|Making a Joyful Noise - Christmas Concert 2016|
From slow and serious to light and sparkling, our Christmas concert presented the audience in All Saints' Church, Porthcawl, with music to delight all tastes. The opening "Christmas Cantata" by Daniel Pinkham was accompanied by a brass quintet of young students from The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, who then went on to play a selection of well known Christmas music put together for brass by John Iveson. He called it 'Christmas Crackers" and it certainly lived up to its name. The main piece of the first half was Benjamin Britten's "A Ceremony of Carols", with harpist Angharad Edwards joining our accompanist Glenn Crooks on the organ. The opening piece, "Procession", was sung by our two soloists, Catrin Raymond and Grace Wyatt, who started singing at the back of the church and proceeded down the aisle, raising hairs on the back of the audience's neck. The final piece, also sung by the soloists, had them returning to the back of the church, their voices fading away beautifully. This was a challenging piece for singers and harpist; Angharad's fast fingering was most impressive.
The second half of the programme featured Welsh and English carols, some with a twist; "Jazz Carols" by contemporary composer Will Todd and a version of "Tua Bethlehem Dref" which conductor Rosie Howarth married with a very familiar accompaniment from "Walking through the Air". Yes, it worked well! Soloists and harpist delighted us with their own chosen pieces, and the evening ended with everyone joining in "Hark The Herald Angels Sing".
This was our first concert with our new conductor, Rosie Howarth, and it was a most enjoyable, colourful evening. A lively, varied programme, talented students from the RWCMD - a night to remember. We were delighted to see the Mayors of Porthcawl and Bridgend Town, Bridgend County and their respective partners. We always appreciate their support.
Our thanks go to Canon Masson, who always make us welcome and who mans the interval bar which warms the audience too. And thanks also to the backstage and front of house helpers. The unsung heroes and heroines!
|Summer Concert July 2016|
|In spite of distinctly cool weather, we certainly created a very warm atmosphere for the audience with our summer concert. The first half celebrated a Welsh miscellany, featuring a number of arrangements of well known songs by our conductor, Edward-Rhys Harry. He had composed a new work, "Don't go Chasing Shadows" to commemorate the Aberfan disaster 50 years ago this October. Dedicated to 'his friends at Cor Bro Ogwr', it was a moving tribute and we were proud to sing its premiere.|
The British Sinfonietta produced an amazing sound as it accompanied us in Karl Jenkins' 'Stabat Mater', music which stretches both voices and orchestra. A late cancellation by our mezzo soloist, due to illness, saw our soprano, Angharad Davies, kindly stepping in to help out with some mezzo singing too.
It was a pleasure to see All Saints' church so full; the Mayors of Porthcawl, Bridgend and Mayoress of Cowbridge all attended, while Canon Masson manned the interval bar.
It was of course an emotional concert as yet again, we said goodbye to Edward-Rhys Harry. But I am sure we will see him in the future; he will be keeping an eye on us as we start a new term with our new conductor, Rosie Howarth.
|"DON'T GO CHASING SHADOWS" and the Aberfan Commemmorative Events.|
|This was such a beautiful song that Edward had composed, that we looked at ways to present it to a wider audience. Our concert photographer, Ewart Davies, was booked to video it, but contractual issues meant we could not manage to put it out on social media. |
However, it was useful to be made aware of this in case we decide to try again.
|Guess Where We Are?|
|Choristers from Cor Bro Ogwr were in a different choral uniform the weekend of May 8th, when some of us joined 1400 other singers at The Royal Albert Hall, London, for a performance of Verdi's Requiem. Organised by The Big Chorus, keen singers came from 12 countries for the experience of rehearsal and concert under the baton of Brian Kay. It turned out to be the hottest weekend of the year but we kept our cool as the conductor put us through our paces. We all agreed that the orchestra and soloists were wonderful and the sound of so many choristers was spine tingling.|
It was also a social event of course; we stopped at Newbury for lunch on the way there, had time in London for whatever took our fancy - museums, theatre, shopping or just walking in the park, and visited Windsor for a few hours on our return. Unfortunately it was raining as we arrived back but our spirits weren't dampened!
