Star Spangled Concert

Saturday 14 April 2007

A review by David T Burt

Some 40 singers from all parts of the USA and Canada entertained an appreciative audience on Saturday 14th April at the Bethlehem Church Life Centre (BCLC), Cefn Cribwr on the opening concert of its UK Tour.

The Voyager Concert Choir is based at Tucson, Arizona and is made up of choristers aged 55 plus who congregate, mostly for the winter months, on a 150 acres Recreational Vehicle (RV) park in the Sonoran Desert. The concert party was made up of choristers from as far afield as Iowa to Wyoming, California to Indiana & Alberta to Saskatchewan.   

Under its charismatic New York based Director, Daryl Wonderly and Minnesota resident pianist, Norma Harmer this mixed choir entertained with a varied programme. The highlights for the reviewer were Kim Noblitt’s “Be Still My Soull” and Craig Petrie’s “Beautiful Saviour” from the religious content; from American folk, lovely renditions of “Shenandoah” plus Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer” and items such as the Luboff arrangement of “The Lord Loves a Laughin' Man” and William Foster’s “Soon ah will be done”.   

Sharing the Concert was the highly accomplished Bridgend Male Choir under maestro, John Jenkins and its highly gifted accompanist, Rhiannon Williams- Hale. The Choir entertained with a selection of popular Welsh items, spirituals, folk songs and songs made popular on the London Show stage. John Jenkins regaled the visitors with details of Welshmen who had "made it" in America, much to the amusement of the visitors and home audience. Both Choirs joined for the singing of anthems, “Hen Wlad Fy'n Hadau” and “The Star Spangled Banner”. The visitors suggested that it had been easier for the boys from Bridgend to learn the American anthem!   

2007 sees the visit of the fifth choir from Stateside in recent years to be hosted with a joint concert at Bridgend. The Tucson based choir will be followed in June with a choir from San Francisco. In the meantime, Bridgend wish the current tourists every success with their remaining concerts at Stratford-upon-Avon, York and London.