The latest 'On Song' column (about the choral scene in and around Llanelli) from the Llanelli Star and the Carmarthen Journal -

The latest 'On Song' column (about the choral scene in and around Llanelli) from the Llanelli Star and the Carmarthen Journal -

It was something of a personal treat this week to be able to compere a concert featuring Burry Port Town Band and the growing Carmarthen ladies choir A Choired Taste.
The guys and gals at Burry Port Town Band are old friends – as is the musical director of A Choired Taste, Sarah Kirby, who is, perhaps, better known in Llanelli as Sarah Thomas, former accompanist to Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir.
It’s been quite a month for Sarah as she was recently featured on the BBC as one of the BBC Music Day’s Unsung Hero Award winners.
Sarah is Assistant Head of Music at QE High School in Carmarthen. She studied music at Cardiff University gaining a BMus, focusing on performance and composition.
Sarah has accompanied regularly for a number of groups throughout the county, including Côr Meibion Llanelli, Carmarthen and District Youth Opera, SA15 and many soloists.
She also runs her own piano school called 'Kirby's Keys' teaching more than 40 pupils each week from the age of five.
A Choired Taste was established in September 2014 by Sarah.
From the first rehearsal of just 35 ladies, the group has gone from strength to strength and now boasts a membership of more than 90.
A Choired Taste rehearses every Monday from 7.0pm to 9.00pm at Christ Church Hall, Carmarthen - all newcomers are welcome!
Carmarthen comedian Rhod Gilbert was a recent visitor to one of their rehearsals.
The choir’s next concert will be with Carmarthen Male Voice Choir at Christ Church on June 24.
If you want to listen again to Sarah talking to Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright, then go to –
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03wtxbz
There is also a video of A Choired Taste on –
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/5yS7hTxbmbFp8KLBDsJp8yZ/bbc-music-day-unsung-heroes
The other stars of the weekend concert were, of course, Burry Port Town Band.
The band’s list of achievements is massive - Welsh Open Champions 2015, Eisteddfod Champions 2014 and 2015, Royal Albert Hall National Finalists 2014, Welsh League Champions 2012, 2013 and 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 British Open Grand Shield Qualifiers.
Future concert dates for the band include -
10th December - Christmas Gala Concert, Memorial Hall, Burry Port, also featuring Cor Aelwyd y Waun Ddyfal and Burry Port Junior Band.
23rd July - Annual Summer Concert, Memorial Hall, Burry Port, also featuring Lleisiau’r Cwm and Burry Port Junior Band.
One of the band’s members, Sophie McLaughlin was the featured soloist at Saturday’s concert.
Sophie has been playing the flute for 11 years and has been a keen contributor to many county ensembles.
As well as playing with the Six Counties Orchestra, with whom she shall be principal flautist this year, she will also be the youngest flautist in this year’s National Youth Orchestra of Wales.
She is currently studying for her final exams as a student of Ysgol Bro Myrddin and hopes to go on to study music at Cardiff University in September. In addition to her main instrument, Sophie also plays tuned percussion for Burry Port Town Band and the piccolo.
A word of mention, too, for Jessica Bowen, accompanist to A Choired Taste.
Jessica is 18 and is currently sitting her A Level examinations for Music, History and English Literature. Jessica is a talented musician having achieved Grade 8 on piano, saxophone and clarinet.
She has performed with a number of groups in Carmarthen, including Carmarthen and District Youth Opera and Forge Drama.
As well as being an accomplished performer, Jessica also has a passion for composition and was a finalist in the 2015/16 Young Composer of Dyfed.
In other news, Stradey Castle will be the beautiful setting on 25 June for an exciting orchestral and choral Summer Soirée hosted by the Hywel Girls' Choir and Hywel Boy Singers. The black tie evening will feature a blend of summer cocktails and music from the highly acclaimed Angelicus Chorale and British Sinfonietta under the baton of John Hywel Williams.
The Hywel Choirs and Angelicus will join forces with the mighty Pontarddulais Male Choir on 16 July for their Noel Davies Memorial Concert.
The Hywel Choirs look forward to an exciting autumn and winter season with performances at Saint David’s Cathedral (15 Oct), The House of Lords (26 Oct), Saint Catherine's Church Gorseinon (18 Nov), the choir's traditional festive sell out Christmas fantasia (3 Dec), their traditional Christmas performance at the Brangwyn Hall (11 Dec) and an exclusive Christmas performance at Covent Garden London (22 Dec).
With growing public demand for tickets for December's Christmas Fantasia, tickets have been released to the public early and are available now.
This year's exciting Christmas Fantasia will feature the Hywel Choirs, Angelicus, with international Welsh opera star Gary Griffiths under the symphonic sounds of the British Sinfonietta. In addition to a range of festive favourites, the night will include new year celebrations from Vienna and magic from the Nutcracker, Sean Lake, sleeping Beauty and die Fledermaus and some secret creative ingredients!

Robert Lloyd works as a media consultant – www.rlloydpr.co.uk
If you have any news about the choral scene in Llanelli, the please contact him on 07777 683637 or email rlloydpr@btinternet.com

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