Creating days to remember and memories is a big part of being in the choir and a few days in mid-July was no exception. It all started on Thursday 20th July with a Royal visit to Brecon. The Choir welcomed King Charles III and Queen Camilla to the mini-Brecon Show with a rendition of Rachie as they entered the field. This was their first trip to Wales since their Coronation in May. The boys continued the singing whilst Their Majesties met exhibitors, watched demonstrations and visited tradestands around the field, some of the favourite songs included Calon Lân, Llanfair and Anthem from Chess. Just before the Royal couple departed, they stopped to listen to the Choir. The rain held off for the visit and the whole Choir enjoyed the experience.
Prior to the Royal performance our Musical Director, Lynnette Thomas, attended an event at Brecon Cathedral to meet the King and Queen as a representative of the Brecon Choir Festival committee. Also, the accompanist, Becky Drysdale, was present singing with the Brecon Cathedral Choir. They both had to rush down with the Mayoress of Brecon to the field by Theatr Brycheiniog ahead of the Royal party for the boys to start singing.
This was a fantastic start to a busy few days. That evening we all met for a rehearsal at the Watton Chapel ready for the concert the following night to officially start the Brecon Choir Festival weekend.
The Friday night saw the Choir perform with the incredible Eschoir, a celebrated Welsh male choir based in London formed in 2009 at the Borough Welsh Chapel. Three soloists from Eschoir entertained the packed audience in the Watton Chapel. Both Choirs joined together, raising the roof, performing Llanfair, Rachie and Gwahoddiad before ending with the Welsh National Anthem. The night was not over and following the concert an afterglow was held at the Clarence, just up the road from the chapel. The afterglow did not disappoint and everyone had fun socialising, singing and having a few drinks all together.
The next day, with a few sore heads, the walking singing tour was confined to indoors due to the bad weather, but that was not going to dampen our spirits. The first Choir was Côr y Boro from London in Y Gaer, followed by Alive & Kickin’ and ADMC in St Mary’s Church to a very appreciative audience. Then it was on to Wetherspoons and as the weather started to brighten up Eschoir and the Gents of St John’s College, Cambridge sang outdoors to a large crowd.
That night was the Grand Concert at Brecon Cathedral with the renowned Treorchy Male Choir and the Young Singer Award winner Erin Thomas. Some of the boys helped out at the event which was totally sold out. It was an amazing evening with powerful voices from the Choir raising the roof and beautiful singing by Erin. Even the boys from ADMC joined Treorchy at the end to perform Gwahoddiad and the Welsh National Anthem at the end. Another afterglow took place in the Clarence with the boys from Treorchy, Eschoir and the Gents of St John’s. There was some wonderful pub singing being performed which was a great highlight joining in all together.
To end the Brecon Choir Festival weekend a Cymanfa Ganu was held in the Plough Chapel on Sunday evening with some favourite hymns being sung by the congregation. They were ably led by Lynnette Thomas with David Price on the organ. There were performances from three members of Cantorion Pontsenni – David Price, Dyfed Watkins and Marc Williams. Choir members also played a part in the Cymanfa adding the harmonies to all the pieces.
What a great way to finish off an extremely busy and such a successful weekend of performances and events. It is fantastic that the Welsh traditions, choral singing, the culture and the 'land of song' is continuing to thrive in the Brecon area - long may it continue. Bannau Brycheiniog is alive with the sound of music and the ‘Voices of the Beacons’ are as strong as ever! The Choir are thoroughly looking forward to taking part in the Brecon Choir Festival next year.