Thursday 11 December 2014
Any disappointment that raconteur & Concert compère, Huw Edwards, was unable to attend for health reasons was speedily overcome when Bridgend Male Choir started singing.
Resplendent in dinner suits with red bow ties and wearing daffodils, they had come to entertain the capacity congregation, the second such full house for the Bridgend choristers in six days. With Musical Director, Rhiannon Williams-Hale conducting from the ground floor pulpit, her charges occupied the balconies either side of her – second tenors and bass on her left and top tenors and baritones on her right, offering a balanced, stereo sound throughout this historical place of worship. The choristers were well received and fully added to the 125 years birthday since Tabernacle first opened its doors. Some difficult piano accompaniments were competently handled by accompanist, Stephanie Bailey, which together with organ accompanist, Scott Williams, who had also entertained whilst people arrived, added to the musical extravaganza.
This is a Concert where the “seniors” make way for two Garw Valley schools to entertain, first up being the 16 strong, year 2 pupils of Ysgol Gymraeg Cwm Garw with their wonderful and exclusive Welsh content. To the carol tunes of “Away in a Manger” and “In the Bleak Mid-Winter”, they glided through their repertoire in superb two part harmony, with the quiet singing completely silencing the throng, who did not wish to miss a note! When the children broke into movement to support the singing, with swaying & clapping, the adults could only look on with envy. Da iawn plant for some challenging items.
The second half saw the larger Blaengarw Primary School choir entertain with equal aplomb. In contrast, this choir sang in English, including such popular items as “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree”. The enthusiasm of all the children shone through the whole performance – especially the last item “In a Stable”. The recorded music scheduled to accompany this last item malfunctioned. The easiest thing to do was - forget it – but not these children. Featuring three soloists, the choristers sung lustily without accompaniment, deserving the huge applause which followed. Both choirs new all their words and clearly the support of teaching staff and parents alike made its very positive mark.
On an evening, when not just Huw Edwards could not participate, a poem reading by Mrs Lena Charles had to be postponed, as was an appearance by harp maker & musician, Merlyn Madoc MBE, all of whom were laid low. This did not stop the wonderful playing of one of Merlyn's harps, by local schoolgirl, Sarah Taylor. Her performance of Little Donkey deservedly drew much applause.
Before a vote of thanks was given by Chapel stalwart, Eileen Price, all choirs and congregation joined together to lustily sing “Calon Lan”, synonymous with the Valley. Eileen acknowledged all the participants & singled out helpers, Dave & Joan Davison, for pulling all of the organisation together. Everyone applauded when she advised that Huw Edwards had very willingly committed himself to another Tabernacle Chapel concert in 2015, provided she was willing! By that time its hoped that all have returned to better health.
Bridgend Male Choir can next be heard at an open to all & cost free, Christmas Service, at Coychurch Crematorium Chapel, 7.00 pm, Thursday, 18th December 2014.