There’s a Welsh word that sums up this concert staged by Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi. It is ‘bendigedig’, meaning splendid.
You could throw a few other Welsh words into the mix – ‘gwych’ and ‘ardderchog’, for example, and you would get a decent idea of how it all went.
Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi have a fine reputation as one of the smaller male voice choirs in Wales. Indeed, they only fielded 19 choristers on Saturday night, but, rather like the Welsh football team, they are a great team unit and #TogetherStronger.
Special guests included TRIO (a male vocal group from Snowdonia, North Wales), the harpist and soprano Joy Cornock and Dawnswyr Talog, Carmarthenshire’s traditional Welsh folk dancers.
TRIO, formed by renowned pianist/accompanist Annette Bryn Parri, features Emyr Wyn Gibson, tenor, Bedwyr Gwyn Parri, baritone, and Steffan Lloyd Owen, bass-baritone.
They have been popular on the North Wales circuit for some time, but this rare South Wales appearance left the full house at Kidwelly’s Gwenllian Centre pleading for an early return to Carmarthenshire.
You name it and they can do it. High opera, traditional Welsh songs and contemporary anthems, the boys from the Gogledd can handle it all.
Their repertoire included Lle’r wyt ti, Always There, Angor, Mae dy serch yn fwy na’r cyfan, The One (Kodaline), Wind Beneath My Wings and the Whitney Houston classic Un eiliad mewn oes (One Moment In Time).
Particularly impressive was the TRIO treatment of Can y Celt, written by Carmarthen’s Meinir Lloyd and Peter Hughes Griffiths. It was stirring stuff.
Soloist Joy Cornock, from Fishguard, is known as both a singer and a harpist and she displayed her talents to the full in the first half by accompanying herself for the Mario Lanza classic I’ll Walk With God and Unwaith eto’n Nghymru Annwyl.
Joy’s solo items in the second half were Love Changes Everything and a wonderfully emotional Cymru Fach.
Dawnswyr Talog provided some quality entertainment between the singing with a range of traditional Welsh folk dances, including ‘courtly’ dances, fair dances and speciality clog dances. And, yes, they did the one where the clog dancer snuffs out the flame of the candle in a bottle.
Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi had their moments in the spotlight with O Gymru, The Wonder Of You, a stirring Calon Lan (to The Rose tune) with Joy Cornock, Anthem from Chess, Robat Arwyn’s Bendigedig, Bring Him Home from Les Miserables, Yr Anthem Geltaidd and American Trilogy.
The Llandyfaelog-based choir (they rehearse at the Red Lion pub) joined TRIO and Joy Cornock for a show-stopping finale of Dros Gymru’n Gwlad (Finlandia).
Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi musical director Davinia Davies gamely conducted throughout the evening, despite the fact she’s due to give birth shortly. Maureen Chapman was the choir’s accompanist.
Actor Ioan Hefin was the accomplished MC for the evening, drawing on a whole host of personal anecdotes and making plenty of references to the sporting success of the Welsh football team. Audience members were particularly pleased to be briefed on why ‘Rissoles’ are the new ‘superfood’ in Wales.
It was that sort of evening. It was fun. It was relaxed. But, above all, it was top quality entertainment.