Review of Loud Applause Rising Stars (LARS) charity ‘Friends Thank You Soirée’ at Llanelly House

Loud Applause Rising Stars (LARS) charity ‘Friends Thank You Soirée’ at Llanelly House, featuring Daniella Difede, Benjamin Anthony, Dylan Morgan, Piet Zorn and Ffion Elin Williams.

If you wanted to bottle the essence of the Loud Applause Rising Stars (LARS) charity, then this soirée at Llanelly House was the place to do it.
The impressive oak-panelled Great Hall at Llanelli’s Georgian showpiece (with the backdrop of the Stepney Armorial Dinner Service) always provides an aromatic and atmospheric backdrop to showcase events.
And this was a showcase which lived up to its impressive surroundings, putting the accent on new singing and musical talent.
The Loud Applause Rising Stars (LARS) charity was formed in January, with chairman Cerith Owens determined to use it as a vehicle to mentor and develop young talent.
Harpist Ffion Elin Williams set the tone for the evening by providing the music for the welcome and the interval for an event billed as a ‘Thank You’ for the Friends of the charity.
Daniella Difede gave a wonderfully controlled performance of The Sound of Music from the Andrew Lloyd Webber version of the musical, followed by an emotional rendition of the Gershwin classic Someone To Watch Over Me.
Baritone Benjamin Anthony made his Loud Applause Rising Stars charity ‘debut’ with a varied set featuring Oh Better Far To Live And Die (Gilbert and Sullivan), Widmung (Schumann) and Aros Mae'r Mynyddau Mawr (Meirion Williams).
The youngest performer of the evening was 15-year-old Dylan Morgan, who sung Who I’d Be, from Shrek The Musical, and a very uplifting version of Michael Bublè’s Feeling Good.
German-born tenor Piet Zorn, an associate guest performer with the charity, moved into the world of opera for Dein ist mein ganzes Herz, from Das Land des Lächelns by Franz Léhar, and Una furtiva lagrima from L'elisir d'Amore by Gaetano Donizetti.
Piet, who has only been resident in Llanelli for a year, delighted the audience by giving his welcome address in Welsh. One of the charity’s ‘Friends’, businessman George Parker, added a truly international touch by giving an off-the-cuff thank you address to Piet – in German!
The evening closed with Piet Zorn and Benjamin Anthony singing the duet from The Pearl Fishers by Georges Bizet.
The accompanists for the evening were Rhiannon Williams-Hale and Andrew Pike.

About the artistes -
Ffion Elin Williams
Ffion Elin Williams, harpist, hails from the picturesque Upper Swansea Valley
A former pupil of Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera she was awarded a netball scholarship and now studies at Hartbury College in Gloucester
Ffion is a very popular harpist and regularly performs at private functions and weddings
She has played in several engagements under the Loud Applause Productions banner, including recitals in Llanelly House and Stradey Castle
Last year, Ffion played at the Llanelly Rotary Club’s St Davids Dinner and also at the very poignant Cameron Comey and Rescue Fund Concert in St Peter’s Church in Carmarthen.
Ffion has been a dedicated member of Loud Applause Rising Star for two years

Daniella Difede
Daniella Difede is a former pupil of Coedcae School, now studying Performing Arts at Gorseinon College.
In the Autumn she hopes to continue her studies in performing arts at Chichister College.
Daniella was one of the first LARS member, receiving an invitation to join three years ago; this was the time Samuel Morris came on board
She has performed at many Loud Applause events; ones which particularly stand out are the Night With the Stars Concerts at Ffwrnes Theatre, the Ty Hafan Youth Gala at Swansea Grand Theatre and at the Summer Soirée at Stradey Castle
Daniella has had several leading roles in productions with SA15 Stage School and the Performance Factory, her latest role will be as Fantine in Les Miserables next month in the Ffwrnes
She is also a member of Lleisiau Hardd
More recently she has become a familiar name in the Friendship Theatre Christmas Pantos – as the fairy princess

