Review of A Night With the Stars gala concert at Ffwrnes, Llanelli

A Night With the Stars gala concert, featuring Shân Cothi , Charlie Lovell-Jones (violin) and The Loud Applause Rising Stars, at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli.

Simply dazzling . . .
No, we’re not talking Shân Cothi’s frocks here (although they were eye-catching, as always!).
On a night of stirring singing, the show-stealing performance of the night was provided by an individual musician.
Cardiff-based 17-year-old Charlie Lovell-Jones has a growing reputation as one of the UK’s finest young musical talents.
And he blew the packed house away at Ffwrnes Theatre with a virtuoso violin performance.
It was stunning stuff.
At times you could swear a small chamber orchestra was playing, such was his dexterity during Rondo Capriccioso by Camille Sain-Saens.
It took some time for some members of the audience to re-set their dropped jaws, but the violinist did reward everyone with a special addition to his set – a wonderfully emotional performance of the famous Suo Gan lullaby.
He followed up with a musical ‘duet’ with Shân Cothi of the Idris Lewis classic Hei Ho.
Make a note of the name: violinist Charlie Lovell-Jones is going places.
In fact, there were quite a few names to add to the notebook of ‘up and coming talent’ during a wonderfully varied and professional musical programme.
The evening was billed as a showcase for members of the Loud Applause Rising Stars team – young artists starting out their musical careers under the tutelage of promoter Cerith Owens and his dedicated team of mentors and accompanists.
Along the way, we heard from the following –
  • Daniella Difede, who performed Gimmie Gimmie from the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie.
  • Sophie Maliphant, who sang Someone To Watch Over Me, from the Gerswin musical Oh Kay.
  • Stephen Davies, who brought a smoky nightclub theme to the proceedings with Mack The Knife.
  • Callum Rhys Williams, who performed Make Them Hear You from the musical Ragtime.
  • Thomas Bytheway, who sang Anthem from Chess.
  • Harpist Ffion Elin Williams, who performed A Thousand Years by Christina Perri.
  • Joseph Cavalli-Price, who sang Somewhere from West Side Story.
  • Callum Howells, who brought his own stagecraft and showmanship to You’ll Be Back from the hit Broadway musical Hamilton.
  • Benjamin Anthony, who sang Madamina, from Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
  • Keely Morgan, who performed a very emotional Caro mio Ben.
Faced with competition from 10 ‘Rising Stars’ and a virtuoso violinist, soprano Shân Cothi excelled – as she always does on the Llanelli stage.
She has star quality galore and was worth the admission price just on her own.
There was a timely nod to the Supermoon with Rusalka’s Song To The Moon, followed by Think Of Me from Phantom of the Opera.
She joined the Morriston Orpheus for the Nuns’ Chorus from the Strauss opera Casanova and also included the Welsh ‘anthem’ O Gymru in her programme.
The Morriston Orpheus choir were happy to literally play second fiddle to Shân Cothi and the young musical talent, but they did have their own highspots, particularly with a medley of songs from World War One, the Gospel I’m Gonna Walk and the Welsh classics Rachie and Llanfair.
As part of a tribute to mark Remembrance Sunday, Callum Rhys Williams read the famous World War One poem In Flanders Fields by John McCrae.
The excellent compere for the evening was BBC TV and radio personality Garry Owen.
The accompanists included Andrew Pike, Simon Lovell-Jones, Llyr Simon and Catrin Hughes.
The evening was brought to a close with a magnificent rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone, featuring the Morriston Orpheus, Shân Cothi and all the other singers and musicians featured in the programme.
It was a wonderfully memorable and fitting climax to another great Ffwrnes evening.
A bucket collection realised £360 for Shân Cothi's Amser Justin Time charity

Photos: Graham Harries, GPhotography


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