Bridgend Male Choir Choristers' Website
 

  Keeping up to date

 

NEW MUSICAL DIRECTOR MAKES HIS DEBUT - July 2016

 Glorious sunshine and a fantastic local charity to support, marked the Bridgend Male Choir debut of musical director, Ryan Wood. Ably supported by accompanist, Stephanie Bailey, Ryan took the choristers through an upbeat programme at Mair’s Walk, supporting Velindre Hospital, Stepping Stones Appeal.

Choir hails the appointment of Rhiannon Williams-Hale as their new conductor. April 2012

Rhiannon Williams-Hale is well known to the choir, having been a much-treasured accompanist with them from 2003 to 2008. On two occasions when competing in the National Eisteddfod, her playing for the choir was specifically praised by the adjudicators. Having been offered the MD post, Rhiannon immediately accepted and declared: “I am so looking forward to the challenges ahead and going back to my choral roots which I feel are very important to me.” Everyone involved is looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship.

Singing without musical score is traditional for the choir as it is for many others, which means that hymns and arias have to be learned and remembered. This process can sometimes take years with painstaking rehearsals in a variety of places such as clubs, pubs and bars to achieve the finely polished performances. The raison d'etre of the choir is performance and to do so in the finest concert halls, theatres and cathedrals and chapels and churches must be to the highest of standards and sound that Bridgend Male Choir is capable of presenting.
 
Accompanied and a capella performance is the most natural and divine expression of the ultimate musical instrument, the human voice. This then is the musical instrument that will be played by the new conductor of the choir, Rhiannon Williams-Hale.

 

Conductor, Trumpeter, Poet:

Tributes pour in for John Jenkins

Karen Price, Arts Editor, Western Mail writes....14.1.2012

TRIBUTES have been paid following the death of the music director of Bridgend Male Choir.


John Jenkins was born in Neath and read music at University College, Cardiff and London University.  He gained teaching diplomas in trumpet at the then Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Royal College of Music.


Following a successful teaching career, he was appointed Adviser in Music to West Glamorgan.

In 1992, Jenkins became a lecturer in music at Swansea University, combining this role with national work as an independent inspector of schools. In 2000, he published his first book, Toward The Unknown Region, and his poetry has been included in several anthologies.

Jenkins organised the annual Russell Sheppard Memorial Scholarship which provides financial assistance for post graduate study to soloists.


As a conductor, he performed all over Europe and in Australia and the USA. He worked with the BBC Welsh Orchestra and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra. He founded the Swansea Sound Sinfonia as well as the Neath Symphony Orchestra.


Prior to joining Bridgend Choir, he conducted Treorchy Male Choir for seven years and had directed other choirs, including Morriston Orpheus, Pontarddulais, Gower Chorale, Rhos-Cwmtawe Maesteg, Newport and Dowlais.  His arrangements have been used by several choirs and he worked with many famous artists, including Sir Geraint Evans, Campoli, Semprini, Nigel Kennedy, Julian Lloyd Webber and Rebecca Evans.   More recently he worked with Dennis O’Neill, Katherine Jenkins, Shan Cothi, Sir Willard White and Max Boyce.


Following his appointment to Bridgend in 2002 he saw the choir membership grow by more than 30% and regarded the choir’s performances at Worcester, Llandaff and Clifton Cathedrals, and the winning performances at the Newport and Swansea eisteddfodau as some of the highlights of his music career.


Jenkins leaves his wife Wendy, daughter Karin, son Mark and their families      END

 

Retired Choir Chairman and new Choir Patron

Mansel Abraham reminisces..........

I joined the Bridgend & District Police Choir in April 1974 and just prior to the AGM which took place on the 20th November 1975 I was asked to stand for the office of Chairman.  I approached the Chairman at that time, Mr E P Green, and discussed the matter with him.  He was pleased to stand down and support me as Chairman and I therefore accepted the nomination and was voted in as Chairman, a post I have held continually for a period of 36 years.  

