St David's Day Concerts & Sosban Fach Recording - March 2016
Author: Jenny P
Date: 18th April
Saint David's Day Celebration Concerts & Sosban Fach Recording
by Jenny Parks & Pauline Emery
St Tecla’s Church, Llandegla 27th February
Côr Dewi Sant did two concerts in 2016 to celebrate Saint David's Day. The first was held in
Llandegla. The choir had to shrink to fit the small church so Ruth was happy to see that just the right number had signed up! The church looked picturesque with floodlighting. We rehearsed our repertoire and then had tea & biscuits served by the church-warden, Annie. Annie's husband, Martyn, had organised the concert; the proceeds would go towards a new kitchen / vestry. This church is very kind to walkers and other visitors to the village. It lies on the Offa's Dyke Path and is always left open for folk to shelter and make a drink. The concert went very well. One highlight was harp playing by Bea & Louise, two daughters of choir members. During the interval, choir and audience walked across to the Memorial Hall where tea, wine and special St David’s Day cakes (made by the school dinner lady) were provided. As we sang in this beautiful church with a backdrop of a stained glass window from St. Asaph Cathedral, we could see over our heads a chandelier. This is similar to the one in Saint Garmon’s Llanarmon. The Llandegla one has a Virgin Mary in it. They are thought to come from Valle Crucis Abbey. The concert raised £800 towards the renovations.
St Giles’ Church Wrexham, Saturday 5th March
Famous men: Sibelius, Terry Wogan, Dylan Thomas, Take That, The Beatles and the Men of Harlech. They were all there at St Giles’, to celebrate St David’s Day. But that is to say nothing of the women: the Churchwardens Jan and Stella (who welcomed us with warm words, hot tea and cool wine), Heather playing resplendently on a grand piano, the soon-to-be-famous star of her own docu-drama Ruth Evans, and, of course, Gloria!!
Dozens of Côr Dewi Sant choristers filled the side aisle waiting their turn to sing, smart in red and black and sporting yellow daffodils. But not as smart as the Holywell Town Band, stunning among their silverware in black and turquoise jackets with lots of gold braiding (I want one of those). The choir joined them in a rousing rendition of Calon Lân to begin with. Then, led with gusto by their guest conductor, Llanarmonite Dave Roberts, the band’s harmonious sounds filled the church with marches and floral dances.
St Giles’, the largest medieval church in Wales, and full of history, is a special place to sing. The walls and roof send back the sounds of music much enhanced. The choir’s performance of Karl Jenkins’ Sanctus was beautifully embellished as well by the accompaniment of the band’s principal cornet (Carol-Ann), perceptively played, sight unseen, by a talented bandswoman. For their final rousing waltz the band bobbed up for their oomps and sat down for their pah-pahs and soon the choir was swaying along, not entirely in unison, but with joyous abandon! They clamoured for more and the bobbing waltz must be played again. The audience probably enjoyed it too.
Canolfan Dei Sant, Monday 14th March
found us Going Loco, not Down in Acapulco, but Up in Eryrys. Or Going Bonkers with the Sospans, anyway, as Ruth & the choir were filmed for a Welsh National Opera project that is getting a lot of people to sing Sospan Fach.
The Soprano’s view (From The Back):
Ruth had a WNO card hanging round her neck and Dom, a delicious Mauritius man, was waving a big posh camera so we knew it was serious! Brenda greeted me by, much to my amazement, bandaging my finger. I thought she had gone mad and then remembered poor old Mari-Ann. When I commented that I may get discovered if spotted on line, someone said 'Casualty ' may be interested. I stood at the back and tried to contain myself as I watched Dave Willis try to put on a relatively small, daffodil hat. What with beard and glasses, it was a very tight fit. Dave's big smiley face was transformed into a new strange Dave. Didn't help that he had it inside-out. Well, we sang and we sang that song and my hairdo was ruined by Annie doing vigorous flag waving. I won't even mention the saucepans.
The Alto’s view (Near the Front):
Un baban, dwy gath, several welsh flags, some daffodil-heads and a sheep, one welsh bonnet, couple of dragons (dreigiau!), a proper bunch of daffs and lost count of how many sospans... All waved with dangerous vigour again and again and – how many times? Lost count of that, too, but Joni Bach was getting a little horse by the end of the attempts. Mr Mauritius panned across the colourful scene. Hope he caught the topline descant ladies in full trill; they gave us extra Pzazz. Then he wanted more than a back view of Ruth, so she had to perform warm-up routines to order while his camera swung in terrifyingly close. Like the true Pro she is, she carried it all off with aplomb. “Jazz Handzz!” was one of our more filmic moments, but the chord that was sung with it maybe should have been scrappo’d.
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