Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Tenby Male Choir – Come and join us 2017

Tenby Male Choir – Come and join us


Christmas is over. Our short break is behind us and we began rehearsals again last week so its time to look ahead to a new choir season.
During last year we had a number of new members join us and all of them have settled in and added to the size and quality of the choir. Sometimes new members come along because they move into the area or just find that they have more time for one reason or another but they are always welcome. However, this year we have decided to make a specific effort to recruit new members with a couple of invitation evenings.

If you’ve never sung in a choir we know it can be daunting to take that first step so we want to try to make that easier. We have set aside two rehearsal evenings on 17th and 31st January. The idea of this is to let potential new members come along and sit in on a rehearsal session to see how it goes. Our MD and the committee are putting in lots of effort to make these evenings a bit of fun and will not involve new recruits in voice tests or even singing at all if they don’t wish to.  Just as you might do in a pub or club you can just join in and sing along if you wish or just sit, watch and listen.

In the choir we have some very good voices, we have some very average voices and it is even possible we have some who are not all that good but in a choir it is about getting the best out of everyone and about improving on whatever abilities we have.

Like anything in the world you get better with practice. We do use music sheets but many of the choir cannot read music as its not necessary but it does help to see the music scores as you hear the other voices around you. We also sing in Welsh sometimes but the vast majority of members don’t speak Welsh. So we use the few Welsh speakers we do have to help non-Welsh speakers pronounce the words and we also have a variety of CDs to aid learning of both the Welsh and the music. We even have music for each section of the choir stored on our website for playing on your Iphone’s tablets etc.

So the message is that singing is fun, a lot of people like singing and this is a chance to see what being in a choir is really like and don’t let things like Welsh or reading music put you off.

Apart from singing being in a choir involves you in a number of other enjoyable and fulfilling activities.

There is always the chance of a few drinks and a bit of hwyl in the County Club after our rehearsals or concerts in Tenby but we also travel to different places. Next year we will have trips to Ledbury, Herefordshire and Newquay, Cornwall.

We also get out and about in our own area with concerts, some indoor and some outdoor in Fishguard, Narberth, Saundersfoot, Lawrenny and Cresswell Quay.

This year’s programme involves four hotel concerts at the Giltar Hotel Tenby. These are a different kind of evening being a bit less formal and often involve anything from stand up comedy, to soloists and guitar performances.
Looking farther ahead we have been invited to sing at the Royal Albert Hall, in London in 2018 so you could find yourself taking part with a number of other choirs in a concert at this prestigious event.

The final aspect of Tenby male choir is that we put on concerts to raise money for for local charities and this year we will hold concerts for the Red Cross, the Stroke Association, St Johns Ambulance, RNLI, HOPE, Bloodwise, the Arts Festival and Air Ambulance Wales. Why not come and meet us and see if being in a choir is for you. Even if you should find that you don’t want to join in the singing at first or perhaps never there are plenty of social events organised by the Friends of Tenby Male choir and we would really welcome more people to join in this group to support the choir in a non-singing capacity.
The choir has a really interesting and information packed website. If you haven’t visited it at www.tenbymalechoir.org then it’s really worth a visit. Amongst other things there are videos of the choir. These videos are all live so they may not always be our best performance but they are still enjoyable.  Webmaster David Stewart-Walvin keeps the website bang up to date with news, photos, the choir blog and absolutely anything you need to know about the choir. If you’ve enjoyed a concert there is also a guestbook where you can put your comments and read what others think. David also maintains a choir Facebook page.
He can be contacted on anything to do with the choir on 01834 844926 or by email on TenbyMaleChoir@gmail.com

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Tenby Male Choir – The end of a season

