the sudden death of Elfed Williams, cornerstone of the second tenors. His rich tenor voice, his commitment to the choir over many years and his unfailing recall of the lyrics will be much missed.  It was appropriate that we had been rehearsing “Y Darlun”, one of his favourite pieces. We stood for few moments to recall the many happy times we have spent together.

 

Feedback

"Music in the Mountains" in July was a resounding success with many compliments and cries of "More".
The evening raised enough for Dial a Ride to buy three tyres for their new bus. If it had not been for the rain we would have made a full set. 
They were, however, delighted and look forward to the next time.

 

.........................The Dennis Perkins Prize 2008  
                                                     
...ADMC was proud to be part of the entertainment at the annual Brecon High School Prize Giving on Tuesday 16th July. We sang a short programme and made the first award of the Dennis Perkins Memorial Prize to two very gifted young musicians – Christie Rogers and Lee Davies.

...This annual prize celebrates the life and service of a much - missed member of the choir and is presented to students who have demonstrated exceptional musical talent.

...Christie and Lee showed just how good they are when, as lead singer and drummer in the school rock group, they shook the foundations of the building with what is now called a “cool performance” We congratulate them and wish them every success.

 

 

Our new President

    The choir is honoured to have as its' new President Mr. David Jones Powell, until recently a third generation Solicitor in Brecon.

    David says:- "I was brought up a country boy. My parents, though from Welsh-speaking families, were not Welsh speakers. I have always regretted my lack of Welsh having as a young man spent many enjoyable days around Sennybridge and Trecastle in pursuit of the fox and other things."

    He is well known to the farming community and "...derives a special and distinctive pleasure" from our rendering of old welsh hymns. He encourages us to continue to keep that tradition, spreading the word to all local inhabitants and as an ex-South Wales Borderer subaltern he is glad that we keep in touch with local military establishments.

    It was good to welcome David and his wife Gloria to our latest concert,
" Music in the Mountains" . We look forward to many more meetings.    Croeso !

 

Overheard at "The" Rehearsal

Conductor “Give us a note !”                    Organist plays a note

Conductor “Is that the right one?”           Organist “Must be, It’s the one with the sticker on !”

----------------------------------------------------

Drama on Tour.

Swift action by our own moustachioed copper helped to defuse a potential international incident when an over enthusiastic chorister tried, inadvertently, to pay for a round of drinks using a Frenchman’s wallet. Contact with the retired gendarmerie allowed the perpetrator to escape disguised as a Breton Onion-man complete with beret, striped shirt and moustache. He was last seen persuading the immigration authorities that he was the guy in the passport picture

-------------------------------

Possibilities !!

Thank you to all who came to Gouesnou. I thought we had an excellent trip, the concerts and the weather were all superb as was the hospitality we received.
We are due to take part in a reception for the Saline Twinning early in September – who knows if another trip is on the cards!!!!

Thanks for everything boys,            Lyn.

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First Basses Postcard from Gouesnou

Dear all,

    Hope all’s well at home as this leaves me here. We had a good trip over although they shut all the bars on the ship and we had to sleep in cabins which were quite small and noisy.

    Well ours was. We were next to some tenors who were practising something about “ a thousand trumpets” all night long. They have high piercing voices [just like the trumpets] and enjoy sliding from note to note [more like trombones] which gets on your nerves after a while. Unfortunately, in the middle of the ocean there is nowhere to get away. It seemed to be a long night!

This place “Gwenno” is great. People are very friendly but I can’t understand what they’re saying.

We seem to eat constantly. You can’t read the menu so you never know what you’re eating. Even when you’ve eaten it you don’t know what it was. We get a lot of flaky bread rolls called “cross aunts” and “bag- etts” which crumble and go all over the place and make a proper mess.

 The pubs serve a nice drink called “press-on” which is very healing and makes the pain go away. You pay for everything in Uro’s which I can’t make out at all ! I seem to be getting a bit short of them – just like at home really.

The Director has split us into two parties – those who have their wives with them and are pretending to be well behaved and the rest, who are on their own, who have been put in a B&B miles away so as not to cause trouble.

Anyway I am going to have to go now because we’re off to a wine tasting. The Chairman has gone off somewhere else so its more likely that there will be enough for us all to have a sample.

See you soon, Yours, Bari Tone

 

Character of the month.   Hywel Philips, doyen of the bottom basses.

 ...Hywel has been with the choir for 30 years or more. He is our front man, the vital link between choir and audience. Always able to restore calm and good spirits in times of strife.

