Friday 29 December 2006
Review by David T Burt
Musical Director, John Jenkins’ fifth year in charge of Bridgend Male Choir has brought the most memorable year in its history. The esteem in which their maestro is held by choristers could not be greater, their anticipation growing year on year.
The piano accompaniment of the rest of the music team, Rhiannon Williams-Hale, Cheryl Jones and Laura Smith keeps both John Jenkins & the choristers on their toes.
On the competition stage, the Choir are the proud holders of the Best Male Choir section of S4C’s Cor Cymru Competition won at Aberystwyth; Gold Cup winners at Cheltenham’s prestigious Festival of Music and Art, competing for this title as one of 34 choirs; holders of the Fusilier’s Cup at the Welsh National Eisteddfod held at Swansea and was also named Red Dragon FM’s Welsh Choir of the Year.
As well as competition, the Choir participated in 30 concerts and several weddings. It took to the stage with a number of principal performers and at a number of wonderful venues, the great majority in support of most worthy causes, some quite local and others national. These ranged from appearances at Blaengarw Workmen’s Hall for the Children of Chernobyl Charity to the magnificent Llandaff Cathedral for Cancer Research Wales. From appearing with virtual unknown stars of the future, the Choir also took to the stage with the better known Fflur Wyn and violinist, Cerys Jones, as well as Wales’ national treasure, Katherine Jenkins, the latter on four separate occasions.
A successful tour to Germany was completed with glowing accolades showered on the boys from Bridgend, commented on as wonderful ambassadors for Bridgend and Wales. Concerts at Weissach-Flacht, Schwieberdingen and Stuttgart Town Hall were accompanied by visits to a number of interesting places, none more so than Ludwigsberg Castle where the Choir sang at a theatre in which Mozart himself once performed.
A number of plans are already in place for 2007, commencing with the preliminary rounds of the S4C competition. Venues to be visited this year include Shrewsbury Town Hall and Cardiff’s St David’s Hall. The Cardiff Concert will feature former Royal harpist, Catrin Finch, soprano Jennifer Walker, the BTM Band and will be presented by BBC newsreader, Huw Edwards. Also during the year, the Choir will share the stage with visiting choirs from San Francisco, California and Tucson, Arizona as well as undertaking a short tour to Northern Ireland where it will give concerts in the Craigavon and Belfast area.
Full details of the Choir’s engagements; CD availability and details of how to join can be found on the Choir’s website www.bridgendmalechoir.co.uk Hope to see you during the year.