REVIEW  OF  BRIDGEND  MALE  CHOIR’S  ANNUAL  CONCERT

Friday 21 September 2012

Choristers are indebted to regular concert-goer & Choir Vice President Maggie Hughes who penned the following report.........
Bridgend Male Choir gave yet another spectacular musical performance at their Annual Concert held on Friday evening  at St. Mary’s RC Church, Bridgend.   Seventy Five choristers took to the stage, accompanied by their exceptionally talented musical team, Laura Smith, Stephanie Bailey and Scott Williams, led by their accomplished new Musical Director Rhiannon Williams-Hale.  They performed a programme of established favourites plus new pieces which have been added to their extensive repertoire.

It was an evening of laughter and tears which began in true Bridgend style with the choir singing three beautiful Welsh hymns, their combined voices soaring through the church and sending tingles down the spine.  There were also a few tears when compere, Gareth Davies, spoke movingly about the very sad loss of John Jenkins the choir’s Musical Director for 10 years but everyone was delighted to welcome Wendy, John’s widow, who has agreed to remain involved with the choir as one of its Vice Presidents.  As a special tribute, three of John’s favourite pieces were performed, two of which he had arranged especially for the choir.

The excellence of the musical team was showcased firstly when Scott Williams gave a majestic organ recital – Crown Imperial by William Walton - which transported the audience to feel part of many Royal celebrations, most recently to the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  During the second half of the concert  Laura Smith and Stephanie Bailey thrilled the audience with their  absolutely exceptional performance of the four handed Dvorak Slavonic Dance No. 8 receiving a standing ovation. It was then the turn of Musical Director Rhiannon Williams-Hale to turn the tables by handing the role of MD to her new deputy Stephanie Bailey while she took over the role of accompanist to the choir. The musical team’s  versatility is endless.

You can always guarantee that when you attend a concert organised by Bridgend Male Choir there will always be a wonderful soloist and, I believe, we witnessed one of the best ever.  Lyric-coloratura soprano, Elinor Rolfe Johnson, winner of the 2012 Russell Sheppard Scholarship, entertained the audience with five very different pieces and once again brought everyone to their feet following her brilliant performance.  We are still wondering - just how high was her top note? – Incredible!!

Elinor also joined the choir for a very moving performance of Verdi’s La Vergine Degli  Angeli .  What fun the “boys” had during the previous two weeks when they discovered they were singing it in Italian.  As usual, their professionalism shone through as they were word perfect with no musical scripts to help them along.

Once again a very memorable evening – thank you Bridgend Male Choir.