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Thursday 19 January 2012

Being Musical Director for 10 years from 2002 comes with lots of memories and the Choir has been inundated with tributes following John's passing. Some of the many received are recorded below.....

JOHN JENKINS TRIBUTES RECEIVED (responses received to the following e-mail message) It’s my very sad duty to advise that the Choir’s Musical Director, John Jenkins passed away in the early hours this morning, 7th January. A good friend and colleague to us all, he won’t be missed solely for what he brought to the Choir’s quality, but for his great friendship to each and every one of us. For the present, our thoughts will be with his wife Wendy and children, Mark, Karin and their families. DAVID T BURT Bridgend Male Choir (Regarding the following :- Address has been provided where requested. I have also thanked and acknowledged all & advised messages would be passed on to John's family)

RESPONSES: This is dreadful news and I know it cannot have been easy to share it. I would be grateful if you could let me have Wendy’s address so that I may send my condolences. Madeleine Moon, Choir Vice President & MP for Bridgend

So sorry to hear the news David. In fact, a colleague of John's and a fellow trumpeter Tony Small rang me last night. Can you send me Wendy's address so that I may send a card? Dr. Karl Jenkins CBE B.Mus., F.R.A.M., L.R.A.M. Choir Patron

Thank you David, really awfully sad news. I was just informed also by Dean Powell of treorchy male choir too. What a wonderful man he was and it makes me feel really very sad to hear this. My thoughts are with you all as a choir + especially to wendy and all his wonderful family. He will be greatly missed by many.   Rhiannon Williams-Hale, Former Choir Accompanist with John at Bridgend & Treorchy

Dear David, This is so very sad. I have rung Peter and have passed on my condolences to the family, Roger Lewis, WRU Chief Executive & Choir Patron

What a tragic loss and a very sad day for everyone. We will write to Wendy and her family with our condolences. Our thoughts are also with everyone in the choir who shared so many wonderful magical musical hours with John and know how much you will all miss him. You must all be devastated by this dreadful news.We have very fond memories of the concerts we worked on together for Cancer Research Wales - John's support, good humour and professionalism made my job so much easier.He was a true gentleman. Maggie + Bill Hughes, Choir Vice President

I am so sorry to hear this very sad news. As you said, I have known John for many years, and did some of his arrangements in a 1000 Voices concert, visiting his home after a rehearsal some years ago.I would be grateful if you could let me have his home address so that I can send a sympathy card to his family; also, when the funeral arrangements are known, perhaps you could send me an email; if it's feasible, I will try to attend Haydn James, Conductor 1,000 Voices, Millennium Rugby Stadium etc.

I was really saddened by the news in your email. I'm sure you as a choir are still coming to terms with the news of John's unexpected passing.Please would you pass on my sincere and heartfelt sympathy to John's family and of course to all of you wonderful gentlemen in the choir.John was a true gentleman, with a warm heart and an incredible musical gift. He will truly be missed.Would it be possible for you to let me know the funeral arrangements and I will do everything in my power to be there.Thank you once again for letting me know, I really appreciate it.Kindest regards, Heulwen Webb & everyone at Bethlehem Church Centre, Cefn Cribwr.

Dear David.I am in India on holiday at present and so sorry to hear that devastating news about John. Thank you for your kind emails in informing people. He will be so sadly missed and i am sure the choir are devastated. Why is it that the best go first. They must surely need him in Heaven I'm sure. Please convey my deepest sympathy and condolences to his family. I will not be back until 25th. January so will also miss the funeral. Wish also to send deepest sympathy from Mair's walk committee. Once again thank you for information.With kind regards, Mair ap Gruffydd Mair's Walk/ Stepping Stones Cancer Charity Appeal

I am extremely sorry to hear the news of John's passing. Please extend my sincere sympathy to the choir. I would also be grateful for Wendy's address so that I can send the family a note. Huw   HUW EDWARDS (BBC NEWS)

Very sad news regarding John Jenkins received with great sadnesduring a sleepless night today. I did not have the privelege of knowing him as well as most , being a newcomer, but was most impressed with his friendly and helpful manner. He will be very sadly missed. Thanks to you personnaly too for keeping us informed = Hywel Phillips –(Hywel has been unwell and unable to attend all year – his comments are typical of the thoughts of choristers whom John has helped)

