Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Tenby Male Choir - End of Season

And so it ends. Our long 2015 40th anniversary year concert season ended with our final concert at St. Mary’s church last Thursday. Considering the holiday season is mainly over we had a reasonable audience although not to our normal summer levels. However, we still tried our best to entertain and it was well received. Musical director “Wilbur” Williams is fond of reminding us that we are only as good as our last concert and so I guess this is how good we are. We haven’t had our “Wilbur” mark out of ten for this concert yet but suffice to say that he looked happy enough especially with Benedictus. This is a new song for us this season and very popular with the choir and the audience. It is a lovely song to demonstrate the harmonies of a male voice choir.
Principal soloist Paul Varallo sang Anfonaf Angel (Guardian Angel) this song has been sung by a number of people but a popular version is by Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel with backing from the Welsh National Orchestra which was made to support the Wales Air Ambulance, a cause which we, along with other local, choirs raised funds for last year. It can be purchased on their web site. and makes a fine addition to a CD collection with our own CD Hywl a Hiraeth available via our very own website.
Paul also sang Holy City both songs receiving sustained applause. This final concert also featured two support soloists, Duncan Hilling singing the opening and closing lines of The Fields of Athenry and Tom Pearce with Home on the Hill as part of a trilogy of Welsh songs starting with Calon Lan and finishing with O Gymru..

During the season we have also been selling raffle tickets in support of the choir costs and so at the close of this final concert the draw was held. Promoter David James supervised, with Revd Canon Andrew Grace  standing by ensuring utmost good faith, whilst Paul Varallo read out the winners and noted them. Sadly nobody in the audience that evening was a beneficiary but the top prizes and winners were:-
One Weeks Self Catering Holiday for 3
Mount Pleasant Apartment, Saundersfoot
Mr Anthony Miller, Weston-Super-Mare

One nights B&B at Cliff House, Saundersfoot
Caroline Hamilton, London
Cheque for £150 donated by Saundersfoot BayLeisure Park, Saundersfoot
Valerie Meekins, Watford
Print of Tenby Limited Edition Print is painted and donated by Naomi Tyldeman RI Award Winning artist
A local man who wishes to be anonymous.
Sunday Lunch at St. Brides Spa Hotel, Saundersfoot
Sian Dowling, Cardiff
Cheque for £100 donated by Saundersfoot BayLeisure Park, Saundersfoot
Local Lady, Tenby

Our grateful thanks go to everyone who bought a ticket, many of them local people during our days selling them outside Sainsbury’s but the addresses of the prize winners also shows how many people from far and wide come to our concerts and bought tickets. We are also grateful of course to the local businesses which provided the prizes without which the raffle could not take place. Clearly Saundersfoot, Tenby’s little neighbour, has demonstrated that small though it may be, its generosity is large. Thank you all.

In a couple of weeks then we will fly to Malta for some rest and relaxation although we have three concerts booked in major venues in Malta so it won’t be all play. We want to put Wales and Tenby on the map in Malta as we have done on so many other occasions and places.
Between now and then we will brush up on some of our more religiously inclined songs which we are led to believe will go down a storm over there and of course learn the Maltese national anthem in Maltese a language descended from Siculo-Arabic and so mildly challenging with a fortnight to go.
The choir website is at and you can read or even add to our Guestbook from the home page. We also have a Facebook account if you want to be one of our Friends.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Tenby Male Choir – Lions and a Maltese Falcon?

Last week we held the penultimate concert in our long programme. This concert was held in aid of the Lions International and so the money raised will go towards their good works in the local community but also to worthy charity appeals around the world. As a choir we may never know exactly where the money our concerts raise finds its ultimate home. We do know, however, that we can rely on the organisations we help to make it effective as we choose them carefully. On the night of this concert we had competition from an important rugby match but a good audience turned out all the same.

The big thing on our radar now is our tour to Malta. This is the culmination of a long year of concerts where we have invited many “friends” from other choirs and bands. We are grateful to their support and we have enjoyed all of their visits and their company.
So we will now take the flag of Tenby to Malta a country with great links to the UK especially in the second world war where it was of course awarded the George cross, the only time that this award has gone to a country rather than an individual, reflecting the thought that on that tiny Island virtually everyone deserved to be honoured. Some of us are from cities that were bombed heavily in the war but I don’t know if any of them even London took the prolonged bombing that Malta did.

I mentioned in a report some weeks ago that one of our members has a link to Malta in that George Pryce actually delivered Spitfires to the island during his Royal Navy service and so he played his part in helping it survive and provide such a strategic benefit to our own defence. So we gave them a George Pryce and then a George cross.
Another link to Malta for the choir is that our president radio presenter Roy Noble is a commander of the Order of St. John which of course has great connections with Malta going back to the days of the crusades and indeed the Order was once based in Malta and ran a health service for the Maltese people. It also built hospitals which remain there today.
Recently Roy told me a little more about his personal history from the perspective of the Order of St. John. He was invited to join the order in March 2000 and as he put it, “this seemed a natural thing to accept” as his wife Elaine’s father had been a member of St. John’s ambulance brigade, Aberaman division, Aberdare. He tells me they still have photos of him in his uniform on their wall at home. He also recalled the strong relationships that the brigade has with the collieries in terms of first aid and mines rescue units.
Roy is the son of a collier whose grandfather was killed in a coalmine, a day he remembers well but obviously with sadness. Roy is extremely disappointed that he can’t travel with us due to other commitments as despite his association he has never yet been able to visit Malta.
But he sent us a message to say “God Speed to everyone travelling. The choir will fly the flag for Tenby and Wales magnificently well, I’m certain and Elaine and I will be thinking of you with a large measure of envy.” And he has also kindly provided funds with which we will toast his health in Malta.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays now until we travel we have only rehearsals at the County Club so if you would like to get to know us come along. It will be a chance to learn the Maltese national anthem in Maltese, something which we look forward to with trepidation. The language does not look easy being descended from Siculo-Arabic with which few of us are conversant. But then we have people from various parts of England and “little England beyond Wales” who have coped with the Welsh language so we should manage.

The choir website is at and you can read or even add to our Guestbook from the home page. We also have a Facebook account if you want to be one of our Friends.