Saturday 15 February 2014
St. John's House Trust (Bridgend) has a number of aims regarding the Newcastle Hill historic property, which include a commitment to its purchase, availability for viewing and community usage. Fund-raising is a pre-requisite to all this which is where last night's concert comes in.
The award winning Bridgend Male Choir opened with its first performance in 2014 with rousing patriotic items, Men of Harlech; Pan Fo'r Nos Yn Hir and Yfori. Led by Musical Director, Rhiannon Williams-Hale and talented accompanist, Stephanie Bailey it was clear that the men were in fine form. The Vocelle Ladies Group under gifted musician, Merin Williams entertained with Dancing Queen and the weather appropriate Send Down the Rain. In between they sang the Kirby Shaw arrangement of Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel), a beautiful rendition which totally suited the ladies voices. Up next were the children from Oldcastle School Choir to a rousing reception from the 250+ audience & they were worth waiting for. Under conductor, Ros Harris they opened with Seek Ye First (the Kingdom of God); then entertaining with We Like Joyful Music, again with two part harmony and dancing movements on stage to the envy of their senior counterparts!The climax was the unaccompanied African Prayer which drew huge admiration and applause from all present. Fresh from accompanying the children’s choir, Rhiannon then led her Choir through the more recent popular content of What a Wonderful World; The Rose & Portrait of My Love.
The second part started with what is likely to be the opening item when Bridgend Male Choir takes the stage at Llangollen International Music Eisteddfod in July. From Verdi's opera, Ernani, the Bandit's Chorus was sung in its native Italian, before the total contrast of Llef to the tune of Deep Harmony and the Russian themed, Casatchok. The Pontyclun based ladies of Vocelle (pronounced VO-KEL) returned with Gershwin's Someone to Watch Over Me and Into the West (from Lord of the Rings). The easy style and soft harmonies left one wishing that they could listen to this all night. Ending with Delyth Richards' Hafan Gobaith they had clearly left the very best until last. Quite wonderful, so much so that the male choir's MD suggested that it will be added to the future learning portfolio. Praise indeed. The men from BMC returned with the ever popular Jean Valjean Prayer from Les Miserables, Bring Him Home and Geraint Roberts' rousing Amen. Both senior choirs then came together for Tydi a Roddaist, which drew huge applause, not least for the writer's best Amen of all! The Welsh National Anthem drew the entertainment to a close, but organisers promised to bring it back next year.
In closing, the grateful St John's Trust thanked everyone for attending and confirmed its financially better position to continue with its good work for the town & people of Bridgend.