Just heard by e-mail from Vince Scanlon about the untimely passing away of John Jenkins. I would like to pay tribute to his dedication to music generally , and to choral music in particular . Although I did not know him well on a personal basis , I was able to appreciate his great knowledge of training and conducting choirs . On behalf of Cor Meibion Llanelli , I wish to extend to you and your Choir our deepest sympathy at this sad time. Also, please convey these feelings to his family. Let me know if I can be of any help to you in the immediate future . Yours sincerely D Eifion Thomas ( Cor Meibion Llanelli )

Just heard of John's passing,Suzanne and I would like pass on our condolences both to his family and you as a choir,a great loss to male voice singing.regards,alun ALUN & SUZANNE HODGES MD & Accompanist, Maesteg Gleemen MVC also recently appointed manager of the Wales Bowls Team (? I think)

Our Condoleances bij the death of your director of the chorus.We wich you to all the memers of the choir many power in the cumming time GERRIT MASTENBROEK Leimuiden The Netherlands (s'Hertogenbosch Cor)

Many thanks for letting us know this very sad news. Our thoughts are with you all in the choir and our condolences to John's wife and family. We will remember him in our prayers. Sincerely, from all at St Mary's Catholic Church, Bridgend

This is very sad news and I send Wendy and John's family and the choir our condolences and much love from Monmouth. John will be greatly missed; he brought much pleasure to many people. Yours sincerely, Colonel Andrew Tuggay, Army Benevolent Fund Charity, Monmouth

What terrible news, he will be so sadly missed I’m sure by his friends and family. John was such a wonderful character, whose support we truly appreciated. Our thoughts are with his family.   Liz Andrews, Charity Director, Cancer Research Wales

I would like to express my sympathy at the recent passing away of John Jenkins to his family, friends and colleagues in the Bridgend male choir. John initially became involved with the choir more than fifty years ago and became its musical director 10 years ago. He conducted the choir in 2004 and 2006 in the Welsh National Eisteddfod in which they were winners of their section He will be a great loss not only to the choir but to the community at large in which he was a big supporter of raising money for charities. He was also a lovely gentleman and will be sorely missed by everyone. Clive Mitchell, Columnist at Bridgend Gem

Call tonight from Rhian Jenkins (Yaminali) MD of Cor Meibion Maesteg, offering the choir's condolences and sympathy upon hearing the news of John. She offered her own and the choir's support over the coming weeks in any way should we require it. Rhian, Cor Meibion Maesteg

Very sad news about John Jenkins, he was such a talented M.D. Ruth Dennis, Maesteg Ladies Choir

On behalf of Cwmbach, may I extend our deepest thoughts to you and John's family.   Secretary, Cwmbach MVC – sadly Cwmbach also lost its MD the same weekend.

Terrible,reading that the musical Director from the Bridgend Male Voice Choir passed away. We think of the family who lost their Husband and their Father. Also we think on the th empty place before the Choir and the energy he have given to the Choir. I know what it will be to lose somebody. This afternoon we in the committee have spoken about John and we send a condolene to the Choir. Hope that You all have strength to live with the thought and good remembrance on John. Will Pelders, Retired Chairman of Mixed Choir s'Hertogenbosch

Hello David, The last time I met John Jenkins was in October 2008. Your Choir sung in the Liberation Concert in the Jheronimus Bosch Art Center. I remember John as a very kindly and pleasant man with a warm hart to your Choir but also to us. He was a very expressive and an excellent conductor. I can imagine that all of you are very shocked by this terrible occurence and his passing away. In our thoughts we will be with his family and with his Choir. We very sympathize with all of you and of course especially to his wife and children. We will pray for all of you for strength in this heavy period. Inno van Riemsdijk, Gemengd Koor ‘s-Hertogenbosch

Thank you for letting me know the sad news. Our thoughts are with hisfamily at this sad time. Best Regards Eddie and Joan Bushe, Belfast – Organisers of N Ireland Tour 2007

