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28/6/22 - Hafan y Mor Concert
As with many other Choir getting back into ‘concert mode’ would be a nervous time for all but thankfully having started
back our full rehearsals the requests for performances are beginning to come in. It was with great pleasure that on the
5th June we returned to the Cove Theatre situated at the Hafan y Mor holiay park in Pwllheli for a charity concert in aid
of the RNLI and also the 2023 National Eisteddfod of Wales which is taking part on the Lleyn Penninsular.
This Theatre has a special meaning for the Choir as in the 70’s it was the venue for a prestigious Male Voice Choir
competition which attracted many famous Choirs from all over the country and a competition which the Brythoniaid
won on five occasions. Many of the members had not sung in this Theatre before but with the setting, lighting and
acoustics it turned out to be a memorable afternoon with an audience of about 500 in attendance, not bad for a
Sunday afternoon and the added competition of a certain Wales World Cup football match the afternoon. It was also
special for four new members of the Choir making their first appearance and also having our new Vice President, Mrs
Meryl Pike Williams present.
We had the beginning of the concert meticulously planned, when the safety curtain was half way up and the mist effect
had dissipated, the Choir would belt out the opening cords of ‘Men of Harlech’ great…. Except the safety curtain wound
its way around the stool by the piano and it rose gracefully into the air unfortunately our accompanist Liz was sitting on
it at the time. Without breaking sweat , like a rock pianist she continued playing whilst standing up and the stool was
rescued and the performance continued. Maybe we should incorporate that into all our performances!!
At the end of the day the concert was a great success with the good causes concerned receiving a generous donation
from Hafan y Mor.
Many thanks to the staff of Hafan y Mor especially to Lynne Vaughan Roberts for all her help in making this event
17/5/17 - Choir Trip to Ireland Easter 2017
Very early on Saturday the 8th April about 50 members of the Choir and 25 supporters began the journey to Athy in
County Kildare for the first of two concerts arranged by the Lions Clubs of Athy and Kilkenny.
Once aboard the Ferry we set sail on a beautiful morning with calm waters, a good start. Having reached Dublin
without any casualties we travelled about 90 minutes to the town of Athey where on the outskirts we went to visit an
addiction Centre by the name of Cuan Mhuire which is one of several such centres in Ireland to help people with
alcohol or drug problems. We were met at the entrance to the centre by a traditional Irish Piper who led us down the
drive to the centre itself where the welcome was overwhelming. The centre had organised fantastic food for us which
was greatly appreciated.
We then went out to an open air amphitheatre where we sang about six songs for the very appreciative and large
audience present. This was an excellent start to the trip. It was on then to the centre of town where we had a few hours
to relax in the warm sunshine before assembling at St Michaels Church where the concert was to be held. An old
church with a lovely stained glass window and excellent acoustics. Prior to the concert we were royally fed by the
organisers which begged the question would we be able to sing after such a feast.
This Church had a capacity of about 250 and the organisers could not tell beforehand if it was going to be a sellout.
About five minutes before we were going to sing we were asked to delay as an SOS had gone out for more chairs. When
we entered the Church there were people sitting in the aisle and filling the standing areas to the rear… to say it was
packed was an understatement. We were sharing the stage with a local school Choir and one of Irelands foremost
pipers, Brian Hughes who were wonderful. We finished off the evening by singing our arrangement of the Irish national
anthem Amhran na be Fiann which was very well received.
It was then back on the bus for the journey to our lovely Hotel in the centre of Kilkenny and there were 75 very tired
people grateful for a good nights sleep that night. On the Sunday morning we were free to wander around the lovely
town of Kilkenny with its rich history, superb castle and park. Some walked the town while others took advantage of the
brilliant little train that drove around the town visiting major sites and back streets alike, a great experience.
The concert on Sunday afternoon organised by the Kilkenny and Carlow Lions Club was to be held at the beautiful St
Johns Church with its great acoustics. One or two minor hitches were overcome thanks mainly to the superb
professionalism of our accompanist Elizabeth. Even during our rehearsal the acoustics took our breath away and we
were really looking forward to the concert itself.
Once again a very large audience were present and we were sharing the stage with a local soloist and instrumentalist.
The audience were greatly appreciative of the Choir and the voice of John Eifion during several of our songs which
echoed around the wonderful Church. At the end the audience, as previous night, were on their feet demanding an
encore. We finished the evening, as previously, with the Irish and Welsh Anthems which went down extremely well, a
brilliant end to a brilliant evening.
A great deal of thanks has to be paid to both the Lions Clubs of Athy and Kilkenny for their superb arrangements and
welcome. It was a trip, although short, was one which will remain in our memories for a long time and we hope that the
monies raised at both concerts will make some difference to the various Charities.