...He inherited his love of singing from his parents who, following tradition, encouraged him to sing at eisteddfodau and many a Sankey evening. He's sung in choirs for almost fifty years and prefers it  to solos. "There's safety in numbers" he says.

...He says our repertoire has changed a lot. More songs from the shows and less hymns in welsh and now we are getting modern folk songs. "You've got to sing what people want and what you can do with the voices you have"

...He remembers many a concert but the ones that stick out are the two Sennibridge Show concerts when he was Show President. The first, abandoned when the tent blew down, and the second, the replay, when choir and audience responded in sympathy with great enthusiasm.

...Given the chance to arrange his own concert, Hywel would choose his favoutite bass, Trebor Edwards and his three favourite pieces " Wise Men Say", "Rachie" and "Comrades in Arms"

...He has introduced many a concert but remembers best the one when the lady sitting next to his wife remarked "It's not that his jokes aren't funny but he looks so dull"

...When he's not singing he enjoys Country and Western music, roast Welsh beef washed down with a pint or so of cider and gets his best lines from reading biographies of people like Ronny Barker.

...His motto? "Always look on the bright side of life" It sometimes works he says.

[We don’t think he looks DULL— do we? ]

 

 

 

March 2008 

The year got off to a good start at our annual appearance at the mess dinner of the 29th Regiment of the Royal Logistics Corps at South Cerney, with a programme of favourite hymns and arias, ending with a spirited rendering of “Men of Harlech” which always brings the house down.

It is a great honour to be asked to provide a little Welsh flavour to their annual celebration of the action at Rorkes Drift [1879] where Acting Assistant Commissary James Langley Dalton of the Commissariat Department won his Victoria Cross.

Why Welsh and why Rorkes Drift and what links all this with the Logistics Corps and Brecon?  Those who have seen the film “ZULU” will know the answer.

Was it not Ivor Emanuel, playing a trooper of the 24th, who leapt on to the barricade of ammunition boxes, provided by James Dalton, to rally the others, led by John Chard RE [Stanley Baker] and Bromhead of the 24th [Michael Caine]

And didn’t the 24th Regiment, recruited and based in the Brecon area, evolve into the Royal Regiment of Wales via the South Wales Borderers and others? And didn’t the Commissariat Department evolve, via The Royal Army Service Corps [and others] into the Royal Logistics Corps?

However, as Samuel Goldwin once said “never let the facts get in the way of a good screenplay” so its not surprising to find that there were less than 14 Welshmen at Rorkes drift and the Regimental march was, in 1879, “A Warwickshire Lad” and not “Men of Harlech”.

Never the less we are proud to represent Brecon on these historic occasions and to keep alive the traditions that are valued so highly by the Armed Services. The post-prandial reprise was also much appreciated.                                                                                 
JB

 

Reflections on our tour to Ireland, June 2007

Irish Contrasts

For the concert in aid of local charities, the disco floor at O’Donovan’s Bar was crowded and the Liffy water flowing sweetly. The locals were there in numbers and ready for the craich. Brahma Divine rocked them and Rachie shook them but it was The Fields of Athenry that really knocked them out.

The Irish counter-punched with The Soldiers Song and contributions from a young Irish Rover, egged on by his auburn haired colleen. The evening sped by. It was only the driver’s hours that saved us from absolute exhaustion.

Then, what a change from the strobe lighting of the night before. With its cool, white walls and lofty ceiling, the Cathedral at Ross Carberry exuded a calm that we ruffled gently with Hine Hine, Calon Lan and the rest. The acoustic was brilliant and greatly enhanced the melodious sounds of the choir and "The Three Tenors" alike. We can’t have been too bad, we got a "Well done Boys" from herself and a rousing reception from a houseful of the most friendly folk you could meet anywhere.

Singing is Good for You It's Official !!!

“Singing increases the capacity of the lungs, improves posture, clears the sinuses and boosts mental alertness by increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood. And for good measure it also exercises the facial muscles to keep you looking young!”
(Dr. James Le Fanu, Sunday Telegraph) HC
[Only trouble is it gives you a hell of a thirst!! ]

Blasts from the Past.
A dip into our archives.

One of the earliest snippets comes from a copy of the accounts from 1948 which records a First Prize of some £80 won at the Bridgend National Eisteddfod in that year and a large fee of 50 guineas paid to the famous soloist, Miss Joan Hammond.

Taff’s Titters –

Why don’t they call “Moustaches, Mouthbrows?”
Why are they called “Apartments” when they are stuck together?

 

 

 

 
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