PONTARDDULAIS held its Festival of Remembrance Concert at the Pontarddulais Comprehensive School on Saturday (Nov 10).
Appearing on stage were guest soloist Adele O’Neill, Cor Glandulais, Lleisiau Lliw, Pontarddulais Comprehensive School, Ysgol Gynrad Bryniago, Pontarddulais Primary School and Ysgol Llanedi.
The compere for the evening was Rhodri Lewis. During some of the most turbulent political times Rhodri has been in charge of a range of political programmes on BBC Wales. Rhodri has also worked in the press office at the European Commission in Brussels. He had no problem keeping everyone in order and ensuring the evening went off smoothly adding depth to the proceedings by setting the scene for each of the performers.
A special piece of music ‘Bugles Sang’ had been composed for the Pontarddulais Band by local man Haldon Evans.
Haldon Evans was born in Llanelli but grew up in Pontarddulais. He is a former lecturer in music at Swansea College amongst many other notable achievements in his long and successful musical career spanning over 30 years.
You can listen to our interview with Haldon Evans here:
The evening began by welcoming the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Glamorgan Mark Mathias, followed by the National Anthem, God Save the Queen.
Dignitaries attending included Tonia Antoniazzi MP and Rebecca Evans AM, the Deputy Lord Mayor of Swansea, Peter Black and the Mayor of Pontarddulais Clive Mathias,
Pontarddulais Primary School began by reading out the names of all of the men from the area who fell during the Great War. Wartime favourites were sung including Keep the home fires burning, It’s a long way to Tipperary and Pack up your troubles. It was an emotional piece, which set the scene for the evening.
The theatre was provided by Ysgol Gymraeg Bryniago who gave a wonderful performance, which replicated a scene from the front line with troops talking excitedly about the adventures ahead before the reality of War struck home, witnessing their friends being slaughtered.
Adele O’Neill is a native of Pontarddulais. She studied at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has travelled all over the world performing operatic roles and guesting with choirs. A former gold medal winner at Llangollen International Eisteddfod was sure to grab the attention of the capacity audience in ‘the Bont’ and she did. The hall was massive and Adele dressed in a beautiful purple ball gown was barely visible on the vast stage fronted by innumerable music stands and chairs but her voice carried like the call of an angel and lodged itself right into the ears and hearts of all who witnessed her spell binding performances of Ave Maria an Un bel di vedremo in the first half. Needless to say, Adele received rapturous applause following each and every number.
One of the biggest cheers of the evening came when Ysgol Llanedi performed their two numbers. The small ensemble with big voices certainly warmed the cockles of people’s hearts.
Pontarddulais Town Band conducted by Paul Jenkins brought the first half of the programme to a close with their performance of the newly created piece ‘Bugles Sang’. Powerful and echoing the urgency and necessity of communication tinged with melancholy and drama, the three pieces certainly challenged the listener’s emotions as well as the band’s musical ability, which judging by the reaction of the audience was more than up to the task of doing the composer’s hard work justice.
Cor Glandulais began the second half of the evening with wonderful performances of Ave Verum by Mozart, followed by Agnus Dei, Faure (Requiem).
Pontarddulais Comprehensive School Choir performed a beautiful version of ‘In Flanders Fields’ bringing a sombre atmosphere to bear. As it was during the war or so we are told, one was meant to keep a stiff upper lip, chin up and hold on to that eternal hope. So it was that the saxophone ensemble got the whole hall clapping along to that wartime favourite from the American band leader Glen Miller ‘In the Mood’.
The vision in purple, Adele O’Neill stepped up onto the vast stage once more and projected her outstanding tones to the farthest row of seats in the house with performances of Habanera (Carmen) Bizet and I feel Pretty (Westside Story) Bernstein.
If Adele filled the hall with her voice imagine what the Pontarddulais Male Voice Choir were to do as they took to the stage. You don’t have to imagine. You can listen to their performance and those of the other performers here soon.
As the evening drew to a close the flag bearers raised the flags to ‘For the Fallen then lowered them for the last Post. A two minute silence followed and was brought to an end by the Reville. A prayer was then offered by the Reverend John Gillibrand before everyone present joined in with the hymn ‘Abide With Me’ followed by the Welsh National Anthem.
Musical accompanists and conductors included Alan Tregelles Williams, Ian Lewis, Luned Jones, Beirian Wyn Lewis, Clive Phillips, Paul Jenkins and David Last.