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Friday 10 October 2008


I live in Bridgend and support the choir because it is local. I have sung in choirs all my life ,am a pianist and recently was in Cardiff Eisteddfod Choir. I am a friend of WNO so I hear a lot of good music.

J.J. has done an amazing job on these boys and they deserve recognition. Bridgend Male Choir' Annual Concert was held at St Mary's Catholic Church, Bridgend on Friday, 10th October 2008  with Musical Director John Jenkins conducting. John Jenkins brings all his varied skills and experience to bear on the performance of his choir. His career in Education with Youth orchestras , choirs and bands have led to prestigious awards and his conducting repertoire includes  names the world recognises as famous, the late Sir Geraint Evans, Nigel Kennedy, Shan Cothi and Katherine Jenkins amongst them. Rhiannon Williams-Hale must be one of the finest accompanists in Wales .Such a team gives a choir such confidence and they showed it.

The choir is  nurturing Scott Williams ,a young local organist who extended and swelled the sound in the well-known hymn Morte Criste, adding that needed depth to the verse  'Were the whole realm of nature mine', Leon Evans the tenor soloist, sang  with tenderness and in the final verse his voice soared over the choir. Incredible!

Laura Parfitt, soprano ,presently performing as Rosina in The Barber of Saville with the Welsh National Opera Company , a winner of many prestigious awards and a growing international reputation in the world of opera, thrilled the audience with the flexibility of her voice ,the clarity of her tone and her reverberating top notes. One standing ovation followed another and it was a real privilege to be part of her performance. Her magical renderings of opera arias together with the romantic ,gentle flirting lilting music of Ivor Novello often brought the audience to its feet.

Opening the concert with Harvey Ender's Russian Picnic, a rousing rumbustuous chorus which needed attack but also delicacy, we were off to an excellent start. Songs from the shows were very emotional especially tenor Paul Carter's showstopping Bui Doi - the dust of life from Miss Saigon. Paul made a real showtime sound and the people listening were truly moved. Willy Richter's Y Greadigaeth brought the house down. The colour of sound that the choir used painted a powerful picture culminating in dawn breaking in a wave of superb sound. The choir must have worked very hard to produce such results. The audience stood in silence to remember those who gave their lives in all the wars while the choir sang Mike Sammes' For the Fallen. I marvel that an amateur choir can embrace show songs, Welsh folk songs and opera with such ease expertise and sensitivity, but this conductor John Jenkins, took on the role of magician and drew us into the magic of music, so that we left the Church feeling we had heard the best. Bridgend can be proud to be associated with such a choir.

The choristers will tour s'Hertogenbosch ,Netherlands at the end of October . They will sing 'For the Fallen' and surely a Welsh hymn or two, as part of the Liberation Celebration.


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