Thanks to Cyril Jones for providing article from his Archive.
In 1928, 80 years ago, the National Eisteddfod was held in Treorchy. The competition for male choirs in excess of 100 choristers attracted 10 competitors and was performed in front of an audience of 20,000. The test pieces; Songs of the Spirits over the Waters, (Schubert) sung in eight part harmony, and Cán I’r Eos, (J. Owen Jones).
Pendyrus preparation for the competition was interrupted by them having to prepare for a prestigious 2 day concert event in Cardiff Castle, it was the occasion of the coming of age of the Earl of Dumfries, The son of the Marquis of Bute.
They were joined there with the band of H.M Welsh Guards, the party was attended by some 2,000 guests.
Although then being in their infancy, and of course their first ever National Eisteddfod attempt, they came a creditable 3rd. behind, Swansea & District and Morriston United who were joint 2nd with Dowlais.
The photograph is of the 1928 choir.
12 February at 18:04
World acclaimed musician travels to Rhondda tonight Monday Feb 12th. to provide a master class for Rhondda’s own Pendyrus Male Choir. Having secretly attended their 2017 Gala Concert, he expressed his desire to take of their rehearsal.
Pendyrus will have a guest conductor to take rehearsal this evening and they don’t come much more high-profile than this gentleman, Maestro Anthony Gabriele!
Anthony Gabriele has established an international reputation for conducting with tremendous passion born of a profound knowledge and understanding of the repertoire. He was awarded 2nd Prize in the 2011 biennial Blue Danube Musik Impresario (Vienna) International Opera Conducting Competition, hosted by the Bulgarian State Opera (Burgas).
Anthony studied conducting, composition, piano and voice at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and since 1993 has amassed a prodigious variety of operatic and musical theatre credits as a Music Director, Conductor, Chorus Master, Language Coach, Vocal Coach and Accompanist.
He works extensively as a freelance conductor, arranger and orchestrator. He made his debut with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 2011 and conducted the British Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert of popular classical works, as part of the 2009 London Tower Music Festival. Anthony conducted at the National Theatre of Opera & Ballet Sarajevo and the Bulgarian State Opera Ruse during the 2011/2012 season. In January 2012 he conducted an Opera Gala at the Opera House in Almaty (Kazakhstan) with the internationally renowned Italian tenor, Fabio Armiliato.
His operatic repertoire includes La Traviata, Don Giovanni, Madama Butterfly, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Bohème, La Cenerentola, The Magic Flute, Orpheus in the Underworld, The Little Mermaid, The Moonrakers Opera and The Happy Prince.
As Music Director, he has conducted South Pacific, Blood Brothers, Ken Hill’s Phantom of the Opera, A Grand Night For Singing, Chess, CATS, Grease, The Wizard of Oz, Bye Bye Birdie, The Lion King (London’s West End, Sydney, Melbourne and Shanghai) and the West End production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera.
Early on Monday morning, 70 Pendyrus choristers will travel from South Wales to Krakow for a concert tour of 🇵🇱 Poland.
This will be a first visit to Poland for this choir who have toured USA, Australia, NZ, Canada, Scandinavia, Russia, France, Ireland, Scotland, England and many more destinations. We will be giving four concerts, one in the magnificent Basilica of St. Mary, Krakow (pictured). We are delighted to be taking soprano soloist, Sophie Gregory with us and organist Scott Williams. Ni’n edrych ymlaen! We’re very much looking forward to it!
Many thanks for the message from our friends Côr Meibion Pontarddulais
Pendyrus has recorded a number of live videos on normal rehearsal nights including:-
‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Mis
‘Myfanwy’ – Joseph Parry
‘What would I do without my music’ arr. Dr. Alwyn Humphreys
To view, please visit Pendyrus Male Choir Facebook Page and select favourite song from the many Pendyrus recordings available.
Pendyrus Male Choir present 2 T’s and a Cothi with Côr Meibion Pendyrus Male Choir
Friday 28th April 2017 at 7.15pm – Rhondda Fach Sports Centre
Visiting Wales is always a joyous experience and last week’s visit was no exception. I had the pleasure of being a guest at “2T’s and a Cothi” with Côr Meibion Pendyrus Male Choir, a concert at the Rondda Fach Sports Centre. And what better way to celebrate a choir’s 93rd year than by having 93 choristers on stage doing what they loving what they do. Add to that the wonderful vocal talents of soprano Shân Cothi, tenors Rhys Meirion and Aled Wyn Davies, the Treorchy Comprehensive Senior School Choir, and you have the line-up for a great evening of music-making!
