Aber Valley MVC Return from Successful Tour to World’s Biggest Celtic Festival

The men of the Aber Valley MVC have just returned from an unforgettable trip to the Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival. The festival, which hosts over 700,000 visitors every year, saw us perform 10 concerts at a variety of locations, including Stade du Moustoir, home to Lorient FC. It is estimated that we performed in front of over 40,000 people throughout the week.


During our nightly concert at the Stade du Moustoir, we sang ‘Ar Lan y Môr’ and ‘Llanfair’ as we represented Wales alongside talented Welsh-born Australian singer-harpist Siobhan Owen. We then helped bring the show to its pulsating crescendo by singing ‘Highland Cathedral’ and ‘Amazing Grace’ with a massed pipe and drum band made up of our Irish, Scottish and Breton cousins.


In addition to the spectacular concert in the stadium, we had the honour of representing Wales in the Grand Parade of Celtic Nations, where we “marched” through the centre of Lorient as the streets were lined with many thousands of cheering well-wishers. The parade took us through the centre of Lorient and we sang for the supporters as we passed. The humbling experience came to head in the stadium where the grandstand was packed with even more people.


Other concerts included several in the Celtic Village and the Welsh Pavilion of the festival and at the impressive local church, l’Église de St. Louis. At the church we performed a somewhat different repertoire of religious and traditional Welsh music which was highly rated by a large audience. Away from the performances, the choir enjoyed excursions to Port St. Louis, Quimper and a few of the local bars!


It was a huge honour and a privilege to have been invited back to the Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival for a second consecutive year. We had a brilliant time and we are very grateful to Claire and Hélène, our festival guides, and the musical team that worked hard to make our tour a success. Keep your eyes out on our Facebook, Twitter and website for more pictures of stories from our tour to Brittany. We will also be announcing concerts and events for the latter half of the year very soon.



Aber Valley MVC to Perform at the World’s Biggest Celtic Festival this Week

The Aber Valley Male Voice Choir will be heading to France on 4 August to perform at the annual Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival. For the second year in a row, the choir will be representing Wales in the world’s biggest Celtic festival located in Lorient, Brittany. The choir will spend 8 days at the festival, which attracts over 700,000 visitors each year to enjoy the best of Welsh, Irish, Scottish and pan-Celtic culture. The Senghenydd-based choir will perform in a variety of locations, including the Welsh pavilion and the Stade du Moustoir, singing a wide range of music.

Chairman, Paul Newman expressed the choir’s enthusiasm for this year’s festival. “It is an honour to be invited back to Lorient,” he said. “It is the first time a Welsh choir has be invited back to perform at the festival for a second consecutive year, so we are keen to put on a show Wales can be proud of!” Geraint Evans, BEM, the Musical Director of the Aber Valley MVC also commented on the commitment of the choristers. “It is a testament to the hard work of the choristers that we have been invited back to the Festival Inter-celtique de Lorient. When we went there last year we had such a good time, especially as we thought it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. To go back again is simply incredible.”

The Festival Inter-celtique de Lorient runs from 5 to 14 August. More information about the festival can be found at www.festival-interceltique.bzh

Caerphilly Castle for Choir and Cheese!

The Aber Valley MVC is very excited to be performing at this year’s Caerphilly Big Cheese Festival on Saturday 30 July. We will be performing a set in the Great Hall of Caerphilly Castle from 1.15pm, followed by another an hour later. You can find more information here.

The choir has enjoyed several performances at the now legendary Big Cheese festival and we hope to see many of you enjoying what will hopefully be a sunny summer afternoon of fun. Wales Online has an article all about the various acts and activities on offer in town over the weekend. You can find it here.

Following the Big Cheese, the AVMVC will be making its final preparations for the Lorient Inter-celtic Festival, beginning 5 August. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook  page for more information. Vive le Grand Fromage!

The Caerphilly Big Cheese Festival


Review of Aber Valley MVC and STAMPS Concert

On Saturday 16 July, the Aber Valley MVC joined the St Alphege Musical Production Society (STAMPS) at the Oliver Bird Hall, Solihull to perform at their annual fundraising celebration concert. LoveMidlandsTheatre.co.uk have kindly produced a review of the concert, which you can read below…

Aber Valley Male Voice Choir treated the Oliver Bird Hall to a delightful evening of music as part of STAMP’s Fundraising Celebration in anticipation of Thoroughly Modern Millie playing at The Core Theatre from 1 – 5 November.

