LW Mag - Gwalia Report - May 2018

 

Feb 10th England v Wales at Old Deer Park

 

The Gwalia new year started off with a bang at Old Deer Park with a joint performance with the London Welsh Rugby choir. The marquee at Old Deer Park is always a fantastic atmosphere during the 6 Nations, and this was no exception. The pre-match entertainment included a long line of various bands, and culminated in the choir leading a massive audience singalong of welsh classics, conducted by Arthur Simpson. It was so surprising to find so many English supporters in the crowd, knowing the melodies and attempting the welsh lyrics. ‘Delilah’ might not be PC, but omit it at your peril.

 

 Gwalia beats the ‘Beast from the East’

Despite the horrendous winter weather and travel chaos, congratulations to everyone who managed to get to the following series of engagements during a very busy March.

 

 

Mar 1st St. David’s Day at the East India Club, St James Square

 

The audience, consisting of a group of senior property owners, and a smattering of famous ex rugby internationals from Wales and Ireland, were holding their 30th St Davids’s anniversary dinner at this iconic venue. They were entertained before and after dinner by a combination of choristers from both the Gwalia and the London Welsh Rugby Choir, and was superbly conducted by Arthur Simpson, who also helped to create a relaxed atmosphere with a few well-timed anecdotes.

The programme consisted of a series of typical Welsh favourites, and was greatly appreciated by an audience who were encouraged to join in. One ex international enjoyed it so much he made the comment….”At times like this, I remember why I got involved with rugby in the first place”…

  

Mar 2nd A late night at the Oxford and Cambridge Club

 

As the weather got worse, the second engagement took place the following day in Pall Mall, at yet another iconic venue. The Gwalia have been invited to perform at this venue for a number of years and provided a very full programme for the club’s annual St David’s Day dinner.

As in previous years, the varied programme contained a combination of Welsh and English numbers, and lasted long into the evening. As is tradition at this engagement, after the meal was over, the audience and choir left the dining hall of this magnificent building and retired to the members bar where everyone enjoyed a more informal repertoire, allowing the club members the opportunity to sing some of their own favourites back to the Gwalia, conducted and accompanied by Wynn Hyland at the piano.

 

There’s always a relaxed atmosphere at this engagement, and many friendships have been made over the years. It was delightful for both groups of people to see familiar faces again.

As the singing and drinking progressed, there was a danger that no-one would be able to get home through public transport due to the weather. No-one seemed to mind, while the official message from the club was that “...if necessary, blankets would be found for anyone needing to stay at the club overnight.”

 

….. Another drink anyone?....

 

 

Mar 18th  Subversion at the Barbican

 

The snow and ice didn’t deter those choristers able to make it to the Barbican Centre one chilly Sunday evening in the middle of March. The engagement was at the second of two evenings of the ‘Barbican Openfest’, listed as follows:

 

 “two nights of electric entertainment recreate the live buzz, subversive energy and community spirit of working class clubs, providing the perfect antidote to a hard week of graft”.

 

The organisers requested two numbers. We sang ‘Cwm Rhondda’ and ‘Rachie’,

and we were on stage between a bingo session and a charity meat auction! We understand other entertainers included a comedian, a burlesque act and a poet. Needless to say, after a required performance of only two songs, the choir extended their repertoire in a local hostelry……….

 

 

April 24th  Spring Singfest, Emmanuel Church, Lyncroft Gardens

 

The Gwalia were delighted to take part in the recent Singfest , which is an annual choral event organised by Janet Fisher, and run in aid of the Marie Currie cancer trust.

 

This year the choirs involved were, in order of appearance;  Cor Meibion Gwalia, Cor Llunsain, Belsize, Cantereas, Fortune Green, which in presenting a diversity of style and content delivered an interesting and entertaining evening to an appreciative audience.

 

Thanks go to the excellent Lindy Tennant-Brown for stepping in to accompany Wynn Hyland.

The event raised £1,250 on the night.

 

‘Sad but Uplifting’

Sometimes a funeral can be a very positive occasion. A mixed choir from the Gwalia and Rugby choir, recently sang at two such funerals.

Baron Ivor Richard, at West Norwood crematorium, and Julie Dianne Adams cremated at Mortlake.

 

The eulogies documenting the lives of both, described such positivity in their lives, which set such a reassuring atmosphere for the entire congregations.  God Bless them both.

 

 

James Hearn - End of an Era

 

The month of March also saw James Hearn standing down as MD of the Gwalia after an excellent five years reign. He has reluctantly come to this decision through a combination of health and personal issues, and we all wish him a speedy recovery.

 

The choir has greatly improved during his tenure, and everyone in the choir would like to thank him sincerely for everything he has done.  He brought a wonderful dynamism to our performances, and will also be remembered by many for his own theatrical performances that enthralled numerous audiences. We wish James all the very best for the future.

 

Wynn Hyland has now taken over as MD, and we look forward to another exciting period of development.

 

Our new CD "O Gymru" is now available

£10 + £1 p&p  from  gwaliachoir@gmail.com

or Click Here for Download

 

 

The Nant Tarw Saga

Available from the Bar at LWC

or contact gwaliachoir@gmail.com