Last week the Pontnewydd Male Choir, with their conductor, Walford Hutchings and their accompanistAnnette Williams came to St Hilda of Whitby's Anglican church in Griffithstown to support the Nidus Children's Choir in their attempt to secure some funding. They were superb, singing two groups of music with real Welsh 'hwyl'-a selection of Welsh hymns like 'Tydu y Rhoddaist', 'Ratchie' and 'Calon lan' to the fun 'Kings of Swing', and 'This is the Moment' from 'Jeckyll and Hyde' . This excellent choir were very generous, encouraging the children to carry on singing, especially the boys. It was great for the children seeing the 100% comittment of the male choir and their concentration.
The children too, were in fine form, singing their repertoire-inccluding their new songs for Llangollen, where the Children sang on their own in 'Be joyful' and they were very impressive-especially the 8 year olds! 'Hail Holy Queen' was a popular and well loved finale for the first half . The children made a professional and committed impression and produced some outstanding tone! At one point I introduced some of the original people who had formed the first small choir which won the Abergaveny Eisteddfod and produce some of the most amazing high notes , on which the original choir's reputation was originally based. Hannah Tottle, Elizabeth Pike, Bethany Young,Rhianwen Hallows, Hannah Gunter, Chloe Jones, Lloyd Lewis (as a treble-now a tenor in the Youth Choir).
Many will choose a career in music in their own right as a result of the excellent training and experience in the choir, which is vital for the musicianship of all the singers.
NICK DUNBAR, star of 'Beauty and the Beast' recently in London, who also starred in The Phantom of the Opera in Hamburg, sang 'A little Bit of Earth' from 'The Secret Garden' and thrilled with his moving singing of this song from one of the more contemporary shows on the West End. He managed to show the incredulity of the father of the boy Colin, when he has asked the girl Mary what she would like. Mary had answered a 'little bit of earth' in which to garden.His musings on this point to his dead wife's interest in gardening, and Nick managed to portray the anguish at her remembrance along with his interest in Mary's request, all with sweet but resonant tone.
CHRISTIAN JENKINS, who is the choir's conductor, is a student baritone in the second year of his studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with Adrian Thompson, impressed everyone with his 'Non piu andrai' from 'The Marriage of Figaro', which he sang fluently also with exemplary authority and tone . His mobile face acted all of his enjoyment at the squirming of the poor philandering youth, Cherubino, as he is packed off to war. Both Christian and Nick were applauded enthusiastically by the choir.
Christian , Nick and guest tenor Ian Jenkins joined me for 'La vergine degli Angeli' from Verdi's 'La Forza del Destino', which was very well received. I sang one of my favourite Verdi arias 'Tacea la Notte' from 'Il Trovatore'. I totally enjoyed this (see picture above) as it took me back to college days. I had just finished college, when the Pontnewydd Male Choir gave me one of my first jobs as a soloist with their choir and I sang this aria. It also took me back to when I sang it in Leeds, with the late superb baritone Keith Latham - one of my dearest colleagues at Opera North.Funny how the music has the ability to move you to remember those you sang with. It is a sort of operatic magic for the singer I think.
The Nidus Singers, professionally and sensitively accompanied by PHILIP MAY (Organ) who is studying for a Master's degree in pianoforte at RWCMD) sang 'Libera me Domine' from Faure's 'Requiem' in which the solo was superbly sung by Christian Jenkins, and was followed by 'In Paradisum' in which the sopranos of the Nidus Children's Choir sang the soaring soprano line, which lifted up to the rafters and thrilled the audience as much as the audience at the 'Eglise de la Madeleine' in Paris in October last year. This was extremely lovely singing. The Singers also sang 'Adoro te devote' by Reverend de la Zulieta, Mozart's 'Ave Verum Corpus' as well as 'Laudate Dominum' from the Mozart's 'Vespers' where I sang the solo.The senor choir members also sang 'Panis Angelicus'. All in all it was a magnificent evening with the men and children going off humming with pleasure.