ABER VALLEY MALE VOICE CHOIR, Chelmsford & District Welsh Society, 2018 Annual Choir Concert
The 51st annual concert of Chelmsford and District Welsh Society, held at Chelmsford Cathedral on 9 June, was a splendid affair. It was the first visit to Chelmsford of the Aber Valley Male Voice Choir from Caerphilly, Society President Brian Farmer’s childhood home, and graced by the attendance of Cllr. Yvonne Spence, the Mayor of Chelmsford, a fellow Celt but from north of the border. The choir were smart in black evening dress and the national daffodil buttonhole during the first half, and resplendent in black and red waistcoats during the second. They opened with Llanfair, the well loved Welsh hymn, followed with Howard Goodall’s The Lord Is My Shepherd, David John Evans’s In The Beginning and finally Tydi a Roddaist (Thou Gavest), the music to which was composed by Arwel Hughes whilst waiting for a train to arrive. Serin, who began their musical lives as a trio of young schoolgirls and have developed into an outstanding a cappella trio of young ladies, then took to the stage. Their opening number, a haunting Cwsg Osian, (Sleep Osian) was greeted with long standing thunderous applause. They followed with Shirley Bassy’s Big Spender, then a splendid rendering of a folk song medley celebrating three welsh birds and concluded with Bet Middler’s The Rose. The first half ended with the choir singing Mozart’s O Isis and Osiris, Puccini’s Nessum Dorma from Turandot, a lovely The Lord’s Prayer by Albert Hay Malotte, and finally Gustav Holst’s grand World in Union (in celebration of the Welsh Rugby’s recent 6 Nations success?)
In her speech of Civic Welcome at the commencement of the second half, the Mayor congratulated the choir and Serin on their performance. The choir opened with Gwahoddiad (The Invitation), with its wonderful crescendo of Amens, followed with Pokarekare Ana, a Maori love song sung by Maori ladies during the great war, then Tell My Father, a song about the death of a slave during the American Civil War, and finally Alwyn Humphreys’s An American Trilogy. Serin began with a compilation of folk songs from their home area, followed by Haleliwia, then a haunting Salm 121 (in Welsh).Their final number, the first they had ever sung together as 13 year old schoolgirls, the Andrews Sisters’ Boogie Wooggie nearly brought the house down! What a performance! The choir’s last four numbers were Bring Him Home from Les Miserables, the Flying Pickets hit Only You,a song from Jekyll and Hyde, This is the Moment (good for weddings, apparently) and finally a nostalgic O Gymru. The well earned enthusiastic applause spread around the Cathedral for several minutes. The talented Musical Director and excellent MD, Geraint Evans, the glorious Serin trio of Caitlin Hudson, Rhianna Davies and Joanne Griffiths, and the wonderful accompanist Auralia Jones were rewarded with gifts of appreciation for a superb concert.The President, Brian Farmer will be very proud of the choir and Serin from his youthful haunts. The concert, which began with God save The Queen, ended with a joyous rendition of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau. The Society are grateful to the people of Chelmsford and District who attend the annual concerts loyally throughout the years.
Musical Director and Conductor Aber Valley Male Voice Choir
All change for the second half A Capella Trio, Serin Caitlin Hudson, Rhianna Davies and Joanne Griffiths
Chelmsford & District Welsh Society website, report and photos of the concert on Saturday 8th 2018
. All photos Copyright © David Brown