So sad to hear about John I hadn't heard anything and I am deeply sorry Please keep me informed Max   MAXWELL BOYCE - Choir Patron

Received advice this afternoon from Beverley. She had been looking at our website in advance of her new Radio Wales programme and saw the news about JJ and couldn't believe it. She rang me to find out what happened as she had known John for many years. She was really shocked and asked to pass on her condolences to the choir. She asked for Wendy's address in order to write to her. Beverley Humphries, Radio Wales

I have recently heard from our former Musical Director, Haydn James, of the_#5#_ very sad news that your Musical Director, John Jenkins had died following a_#5#_ brain haemorrhage._#5#__#5#_ Our Choir has in the past greatly valued John's help in providing_#5#_ arrangements for our Royal Albert Hall Festival. I remember in particular we_#5#_ sang two of John's arrangements in the Millennium or Year 2000 Festival:_#5#_ The Circle of Life and Can You Feel The Love Tonight - both arrangements of_#5#_ music by Elton John from the Musical "The Lion King" . _#5#__#5#_ On behalf of the London Welsh Male Voice Choir, I send your Choir and John's family my deepest sympathy._#5#__#5#_ Best Wishes, _#5#_ Keith Warren, Chairman, LONDON WELSH MALE VOICE CHOIR

Life is precious, live each day to the full and put nothing off as you might not get the chance to do it. RIP John Jenkins, a wonderfully charismatic gentleman, educator and all round musician. One of a kind. Thank you for everything, you are already sorely missed and will never be forgotten xx Laura Smith, Accompanist

Many thanks David, Unfortunately I cannot be with you as I shall be on the table at Guy’s having my foot re-set. My apologies and I know that you all will ensure that John’s life is celebrated in great style. Andrew , Choir Vice President & Army Benevolent Fund, Monmouth Col. Andrew Tuggey Director Commonwealth & International Relations & Secretary Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK | BIMR Secretariat Westminster Hall | Houses of Parliament | London SW1A 0AA

Hi David, Thanks for sending me the emails - it is good to know what is going on. I was really saddened to hear of the sudden death of John Jenkins and I would like to pass on my condolences to everyone. I have to say that he was really kind towards me when I was a member of the Choir - I am not sure that I would have passed the audition singing test with anyone other than JJ!! When I look back, I feel that he was a really inspirational and enthusiastic person and that certainly rubbed off on me. He developed my appreciation and understanding of music to a whole new level.Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the Funeral as I will be in Cyprus. Good luck for the day and I am sure you will all do JJ proud.Regards, Erik. ERIC THOMAS, FORMER CHORISTER

I have only just been able to access my e mails so have only just read about John.It is such sad news. He was an amazing chap always so enthusiatic and full of life he is going to be sadly missed by everyone.I think the biggest tribute that I can give him is that deep down he was an ASBO but his position would not allow him show it.Would you please pass on my condolences to Wendy and the family. I won't promise but I will try to be there on Friday. All the best Bryn Williams Former chorister, but still with us in spirit, now living at St Asaph

We were all very shocked and saddened to hear of the death of John Jenkins. I'm sure he'll be sorely missed by all the choir and we hope that the choir manages to carry on without his expert musical arrangement and conducting skills. It's hard to believe that the last concert he conducted was at that lovely night in November at St. Bridget's (and in The Fox & Hounds). Please pass on our condolences. From the feedback this end everyone would love to have the choir again so I look forward to hearing from you. Robert Carveth , St Bridget's Church, St Brides Major

Sincere condolences on the death of your Musical Director. John was a highly respected musician and exerted a significant influence on the musical life of South Wales. He will be sadly missed. John H Lewis Pendyrus Male Voice Choir (Card) 9 Brown Street, Ferndale, Rhondda CF43 4SF

"John has been an inspiration to me through the whole of my career andi still cant believe it ( what an amazing man )" Matthew Thomas Rhys Lewis - Freelance musician (Neath/ Port Talbot area)

RE: John Jenkins -On behalf of Cor Bro Ogwr can I extend our sincere condolences to his family and to your choir. From the occasions when I have sung under his direction and met with him I know he will be missed by the many people who he has worked with over the years. I always found him to be the total professional and with a warm and humorous personality. Best Wishes John Trotter (Chairman, Cor Bro Ogwr)

