The latest 'On Song' column from the Carmarthen Journal and the Llanelli Star

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

Burry Port Male Choir members are getting ready for their annual Christmas Concert.
It is being held at the Memorial Hall in Burry Port on December 9.
It’s been a busy year for the choir. Recently, they performed at a packed Pontyberem Memorial Hall as part of the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of Mynydd Mawr Male Choir.
The choir’s ‘annual concert’ at the Memorial Hall was also a huge success and featured a performance from Welsh Singers competition winner, the mezzo-soprano Sioned Gwen Davies.
The choir took its present shape way back in September 1962, when a meeting was called at the Memorial Hall inviting along any persons interested in reforming the choir to attend – some 30 people turned up.
The meeting concluded with Mr. Raymond Morris being appointed the new choir’s first conductor.
Mr. Ryan Lee, the present conductor, is only the seventh in more than 50 years.
The reputation of Burry Port Male Choir has extended under Mr Lee’s leadership to many parts of the Britain, Europe and the United States of America.
Over the years the choir has supported local charitable events and competed at eisteddfodau at both national and international levels.
The choir members have twice visited Holland, Canada once, and they have been to America on three occasions.
The choir has also visited and performed in Paris and at The Royal Albert Hall, London, in the 1000 Voices Concerts.
The choristers are scheduled to make a return to the 1000 Voices at the Royal Albert Hall in May, 2018.
Next year, on March 11, the choir are scheduled to perform at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli.
The choir draws most of its members from Burry Port, Pembrey, Trimsaran and Pwll.
Secretary Ian Rees said the choir was always looking for new members.
The choir’s repertoire includes songs in both English and Welsh and spans contemporary musicals such as Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat to Welsh classics like Cwm Rhondda.
Director of music Mr Lee was born in Llangennech and now lives in Burry Port.
Before his retirement, he was a headmaster and had been teaching for more than 15 years in English schools, where he gained valuable experience as a conductor of choirs and operatic societies.
Mr Lee has arranged many of the songs sung by the choir – the music set to Psalm 121 was composed by him and part of the current repertoire was arranged by him.
Many other choirs have benefited by receiving copies of his arrangements.
Mr Lee is also the Musical Director of the Burry Port Operatic Society, one of the very few Operatic Groups performing grand Opera in Wales.
Over the last few years he has been in great demand as a conductor of Hymn singing festivals know in Wales as “Cymanfaoedd Canu” and requests for his services are increasing every year.
At the 2010 Eisteddfod at Glyn Ebwy, Mr Lee was honoured by the Gorsedd of Bards and made a Musician Oviate member (wearing green robes) and taking the name Ryan Morlais in recognition of his contribution to Welsh culture.
Burry Port is very fortunate that the choral and operatic groups in the town are in the safe hands of a dedicated and talented musician.
Choir rehearsals take place every Monday and Thursday nights (except Bank Holidays and the month of August) between 7.00pm and 8.45pm at the Burry Port Memorial Hall.
The choir is available for concerts, weddings and special occasions.
The choir can be contacted through secretary Ian Rees - 07923 480343, email,
Meanwhile, in Carmarthen, there’s big interest in the ‘West End Stars’ event planned for Tuesday 20th December 2.30 pm at the Lyric, Carmarthen.
Stars from the West End present a magical show featuring hits from the musicals and the best of Christmas song.
The talented cast have starred in many West End productions and national tours including Les Miserables, We Will Rock You, South Pacific, Singing in the Rain, Starlight Express, Phantom Of The Opera, Godspell, Joseph and Cats . . . to name but a few!
Back in Burry Port, there’s a Christmas treat being served up by the award-winning Burry Port Town Band.
The band’s annual Christmas Gala Concert will take place on Saturday 10th December, featuring award winning guests Côr Aelwyd Y Waun Ddyfal and the Burry Port Junior Band.
It will be a relaxed show of Christmas classics, with cabaret-style seating and bar.
Tickets available soon from Elgan Jones Butchers and Burry Port Premier Stores.
Alternatively please contact Edmond John on 01554 833749.
Côr Aelwyd y Waun Ddyfal is a youth choir from Cardiff.
In 2013, they won the very competitive junior choir competition Côr Ieuenctid Côr Cymru.
They have been successful in several other competitions, including Eisteddfod yr Urdd, the National Eisteddfod and also reached the semi-finals of Côr Cymru in 2009.
The choir was established in 2005 to satisfy the need for more youth organisations in Cardiff and its success is obvious as it has provided a home for both music and socialising.
In other news, there’s a musical spectacular being staged at the Ffwrnes Theatre in Llanelli on Saturday, February 4, 2017.
The concert is being organised by the Chairman of Carmarthenshire County Council, Councillor Eryl Morgan, to support his chosen charities for his year of office.
Councillor Morgan is raising cash for the Ty Bryngwyn Hospice in Llanelli and for a new MRI scanner for Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli.
Top of the bill will be the sensational Valli Boys, South Wales based performers who specialise in the ‘Jersey Boys’ catalogue made famous by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.
The Valli Boys are made up of four very talented West End performers.
The Valli Boys members have appeared in musicals such as Les Miserables, Mamma Mia, The Lord Of The Rings, Merrily We Roll Along, Starlight Express, Miss Saigon and, of course, Jersey Boys.
Ben Evans, the founding member of the group, set up the Valli Boys after understudying and playing the role of Frankie Valli in the West End production of Jersey Boys for five years.
The Valli Boys will take you on a musical journey through major hits from the Jersey Boys, including ‘Sherry’, ‘Grease Is The Word’, ‘Bye Bye Baby’, ‘Stay’, ‘Silence is Golden’, ‘Working My Way Back to You Babe’ and‘Oh What a Night’.
Supporting the Valli Boys will be Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir and rock and pop choir The Phil Harmonics.

Robert Lloyd works as a media consultant –
If you have any news about the choral scene in Llanelli, the please contact him on 07777 683637 or email


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