The concert opened with was a beautifully-passionate and strong performance of Tydi a Roddaist by Arwel Hughes. The choir’s phrasing and musicality was of the highest order – ﬁrmly setting the tone for the evening ahead. This was followed by Aredig (Ploughing) by Leos Janaçek, a difﬁcult piece, performed a cappella. The choir’s performance of this concert rarity was clean, heartfelt and beautifully in tune – making it clear to everyone listening that here was a group of singers who is developing and reﬁning the craft of ensemble singing. The polished singing continued with Hiraeth – the choir displaying a real mastery of dynamic shape and tonal colour, before bringing this ﬁrst section of the concert to a close with a great performance of the ‘heraldic’ concert favourite, Men Of Harlech.
And so it was time for “2T’s and a Cothi” to grace us with their presence, kicking off proceedings in a joyous fashion with L’ibiamo (Brindisi) from Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’. What followed was a little journey through Italy – Rhys Meirion and Aled Wyn Davies performing traditional, well-known Italian songs with great style, ﬂair and vocal aplomb – I particularly enjoyed Aled’s soaring, lyrical tone with Non ti scordar di me. Shân Cothi delivered a beautiful, unaffected interpretation of the Puccini classic, O mio babbino caro. However, it was the wonderfully-moving, stirring and exquisitely-sung trio versions of Myfanwy and a Welsh setting of the Ave Maria which drew the strongest responses from the audience. The guest soloists then invited us to join them in singing one of the greatest (and most popular) musical theatre songs ever written, You’ll Never Walk Alone from ‘Carousel’.
Music plays a vital role in my life, it is therefore always an uplifting experience to be amongst an audience of like-minded people, all gathered together to celebrate music-making and music-makers. I am especially uplifted when I hear young people sing. I applaud the work Nick Bristow does with Treorchy Comprehensive School Choir – fostering and nurturing a love of singing. His passion for what he does results in a ‘Glee’-like sense of camaraderie among the ensemble, which clearly comes from a supportive musical environment. This choir, made up of very talented teenagers, sings with passion, conviction and skill.
Pendyrus Male Choir brought the ﬁrst half of the concert to a strong close with a set of three songs – a sparkling and rhythmically-exciting performance of Brian Hughes’ Bywyd Y Bugail; a beautifully-sung Yfory by Robat Arwyn; and the wonderfully-haunting hymn Morte Christe by Emrys Jones. For this ﬁnal item the choir was joined by the three guest soloists, bringing with them a sophisticated, lush vocal colour which soared above the choir.
Before talking about the rest of the evening, I want to take this opportunity to mention the extraordinary man at the helm of Pendyrus Male Choir, their Musical Director, Stewart Roberts. I have experienced Stewart’s work over the last number of years and I recognise and acknowledge him to be one of the ﬁnest musicians I have had the pleasure of knowing. He is a lovely cellist; an accomplished piano soloist; a beautiful, sensitive accompanist; and when he stands before his choir, his skills as an interpreter and communicator of the music are masterful – vital, essential qualities in any conductor. Stewart Roberts’ work with the choir is evident by their conﬁdence, musicianship and musicality, and understanding and sensitivity to dynamics and phrasing – wonderful attributes which are all a testament to his stewardship of the ensemble. Bravo!
The choir’s performance of the Ride the Chariot provided a rousing start to the second half of the concert, with strong, vibrant interjections by tenor soloist Gareth Rees. What followed was some very beautiful, sensitive singing, with particular care being given to storytelling. Bring Him Home from Les Misérables (a song I always enjoy listening to when sung by a Male Voice Choir) and What Would I Do Without My Music? – a concert programme stalwart.
What followed was an unexpected surprise – a young lady by the name of Sydney Richards delivered a focussed, considered performance of one of Stephen Sondheim’s most iconic songs, Losing My Mind from ‘Follies’. Sydney’s performance was mature beyond her years and her vocal production reminded me of a young Bernadette Peters. This young lady possesses what I refer to as an ideal ‘Musical Theatre’ voice and has real career potential.
