IT was an evening of music and celebration as young up and coming musicians performed at the Loud Applause Rising Stars Annual Gala at the Ffwrnes Theatre on Saturday (Nov 10).

Loud Applause Productions presented ‘A Night with the Stars’ which showcased not only established musicians, but also young singers, instrumentalists and choirs from across Wales.

A capacity crowd in the Theatre were treated to a wide range of music from performers of a wide age range.

Performers included The Richards Williams Singers from Tonyrefail, the award winning Côr Y Cwm from the Rhondda Valleys, the young voices of Ysgol Gymraeg Ffwrnes and trombonist Rhodri Thomas from Llanelli.

LARS member Callum Howells brought some of his student friends from the Royal Welsh College of Music Drama in Cardiff to perform.

Established in 2013, Loud Applause (LARS) is an exciting group of talented young singers and instrumentalists who are ambitious and eager to fulfil their true potential. Currently 14 young people, aged 15 to 23 and from across South West Wales, are members of LARS.

The list of venues where they have performed under the auspices of LARS is impressive. It includes historic venues such as Stradey Castle and Llanelly House in Llanelli, and Margam Orangery. They have performed at  the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea and Ffwrnes Theater in Llanelli, as well as in less formal venues such as Machynys Golf Club and the Stradey Park Hotel.

Such events give the young people a unique experience of performing to music lovers of all levels of knowledge and get them used to performing to paying guests.

LARS provides the opportunity to take their natural talent to a broader audience; thus extending their aspirations, widening their experience, pushing boundaries and in so doing developing their confidence and artistry.

The young singers are supported by the LARS charity which is run by a dedicated group of individuals. They are financially supported by the Friends of LARS. Thanks to the charity’s fundraising activities LARS is able to provide bursaries to some of its members. This much-needed income helps them further their musical studies in what are difficult financial times.

Compere for the concert was journalist and broadcaster Garry Owen.

Compere for the evening: Garry Owen

The concert finished with a resounding rendition of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.

Speaking to Llanelli Online after the show, one of the many performers from Llanelli Samuel Wynn-Morris spoke about his passion for music in Wales and in education.

The 22-Year-Old former head boy of Ysgol Y Strade said: “It was brilliant to have family and friends in attendance.

“It was a celebration of music and it can bind us all.”

When asked I think that a lot more needs to be done in music in education, Sam said: “I think a lot more needs to be done especially for disadvantaged people who maybe think that music isn’t for them at first.

“Music shouldn’t be a privilege, music should be for everyone.”

Samuel, LARS’ first member, now hopes to continue working professionally in 2019 with the aim of making his West End Debut.

Director of LARS Cerith Owens said: “This year we are delighted to dedicate this concert in celebration of the 5th anniversary of LARS – Loud Applause Rising Stars.

“We are grateful once again to our dear friend broadcaster Garry Owen for his willingness to compere this wonderful concert.

“It finally leaves us to thank the theatre staff, programme advertisers, our performers and the support team behind them, everyone continued support for Loud Applause Productions and also for LARS.”

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