It may surprise some people that the Choir was 80 in number in 1978 when I was obliged to issue a stern warning regarding attendances, many being only 50 attending concerts – Nothing much changes

1979 saw the Choir’s first trip abroad to Bridgend’s twin town, Langenau in West Germany where we went for 10 days, had a damned good time, performed two official concerts and many unofficial ones. It was either on this trip or the following one that we had to leave one of our choristers, Bob Pearce, behind as he had a heart attack.  He was soon out of hospital but had to wait a week before he could have a flight home.  It was a wonder that he ever came home at all as when he walked down the streets of Langenau he was recognised as a Choir member and invited into homes or shops and given drink, beer, wine or spirits which of course to keep up the reputation of the Choir he had to accept.  It took him some time to sober up when he eventually came home. 

It was whilst visiting the Ulm Police Headquarters on the second day that we nearly lost one of our number.  Having spent an hour or two in the local Brewery we arrived at the Headquarters at about 5.30 p.m. when traffic was very busy.  We were a little late and the German coach driver was a little miserable so he stopped on the opposite side of the road to the Headquarters which meant we had to cross the dual carriageway at a very busy time.  We were not used to looking left first and John Morgan, looking right, stepped out into the road right in front of a vehicle.  Luckily, for John, I was looking left and yanked him back on to the pavement.  Lucky for John and lucky for us with all the humour he has brought to the choir over the years.  The evening welcome by the Ulm Police was outstanding and we fell out of the Headquarters at about 1 a.m. the following morning to be taken home in Police vehicles. 

It was on one of the trips to Langenau that some members were lacking a little in discipline and, although I have never been backward in coming forward in such matters, I considered a more subtle approach was needed to drive the point home.  I therefore had a word with the much respected Rheinallt Evans who made that unforgettable speech that silenced everyone when he reminded them of the responsibilities of membership finishing up with the comment “ that anyone who does not behave himself will be going for an early bath” 

Visits to Germany always proved enjoyable especially one to Berlin where our Secretary, Dr Tony Goodwin and chorister Lyn Turner, found a great pub which many of us then went to.  It was not long before we realised that we were in a Gay Bar and it didn’t take us long to get out of there.  

I think it was on the same visit that Dick Lloyd fainted during a performance.  As he did so the choristers on either side of him noticed this, grabbed his arms and slowly lowered him to the floor as the item continued.  Dick came around in a minute or two and was helped to his feet by the same two choristers and sang to the end of the item. I don’t think many in the audience noticed.   

In another concert in Langenau Gwynfor was playing the piano and, not being very well, fell off the piano stool.  Quickly our Secretary, Dr Tony Goodwin, was around to look after Gwynfor and with hardly a pause for breath the members continued singing and Michael Davies, Second Tenor, quickly sat down at the piano and picked up the tune. Of such stories are Choir legends made. 

Choir visits anywhere are good because of the camaraderie of the members and to my mind the Choir is the best. 

Being Chairman gives one the ultimate responsibility for the Choir and its reputation.  It means a fair bit of work if one takes those responsibilities seriously.  I like to think that I always have and encouraged members to be proud of their membership of what I consider to be a great bunch of men.  I have enjoyed every minute of my 36 years as Chairman and would not have missed it for the World. 

I was thinking of going as far as 40 years as Chairman but I am sure, having thought long and hard recently that owing to my age and the physical problem with my right ankle, that I could not have continued for a further 4 years and brought to the Choir what I have always brought as Chairman, absolute commitment.  I have therefore decided to step aside for a younger man, John Gould, who has been my Vice Chairman for the past 11 years and whom I am sure will do a good job.  If he doesn’t he’ll hear from me but I am sure that he will.  

Every person has a different way of doing a job and a Chairman can delegate duties to other officers but there are some which are his and his alone and I am sure John will appreciate that. 

I now look forward to my time on the back benches as it were and hope that I will enjoy the coming years as much as I have enjoyed the past 36.