Emotional heartstrings played in perfect harmony
Loud Applause Rising Stars ‘Music of the Night’ at Machynys Golf Club, featuring host Mark Llewellyn Evans and Rising Stars Keely Morgan, Thomas Bytheway, Callum Rhys Williams, Jordan Williams and Callum Howells
Tears of laughter, tears of remembrance . . . this was a night when emotional heartstrings were played in perfect harmony.
The Loud Applause Rising Stars charity ‘Music of the Night’ event at Machynys didn’t necessarily set out to have the audience reaching for their hankies, but the power of the music and the singing made it so.
It was an evening when the featured artistes were the members of the Loud Applause Rising Stars stable of young up-and-coming performers.
But host Mark Llewellyn Evans is such a wonderful performer that he couldn’t help but steal a sizeable chunk of the show.
His rendition of Tell My Father from the Civil War musical was timed as his tribute to the World War One Somme battle centenary.
Mark’s version of the song has already raised an estimated £250,000 for The Welsh Guards Afghanistan Appeal fund. Check it out on You Tube. The start features a Llanelli World War One veteran with haunting eyes. It should come with a ‘tears’ warning.
Carmarthen-born Mark was a generous host for what was an intimate evening at Machnys, designed to showcase young talent and raise funds for the Friends of Loud Applause Rising Stars charity.
Cerith Owens, chairman and director of Loud Applause Rising Stars, said in his welcome speech: “We are entering uncertain times – funding for the arts might take a hit. Cuts in funding could result in less opportunities for up and coming performers. Organisations like Loud Applause Rising Stars will be become important in providing mentoring and staging experience along with raising the profile of young up-and-coming singers.”
Mark Evans echoed Cerith’s remarks when he urged all the singers taking part to “aim high and follow your dreams”.
The baritone set the benchmark for a quality evening with Summertime from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.
Swansea teenager Keely Morgan made a sparkling entrance with Dat’s Love from the musical Carmen Jones.
Ysgol y Strade Llanelli pupil Thomas Bytheway made the first touch on feelings of remembrance with his Empty Chairs from Les Miserables. This was followed by another Les Mis classic, Stars performed by St John Lloyd pupil Callum Rhys Williams.
Treorchy Comprehensive pupil Callum Howells already has his sights set on a career in musical theatre and added a big slice of drama to the evening with Not A Day Goes By from the Stephen Sondheim musical The Story So Far.
Thomas Bytheway closed the first half with a stirring version of Anthem from Chess.
The interval saw a special presentation to Loud Applause Rising Stars trustee Susan Roberts and a special chorus of Happy Birthday to Lindsey Shanahan, led by Mark Evans.
Jordan Williams continued the theme of celebrations by wishing his grandparents Ian and Gill Williams a happy Golden Wedding Anniversary by singing the Elvis Presley classic Love Me Tender.
Callum Howells was back at his dramatic best for You`ll Be Back, a thriller from the Hamilton, the Broadway musical.
Mark Evans then took us Somewhere Over The Rainbow before producing the tear-jerking Tell My Father.
Callum Rhys Williams enjoyed taking centre stage once again with This Is The Moment from Jekyll and Hyde, before we all moved back again into the Music of the Night theme.
The first of the Phantom of the Opera favourites was Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again sung by Keely Morgan.
Jordan Williams produced an emotional Music of the Night before Mark and Keely duetted on a show-stopping All I Ask Of You.
As an encore, the artistes moved in from all four corners of the room to perform You’ll Never Walk Alone from Carousel.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house . . . .
The splendid accompanists for the evening were Andrew Pike and Rhiannon Williams Hale
About the Rising Stars -
Keely Morgan is 18 and a classically trained soprano from Mumbles
She has been a member of LARS for nearly three years and has performed in many prestigious events
Keely has just completed her A levels at Gower College, in September she commences vocal studies at the Royal College of Music and Drama in Cardiff
Her vocal coach is Penny Ryan OBE and is a member of Penny’s choir The Arisoa Singers
She has appeared in three West End UK musical theatre tours, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Doctor Doolittle, Joseph & His Technicolor Dream Coat, singing alongside Aled Jones and Tommy Steel.
Keely is a very popular singer and has performed in many notable and prestigious events across South West Wales
Thomas Bytheway is 16 and is a former pupil of Ysgol Gyfun Y Strade.
From this September he will be studying performing Arts at Coleg Sir Gar’s Graig Campus
He is one of the youngest members of the Aspiring Loud Applause Rising Stars
He gave a praiseworthy performance in this year’s City and County of Swansea’s Armed Forces Day Commemorations
Thomas is a former member of the award winning Llangennech Primary School
He is a member of Cor Aelwyd Llwyth Y Llangennech, Lleisiau Hardd and SAI5 Stage Group
His vocal coach is Bridget Radford
He will be playing Marius in The Performance Factory’s production of Les Miserables in the Ffwrnes later this month
Callum Rhys Williams
Callum Rhys Williams is 16 and attended St John’s Lloyd Comprehensive School.
He is one of the youngest members of the Aspiring Loud Applause Rising Stars
He is a baritone singer and he his vocal coach is Andrew Pike.
Callum has always had a great love for theatre and has performed on stage since the age of 8 with many local amateur theatre companies.
His performance credits recently include well-known musicals such as ‘Fame – The Musical’ in which he played the role of Goody, ‘Anything Goes’ in which he played John and with various other productions and ensemble roles in shows such as ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, ‘Chess’ and ‘The King & I’.
Aside from musical theatre, Callum has also ventured into the world of plays. comedic and serious roles in straight plays. He is also no stranger to the works of William Shakespeare.
Jordan is 19 and hails from Pembrey.
He is a former pupil of Ysgol Y Strade School now studying for a BEng Civil Engineering degree at Swansea University.
Jordan has a distinctive mellow baritone voice which has won him great acclaim.
He is a very popular and well known soloist and his accolades over the past 12 months have included performing in the David's Day concert in Llanelli's Ffrwness Theatre, in concert with Paul Potts and Peter Karrie and in other charity events alongside Lemar & Steve Balsamo.
The highlight of Jordan's solo singing career was appearing on S4C's Noson Lawen in February
Callum is 17 and has just completed his studies at Treorchy Comprehensive School
Callum was a finalist in this year’s National Final of The Young Rotary Musician of The Year
Callum is also a member of the successful choir Only Boys and is a member of their Academi
He was a member of the Children's Ensemble in the UK Tour of Cameron Mackintosh's production of the hit musical Oliver.
Other parts which Callum has played include Billy in Billy Elliot, Archie in 13 The Musical, Don Lockwood in Singin’ In The Rain and Electra in Starlight Express.
As well as theatre, Callum has been seen on television when he travelled to South-East Asia to film a documentary on CBBC about the contrast in other children's lives.
Last year Callum worked with CBBC's Blue Peter as their Royal Correspondent for a number of special events which they covered including the Queen’s Coronation Anniversary, Prince Charles visiting Wales and interviewing Black Rod in The Houses of Parliament.
In August, Callum will play the role of 'George' in NYMT's production of Brass at Hackney Empire, London. This will be the second year that Callum has performed with the National Youth Music Theatre.
For more information about Loud Applause Rising Stars, see -
Photo gallery from the event -