Friday 18 July 2008
REVIEW OF WYASTONE LEYS, ROSS-ON-WYE SUMMER SERIES, FEATURING: BRIDGEND MALE CHOIR & THE BAND OF THE CORPS OF ROYAL ENGINEERS.
David Burt writes.......
This Choir and Band has performed together previously at this venue and when Capt. Bruce Miller, Band Musical Director, introduced the performance, he received a rousing ovation from a capacity 600 audience anticipating the treat to follow.
He led his instrumentalists through Sibelius’ Finlandia introduction before bringing in the Choir for a wonderful opening and progressed to conduct his Band with the rousing Festive Overture before inviting to the stage the Choir’s Musical Director, John Jenkins & Accompanist, Rhiannon Williams-Hale. A foot tapping start to the Choir’s content followed with This Little Light of Mine and popular stage songs, Memory from Cats and Bui Doi from Miss Saigon, the latter featuring tenor soloist Paul Carter.
The 27 Band members, resplendent in their scarlet tunics & gold braid, were then led through the concert march, Men of Harlech, before euphonium duettists gave an accomplished rendition of Softly As I Leave You. Sitting immediately behind the trombonists, it was not difficult to recognise the skills and efforts of this talented Band. The first half drew to a close with the Choir performing the items learned for the Welsh National Eisteddfod at Cardiff on August 9th, Dacw Mam Yn Dwad, Hiraeth and Y Greadigaeth to one of its most appreciative audiences. The audience reserved more applause for the final item, Morte Criste featuring another tenor soloist, Leon Evans.
The Chatham based Corps of Royal Engineers Band has recently returned from Greece and France, commemorating recent memorial ceremonies. The Band’s most recent tour on active duty was to Iraq. Colonel Tuggey on behalf of the Army Benevolent Fund outlined the continuing need to raise substantial funds for those soldiers & former soldiers in need and paid tribute to the Choir, Band & all those gathered for their huge support.
It was the Choir’s turn to start the second half with John Jenkins leading his men through the specially requested Gwahoddiad, following with Tonight, Bring Him Home and Heriwn Wynebwr Y Wawr. The quality of the accompaniment of Rhiannon Williams-Hale is considered by many both in and out of the Choir as worthy of a concert in itself. It was then the turn of Harry Potter to make an appearance when the Band opened its second period with the theme from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This was followed by two soloists from the Band singing Well Did You Evah!, accompanied by their colleagues.
The strains of the romantic Unchained Melody, Cy Coleman’s Rhythm of Life and You'll Never Walk Alone from Carousel were heard from the on form choristers, before they again came together with the magnificent Band for a marvelous combined rendition of Tannhauser’s Pilgrims Chorus. All that then remained was for the Band to bring a superb concert to end with another choral march and anthems, both sung with gusto.
The Sergeant’s Mess at Monmouth was the post Concert venue, where as has become tradition the Choir again sung for a most magnificent supper, provided by their Army colleagues. Roll on the next time!