Saturday 21 October 2006
Highlighting the works of the many volunteers......
Whilst the children of Chernobyl will benefit from the Concert proceeds, it was the audience at the event which benefited from the excellent musical content.
This worthy Charity has enjoyed the considerable support of the people of Blaengarw for many years, none more so than Don and Wendy Sage and their band of helpers who have achieved wonders. Children from the affected area have been brought to Wales each summer and winter to enjoy the wonderful welcome & hospitality away from a most difficult environment. When speaking to the gathered audience, an emotional Don Sage expressed great pride in the massive steps which have been taken in Belarus with the recent completion of an annexe, meaning that children can now sleep away from their classroom. He expressed sincere appreciation and the hope that the good work can continue to help those so badly affected. Don’s wife Wendy suffered a heart attack a few weeks ago, returning home from hospital the day before the Concert. All hope that she will make a full and speedy recovery.
One of the Charity’s band of helpers is young vocalist, Emma Banks from Llangeinor, still aged only 20 years, but having sung in support of Chernobyl for six years already – and what a talent. Emma’s worthy contribution were renditions of Bette Middler’s Wind Beneath My Wings and From A Distance; Lloyd Webber’s title song from a favourite London Show Whistle Down The Wind and finally a song made popular by Jennifer Rush, The Power Of Love. Emma is seeking to launch herself into a musical career and those who missed out this time can catch her at her own show on the 15th December, again at the Blaengarw Workmen’s Hall when she will appear under stage name, Emma Lee. It is a name which I expect to become much more familiar.
The other contribution to the fundraiser was Bridgend Male Choir, making only its second visit to the Garw Valley in the Choir’s history. Led by maestro, John Jenkins, he was ably supported by one of Wales’s top accompanists, Rhiannon Williams-Hale. At the last Choir visit, some 46 years ago, a young John Jenkins appeared as a trumpet player with a supporting youth orchestra. John was at pains to point out that his trumpet playing was not that bad that it had taken so long to be invited back!
Coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster, inevitable comparisons were made with the suffering of another pit community to the Chernobyl suffering, the Choir adding to the reflection with renditions of Mike Sammes arrangement of For The Fallen with narration by John Jones and Bui Doi from the stage show Miss Saigon, featuring soloist Paul Carter. No less than six soloists featured from the Choir, during an evening of reflection and the enjoyment of knowing what the village of Blaengarw has contributed towards making the world a better place for many.