|Annual Dinner 2016|
|The choir's social life continues with their annual dinner, this year held at The Heronston Hotel. In a week's time a coach load of our choristers will be joining other choirs from all over the country at The Royal Albert Hall, London, for a Scratch performance of Verdi's Requiem, under the baton of conductor Brian Kay. This is an event organised by 'The Really Big Chorus' and it's always exciting to meet and sing with so many others. Cor Bro Ogwr was formed 18 years ago following a performance of the Requiem by what was Eisteddfod Choir in Bridgend, so this work holds many memories for us. And there will be plenty of time to "do London", with a morning stop at Windsor on the way home.|
|Conductor's Farewell Concert|
The choir's "Mainly Mozart" concert in All Saints' Church, Porthcawl, was a fitting tribute to its conductor, Nicholas Bromilow. Choir, soloists and orchestra combined to give a magnificent performance, the highlight of which was Mozart's Requiem, sung with passion and confidence. It was pleasing to see such a large audience, with Madeleine Moon, Carwyn Jones (our President), Wyn Griffiths, Town and Borough Mayors also attending.
At the end of the evening Nick thanked choir and audience, paying special tribute to our long time accompanist, Glenn Crooks. He told the choir committee that he had never met such a hardworking group, and thanked chairman John Trotter personally for his help and encouragement. Recently Nick has taken on more choirs and studies and felt no longer able to give Cor Bro Ogwr the time it deserved. He expressed his gratitude for the experience the choir had given him and under his baton, we too have learned much. Our former conductor, Edward-Rhys Harry, is stepping in for the summer term while the choir auditions for a new conductor. For more information tel. 01446 775356.
Next concert Friday 15th July All Saints' Church
|February / March News 2016|
|Two very enjoyable fundraising activities took place recently. Mike 'consonant' Clubb from our bass section gave us another interesting talk, this time on the Bridgend Arsenal. Contrary projectors gave Mike the opportunity to pepper his talk with even more humour than usual; his talks are always entertaining and informative, and more than a few members of the audience had relatives who worked in the Arsenal and remembered their stories. Wine and nibbles contributed to the enjoyment and organiser Joan Jefferies went to a great deal of trouble to present Mike with a basket of appropriate goodies as a thank you.|
A quite different event was the recital given by our well loved accompanist, Glenn Crooks. One half on the organ, the other on piano, it was an evening that showcased his talents. It was a really varied programme, from well known Debussy to excerpts from G & S and the Radetzky March (and yes, the audience clapped to the chorus ) to a piece from Zamecnik, known for his silent screen music. We could almost see the ghost of Charlie Chaplin. Glenn is so modest and positively shrinks when praised; but there is no doubt that the choir would be lost without him.
Thanks to the committee organisers and helpers for providing pleasure and profit!
|December News 2015|
'Music for Christmas' concert
In spite of wet and wind, and a slightly depleted choir due to the seasonal bugs, Cor Bro Ogwr gave a rousing and heartwarming concert in All Saints' Church. The programme of Mozart, Holst, Vaughan Williams and some familiar Welsh carols proved very popular with the audience. Bridgend Town Council Mayor's consort, Mrs. Jacqueline White, said how moved she was by the choir's final piece, which was "Anfonaf Angel", by Robat Arwyn and commissioned especially for Bryn Terfel. We may not have sounded quite like him...
|Bass soloist Ben Tomlin joined us again and his rendition of "O Holy Night" had us all rapt. We were privileged to have a 'glittering' front row listening to us; our President Carwyn Jones, finding time from his busy schedule, Porthcawl and Bridgend Town Mayors, Deputies and Bridgend Borough County Mayor. We are grateful to receive their support.|
At the end of this year we must express our gratitude to our conductor, Nick Bromilow, calm and patient at all times, and our most modest accompanist Glenn Crooks, without whom our rehearsals and concerts would not be the same.
|Oct 2015 - News|
|Model Choristers Jeanette, Vannessa, Lyn, Yvonne and Jan all took to the catwalk again, showcasing autumn and winter arrivals at the Samantha B Boutique in Ewenny. Assisted by Suzanne from the Boutique, the ladies twirled elegantly in front of a small but appreciative audience. Everyone who attended went home with a discount voucher to spend at the shop.