Well its here again, the end of another summer season. Thirty concerts in all and a lot of charity funds raised. There is a definite feeling amongst the choir that we have reached a new level this year particularly towards the end. This is backed up up by our MD “Wilbur” Williams who has been uncharacteristically complimentary of late. I’m sure it won’t last but it’s nice while it does.
Both concerts this week were of the highest quality. After the Giltar concert on Tuesday 27th September “Wilbur” was quoted as saying “that was possibly chorally the best Giltar in memory. I certainly believe it to be the best in my personal decade with the boys.”
Soloists on the night were Peter Neate with Danny Boy, Eric Mullins with "If I were a rich man." and a mammoth session of stand up comedy from Eddie Stapleton.
Then on Thursday 29th September at a packed Arts Festival concert the best compliment of all was the almost universal standing ovation and demands for an encore. I feel sure that the few people not standing were not doing so because of their inability to do that easily. Delight was evident on the faces of members of the audience. It can be hard work sometimes going over difficult parts of a song when we are learning it or practising it but evenings like that make it all worthwhile. Of course our performances are immensely enhanced by the beautiful piano accompaniment of Jill “No Relation” Williams. They say that children should be seen but never heard but in Jill’s case she very much heard but hardly ever seen.
The only remaining founder member of the choir is Tom Pearce and that means he has been with the choir for over 40 years but he has lost none of his enthusiasm or singing quality. He often performs a solo of “My Little Welsh Home” but this time he also sang two other solos with the lovely John Denver song “Annie’s song” and Panis Angelicus.
Annie’s song is said to have been written in about 10 minutes by John Denver on a ski lift in the Aspen mountains in Colorado as an ode to his wife at the time Annie Martel Denver. Panis Angelicus which is Latin for “The Bread of Angels” no doubt took longer than 10 minutes when written by Saint Thomas Aquinas.
For the second interval spot we had something completely different with a trumpet solo by Fred Smith who played the Trumpet Concerto in E flat major. 1st movement. by Joseph Haydn. Fred tells me this is his real name and not just a deeply thought out stage name!! It has a definite “Bert Weedon” ring about it and we all remember him. Don’t we?
Fred is a 17 year old student at Ysgol Greenhill Having started trumpet aged 7 he has been playing trumpet for over 10 years and has just recently achieved his Grade 8. In addition to solo playing, he is an active member of numerous County Ensembles, ranging from County Wind Band and Big Band, to the Pembrokeshire Brass Quintet and the award winning Symphonic Brass. Recently, several ensembles in which Fred is a key member made it though to the national round of the highly regarded Music for Youth festival to perform at the Birmingham Concert Hall. He is also heavily involved with school ensembles such as the Orchestra and Jazz Band, and has been on multiple European tours over the years.
The choir has a really interesting and information packed website. If you haven’t visited it at www.tenbymalechoir.org then it’s really worth a visit. Amongst other things there are videos of the choir. These videos are all live so they may not always be our best performance but they are still enjoyable.  Webmaster David Stewart-Walvin keeps the website bang up to date with news, photos, the choir blog and absolutely anything you need to know about the choir. If you’ve enjoyed a concert there is also a guestbook where you can put your comments and read what others think. David also maintains a choir Facebook page.

He can be contacted on anything to do with the choir on 01834 844926.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Tenby Male Choir – Supporting the Civic Parade


There were no concerts to report on last week so we had two very successful rehearsal sessions including some good progress towards the songs we have to learn for our attendance in the massed choirs’ concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 2018. We did however, receive a very nice message from Barnados to thank the choir and to tell us that the charity benefited by £1300 from the concert we held in the previous week.
On Sunday 25th September we attended the Civic Parade and Civic service for the blessing of the new Mayor. Six members of the choir attended but two of them, chairman Paul Varallo and Ken Sanderson had to rush off before the photo opportunity. Shown in the photo with Mayor Laurence Blackhall are Peter Neate, Tony Hesselgrave, Secretary David Stewart-Walvin and Allan Keating.
This was also the commencement of the Arts Festival week and by the time this report appears we will have attended our last two concerts for the year. One at the Giltar Hotel and one for the Arts Festival at St. Mary’s church. So with the concert season over it will be concentrated rehearsing and learning for some months. If you have ever thought of joining a choir there is no better time than now to come along and see just what happens. You don’t need to plunge in, just come along and meet us or watch a rehearsal and maybe enjoy a drink and a chat with members afterwards. Even if you don’t feel you want to sing you can still take part in choir activities and the social side by joining the Friends of Tenby Male choir.
The Friends of Tenby Male Choir are people who support us in various ways and enjoy joining in the social side without necessarily being singers. It is small at the moment but we want to encourage it to grow. Details of this can be found on our website (details below).
The choir has a really interesting and information packed website. If you haven’t visited it at www.tenbymalechoir.org then it’s really worth a visit. Amongst other things there are videos of the choir. These videos are all live so they may not always be our best performance but they are still enjoyable.  Webmaster David Stewart-Walvin keeps the website bang up to date with news, photos, the choir blog and absolutely anything you need to know about the choir. If you’ve enjoyed a concert there is also a guestbook where you can put your comments and read what others think. David also maintains a choir Facebook page.
He can be contacted on anything to do with the choir on 01834 844926.

