Nevertheless the concert itself took place in the impressive surroundings and The City of Newport Male choir began conducted by Frank Jones, in some popular Welsh hymns, which went down well with the audience. The Mayor of Torfaen was there, but actually, considering the forces giving the concert, the cathedral was not full, which was a shame.
The Nidus Childrens Choir were next with a lively and spirited Hail Holy Queen, and The Rose, which was very moving. They finished with Rutter's ever popular 'Star Carol', their true voices echoing around the cathedral. The Charity then talked about remembering loved ones who had died of cancer and the Lovelight Candles were lit, with the choir singing 'Silent Night' and a wonderful contribution from Elizabeth Pike, who sang the solo in Balulalow by Britten. Several stunning voices joined her, Hannah Tottle, Bethany Young, Hannah Gunter,Megan Thomas, Aine Smith, Rhianwen Hallows and Catrin Williams. The result was magnificently pure and in tune.
The baritone Christian Jenkins sang next. He is a talented second year student at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. He sang ' The Three Kings' by Peter Cornelius i(from the 'Weihnachtslieder'.) His rich and clear legato line, and musical phrasing were very evident, as well as a charismatic presence.
The City of Newport then sang some seasonal carols, especially the Huron Carol, a favourite of mine, with excellent tone, which delighted the audience and then followed 'Music of the Night' sung by Nicholas Dunbar, star of the West End and Hamburg. His singing brought shivers to the spine and certainly showed his excellent baritone voice and vibrations, bringing forth a superb falsetto top Ab. The audience were absolutely stunned at hearing such a musical performance, with a lovely legato and phrasing.
The Nidus Choir followed with Still Still Still, the Austrian Carol, Silver Bells, with solos by Wil Smith, Morgan Thomas and Dan Williams, and a very livvely Winter Wonderland. The harmony was beautiful.
I then sang, the Hungarian Czardas from the Fledermaus, 'Klange der Heimat' a lively, entertaining and difficult piece which has been something of a 'party piece' for me. Following this, I was joined by Ian Jenkins ,( Tenor), Nick Dunbar ,( Baritone) and Christian Jenkins (Baritone) in a performance of 'La Vergine degli Angeli' from Verdi's 'La Forza del Destino' which the audience seemed to really enjoy. This was followed by O Holy Night by Adophe Adam, again, well received and after that, the choirs and soloists all joined together for White Christmas.
The performers were all very glad to have a standing ovation at the end, similar to that enjoyed at the Madeleine Church in Paris! It was a lovely evening and I have already been approached for next year. Whew! I had bought a big box of sweeties which were given out to all the children. It seemed many people kindly bought the CD as well. It turned out to be a great evening!