The profit, from ticket sales and commision on items purchased at Samantha B came to just over £400.
Thanks to the models, helpers on the evening and organiser Joan Jeffries.
More fundraising activities are planned before the end of the year; a candle evening at Liz James' home on Friday 21st, and a coach trip to Gloucester Xmas Market in November. It's all go.
Come and Sing
As part of the ongoing 'Marketing and Action Plan', a 'Come and Sing' morning was held at the Tabernacl Church on Saturday Oct. 17th. In preparation for this, 500 fliers were handed out to every chorister to give to friends, neighbours and family to encourage as many participants as possible. A varied programme of music was organised, refreshments were available and the morning went with a swing. Twelve new faces - and their voices - joined the choir and some expressed an interest in joining. Our Saturday morning voices certainly seemed to sound livelier than on some of our Wednesday evening ones!
Thank you to Nick for conducting and amusing us, Glenn for accompanying, helpers on the morning and Dominique Spearey and Wenda Hatherley for organising the event.
|July 2015 - Rising to the Challenge - CBO Summer Concert|
|Dvorak's 'Requiem' is not a work frequently tackled by mixed choirs. It's a difficult piece, requiring sustained high notes from the sopranos and some very low notes from the basses. Solo parts are also testing, and a fairly large orchestra is needed!
But it all came together wonderfully for Cor Bro Ogwr at their summer concert in All Saints' Church, Porthcawl. Under the baton of conductor Nick Bromilow, who had confidently chosen this piece for the choir, all performers rose to the challenge. The soloists were current or past students from The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, continuing the choir's tradition of encouraging young singers from the College. The 28 piece orchestra was led by Caroline Green, who had previously told the choir that the orchestra was excited at being given the rare opportunity to perform this work.
Our thanks go to the Reverend Canon Philip Masson for allowing us the privilege of singing in such a beautiful church (and running the interval bar) and our loyal audience. We were very pleased to see three Mayors in the front row; the Mayor of Porthcawl, Councillor David Newton-Williams; Bridgend Town Mayor Councillor David White, and Bridgend Borough County Mayor, Councillor Richard Young. Their support is much appreciated.
Thanks also to our photographer, Ewart Davies.
Rehearsals for our Christmas concert, Dec.11th, begin on Sept. 9th. We have a varied programme planned; more news on that to follow.
|Choristers on the Catwalk!Recognise these lovely ladies? As a break from exercising their musical talents, they were showing off their modelling skills in the recent fund raising fashion show in Bridgend. "Samantha B" from Ewenny provided the clothes, Jan Lewis showcased some of her hand made hats and jewellery, and the evening was both entertaining and informative. Sam, owner of the Ewenny shop, introduced all the outfits and gave the audience an insight into the designers some home grown Welsh and the hows and whys of choosing and buying stock. Models Vanessa, Lyn, Yvonne, Jeanette and Jan, accompanied by Suzanne from the shop, twirled, pirouetted, posed and flashed the odd leg in a variety of outfits from casual to super smart. With a glass of wine and a 10% discount voucher for everyone, the evening went with a swing. Thanks go to the organiser, Joan Jefferies, her team of helpers, and all who donated to the raffle. "Marooned" hairdressers of Cowbridge styled some of the models' hair.|
The choir received some sad news at the end of last month; Mary Lewis' husband, former chorister Gwyn, passed away on April 26th. Gwyn had taken part in the Schools' Choir at the Bridgend Eisteddfod in 1948, and in 1998 joined the Bridgend Eisteddfod Choir which then became our own Cor Bro Ogwr. He sang with us for 13 years and Mary asked the Choir to sing Edward-Rhys Harry's setting of Gweddi'r Arglwydd at Gwyn's funeral in St. Mary's Catholic Church, on May 8th. More than half the choir attended and did Gwyn proud. Our accompanist Glenn was on the organ, and Gwyn's daughter Helen, who had accompanied the choir on their last trip to America, sang a beautiful solo. Our condolences go to Mary, who has been one of the hard working members of the committee for many years. It was good to see her again at choir practice.
