Bridgend Male Choir Musical Professionals
The Bridgend Male Choir are fortunate to have extremely high quality Musical Direction, from Rhiannon Williams-Hale
, FLCM, ALCM, LLCM, LTCL, ATCL, LRSM, LGSMD; DipABRSM of Treorchy, Rhondda and Deputy Musical Director, Stephanie Bailey
(who is also a Choir Accompanist). Guest Musical Director, David Hutchings
BMus, MA Musicology is also pleased to assist whenever required.
Piano accompanists of the Choir are Laura Smith
BMus (Hons), MA Music Therapy, LRSM (Perf), DipABRSM (Teach), HPC Registered Music Therapist, MBAMT and Stephanie Bailey
BA (Hons) Music, PGCE, Grade 8 Piano (ABRSM) Distinction, together with Scott Williams
(Organ). Cheryl Jones
, BA (Hons) continues to support the Choir as a Guest Piano Accompanist, when work commitments permit.
Please read more about each of them below.
Rhiannon is a 'Fellow' of the London College of Music, a Licentiate & Associate of the same as well as being successful at LTCL ATCL LRSM & LGSMD. Achieving Distinctions in all, Rhiannon received piano tuition at The Royal Academy of Music, London as a result of an ABRSM Scholarship following her Grade 8 Distinction, and also read Music at Cardiff University having received the David Lloyd Vocal Scholarship on entrance Born in Cardiff and brought up in Barry, Rhiannon's early education began through the Welsh medium before attending the Bishop of Llandaff High School. Her career began as a singer, winning the '1989 BET National Choirgirl of the year Competition'. Rhiannon became a member of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and Wales, received vocal tuition as a part-time scholarship holder at the RWCMD before achieving her Grade 8, St Cecilia RSCM Senior award and LTCL diploma in Vocal Performance. An Honorary 'Lady' member of the 'Treorchy Male Choir', Rhiannon was appointed their principal accompanist (1998-2002) before accompanying the successful 'Bridgend Male Choir' (2003-2008) and finally to the highly respected 'Pontarddulais Male Choir'. During this 14 year period she had the privilege of accompanying many fine soloists including; Alfie Boe, Shan Cothi, Rebecca Evans, Rhys Meirion & Elin Manahan-Thomas. Rhiannon also toured with these choirs to Australia, America, Canada, Germany, Spain & Northern Ireland.
Also the accompanist of the Maesteg Children's Choir and the 'Richard Williams Musical Theatre Prize Competition', Rhiannon is an organist at the 'University of Glamorgan's Graduation Award Ceremonies' (2006 to present day).
As Musical Director of the 'Ynysybwl Ladies Choir' since 2002, they have been successful in winning the 'Open Choral' categories at both the Hereford & Abergavenny Eisteddfod's.
A Private Teacher of Voice, Piano & Theory since the age of 18, Rhiannon now resides in Treorchy and is currently the event-organiser for the Inaugural Treorchy Eisteddfod which is being held on 30th June 2012.
As an Adjudicator, Rhiannon was on the panel of adjudicators at the Final of the 'Rotary Young Musician of Wales'-held at the Millennium Centre, Cardiff in 2009, at the Semi-Final of the Treorchy Male Choir Young Musician/Singer of the Year Competition' and at the 'Festival4Stars' competition held at The Pavilion-Porthcawl (Both in 2012) Rhiannon also enjoys her duties as Timpanist/Percussionist with the Park & Dare Brass Band and is looking forward to performing at three high profile venues in August 2012 as a singer in a newly formed group 'Strictly Sondheim'. Rhiannon is proud to be the MD of Bridgend Male Choir and is looking forward very much to the future.
Laura Smith BMus (Hons), MA Music Therapy,LRSM (Perf), DipABRSM (Teach), HPC Registered Music Therapist, MBAMT
Laura is a qualified Music Therapist, with a passion for using music to help children and adults with physical, social, emotional and/or psychological difficulties as a result of congenital condition or acquired trauma.
Laura gained her BMus (Hons) Degree from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in 2007 after 4 yrs of extensive piano studies with Michael Young BA MMus ARCM. Laura joined the music staff at Bridgend Male Choir in October 2006.Since then she has enjoyed a prime role in accompanying the Choir wherever it travels. Memorable engagements include the tour to s'Hertogenbosch, Holland (2008); the 50th Anniversary CD recording (2009), performances in St David's Hall and Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, together with concerts accompanying Glyndebourne soprano, Helen-Jane Howells. 2010 is also the year when Laura first entertained with solo items at a Choir Concert to an appreciative audience at Clifton Cathedral.
