ANNUAL CONCERT REVIEW 2011

Saturday 22 October 2011

The Choir is grateful to Leila O'Hagan, a member of the Mid Glamorgan Mixed Choir for her independent review
     Bridgend Male Choir gave their annual concert on Friday, 21st October 2011 in St Mary’s RC Church, Bridgend, which must be one of their favourite venues, given its great acoustics and the enthusiastic audience which this event always draws. As the audience arrived, they were greeted by a selection of music played by two young harpists from Ysgol Gyfun Cymraeg Llangynwyd, Niamh Reese and Lowri Foster-Davies.

     This year’s concert sparkled not only with the quality of the choir’s performance but also with the delightful singing of soprano, Llio Evans. Llio is building an impressive reputation as a concert performer, as well as that of an operatic singer of true quality. Her first set of the evening comprised Aderyn Pur, a Welsh favourite, and Quel guardo il Cavaliere from Donazetti’s Don Pasqule, followed by the Virgin of the Angel Host, in which she was supported by the choir. Her later items were Novello’s My Dearest Dear and the dramatic and demanding Glitter and Be Gay by Bernstein. Llio’s performances were all top class and the audience were delighted to hear that she had just that day received the news of having been awarded her first professional contract with Welsh National Opera.

     Under the direction of John Jenkins, the choir’s offerings covered the gamut of male choir works, including Welsh hymns Llef, spirituals such as Steal Away and Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel, and Richter’s impressive Creation. Following the recent death of Victor Porter, father of Choir President, Paul Porter, the choir sang Gwahoddiad as a tribute. Chorister Gwyn Williams sang the lovely Serenade from The Fair Maid of Perth. The second half featured choir soloists Leon Evans in Kalinka and Paul Carter in The Anthem from the musical Chess. The choir’s final set was a tribute to the late, great accompanist an all-round musician, Bryan Davies, with his fantastic piano arrangements of Comrades in Arms, Dashenka and Hava Nagila. Bryan’s daughters, Sîan and Rhiannon were in the audience to hear the choir perform these pieces.

    Throughout the evening, the piano accompaniment was provided by Laura Smith, ably assisted by Stephanie Bailey. While Laura has been with the choir for several years, this was Stephanie’s first annual concert. They both combined in some wonderful four-hand accompaniment for The Rhythm of Life and Hava Nagila. Laura then completely transfixed everyone with her virtuoso rendition of Chopin’s Ballade No 1 which she played without a copy. An organ solo by Scott Williams, a regular supporting talent with the choir, was a further delight which added to a tremendously varied evening of music for all tastes.