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Sunday 08 June 2008

A wonderful afternoon was enjoyed by all at this CADW protected monument...David Burt writes...

Swooping swallows from a clear blue sky filled the air around Raglan Castle, almost as if they were dancing to the music of the invited Bridgend Male Choir and jazzy Monmouth Big Band to a fantastic afternoon’s entertainment.   

An audience of more than 800 at the three day Music Festival filled the natural amphitheatre on the castle lawns, within the high tumbling ramparts. Picnic chairs, tables and parasols filled every old castle chimney & crevice large enough to seat the enthusiastic crowd. They were not to be disappointed.   

Bridgend Male Choir under the baton of John Jenkins & accompaniment of Rhiannon Williams-Hale was in sublime form regaling with an appropriate selection from its extensive repertoire. Rhiannon’s playing of the wonderful arrangements of Speed Your Journey and Memory wowed the crowd. Compere Gareth Davies introduced soloists for the day Leon Evans, John Jones & especially Graham Collins making a most welcome return to the solo ranks.   

The Monmouth Big Band seemed to have found some shade from which to perform to the envy of its chorister counterparts. Its content of jazz and swing had audience & choristers foot tapping appreciatively. It was unfortunate that the environment was not conducive to the Band and Choir performing together – such are the constraints on a Royalist stronghold built many hundreds of years before.   

The concert ended with the Choir singing Cy Coleman’s Rhythm Of Life, which brought the appreciative audience to its feet with a standing ovation – and lets not forget those swallows – well they must have liked it as well, as they scored several hits of their own on performers and audience alike!


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