24/11/2018 - Machynlleth Concert
On the 24th November 2018 the Choir held a concert at the Tabernacle, Machynlleth at the request of the Machynlleth
This was the first time in many years that the Choir had sung at this lovely venue. The first problem to overcome was
staging the Choir due to the number of members. This was overcome by locating the First Tenors and second bass in
the Gallery whilst the Second Tenors and first Bass occupied the stage area. A quick rehearsal showed that any doubts
we had about this arrangement were quickly dispelled by the wonderful acoustics at this venue which made singing
The Choir were fortunate to have the services of four soloists from their ranks, something which has not been possible
for many years. They were, Dewi Thomas from Tenor 1 , Robin Gruffudd and Rhodri Williams from Bass 1 and Eilir
Davies from Bass2, although on the night Rhodri was unfortunately unable to sing. It was a great evening with a very
appreciative audience on their feet at the end… a good sign.
The Choir were pleased to see Mr Elfyn Pugh, the Choir President and Kath Pugh the Vice President present. Many
thanks to Sally Marshall for all her help in staging this concert. The Choir were also pleased to welcome a young lady by
the name of Etienne Bruce to the concert. Etienne, a very talented photographer will be following the Choir in the
coming months to complete a special project on the Choir.
The Choirs soloists on the evening - Robin Gruffudd, Dewi Thomas, Eilir Davies and Rhodri Williams.
27/2/2019 - MRS SUNDERLAND MUSIC FESTIVAL 2019- 23RD FEBRUARY - HUDDERSFIELD TOWN HALL.
On Friday the 22nd February 2019 after months of practice the Choir and supporters made the journey to Huddersfield
to compete in this prestigious Festival for Choirs and performers from all over the country. The Choir were competing
in two competitions namely the Male Voice Choir and the Choral Open Challenge. In the first competition we were up
against two other very good male voice Choirs and both previous winners of this competition in Skelmanthorpe and
Peterborough. The second competition was in the open section therefore the Choir would be competing against Male ,
female and mixed Choirs, always a very tough challenge. After a good night’s rest we made our way to the magnificent
Huddersfield town hall and its acoustically perfect main hall. It always takes the breath away walking onto the stage to
John our conductor thought we would start with a bang, so to speak , and chose ‘ Heriwn wynebwn y Wawr “ with its
initial impact, it certainly worked. Our second song was “Agnus Dei “ which again went very well. Then it was the
dreaded wait for the adjudication which in this Festival is always very quick but nerve wracking nonetheless. The
adjudicators comments for all three Choirs were all very complimentary and it was very hard to judge who had actually
won. He then proceeded to place the Choirs as follows :
The Choir and supporters were on their feet as a very happy John Eifion went on stage to collect the Brighouse Trophy.
The first time in 24 years a Welsh Choir had won this competition. A great start which meant that the Choir went
through to compete in the Choir of the Festival competition later that day.
After a short break the next competition was the Open Challenge. In this one we opened our programme with ‘ Prayer’
from Lohengrin, again a powerful start with the bass section given the chance to ‘ do their stuff ‘ and boy did they do it,
it sounded magnificent. We then changed tack completely and sang the very quiet unaccompanied piece ‘ Cyn cau
Llygaid ( Close thine eyes ) which again went very well and we finished off with ‘ Anthem ‘ from the musical Chess. If the
applause at the end was anything to go by, we were in with a chance. Again the adjudication was quick and very even in
comment. You could have cut the atmosphere with a knife. This is how it went
2nd Peterborough Voices
3rd Harmonia Womens Choir
Well, we and our supporters were overjoyed and on our feet. Needless to say, John Eifion was rather pleased. What a
feeling. Then came the result of the Raffle Grand Draw, with the Choir Secretary , Phill Jones, coming out First in this as
well. The gods were certainly looking down favourably on us.
In the break between these competitions and the evening event was a gap of about an hour, just enough time to find a
local establishment where a certain rugby match was taking place. We discreetly, as discreetly as about 40 men can,
slipped in and were disappointed to see the score at that time and the sound of Sweet Chariots. Well there was a
challenge, Calon Lan was quickly followed by Hymns and Arias and guess what.. Wales started scoring. It got to the
point where the Chariots had given up and we were asked to stop singing to stem the flow of points….no chance.
The Choir returned to the Hall for one final challenge where the winners of all the Choral competitions were seated. We
had decided by now to enjoy ourselves . We were singing last and listened to very good choirs singing their hearts out.
We took to the stage and surprised everyone by singing One Day Like This by Elbow, totally un-traditional but received
rapturous applause at the end. We followed this with O Sole Mio with our very own conductor taking the lead solo. We
even had the whole audience singing “ Just one Cornetto” at one point. When our final note was hit, the audience and
other choir members rose to their feet to applaud, which kept going till every member of our Choir had left the stage.