|April News - Spring concert|
|The choir certainly had a spring in their step after their concert in All Saints' Church. Celebrating music from the Six Nations, the choir sang a variety of songs from the folk tradition, contemporary works and Puccini's 'Messa Di Gloria'. Without our usual orchestra, our own accompanist, Glenn Crooks,demonstrated his talents on keyboard and organ. We were fortunate to have two up and coming young Welsh soloists; Meilir Jones, baritone, and Rhodri Prys Jones who delighted the audience with their duet 'Y Ddau Wlad Garwr', earning the audiences' applause before the last notes died away.We are grateful to our loyal audience members for their support, and would be even happier to see some new faces at our next concert. We are also grateful to Father Masson who always welcomes us in the Church. The evening was made even more enjoyable by the interval refreshments! Thanks also to Porthcawl Town Mayor, Councillor Sean Aspey, who has attended all our concerts during his year in office. We were delighted to see our President, Carwyn Jones, who was able to take time out from other pressing concerns.....|
|Fund raising - We will be holding a fund raising event on Friday April 24th, at St Mary's Catholic Church Hall, Ewenny Road at 7.30pm. One of our basses, Mike Clubb, will be giving a talk entitled "Escape from Island Farm". Mike is a lively and knowledgeable speaker, having already published a book on the Arsenal, Bridgend. Tickets £3 at the door, bring some friends - the evening is open to all.|
|Annual Choir Dinner - March 20th 2015|
| Sparkling chandeliers in the Fairways Hotel matched the sparkling outfits (I refer to the ladies, of course....) and conversation at the annual dinner. It was a most enjoyable evening, with good food and excellent service. The raffle raised over £100 and our Chairman John thanked the organiser, Joan, for her hard work, who in turn thanked her helpers. Conductor Nick was unable to attend owing to a prior engagement, so along with photos of happy smiling choristers and friends, I have included pictures of the scrumptious desserts to make his mouth water.
Apologies if some of the photos are not quite as sharp as they should be. Put it down to the very large glass of rose the photographer had just downed.
|Congratulations to choir member Eira Paskin, who received the Bridgend County Borough Mayor's annual citizenship award for her contribution to choral singing in the borough. Eira joined Ogmore Valley Male Voice Choir as assistant accompanist 16 years ago, and became its Musical Director 10 years ago. She is also Musical Director of Cantorian Coety Mixed Choir. As a member of Cor Bro Ogwr, she helps out with part rehearsals and steps in as accompanist when Glenn is absent. And currently she is coaching our conductor, Nick, with his Welsh!
The weekend of the 14th/15th saw many of the choir in the audience at Margam Abbey, attending a concert by our former conductor's choir, The Harry Ensemble, on their UK concert tour celebrating British choral music and readings for reflection and remembrance. more than a few songs were familiar and brought back memories. It was good to meet up again with choristers from Edward's Reading and Warminster choirs, who formed part of the Harry Ensemble.
On Sunday afternoon in All Saints Church, Porthcawl, the Swansea Bach choir gave a beautiful concert entitled "Holy Week in Rome", accompanied by our own Glenn Crooks who delighted the audience with his playing of the music of Frescobaldi.
A musical weekend indeed.
|The Conductor and The Accompanist (but no choir...)
Our accompanist, Glenn Crooks, and conductor, Nick Bromilow, took centre stage at a fund raising recital at Tabernacl Church, Bridgend, on Fri. Jan 23rd. It was the opportunity for Glenn to showcase his considerable piano and organ skills, playing a variety of pieces old and new, familiar and otherwise. The church's impressive organ was used to maximum effect as Glenn played Walton's 'Crown Imperial' and Charles Piroye's 'La Royal', but the best moment for many came with the final piece, Lefebure-Wely's 'La Sortie', music that had the audience smiling and reminded them of fairground music, or accordion playing, depending on whom you spoke to! Joyful and humorous, it warmed the spirits before going back home on a cold, wet evening.
Our conductor, Nick, delighted us with his principal instrument, the French Horn, playing Mozart's Third Horn Concerto, but before that giving us an insight into the history and development of the Horn. Before the introduction of the three finger valves, players had to put their right hands in the mouth of the horn to produce a variety of notes. This was called 'damping' and Nick illustrated the peculiar sounds produced by this technique.