Benjamin Anthony
Benjamin Anthony is the newest member of LARS. He was invited to join following a very successful audition
He hails from Llanelli and is currently at Gower College, with the hope of studying towards a BMus degree at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in September – the best of luck to you
His vocal coach is Miriam Bowen, who was a highly regarded and respected singer herself
He is an active member of several choirs and orchestras
Ben sings in Only Boys Aloud and for the last three years has been selected to attend their Academi at Atlantic College.
Under OBA, he has performed in numerous prestigious events - at Buckingham Palace, 10 Downing Street and of course most importantly has performed with them in three Loud Applause Gala Concerts
Ben has been a member of Burry Port Operatic Society for two years and has performed Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda and Verdi’s The Masked Ball, where he portrayed the role of Christian.
Ben has performed with Welsh National Youth Opera in their production of Britten’s Paul Bunyan. Through this performance he had the privilege to work alongside Conductor Alice Farnham and Director Martin Constantine.
He is currently a chorister with Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral Choir
He is also a musician and has performed with the Carmarthenshire County Wind Ensemble for several years at both junior and Senior level, with the Carmarthenshire symphonic wind orchestra and Llanelli Wind Band.

Dylan Morgan
Dylan Morgan, 15, hails from the small village of Bryn, near Maesteg. He is the youngest member of LARS
He is currently a pupil at Dyffryn Comprehensive School with the hope of progressing his studies in performing arts at Bridgend College this September
Dylan is a member of Curtain Up Theatre and Maesteg Amateur Operatic Society
He has played several roles: Tobias in Sweeny Todd, Mr Bumble and Oliver Twist in Oliver, Danny Zuko in Grease The Musical and Chip in Beauty and the Beast – yet another very talented young man
His vocal coach is Rhiannon Williams-Hale.

Piet Zorn
German born tenor Piet Zorn has lived in Llanelli for just over a year. He is an Associate Guest with LARS
He studied in the College of Music and Drama in Hamburg where he achieved the highest degree in vocal education in Germany
Along with German and English he is also fluent in French and is learning Welsh.
He plays the piano, organ, accordion and guitar.
Piet is a very popular music teacher, based in Cadno Music, Llanelli where he is enthusiastic in helping children and adults develop their music skills
In his student years, he performed in various operas
He has also accompanied several soloists and choirs
Please welcome tenor Piet Zorn and his acoompanist Andrew Pike

About the Loud Applause Rising Stars charity
LARS has made big strides since its formation in January:
The charity has established a very strong Friends of LARS Group – there are now 45 Friends.
The purposes of the Charity are:
1 To bring together a group of talented, up and coming singers and instrumentalists offering them the opportunity to become a Loud Applause Rising Star through an agreed selection and audition process
2 To provide mentoring to the performer(s) in a number of ways that includes providing musical advice and opportunities to develop their musical development within a safe, trusted, honest and nurturing partnership
3 To provide staging opportunities for the performer(s) that are appropriate for their particular stage of development, confidence and aspirations including performances undertaken as part of or in conjunction with Loud Applause Rising Stars or Loud Applause Productions
4 To provide honest and professional critique of performances undertaken as part of or in conjunction with Loud Applause Rising Stars or Loud Applause Productions
5 To promote the performer(s )through press releases, programme production and other media opportunities
6 To assist and advise the performer(s) to commit to and observe the requirements of being professional in all aspects of their performance, business relations and career development
7 To provide in particular agreed circumstances additional support to the performer(s) such as specialist tutoring or providing assistance with any barriers that may impede their development.
The charity’s Honorary Patron is Huw Tregelles Williams OBE.
Trustees - Cerith Owens, Alison Owens, Susan Roberts, Hywel Bassett Andrew Pike, Rhiannon Williams Hale, Catrin Hughes, Carol Collier.
Charity Loud Applause Rising Stars (LARS) Rising Stars loud applause
LARS has been invited to represent Wales at the World War Two liberation commemorations in s’Hertongenbosh in The Netherlands in October.

Harpist Ffion Elin Williams.

LARS charity director Cerith Owens

Daniella Difede.

Baritone Benjamin Anthony.

LARS Group. Back row, l to r, Piet Zorn, Cerith Owens, Andrew Pike, Benjamin Anthony, Dylan Morgan. Front row, l to r, Rhiannon Williams-Hale, Ffion Elin Williams, Daniella Difede.

Teenager Dylan Morgan.

Tenor Piet Zorn.

Tenor Piet Zorn and baritone Benjamin Anthony singing The Pearl Fishers Duet.

More photos on this link –


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