Our trio of soloists returned to the stage with an engaging mix of repertoire. They launched themselves into an adorable Welsh rarity, the Love Duet from Joseph Parry’s 1878 three-act opera ‘Blodwen’ – on this occasion, performed to great comic effect as a trio, with Shân Cothi coming out as the clear ‘winner’ with her lush soprano voice soaring above her male protagonists!
Romance continued as a theme with the crowd-pleasing Love Unspoken from ‘The Merry Widow’ before Shân Cothi performed a wonderfully-haunting Jeff Howard arrangement of O Gymru with great passion and class. Anfonaf Angel is one of my favourite songs and Rhys Meirion’s beautiful rendition (with it’s many key changes) certainly gave me cause to smile.
Treorchy Comprehensive School Choir made a welcomed return to the stage, winning the audience over with their stellar performance of Nick Bristow’s arrangement of No One Mourns The Wicked from the Broadway and West End smash hit musical ‘Wicked’.
Pendyrus Male Choir brought the evening to a emotionally-stirring close with an eclectic trio of items proving just how musically versatile and proﬁcient this ensemble is. Anthem from the musical ‘Chess’; Gwahoddiad – a traditional Welsh hymn (of American origin); and choral favourite Christus Salvator by French opera composer Charles Gounod.
For the ‘encores’ the choir was joined on stage by “2T’s and a Cothi” and the Treorchy Comprehensive School Choir for Cymru Fach and Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.
The choir’s long-serving accompanist (since 1973) is Gavin Parry – he provided strong, reliable support throughout the evening and played with great aplomb. The other accompanist of the evening was the immensely-talented Caradog Williams. His skills as an accompanist are well known throughout Wales, having played an enormously-diverse range of repertoire with a huge array of artists. Also on the music staff was the lovely Ryan Wood – bringing grandeur to some of the sacred, choral music and the traditional Welsh hymns, with iconic organ accompaniments. Ryan is a talented, respected musician, well-versed in the ways of the Welsh choral tradition.
Friday evening’s concert was thoroughly enjoyable, adroitly compèred with great charm, personality and wit by the delightful Tony Mullins. I certainly look forward to many more evenings such as this, in particular next year’s Gala concert and the choir’s 100th Anniversary Gala concert in about 7 years time – but I’m getting ahead of myself…
I shall leave you with this quote by Martin Luther – German theologist, composer, priest and monk – which sums up my feelings about music:
“Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.”
Musical Director / Conductor
Pianist / Vocal Coach
Orchestrator / Arranger
There seems to be much talk of male voice choral singing being in decline at the moment – the gentlemen of Pendyrus Male Choir are here to dispel that statement. As the largest of the five male choirs in the Rhondda Valley alone, they travelled from their Tylorstown base to rural mid-Wales to give a sell-out concert at China Street Chapel, Llanidloes for the Rotary Club. The last time the choir performed at this venue was in 1959 and four members of the choir from that concert made this return visit. This concert raised over £3000 for the Rotary Club Of Llanidloes.
Choir compère and much respected author and historian, Professor Gareth Williams opened proceedings with a series of witticisms and introduced a wealth of musical offerings which included the rousing ‘Llanfair’, the beautifully atmospheric ‘Hiraeth’ and the epic ‘The Prayer’ from Lohengrin by Wagner. Special mention must be made of the sublime solo singing from Bill Richards who soared above the choir in a stunning rendition of ‘Lily of the Valley’. The Welsh hymns in the programme were given added sparkle with the inclusion of Scott Williams on the organ – a great addition to any male voice choir!
A number of new additions to the repertoire were given an airing including a Welsh translation of a folk song by Janacek called ‘Aredig’. This year, the choir hopes to repeat their 2010 & 2012 success in the Gwyl Fawr competition in Cardigan and if they sing as well as they did in this concert, success should surely be coming their way!
The second half of the concert continued in lighter vein with selections from the choir’s ‘lollipop’ repertoire – a phrase used by Pendyrus’ Glynne Jones – a previous Musical Director of the choir. A notable inclusion in the programme was a stirring rendition of Alwyn Humphreys’ of ‘What Would I Do Without My Music’ – the exposed opening was delivered with accuracy and was pitch perfectfollowing the a cappella introduction.
