CONCERT REVIEW - LIFELINE FOUNDATION UK INAUGURAL CONCERT

Sunday 18 January 2009

THE CONCERT AT THE GRAND PAVILION, PORTHCAWL TO SUPPORT LOCAL CHARITABLE GROUPS WORKING WITH VULNERABLE CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE WAS HAILED AS A GREAT SUCCESS BY LIFELINE'S DR COLIN NATH - DAVID BURT WRITES.........

Dr Colin Nath, an American interventional cardiologist, together with some international colleagues learned of the suicides of young people in the Bridgend County some 12 months ago and set out to raise money to support local charitable groups. “Lifeline” was born and this inaugural concert arranged to get things under way. With dreadful gales and heavy rain it was feared that a depleted audience would ensue. This was not to be the case and both the concert hall and balcony showed good numbers present.   

Bridgend Male Choir opened the Concert with Rachie and Every Time I Feel the Spirit, before introducing the first of a number of soloists who were to perform with distinction on the evening. First, tenor, Graham Collins entertained with Eli Jenkins' Prayer before handing to second tenor, Gareth Reese, who very ably performed the famous Austrian Carol, Still, Still, Still. The Choir which had supported both items with choruses closed the first section with possibly the most requested Welsh hymn, Gwahoddiad.   

A real treat followed with the performance of “Lace”, five talented sixth formers from Porthcawl Comprehensive School who entertained with a most appropriate choice of music. Elton John’s Can You Feel the Love Tonight, was followed by Ben E King’s Stand by Me and the increasingly popular, You Raise Me Up. These talented young ladies were then joined by another eleven pupils from Years 10 and 11 to form “Parti Merched”. The enlarged group of female voices treated the appreciative audience to Humperdink’s Evening Prayer, setting the standard for the male Choir which is currently learning the piece. The singers ended with Carolyn Hitt’s Child of Peace, introduced and ended with a flautist, to great applause. Under the direction of the School’s, Linda Coombs and with the accompaniment of Cath Rees, these young ladies performed to a very high standard, demonstrating great versatility.   

Compere, Gareth Davies, re-introduced the male choristers performing under the baton of their enthusiastic Musical Director, John Jenkins to sing Enders’ Russian Picnic, an opportunity for Choir accompanist, Laura Smith to ably demonstrate her considerable piano playing skills. This sequence of songs included This Little Light of Mine and Puccini’s Humming Chorus from Madame Butterfly, before introducing two more accomplished tenor soloists. Gwyn Williams performed with Pie Iesu from Karl Jenkins’ Requiem and Leon Evans with Emrys Jones’ Morte Criste.   

Focusing on youth and adding to the variety of the second half the audience was entertained by the acoustic band, “All For The Fall”. Four items from these four gifted young men provided a lively and harmonious start to the second half. The Band’s sound was distinctive, original and welcome. The audience showed their appreciation to these winners of BCBC’s Battle of the Bands 2008, which will shortly release its first 5 track CD. It was time for the pupils of Porthcawl Comprehensive School to return.   

The School’s drama Group featuring Years 9 & 10 pupils, under the excellent direction of Kelly Hardwick performing a 2009 version of the well known parable, The Prodigal Son. In a sketch of some 15 minutes they cleverly showed how a story from biblical times is appropriate to society today. The sketch was performed to an audience quickly identifying with today’s comparisons and enjoying its mature portrayal from students of which Porthcawl can be very proud. The short play concluded with the Bridgend Male Choir linking very quietly and movingly with Bring Him Home from Les Miserables. A huge ovation followed for the students and Choir.   

The male Choir then brought the Inaugural Concert to a close, featuring yet another tenor soloist, Paul Carter singing Bui Doi from Miss Saigon, followed by other “show” songs, Rhythm of Life and You'll Never Walk Alone.  

Before departing the theatre for the following day’s flight back to the States, Dr Nath paid tribute to all who had helped with the production, including Andre van Wyk & his colleagues at BCBC Arts & Culture Department; the many helpers from Bethlehem Church Life Centre and others far too numerous to mention. His early fears totally dissipated; a stage and music content wholly appropriate to the theme - his parting words reflected huge praise on Wales, its people, culture and heritage.   

The students of Porthcawl Comprehensive School will return to the Grand Pavilion from the 4th-7th February with the musical, Jekyll and Hyde. Tickets priced from £6-£10 are available from the Box Office T. 01656 815995