Friends of Tenby Male Choir – Poems and Puddings

The group met for a social evening last Friday at the County Club on the Croft, Tenby with 30 supporters turning up to read poems from varying sources. It was interesting and very entertaining with perhaps the stars of the evening being nonagenarian Duncan Hilling and his allegedly much younger wife Audrey. Breaking all the rules of the evening by not reading a poem they did instead a mini two person play about a husband trying to tell his wife something but being constantly interrupted. It had everybody in stitches. As they criticised and argued with each other it was difficult to tell if it was still part of the play or not. Very funny.
Interspersed between three sessions of reading poems from such poets as Pam Ayres and Roald Dahl and even Dylan Thomas as well as personal contributions were breaks to enjoy a fine selection of home made puddings and of course the club bar was open. Thanks to Phil Mumford for manning the bar at short notice.
The history of the Friends of Tenby Male choir is that this originated as a ladies section being formed by wives and partners of choir members but it has now been reborn as a group open to males and females, choir members, partners and absolutely anyone else young or old who wants to come along.
It doesn’t have an official set of aims yet but in simple terms it has been formed to support the Tenby Male choir in any way it can. The group believes that the choir serves a great purpose in the town putting the town on the map, raising charity funds with its concerts and providing a platform for young musicians, often from Greenhill School.
So this is a way of supporting the choir. One member, Jim Cornwell, for instance has now become the choir photographer something we have struggled with in the past as we have to be on stage and we can’t sing and take pictures. Could you help in some way?
If it has another aim it is to have fun and we intend to have a variety of evenings such as the Poems and Puddings evenings to further that aim whilst raising a bit for the choir at the same time.
If you would like to join us or know more or if you have ideas on what we could do you can email Allan Keating on allangkeating@gmail.com or by phone on 07967 370481. 

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Tenby Male Choir – 150 years and Always.....