The performance from the choir was punctuated with a number of excellent soloists. Nick Wayland-Evans gave a tranquil performance of ‘Caro Mio Ben’ by Giordani followed by Ivor Novello’s beautiful ‘My Life Belongs ToYou’.
Sydney Richards belied her youth with her mature delivery of ‘Losing My Mind’ (Follies; Sondheim). At 15, she certainly shows considerable promise – a name to watch in the future.
A regular soloist with the choir, Tom Richards exclaimed in declamatory fashion that he was “in love with another man’s wife” in his rendition of ‘Proud Lady’ (The Baker’s Wife; Sondheim). This was followed by the beautiful ‘Till I Hear You Sing’ (Love Never Dies; Lloyd Webber). It is easy to see why Tom has enjoyed recent success on the Asia Tour of Les Miserables – this young man has a very bright future ahead!
The finale of this fantastic gala concert saw all of the ‘forces’ joining together for a selection of hits from Boublil and Schonberg’s Les Miserables. The soloists were joined by Sarah Board who gave a fine performance as Cosette. The controlled singing from the choir in ‘Bring Him Home’ was particularly beautiful and Jordan Davies (from the choir’s first tenor section) gave a commanding performance of ‘Stars’. The final chorus of ‘One Day More’ brought the capacity audience to its feet – and the praise was wholly deserved!
Stewart Roberts, the Musical Director, can feel justifiably proud of his boys after this concert and the choristers can feel lucky to have a man of this calibre at the helm. Together with stalwart accompanist, Gavin Parry, Pendyrus surely has one of the bet music teams in Wales.
Musical Director, Bridgend Male Choir
Following a highly successful concert at Mountain Ash in aid of the local YMCA on 17 June, Pendyrus has been involved in less formal but exceptionally well-received events in Pontyclun (27June) and Pencoed Hall (8 July). At Pontyclun Athletic Club the choir sang for the assembled delegates of the RMT Union who were holding their summer conference in Cardiff. Introducing the choir, compere Gareth Willams reminded the delegates that they were the descendants of the Triple Alliance of trade unionists of a hundred years ago comprising the railwaymen, dockworkers and miners. The RMT clearly know their own history and gave a rapturous reception to the fact that Pendyrus come from what was then one of the storm centres of the British coalfield when the red flag flew above the collieries of Tylorstown, Ferndale and Maerdy, ‘little Moscow.’ The choir sang a well-chosen programme beginning with ‘Men of Harlech’ that won the acclaim of the predominantly non-Welsh audience, who preferred to listen to Pendyrus than watch an inept England failing to overcome the might of Iceland. As Gareth pointed out, they would have struggled to beat Tescos and Poundstretcher on that showing. The 2-1 triumph of Iceland rounded off a superb evening.
On Friday 8 July the choir entertained the guests at the wedding in Pencoed Hall of Lisa and Stephen, son of chorister Mike Chapman. Not only are father and son doctors but Mrs Mike Chapman has recently become one too. Christine Chapman stood down from the Senedd as Assembly Member for the Cynon Valley, but can now substitute for AM the letters Ph.D. Since she began the research for her doctorate under the supervision of Professor Gareth Williams the choir was linked to the Chapman family at this happy event at several levels. The choir, under Stewart and Gavin, sang during the civil ceremony and afterwards. Their varied programme was greatly appreciated, and apparently two of the guests were anxious to book the choir for their own weddings. Since one of these lived in Oxford, and the other was yet to find a girlfriend, it was difficult for the choir to make a commitment. Again, a hugely enjoyable occasion at which the contribution of Pendyrus was regarded as the highlight of the day.
The long awaited CD ‘Portrait of Pendyrus’ is now released and was available at our Gala Concert tonight.
It will feature timeless Welsh classics like Myfanwy and Llanfair but also include some items from musical theatre and Karl Jenkins “Benedictus” from the “Mass For Peace”.
Also to feature will be a fabulous arrangement of “Tell My Father” by Ryan Wood
You can order yours from our website www.pendyrus.org or contact any Committee Man or Member of Pendyrus