As well as being a proficient pianist, Laura is also a brass band enthusiast. She recently joined the persussion section of the Tredegar Town Band at the All England International Masters, where the Band axchieved a most creditable second place.
Described by the Choir President as a huge talent, Laura is much appreciated by all associated with Bridgend Male Choir.
Accompanist (Piano) & Deputy Musical Director
Born in Skewen, near Neath, Stephanie gained experience from the age of 13, in becoming an accomplished performer, accompanying various local children and youth choirs, progressing to participate in music competitions and performances in venues including Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. As an undergraduate Music student at Kingston University, Stephanie studied Piano under the direction of concert pianist Dennis Lee. She was selected to perform in a specially formed choir ‘Camerata’ who made television appearances on the BBC.
Stephanie graduated with a BA (Hons) Music in 1998 followed by a PGCE in 2000. With Grade 8 ABRSM Distinctions in both Piano and Singing, Stephanie has enjoyed teaching both since the age of 18 and has become an experienced accompanist for soloists, choirs and ABRSM music examinations. She was delighted to receive an invitation to join with the World Champion Black Dyke Brass Band in concert at St David’s Hall, Cardiff in 2005.
Stephanie has worked with the ‘Llantrisant Male Choir’ (2008-2011) and has enjoyed accompanying them at various venues, including the prestigious Christchurch Priory, Bournemouth; St David’s Hall, Cardiff; and more recently the Salon Varieties Theatre, Fuengirola, Spain. She also assisted the Musical Director by conducting rehearsals and was delighted to conduct the choir in concert with Iris Williams at the Swansea Grand Theatre in May 2011. Stephanie has also held the position of Accompanist/Deputy MD of Cantorion Pontyclun. It has been a pleasure for Stephanie to also accompany soloists Simone Rebello, Beverley Humphries, Wynne Evans (Gio Compario!) and Mark Evans in concert.
Stephanie currently enjoys teaching and performing music on a professional basis and is also a Rock Choir Leader in South Wales (as seen on ITV’s documentary ‘The Choir that Rocks’).
In May 2011 Stephanie joined the music team of Bridgend Male Choir and is currently one of two piano accompanists. She has added to her "Bridgend" CV by also becoming Deputy Musical Director just 12 months later.
Born in 1980 at Neath, Scott studied at the University of Bath where he attained a Master of Mathematics Degree - MMath (Hons). His musical career started as a chorister at St Mary's, Nolton in Bridgend, where he now continues with the parish as a relief organist for both Nolton and Coity Churches. Scott's father, Dennis, is a very popular member of the tenor section of the Choir.
Scott first performed with Bridgend Male Choir at a concert in Leatherhead, Surrey in October 2008. Since then he has given a number of concert performances with the Choir, culminating in May 2009 being involved with the recording of its 50th Anniversary CD, "Classic Male". His performance on the magnificent St David's Hall, Cardiff organ added greatly to the 2009 Cancer Research Wales concert with the Choir, BTM Band, Denis O'Neill and Laura Parfitt.
A recent press review included that "the Choir is nurturing Scott Williams, a young organist from Bridgend who extended and swelled the sound in the well known hymn, Morte Criste, adding that needed depth to the verse, "Were the whole realm of nature mine". Choristers look forward to a long and happy relationship with this talented young musician.
Guest Musical Director
David was born in Brighton and now lives in Cardiff. He studied at Cardiff University gaining an MA in Musicology and Bachelor of Music. He currently works as a freelance musician and is taking further instruction in conducting.
David is the Musical Director of Cantorion Pontyclun Ladies Choir and also joined Teifi Chamber Orchestra, a community amateur chamber orchestra based at Rhosygilwyn from September 2010, the same month he linked up with Bridgend Male Choir. Already an accomplished musician, David became an integral part of the team especially during former MD, John Jenkins serious illness and after his unexpected death and until a permanent successor was appointed.
All at the Choir are pleased that David has agreed to a continuing association as Guest Conductor.
Guest Accompanist (Piano)
Born and educated in Lampeter, Cheryl Jones BA(Hons) now lives in Cardiff and works as a freelance sound recordist and private tutor. Despite her busy schedule she continues to fulfil her role as accompanist of the Choir.
She attended the Welsh College of Music and Drama (WCMD) and gained a BA(Hons) studying under Simon Shewring and Julian Jacobson. At the College, Cheryl gained many awards and performed regularly as a soloist and accompanist for the critically acclaimed Cardiff Bay Chamber Orchestra. She was also a member of the WCMD Piano Trio, working closely with the Brodsky Quartet.
Cheryl first performed with the Bridgend Male Choir whilst at the WCMD, and she has since accompanied them on their tours to Southern France, Canada, Jersey and Germany.