IT had to be special – after all, it’s not every day you get to celebrate a centenary. Llanelli Rotary Club marked 100 years with some style.

‘An Evening Of Song’ was a concert with something for everyone – first class singing and musicianship, dramatic highlights and plenty of humour.

Top of the bill was the ‘force of nature’ we all know as Shân Cothi. Always a class act, she took the audience on a wonderful musical journey – from the My Fair Lady classic I Could Have Danced All Night and the Welsh classic Mai, to Chemins de l’amour and Think of Me from Phantom of the Opera. Her set also included Mae Hiraeth yn y Mor and the Laughing Song from Die Fledermaus, during which she enlisted the help of John Morris (aka John Bach) from Côr Meibion Llanelli. You had to be there. It was a hoot!

Shân also teamed up with Côr Meibion Llanelli for a soaring and emotional rendition of Verdi’s classic La Vergine Degli Angeli. Côr Meibion Llanelli weighed in with Dashenka, Anthem from the musical Chess and Y Tangnefeddwyr, Wade in the Water, American Trilogy, and the spiritual A-men – yet again demonstrating that Llanelli possesses one of the finest male voice choirs in the land. For much of the evening, the Côr Meibion Llanelli choristers were happy to give over the limelight to the youth of Llanelli.

The Lewis Meredith Sisters – Calley, Sarah and Steffi – dazzled with their Abba medley and Waterfalls by TLC. And the concert also featured two 15-year-old ‘stars of the future’ with links to Llanelli Rotary Club. Ffion Bates was the instrumental winner of the Rotary Club’s Young Musician of the Year competition, while Lauren Fisher was the vocalist and overall winner of the competition. Ffion performed Beethoven’s Rondo – a performance which had the full house at Ffwrnes Theatre spellbound.

Lauren Fisher performed the Caro Emerald song That Man – a performance which demonstrated she has all the dramatic stage presence needed to succeed as a rising star. Llanelli’s junior ambassadors of song, the Hywel Girls’ Choir and Hywel Boy Singers, provided a dramatic end to the first half of the show with a selection of “Cherished Classics” – O Fortuna from Carmina Burana, the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah and Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s Turandot.

The Hywel choirs also provided one of the dramatic highlights of the second-half, with ‘Magical Music from Les Misérables. At The End of the Day, I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own and the much loved finale of Do You Hear the People Sing were all featured, much to the delight of the packed house at Ffwrnes.

Also featured during the evening were Harmoni, a group of ladies from Lleisiau’r Cwm Ladies Choir and ex-pupils of Ysgol Y Strade – a choir formed especially for the centenary concert. They served up two Welsh classics Ty ar y Mynydd and Adre’n ôl. They coped admirably with having to follow the ‘scene-stealing’ act of the night – Côr Ysgol Heol Goffa School Choir. Under the direction of Bridget Radford, they peformed Perfect by Ed Sheeran and This is Me, the big hit from the blockbusting musical film The Greatest Showman. Their standing ovation was richly deserved.

The grand finale was provided by Shân Cothi, the Hywel Girls’ Choir and Hywel Boy Singers and Côr Meibion Llanelli with a powerful and emotional rendition of the famous Easter Hymn from Cavalleria Rusticana. Musical directors John Hywel Williams (the Hywel choirs) and D Eifion Thomas (Côr Meibion Llanelli) held the evening together in true professional style, proudly wearing the Paul Harris Fellowship medals they were awarded by Llanelli Rotary Club for their community and charity work.

The accompanists for the evening were Rhiannon Pritchard, Jane Jewell, Catrin Hughes and Aled Maddock. Mr John (JC) Williams used the interval to give the audience an address on the history of the Rotary service organisation in Llanelli and some of the club’s greatest achievements in a proud 100-year history.

The production was managed by Mr Cerith Owens, a member of Llanelli Rotary Club and the director of Loud Applause Productions. The compere for the evening was Robert Lloyd, a past president and member of Llanelli Rotary Club. The evening raised funds for the Green Light Prostate Cancer Machine at Prince Philip Hospital.

Review and Photos: Robert Lloyd

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