On a warm Summer’s evening the hall was filled with the beautiful tones of this impressive choir. Starting with a selection of traditional Welsh Hymns, alongside Au Fond du Temple Saint and Divine Brahama, the harmonies were spine-tinglingly good.

The evening was interspersed with performances from members of STAMP’s providing the audience with a musical taster of what to expect from their upcoming show, along with providing a platform to showcase individual members of the group!

Notable performances came from James Kelly and Robert Bateman in the rocky Rent duet What You Ownand an ethereal Bali Ha’i was delivered well by Angela Billingham.

Lucy Clarke and Michael Smith made a strong duo in There Was A Time from The Gondoliers before we launched straight back into the rousing sounds of the choir. Adopting a more populist programme for the second half of Act One, the audience were treated to This Is The Moment, Can You Feel The Love Tonight and Nessun Dorma all executed perfectly, with sublime harmonies in Nessun Dorma.

They kicked off the second act with the wonderful Fields of Gold and there was audience participation aplenty in their rendition of California Dreamin’ – a crowd pleaser for certain!

A spot of humour from STAMP’s as Philip Lovell and John Glasgow performed the Kiss Me Kate favourite, Brush Up Your Shakespeare and there was even more hilarity as Angela Billingham and Kathlyn Lovell had a ‘diva-off’ in Duetto Buffo Di Due Gatti.

Bring Him Home was turned into a trio performance from Smith, Bateman and Kelly – with Smith particularly shining and the whole group took to the stage to perform the opening number from Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Closing the night was the final turn of Aber Valley and if the audience thought they had already been treated enough, they delivered a sublime rendition of Bui Doi from Miss Saigon.

This really was a celebratory show, with a joyous atmosphere throughout the night. It was jolly good fun and a great way to raise money for local theatre.

Concerts, Weddings and Summer Plans

The Aber Valley Male Voice Choir enjoyed a wonderful reception in Galmington, Taunton last Saturday, 9 July. There was hardly a spare seat in St. Michael’s Church where the AVMVC performed a varied programme, supported by our stellar accompanist Aurelia, who played throughout the evening. We were also joined on stage by young soloist Sophia Edwards and the incomparable trio, Serin who overcame some technical difficulties with the sound-system to wow the crowd. Serin’s a cappella number was certainly a highlight of the evening and it was a privilege to share the stage with our long-standing number one fan Marie Jones. Our signature trilingual song ‘Pokarekare Ana’ has never been conducted with more enthusiasm than when Marie was invited to lead the choir as the concert drew to a close. Perhaps even more warming than our reception in St. Michael’s was the fact that so many joined us for an after-glow in the nearby Shepherds Rest.

The Aber Valley MVC has recently been performing at a number of weddings across South Wales and we must be thankful for the efforts of the choristers and our musical team for enriching these special days with the gift of song. We now prepare for our next concert at The Oliver Bird Hall, Solihull on Saturday 16 July at 7pm. More information on the concert can be found here. Tickets can be ordered from Hazel Smith who can be contacted via e-mail, hazelsmith17758@hotmail.co.uk

Beyond our eagerly awaited trip to Solihull, we will soon be performing for the Caerphilly Twinning Association and the Caerphilly Big Cheese Festival before heading out to France for the Lorient Inter-celtic Festival. More information on these concerts to follow!

Standing room only in the Shepherd’s Rest, Taunton.

AVMVC to Perform in Taunton on Saturday 9 July

The Aber Valley Male Voice Choir is pleased to announce that it will holding a concert at St. Michael’s Church in Galmington, Taunton on Saturday 9th July at 7pm. The choir will perform a varied programme and are very pleased to be joined by the outstanding trio of female singers, Serin.

The choir has been eagerly preparing for the concert and we are fortunate enough to be performing at several weddings prior to making the trip over the Severn. We hope, therefore, that we will arrive in Somerset in fine voice!

Tickets for the concert are £10 each and they will be available on the door. Alternatively, tickets can be purchased from the Church Office, (Tuesday-Thursday) or via e-mail (stmikestaunton@gmail.com). Tables can be reserved and enquiries can be made by calling 01823 332371.

You can read more about Serin by clicking here and more information about St Michael’s can be found here.



Aber Valley MVC Raises Over £1,000 for Velindre Cancer Centre

Last month the Aber Valley MVC hosted a concert in St. Helen’s Church in Caerphilly in aid of Velindre Cancer Centre. The choir performed a variety of old favourites such as ‘California Dreamin’, ‘Pokahare Ana’ and ‘Kings of Swing’ in front of a wonderful local audience.

