REVIEW: Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir, Dafydd Iwan and Côr Ysgol y Strade at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli.
The ‘annual’ Côr Meibion Llanelli concert is always regarded as one of the highlights in the Llanelli musical calendar – and the 2017 renewal continued a fine, high class tradition.
The popular guest star for the show was Welsh folk singing legend Dafydd Iwan, who got the audience tapping their feet and singing along with many of his favourite hit recordings.
The emotional highspot for many was a rendition of Hawl i Fyw, which moved some audience members to tears.
Accompanied on the piano by the excellent Hefin Ellis, guitarist and ranconteur Dafydd thrives on telling musical stories and the audience were entertained, amused and moved in equal measure.
Côr Meibion Llanelli played a powerful hand in fielding a 55-strong choir on the Ffwrnes stage – no mean feat in an age when many other male voice choirs complain about a decline in numbers.
The first-half highlights included Dashenka, Safwn yn y Bwlch (featuring soloist Byron Thomas, the last surviving founder member of the choir), Y Dref Wen (featuring a solo from the choir’s musical director Mr D Eifion Thomas), Ti a dy ddoniau, Anfonaf Angel (with soloist Anthony Bowen) and Y Tangnefeddwyr.
Côr Ysgol y Strade illustrated why the future of choral singing in Llanelli is in safe hands.
Under musical director Christopher Davies, their first half included Eiddo’r cyfryw rai, Carol Mair and Mi Burrito Cordobes.
In the second half, they featured Be Still, Prydferth Waredwr and Hyfrydol, featuring a solo from Eifion Thomas.
Throughout the performance, the pupils were a credit to Llanelli, their school, their teachers, their parents and their families.
The second-half from Côr Meibion Llanelli featured May It Be (from Lord of the Rings), The Battle Hymn of the Republic (soloist Byron Thomas), Wade in the Water, American Trilogy, a version of You’ll Never Walk Alone which included plenty of audience participation, and a Welsh version of Woodie Guthrie’s classic This Land is my Land, Mae’n Wlad I Mi, with lyrics by Dafydd Iwan.
Côr Ysgol y Strade and Dafydd Iwan joined Côr Meibion Llanelli for a rousing finale of the classic anthem Yma o Hyd.
Both Côr Meibion Llanelli and Côr Ysgol y Strade were accompanied on the piano by the excellent Aled Maddock.
The compere was Robert Lloyd.
It was yet another memorable evening in the proud history of Côr Meibion Llanelli, a history which stretches back to 1964.
On this evidence, the choir is in fine shape as it heads ever closer to its 60th anniversary.