I am so saddened and shocked to receive this news. Please send my sincere condolences to all the choir. It must be a terrible time for you all. I am so so sorry but I am not able to attend the service on January 20th. Please could you let me know the address for Wendy so I can send her my condolences.Thank you so much for thinking to let me know. John was a wonderful man and I cannot believe I won't see him or work with him again. My thoughts with you all,Helen-Jane Howells, Winner Russell Sheppard Scholarship &Soloist with Bridgend Male Choir on several occasions Later – from Diary page of Helen-Jane's website “It is with great sadness I have learned that John Jenkins passed away shortly after Christmas. John was a legend at Bridgend and ran the highly popular Bridgend Male Choir as well as many other musical groups and activities. Trained in Wales and at the Royal College of Music he was a wonderful musician and conductor, always so calm and knowing how to get the best out of his men. I first met John when I was awarded First Prize in the Russell Shepard Singing Competition in 2008. It was the first competition I had entered and at the time I had only just started singing properly after leaving teaching and I had very little confidence in my ability winning this award gave me the confidence to move forward and John has been a consistent supporter ever since – e was always so good to me and proud of me and I am honoured to have sung with him and the Bridgend Male Choir over the years”. Later – “It's too early now, but please keep in touch if there is to be a memorial concert later on down the line. I'd be honoured to be involved and have a chance to pay my respects and gratitude” Gareth Reese has acknowledged & appreciated the offer and will keep in contact.

I did hear the sad news earlier this week and will certainly ensure that_#5#_ Carwyn is aware._#5#_ _#5#_ Would you have an address so that he can send a card to Wendy?_#5#__#5#_ Anyone who is aware of the former Ogmore Camp and The Glam would be more_#5#_ than aware of the role played by John. I even dusted off the bookshelf the_#5#_ book he wrote on its history. Everyone I have spoken to, has been shocked_#5#_ and saddened. Perhaps you could let me know the funeral arrangements._#5#__#5#_ Kindest regards,_#5#__#5#_ Chris – Christopher Mainwaring, AMSS to Carwyn Jones, Welsh Assembly

I was so sorry to hear that John Jenkins had passed away unexpectedly. He has done such valuable work with your Choir, you are bound to miss him badly. Please will you pass my condolences to his wife and to the Choir. Yours sincerely, Eira Paskin – Ogmore Valley Choir

He is of commanding presence, infinite dignity, fabulous memory, vast experience, high temperament, and serene wisdom...He has been tempered in the crucible but he is still molten and he glows with a fierce inner light! He is many things...: Musician, administrator, executive, minister, psychologist, technician, philosopher, and dispenser of wrath...above all, he is and was “A Leader of Men”......Thoughts of a conductors   role – as quoted by Harold Schonberg – as John was an avid follower of verse & poetry, Rhiannon thought this most appropriate. Thank you

Sorry to hear of your sad loss, please pass our condolences to John's family. Best wishes from all at Gerwyn Thomas (Secretary) Cor Meibion Maesteg a'r Cylch

So sorry to hear your devastating news about John. Thinking of you. Cor Merched Cwm Llynfi

Our sincere sympathy on your sad loss. Cor Meibion Llanelli

Having been away for a week it is with sincere apologies that this message of condolence is only now being sent. I am so saddened by the news of John Jenkins' untimely passing. I was totally honoured to accompany under John Jenkins' fantastic baton on many an occasion. Those days will never be forgotten. John, the outstanding Musician in all aspects will never be forgotten. A truly great talented Gentleman, who i was so proud to be a friend of. All my thoughts and love are with Wendy and family at this extremely saddened time. RIP John. You will sorely be missed. Much love. Cheryl Jones, Music Team, Bridgend Male Choir