It was a most enjoyable evening; there was a good turnout from choristers and friends, and £500 was raised for choir funds. Our thanks to the organisers, especially Joan, and of course Nick and Glenn.
|The Spring Concert - The Six Nations|
Rehearsals are well under way for our concert at All Saints' Church, Porthcawl, on April 11th. We're calling this the Six Nations as we will be singing pieces to represent each nation. Puccini's 'La Messa di Gloria' will feature in the first half; written when he was just 18, it's a joyful piece foreshadowing the musicality of his later operas. We are all enjoying learning this. A selection from 'Les Mis' represents France, England has Holst's "I Love my Love' and there's an old Irish favourite ' Love's Old Sweet Song' (..."just a song at twilight....").
Wales features with a setting of the Lord's Prayer by our former conductor, Edward-Rhys Harry. "Gweddi'r Arglwydd" holds a special place in our hearts as we sang this in St. Paul's Chapel, Ground Zero, during our tour to the USA in May, 2013. We're also singing "Gwahoddiad" by Lewis Hartsough, arranged by Arwel Hughes.
Which leaves just one nation and a song as yet unknown to us.....Choristers have now recovered from the spate of bugs that reduced our numbers for our Christmas concert and in spite of the threat of snow and ice, are faithfully coming to rehearsals every week. It's going to be an enjoyable concert.
|Social and fund raising news|
Congratulations to one of our members, Dr. David Parry, who was recently a guest at Buckingham Palace where he received the MBE from no less a person than Prince Charles . Wonder if David thought to invite him to join the choir??? We need more men..
The annual choir dinner is planned for the last week in March. This is the opportunity for choristers to catch up with all their news which there is never enough time for during our short break in rehearsals! Previous years have seen this at The Fairways Hotel in Porthcawl, but this year's venue is as yet undecided.
A fund raising fashion show has been organised at St. Mary's Catholic Church Hall, Ewenny Road, Bridgend, on May 29th. "Samantha B" from Ewenny will showing the latest in Spring and Summer fashions.
The committee is always ready to receive any other ideas for fund raising/social events.
Farewell and Welcome
Ogwr bids farewell to its conductor of the past five years, Edward-Rhys
Harry. As the choir's Chairperson, John
Trotter, remarked - "we have travelled the world with Edward; Russia, America,
London and ...Reading!"And the choir
also travelled along another journey with Edward, having had the privilege of
performing some of Edward's own new choral compositions.
Edward is now
completing his MPhil degree in the field of musicology at the Royal Welsh
College of Music and Drama, and has recently won a prestigious scholarship to
study for a PhD in choral composition in Aberdeen with Professor Paul Mealor.
While the choir will miss Edward and his naughty sense of humour,
choristers in South Wales will have the opportunity to continue working with
him as he is shortly to take up the baton as Artistic Director of the relaunched South Wales Choral
Union, whose first concert in January 2015 will take place in All Saints'
The choir's new Musical Director is Nick Bromilow, a graduate from Southampton University now living in Bristol, where he conducts both the Redland Green Community Chorus and the Highbridge and Burnham Choral Society.Nick plays the French horn, piano and also sings tenor.Rehearsals have already started for the choir's Christmas concert in Porthcawl on Dec.13th, with Nick devoting his energy and enthusiasm for pieces from John Rutter, Edward-Rhys Harry, The Messiah and some old favourites. Cor Bro Ogwr is looking forward to the challenges of its new young conductor!
L-R Chairperson John Trotter, Accompanist Glenn Crooks, Edward-Rhys Harry, Nick Bromilow.
A CD of the choir's recent ground-breaking performance of Joseph Parry's 'Emmanuel' is now available.
Online sales HERE... or...
Enquiries to the Choir Secretary Jan Bolland - email@example.com
The choir always welcomes new singers in all sections (we are a community choir - no auditions). We practice on Wednesday evenings at 7.00pm in the Tabernacle Church (Derwen Road, Bridgend).
Just turn up and make yourself known to any of the choir's officers in the lobby.