That is the current slogan of the Barnardos childrens charity. This year marks 150 years of helping children, young people and families and as the slogan implies they will go on doing so. The charity handles almost a quarter of a million cases per year so this was another worthy cause for the choir to be involved with.
We were honoured with the attendance of Mayor of Tenby, Councillor Laurence Blackhall and it was a packed evening of music with three sessions from the choir and in between each session no less than four songs from oratoria and concert soprano Jessica Robinson. Jessica sang a very varied collection with:-
O Mio Babbino Caro (Puccini), On my Lips every Kiss is like wine (Lehar), We'll Gather Lilacs (Novello), Eli Jenkins Prayer (Dylan Thomas), Anfonnaf Angel (Robat Arwyn, Cymru Fach (David Richards), Can't help lovin dat man (Showboat), Girl in 14g (Tesori)
Jessica who has a Masters Degree in Opera has won many prestigious awards including the Aneurin Davies Memorial award, the Mansel Thomas prize, the Margaret Tann award and the Elias Soprano award and was recently chosen as part of an octet to perform for HRH, Prince of Wales. She has appeared at many major venues including the Millennium Stadium and is soon to appear at the Albert Hall.  It would take up an entire page in fact to list the places she has been to and performed in and the people she has performed with. Of course Tenby Male choir could now be top of that list!!
Jessica contacted me afterwards to say that she had had a great night and that is certainly true for the audience and choir as well. Mayor Blackhall also joined us later in the county club for a post concert chat
The choir’s programme for the evening included once again a solo by Tom Pearce with his always popular Home on the Hill and “not only but also” we had our Peter Cook and Dudley Moore look-alikes John Butland and Kevin Morgan singing the third verse of Working Man. You have to imagine them both with a little more hair for the full effect!! John who often performs for the choir with his guitar told me that in his younger days he often appeared with Cream but it took me a while to realise that he used to have a milk round.
The choir finished with the always popular American Trilogy where once again Dr. John Harrison, Director of Music at St. Mary’s church, accompanied us with the magnificent church organ. The audience that evening was a very international one. I’m not sure that I can recall all of the countries represented but I know that we had Americans, Australians, New Zealanders, Austrians and French. I think we can safely say that we enhanced the special relationship with the singing of the American Trilogy as the people from the USA stood to their feet and applauded furiously at the end.
Tonight (Friday) we have a light hearted evening planned which has been arranged by the Friends of Tenby Male choir. The evening is called Poems and Puddings. It will, as the title implies, be an evening when poems are read by choir members and friends and there will be a selection of free puddings afterwards, or perhaps during, the readings. It takes place at the County club starting at 7:30. You can come along just to listen and eat or you can volunteer to read a poem either one of your own or someone else’s. All contributions are welcome. The entrance fee to include puddings is just £5. If you are thinking of joining us please give our secretary David Stewart-Walvin a ring so that we can make sure there are enough puddings to go round.
The Friends of Tenby Male Choir are people who support us in various ways and enjoy joining in the social side without necessarily being singers. It is small at the moment but we want to encourage it to grow. Details of this can be found on our website (details below).
Next week we have two concerts with a hotel concert at the Giltar Hotel, Tenby on Tuesday 27th. If anyone would like to come to this there is no entrance fee. Just turn up at the bar in time for singing to begin around 9pm.
We then have one of our most important regular annual concerts when we perform as part of the Arts Festival week. This is on Thursday 29th September at St. Mary’s church, Tenby starting at 8pm. You are advised to be early if you want to get a good seat as this is always well attended having been publicised as a major event in the festival. It will also be the last chance to see the choir in concert this year as this is the final one in our 2016 programme.
It’s been another year of raising a lot of money for worthy local organisations and once again its been a lot of fun.
We have a bit more enjoyment though as even though our planned programme has officially finished we have been asked to sing as “The Specsavers choir” for a promotion by this leading opticians group. We were asked to do this last year in support of Welsh Deaf Rugby charity and it was so successful that we have been asked again. Details of when and where we will be singing will be published nearer the time.
The choir has a really interesting and information packed website. If you haven’t visited it at www.tenbymalechoir.org then it’s really worth a visit. Amongst other things there are videos of the choir including some really good ones from this latest concert produced by choir Friend Di Mumford.  Webmaster David Stewart-Walvin keeps the website bang up to date with news, photos, the choir blog and absolutely anything you need to know about the choir. If you’ve enjoyed a concert there is also a guestbook where you can put your comments and read what others think. David also maintains a choir Facebook page.
He can be contacted on anything to do with the choir on 01834 844926.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Tenby Male Choir – Another excellent audience