Many thanks for your emails this week. I'd heard of John's death last week - as you may know, I am the Head of Music at a school in Swansea and one of my instrumental staff informed me. I know Karin very well through work - also, we were at University together. I was very shocked and saddened to hear of John's death. I did thank various people/choirs etc on your behalf as requested. I also played a short tribute to John in tonigtht's programme. I played Gwahoddiad and Pie Jesu from your CD. Hopefully I'll be able to attend the crematorium on Friday. I'll certainly ask permission to attend, but some heads are quite strict about such things unless it's family. Such news is obviously devastating for the family; also, the effect on colleagues must not be underestimated. Please pass on my condolences and best wishes to the Musical Team and choristers of Bridgend Male Choir. Diolch, Alun Alun Rhyddid, Swansea Sound Radio

Thank you for your message. Laura did inform me about John's accident before_#5#_ Christmas. I can imagine that his departure will be a great loss to the_#5#_ choir - he was a wonderful conductor and the life and soul of the choir. As_#5#_ I have told Laura, I will be at the funeral on Friday. I hope to see you_#5#_ there. _#5#_ If there is anything that I can do for you or the choir, please let me know._#5#_ Lots of love. Llio xxxx Llio Evans

It is with shock that I heard last week of John's sudden passing.As a Music Adviser myself - many moons ago I worked with John and his staffon educational projects, then as a trainer for school music staff when thenational curriculum was implemented and more currently supplying music foryour choir.His success as a music adviser left a legacy next to none in West Glamorganas does his remarkable success as a conductor.My thoughts and condolences are with his family and the choir.Kind regards, Dinah DINAH PYE, AGSM, DIP.ED., CFPS, WELSH WOMAN OF THE YEAR WINNER 2004Music Consultant; Director ­ Choral Music Centre in WalesAccredited e-Commerce Trader, National Adviser for Arts Council Wales

Truly sorry to hear this news: John is a great loss to many people - R.I.P. My condolences to all, John C. John Costello, from Dublin, visited us at a rehearsal a year or so ago and bought CDs. He was very impressed by the choir and JJ.

So very sorry to hear about John. I still can't believe it. My friends and I always enjoyed watching him with the Choir. He so enjoyed what he was doing and had the very best attention from you all. He really loved his Choir and it was obvious he had the respect of all. He will be so difficult to replace and will be really missed. Phillippa Berry – Bridgend resident and a regular at concerts with friends

Words cannot adequately describe a man who redefined brilliance, but it is hoped that John who was prone to verse, might just appreciate this humble offering: I came off the course and saw a missed call I knew then it was for John did the bell toll A brilliant musician, husband and Dad We fall to our knees and recite the Ein Tad.

Books on the Choir's Fiftieth and Bowls One Hundred Exhilarating reads for all and sundry He wrote poems and prose, macro and micro Surely John’s books were his great crescendo.

A most illustrious career and musically noted And in recent years on grandchildren he doted From trumpet to baton in strict chronology Academic letters greater than Llanfair PG.

John was not given to expect great reward And now we have to trust in the Lord His heart could only be described as ‘mawr’ It seems so inadequate to say "John, diolch yn fawr!"

I am so proud to have rubbed shoulders with such a musical giant. Paul Porter, President, Bridgend Male Choir

It was with sadness that Bridgend heard of the death of Mr John Jenkins, the Musical Director of the Choir. The Choir have been a familiar part of life at ST. MARY'S on numerous occasions. We extend to Mr Jenkins' family and to the members of the Choir our sympathy and prayers at this sad time. Mr Jenkins' name has been included in our prayers for the departed this month. May he rest in peace. Parish Magazine, St Mary's Catholic Church, Bridgend

On behalf of the Management Committee, Porthcawl Male Choir. We would like to offer our condolence to the Bridgend Male Choir and the Family of your Musical Director John Jenkins, following his sudden death. His passing is a great loss to his Family, the Bridgend Male Choir and the male voice choir community in Bridgend & South Wales. Ray Street, Secretary, Cor- Meibion Porthcawl.