The MC returned to the stage and said “ I’ve never seen that before “
Then came to the adjudication which was based on the best song sung during the whole Festival , something new, we
were placed second to the excellent Peterborough Voices who had sung an unaccompanied song called “ Kyrie” and
deserved the prize.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend, not only for the competition , but to have the company of our supporters and
friends including our President Elfyn Pugh and Vice- Presidents Kath Pugh and Ian Brown and to see friends we had not
seen for some time….wonderful
This was the culmination on weeks of practice which tested the stamina and patience of John Eifion and Elizabeth Ellis
our ‘ Musical Team’ and the Choir are very fortunate and grateful for their work and commitment. Onward and upward.
13/8/2019 - NATIONAL EISTEDDFOD LLANRWST 2019
With the Eisteddfod almost on the doorstep of the Choir it was it was almost expected for us to take part but this time
with an exciting addition.. we were going to compete in the mixed Choir competition as well. The seeds of the idea
came out of a joint concert we had with the excellent Cor Seiriol from the Bangor area many months before. The idea
grew and the Conductors John Eifion and Gwennant Pyrs agreed on, and formulated a programme for this venture.
Many months later and after a number of joint practices, the Llechen Lan Choir was formed and ready to sing. 125
choristers produced a powerful and fantastic sound. The Brythoniaid had by now got used, just, of not singing their
usual parts with a lot of “ gentle ‘ persuasion from John and Gwennant, a feat in itself . Whatever the final outcome , we
were ready for the competition which was a strong one with 10 established and experienced mixed Choirs involved.
The Choir were singing third and created quite a stir when 125 members took to the stage and formed up.
Gwennant had the privilege and daunting task of conducting the first song ‘ Dies Irae “ which has a triple forte opening ,
and boy did the audience get it. The first song successfully negotiated it was Johns turn to conduct ‘ the Ground’ which
went exceptionally well. Next came ‘ Henffych Fair ‘ with Gwennant at the helm which had arguably been the most
difficult for the Choir to negotiate but sounded beautiful. The last song and with John at the helm was ‘ Rhosyn yr Ior ‘
which had come a long way in a short period of time but was finished off with a heart thumping last few notes. If the
audience reaction was anything to go by, it was job done. After only six joint practices the Choir had produced a
fantastic performance and one which we were all very proud of. No, we did not feature in the final standings, but the
Brythoniaid would like to thank Cor Seiriol for being brave enough to sing with us and giving us a special experience
which we will remember for a long time.
On to Saturday and the Male Voice Choir competition and what a strong one it was with 15 good Choirs taking part, the
most for many years. We were drawn to sing next to last and had heard numerous very good performances before us.
We had to produce an exceptional performance to even figure in the top three. We were singing four songs , Heriwn
Wynebwn y Wawr “ , Cyn cau Llygaid, Harbwr Cork ( which involved some co ordinated swaying, a big risk for our Choir.
We almost had to have a committee to decide which way to go first !!) and to finish ‘ Prayer ‘ from Lohengrin. From the
word go it was quite obvious that we were up for this competition as everybody , from John, Liz and the Choir totally
committed and produced what we considered to be a great performance. With the Bass Section really pulling out all
the stops in the last song. It was a first to see some audience members on their feet applauding.
The rest was now in the lap of the Gods, or at least three judges. And here it was… 1st John’s Boys 2nd Cor y LLannau.
3rd Brythoniaid. A win would have been nice but there were no disappointed faces, to come 3rd out of 15 and also to
give such a performance was superb. As we have said on many occasions a great debt of gratitude goes to our ‘ musical
team’ of John Eifion and Liz without whom we would not get anywhere near our level of performance . Diolch yn fawr.
THE MRS SUNDERLAND FESTIVAL IN HUDDERSFIELD
On Saturday, February 25th the Choir competed in the prestigious Mrs Sunderland Festival
(https://www.mrssunderlandfestival.com) at the splendid Town Hall in Huddersfield. The Mrs Sunderland Festival is the
closest thing they have in England to an eisteddfod. It lasts for eleven days and there are instrumental, reciting and
singing competitions for individuals and choirs of every description. Four thousand performers took part in this year's
Festival. The Brythoniaid have experienced success at this Festival in the past and it was a pleasure to be able to take
part in the 2023 festival. We came 2nd to a male ensemble from Peterborough in the competition for male voice choirs.
There were twenty two members in the ensemble and although they were not able to produce the powerful singing we
usually associate with male voice choirs, they were all talented singers and had the ability to sing complex
unaccompanied pieces. The ensemble’s conductor also had a ladies` ensemble which sang in the same style. The
Brythoniaid came third to the choirs from Peterborough in the open choral competition. Five of the best choirs are
selected to take part in the Gala Concert on the last Saturday night of the Festival and it was pleasing for the
Brythoniaid to be among them. There was an enthusiastic response to the Choir's performances in the afternoon and
evening and we look forward to returning to Huddersfield sometime in the future.