Given that it was September when the town is a bit quieter following the school holidays we were very pleasantly surprised to have a large enthusiastic audience last week. The choir sang a varied programme including Bring Him Home, Let It be Me, Working Man and My Grandfather’s Clock as well as popular Welsh songs such as Hiraeth and Y Tangnefeddwyr. The final item in our programme for the evening was supposed to be The American Trilogy. It is always a surprise for new visitors when the church organ accompanies the choir during the third song in the trilogy – the Battle Hymn of the republic. It is a wonderful sound which delights the audience every time. However our intended finish was cancelled with calls for an encore and we then sang the beautiful traditional hymn Morte Christi with this once again being accompanied to great effect by Dr. John Harrison on the church organ. This was a real treat for the audience.
Master of ceremonies Dave Blackmore was on good form with a mixture of dubious facts and undoubtedly an element of fiction in introducing each song. I think the choir members learn something knew about each song they sing with Dave’s entertaining introductions although I’m not sure how reliable that learning would be in a quiz.
There were also a number of solo performances on the night by lead vocalist Paul Varallo who sang a number of songs, Tom Pearce with a moving rendition of Home on the Hill, John Butland in Working Man and 90 year old Duncan Hilling in The Fields of Athenry.
We have a bit of a break from concerts next week so we can get in some quality rehearsal time but we will also have the opportunity to socialise as the Friends of Tenby Male choir have organised a Poems and Puddings evening on Friday 23rd September at the County club starting at 7:30. You can come along just to listen and eat or you can volunteer to read a poem either one of your own or someone else’s. All contributions are welcome. The entrance fee to include puddings is just £5.
The Friends of Tenby Male Choir are people who support us in various ways and enjoy joining in the social side without necessarily being singers. It is small at the moment but we want to encourage it to grow. Details of this can be found on our website (details below). We are very grateful for their help at our successful coffee morning held on Saturday 10th September where local people and holidaymakers were treated to a cup of tea and a biscuit for just £1 and also had the opportunity to purchase tasty homemade cakes.
There will be little rest in the following week as we have two concerts in this final week of our 2016 programme. We start with a hotel concert at the Giltar Hotel, Tenby on Tuesday 27th. If anyone would like to come to this there is no entrance fee. Just turn up at the bar in time for singing to begin around 9pm.
We then have one of our most important regular annual concerts when we perform as part of the Arts Festival week. This is on Thursday 29th September at St. Mary’s church, Tenby which starts at 8pm. You are advised to be early if you want to get a good seat as this is always well attended having been publicised as a major event in the festival.
After that although our season has officially finished we have been asked to sing as “The Specsavers choir” for a promotion by this leading opticians group. We were asked to do this last year in support of Welsh Deaf Rugby charity and it was so successful that we have been asked again. Details of when and where we will be singing will be published nearer the time.
The choir has a really interesting and information packed website. If you haven’t visited it at www.tenbymalechoir.org then it’s really worth a visit. Amongst other things there are videos of the choir including some really good ones from this latest concert produced by choir Friend Di Mumford.  Webmaster David Stewart-Walvin keeps the website bang up to date with news, photos, the choir blog and absolutely anything you need to know about the choir. If you’ve enjoyed a concert there is also a guestbook where you can put your comments and read what others think. David also maintains a choir Facebook page.
He can be contacted on anything to do with the choir on 01834 844926.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Tenby Male Choir – Soloists galore

On Tuesday 28th June we held a concert at St. John’s church in aid of the Pembrokeshire fundraising branch of Guide Dogs Cymru and Talking Books Wales of Carmarthen.
There was a very large audience with many visitors from far afield including some from the USA. The concert was a great success with many positive comments afterwards from a musical perspective but from a financial perspective it also raised £826 between the two charities.
It was a night for soloists young and more senior with 9-year-old Elizabeth Morgan from Tenby playing the piano and with popular local singer Eva Rich from Saundersfoot of slightly more advanced years also performing.
Elizabeth enthralled the audience when she played “Gondellied” by Felix Mendelssohn and “Swan” by the Japanese composer Karen Tanaka. Elizabeth began playing the piano at five years of age, which is quite amazing and only one year later gained a Distinction in ABRSM Grade 1 Practical. Her progress has continued and year after year since then she has gained commendations and had award-winning performances. She has recently had an audition with The Welsh College of Music (Junior department) and been accepted to start there in September of this year. I am sure we will hear a lot more of Elizabeth and we hope that she will perform for us again in the future.
Eva also delighted the audience with popular songs “What a Wonderful World”,  “What Will Be Will Be” and “If I Only Had Time”.

A couple of the choir members made contributions as soloists with vice chairman Tom Pearce singing My Little Welsh Home and top tenor John Butland contributing a solo verse in Working Man.