We are pleased to announce that we were able to raise a sum of £1,100 for Velindre Cancer Centre, from ticket sales, shared CD sales and the raffle. This money will go towards “Rhian’s Fund” in memory of Rhian Griffiths from Llantrisant, who sadly passed away following a battle with cervical cancer in 2012. Jayne and Wayne Griffiths, Rhian’s parents, have worked tirelessly to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for Velindre over last few years. They were present at the concert and Wayne thanked the choir and audience for their kind contributions. The money raised through “Rhian’s Fund” will go towards the refurbishment of family rooms and the funding for a gynaecological oncology nurse at the Velindre Centre.

The Aber Valley Male Voice Choir was privileged to have played a part in helping to raise money for a cause that means so very much to people across South Wales. We wish Jayne and Wayne all of the best with their continued fundraising efforts.

More information about Jayne and Wayne’s fundraising efforts can be read about here: http://tinyurl.com/jlb367x

You can find out all of the latest news from Velindre by going following them on Twitter: @Velindre


AVMVC Concert in Ireland a Huge Success

The Aber Valley Male Voice Choir have recently returned from a very successful tour to Drogheda, County Louth in the Republic of Ireland. From the 19th to 22nd of May, the AVMVC embarked on a short tour of Ireland, culminating in a near sell-out performance in front of an audience of 800 people in the TLT Theatre, Drogheda. The choir performed alongside their Celtic cousins, the Drogheda Male Voice Choir, as well as the Loudres Youth Voice Choir and local soprano Amie Dyer.

AVMVC alongside the Drogheda MVC on stage at the TLT Theatre, Drogheda.
AVMVC alongside the Drogheda MVC on stage at the TLT Theatre, Drogheda.

Paul Newman, AVMVC Chairman was very pleased with the trip, he reported that the concert was ‘very well received by the 800 strong audience.’ Our Musical Director, Geraint Evans added to this by commenting that the choristers ‘exemplified all that is good about Welsh male voice choirs.’ Local newspaper, the Drogheda Independent were also very impressed, singling out our renditions of ‘Conquest of Paradise’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ in particular. Indeed, the aptly named concert, ‘The Irish and Welsh on Song’ was universally enjoyed by the choristers of the AVMVC. It was also an opportunity for the choir to re-familiarise itself with the daunting task of singing in front of large audiences, prior to the Inter-Céltique Festival which we will perform at in Brittany this coming August.

Move over One Direction - these ladykillers are on the prowl!
Move over One Direction – these ladykillers are on the prowl!

Naturally, we must thank our peers at the Drogheda Male Voice Choir for their wonderful hospitality throughout our visit. Choristers truly enjoyed the opportunity to experience local heritage and culture. Moreover, the AVMVC particularly enjoyed the wonderful social evening that the Drogheda MVC arranged for us. As Paul Newman recalled, ‘friendships were made, and the singing lasted into the small hours.’

The choir now prepares to perform at several weddings in the month of June and our next public concert is set to be on Saturday 9th June in Galmington, Somerset. Please keep an eye on our Events page for more information.

AVMVC Prepare for Trip to Ireland

The Aber Valley Male Voice Choir are on their way to Ireland to perform a concert at the TLT Theatre in Drogheda, County Louth on Friday 20th May. The choir will be performing alongside its Celtic cousin, the Drogheda Male Voice Choir with special guests the Lourdes Youth Voice Choir and Irish soprano Amie Dyer. The choir has been very much looking forwards to this trip and we hope to tell you all about it on our return. We will then be preparing for a busy programme of Summer weddings in the month of June.

You can follow the Drogheda Male Voice Choir on Facebook. 


New Website

Thank you all for your patience as the Aber Valley Male Voice Choir website is being re-developed. Most of the website should be up and running from Wednesday 4 May, with some further improvements continuing over the next couple of weeks.

We hope that by updating the website, it will make it easier for people to access information about the choir, our music and events. The website will also now work better on mobile and tablet devices.

We also look forward to launching the Aber Valley Male Voice Choir Blog, which will carry stories about the choir, the choristers and the history/heritage of the music we sing. Also, in due course, we will be making some changes to our social media accounts (Facebook/Twitter, etc) and so keep an eye out for further developments!

– Aber Valley Male Voice Choir