Condolences to Bridgend MVC on the death of John Jenkins. May happy memories help ease your sorrow. Mark Burstow & Members of Bournemouth MVC

My Choir and I were very saddened to hear of the passing of your wonderful conductor. We would like to pass on our deepest sympathy to his wife and family and of course your singers and you. We hope you will find another conductor and once again come to Comrie and bless us with your wonderful music. God bless you all. Charles Simm and Comrie Church Choir, Perthshire

Please may I extend my deepest sympathy to the choir and more importantly to Johns family on the very sad news of his death.What a shock!I and my choir(The Minnesingers Male Chorus)send you our wholehearted support at such a sad time.John was a great musical director and the best way to serve his memory is to continue with the standard that he had set.Sincere condolences. Meryn Williams

I can't tell you how saddened we were to hear of the Choir's sad loss. John was such a vibrant person. He will be hard to replace. Best wishes to you all at this difficult time Regards Andrew Andrew Dix, Christmas Tree Festival Organiser, St Mary's Nolton Church, Bridgend

I knew John and Wendy before they became "John & Wendy", from around 1955 - and many others who were there on Friday (at the Funeral) were contemporary friends, who equally appreciated the tributes and the occasion. The choir was very well reviewed by all of them, many of them musicians of note!! There was a message from Karl Jenkins saying he would try to be back from NY in time, and Gordon Back (pianist) hoping to be back from Beijing. There are others from all over the world who would have wanted to be there if they could. John and I were firm friends (even blood brothers?) in music and athletics; he was a good sprinter, excellent long jumper (just ask Lyn Davies!), cricketer, and latterly bowls player. The man who led the brass ensemble on Friday, Tony Small, was up there with us; when they had their interviews in London they stayed at my digs in Wandsworth, and when they did their courses later on they stayed at my hostel in Bayswater. Memories are made of this! John gave himself totally to everything he ever did. He taught hundreds, controlled the teaching of thousands and then influenced the careers of many more. He will be so hard to replace, in so many ways. Alan Davies, chorister & lifelong friend

I am so sorry to learn of the death of John Jenkins, such a shock for you all, tho' I know you will go on making such wonderful music in respect and affection for him. With sincere condolences, Margaret. Margaret Cave has previously organised a number of concerts in the Ross-on-Wye area

City of Newport Male Choir send their sincere condolences on the passing away of John Jenkins. We have very fond memories of him as he was once our M.D. Rest in peace John you will be greatly missed. PeterGildersleve, City of Newport Male Choir

John and I both started work as Advisers to the newly established West Glamorgan Education Department in September 1974 and we both left the service within months of each other in 1992. 1974 was an exciting time to join the Education Service in West Glamorgan – a time of innovation and of a visionary commitment which placed children and young people at the heart of our work. As Music Adviser, John led an extraordinary programme of music opportunities – the Youth Orchestra, Youth Choir, Youth Brass Band together with a variety of other music ensembles which grew out of the weekly music centres, the school based support through the instrumental music service for primary, secondary and special schools; and, of course, residential music courses for all age groups and In Service training for teachers. If not inevitable, it was fortuitous that the parallel work in Drama and Dance which I was privileged to lead should combine with the work in music – John and I had brought the Youth Orchestra, Youth Choir and Dancers of the Youth Theatre together in 1975 to perform Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances. In 1976 the County Youth Arts Company was formally established to present occasional combined performing arts events which John conducted and I directed– firstly West Side Story followed by Purcell’s Faerie Queen and, later, Bernstein’s Mass which took over three hundred young performers and technicians to perform at Wembley Conference Centre. Then, the Royal Gala Performance of Vaughan Williams Job as part of a choral and orchestral concert in the presence of the Prince and Princess of Wales. And, of course, not only did the young performers live and work together in residential rehearsal courses but so too did the music and drama staffs – forging professional relationships and friendships which last to this day. The County’s work in the Arts attracted interest, not only in Britain but beyond and the Youth Orchestra undertook many international tours which again established long lasting working relationships. With his other Arts Adviser colleagues, John managed the music element of the County’s Smaller Communities and the Arts project which took professional performers and artists to many points in West Glamorgan for a succession of winters. As Music Adviser, John was charged with establishing the Margam Festival. With his usual energy John set about creating a summer festival of professional and amateur music together with other arts events which further enhanced West Glamorgan’s ambition of arts for all. Through all this ran John’s initiative, enthusiasm, appetite for challenge and tireless hard work as part of an Advisory team which was committed to the best for the children and young people of West Glamorgan. They were good times. Rev'd Godfrey Evans


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