Our next performance is a less formal one TONIGHT (Friday) when we have an outdoor event at Lawrenny Arms where there will be a BBQ available. This is a free concert so just turn up if you wish to hear us. It starts at 6pm. It’s a fun evening in a lovely spot. 

All our rehearsals are in our headquarters at the County Club and people are always welcome to come and listen or even just join us for a chat before rehearsal. We are normally arriving from 7:30 onwards and congregate in the bar. We often have guests from nearby hotels calling in so if you are a hotelier make a note that we rehearse on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8pm if you wish to add a little something free of charge to your guests holiday. Of course we sometimes do concerts on those nights and so it’s wise to ring our secretary if you want to check or look out for posters around the town. Your guests are of course more than welcome to have their holiday enhanced by coming to the concerts as well.


There is much more information about the choir on our website www.tenbymalechoir.org or Facebook account (just do an internet search for Tenby Male Choir Facebook). A final thing for local people male or female to think about is that we are keen to develop on the small “Friends of the Choir” organisation and if you perhaps don’t want to sing but would like to join in the social side and if possible help the choir you would be very welcome.

Our secretary David Stewart-Walvin is always glad to receive a phone call from interested people on 01834 844926.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Tenby Male Choir – Talent spotting?


 On Thursday May 26th at St. Mary’s we had the pleasure of performing in a concert to commemorate the pending closure of the existing Tenby infants school which has been there since 1953. It is to be demolished as the children move to a new school. The concert was named “The Final Countdown”.
There were choirs from the Tenby Infants school themselves, St. Teilo’s Roman Catholic Primary school, Tenby Junior Community School, St. Mary’s church, one formed from the staff  of Tenby Infants School  and of course ourselves. If we had been scouting for potential new members for the there was certainly plenty of talent on view. As well as the choirs Rhianon Andrasko represented Ysgol Y Preseli with two pieces on the trombone, the St. Mary’s handbell choir conducted by Dr. John Harrison and livening things up enormously a jazz orchestra from Greenhill School. All in all, a very good evening.
The choir joined the Tenby Staff choir to sing Calon Lan and then performed Gwahoddiad and My Grandfather’s clock. This always entails audience participation and was particularly enjoyed by the many children there on the night.
The choir can  now concentrate on some fine tuning of our new repertoire items Working Man, Let it Be Me, the African trilogy and Diolch I’r Ior as we have no concert until 25th June when we will perform in St. Teilo’s church but there will be more on that nearer the time. It is possible on a fine evening that we may of course do a bit of harbour singing. These would be instead of a Tuesday or Thursday rehearsal but decisions on those will be made on the night.

We rehearse in our headquarters at the County Club and people are always welcome to come and listen. We often have guests from nearby hotels calling in so if you are a hotelier make a note that we rehearse on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8pm if you wish to add a little something to their holiday. Of course we sometimes do concerts on those nights and so it’s wise to ring our secretary if you want to check. Your guests are of course more than welcome to have their holiday enhanced by coming to the concerts.

The choir is very much a community organisation and supporting the staff and infants on their evening was very much part of that. We always promote the area and do a number of concerts every year supporting local charities and also sing at other places like Cresswell Quay, Lawrenny Ferry or the Tenby or Saundersfoot harbours.

Following this theme of the choir as a community minded association one of our regrets is that we do not make more use of our headquarters at the County Club on the Croft. We would really like to make more use of the club as a base for other local organisations on a permanent or ad-hoc basis. We have a lot of spare room at the County club and we are looking to renovate some of the less maintained areas which we would be happy to do in conjunction with local organisations. So if you are an existing organisation or business or looking to start one why not talk to us to see if we can help provide some facilities. If you would like to discuss this please phone or text Allan Keating on 07967 370481.

There is much more information about the choir on our website www.tenbymalechoir.org or Facebook account (just do an internet search for Tenby Male Choir Facebook).
Alternatively our secretary David Stewart-Walvin is always glad to receive a phone call from interested people on 01834 844926.