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2 August 2004

“ORPHEUS IN THE ARTWORLD”

The work of talented Mumbles born artist Bill Bowen better known as “Bilbow” in the art world, is now being showcased in Mumbles, Swansea.

The Mumbles Art and Craft Centre at Treasure, 29-33 Newton Road, Mumbles, Swansea, SA3 4AS, is hosting an exhibition of original watercolours by the talented artist. Bill of Beechwood Road, Uplands, Swansea, who has held a number of highly successful solo exhibitions is a member of the internationally-acclaimed Morriston Orpheus Choir and the exhibition which runs to Thursday 31 August is sandwiched between Choir tours to Taiwan in the Far East and Oman and Dubai in September.

“A self taught artist, Bill will tell you that knowing his paintings are in private collections in such countries as: Australia, Canada, South Africa and the United States of America gives him almost as much pleasure as singing with the Orpheus” said Clive Williams, spokesman for the Choir. “Bill’s travels with the Morriston Orpheus Choir provide him with a rich source of inspiration for his paintings” added Clive Williams.

Whilst his previous exhibitions have normally run for one week, this exhibition will run for four weeks so will enable him to show a greater variety of his work. The exhibition of landscape and seascape paintings is open to the public on Monday 2 August 2004 until Thursday 31 August 2004.

ENDS

 

Press Release 12 July 2004

NO TIME FOR JET LAG!

The internationally-renowned Morriston Orpheus Choir will appear at Oystermouth, Swansea, at the end of the month, just four days after returning from a prestigious concert in Taiwan. The jet-setting choir is visiting Taiwan as guests of the Office of International Affairs to perform a special anniversary concert at the magnificent National Concert Hall in Taipei. This is the Choir’s latest international venture, following last year’s highly successful concert tour in Australia and New Zealand when 14 concerts were performed in all the major venues of those two countries. The Choir will continue its overseas travels in September this year when it visits first the United Arab Emirates and then Oman where it will perform with the Royal Oman Orchestra.

The concert at Mumbles is another important event in the Choir’s busy concert schedule and will take place at All Saints Parish Church, Oystermouth, on Friday 30th July 2004, commencing at 7.30pm. The guest soloist will be the popular soprano Iona Jones who has appeared with the Choir on many occasions, including last year’s tour “down under”. Iona is a past winner of the Blue Riband at the National Eisteddfod of Wales. The concert will be the Morriston Orpheus’ first appearance at All Saints since 1992.

“The Choir has a reputation as ambassadors of song for Wales throughout the world”, said Alwyn Humphreys, Musical Director Morriston Orpheus Choir. “However the Choir never forgets its roots and is delighted to be appearing once again at the Parish church in Oystermouth”.

Tickets are priced at £10 for the concert and can be obtained from Brian Davies on 01792 367712 or Steve Pearson on 01792 517492. The tickets are also on sale at the Choir Shop in High Street Arcade, Swansea, or at Cottle Printers, Castle Arcade, Mumbles, and at the Tourist Information Centre in Dunns Lane, Mumbles.

ENDS





Review 5 July, 2004

MORRISTON ORPHEUS CHOIR

PRINCESS GWENLLIAN CENTRE KIDWELLY 3 July, 2004

A word of advice to unsuspecting folk in and around Swansea.

If over the next few days you hear men you know well speaking gibberish don’t despair. The chances are that they are enthusiastic members of Morriston Orpheus Choir brushing up on their Chinese homework.

What you may hear is not gibberish but one of the many varieties of that tongue they speak on the island of Taiwan. That’s where Wales’ best known choristers are heading later this month and, true to tradition, they want to give locals something they recognise among the Welsh hymns and the unique Orpheus slant they bring to so m any other melodies from around the world.

The Choir fly to Tapei in a fortnight for a one-off concert at the invitation of the Taiwan government and will land with a repertoire enhanced by two local songs.

The choristers gave their Chinese a first public hearing in Kidwelly’s Princess Gwenllian Centre when they headlined a successful evening which added considerably to the Rotary Club of Cefn Sidan’s charity chest.

Few in Kidwelly were qualified to judge the authenticity of the lyric but the sound, just like everything else the choir showered over a receptive audience, had “Morriston Orpheus” stamped all over it.

Under soon-to-depart conductor Alwyn Humphreys the 100-strong choir was disciplined and precise throughout a varied programme, displaying the well-drilled qualities which should ensure a mighty addition to the worldwide fan club from the Orient.

Michael Howard, who chose Morriston’s rendition of Cwm Rhondda for his Radio 4 pick of desert island discs, could soon find himself alongside some unlikely fellow-travellers.

Just as pleasing on an impressive Kidwelly evening of music-making were the contributions of Soprano Ena Morgan and the trio of tenors Crwys, Robin Lyn and John Davies.

NL





Press Release 4 July 2004

HOWARD THE CASTAWAY PICKS MORRISTON ORPHEUS CHOIR

SHIPWRECKED on a desert island, Conservative leader Michael Howard would take comfort in the "unmistakable sound of Wales", the famous Welsh hymn Cwm Rhondda sung by the Morriston Orpheus Choir.

Mr Howard today became the latest guest to be cast away for Radio 4's Desert Island Discs presented by Sue Lawley. He selected this famous hymn as one of the eight favourite pieces of music which he would wish to have with him on his desert island.

The Conservative leader, who was born in Gorseinon, a village between Llanelli and Swansea insisted the hymn must be sung by the Morriston Orpheus Choir, which he listened to as a boy.

Jeffrey Harrison, Choir chairman, said, "It is terrific to think he has thought of us.

"He must have heard our version and thought it's the best.

"We had a concert last night not far from his area, so I told all the choristers to listen in to the programme on Sunday."

Previous castaways who have selected music by the Morriston Orpheus Choir have included politicians Lord (Geoffrey) Howe of Aberavon and Lord Michael Heseltine, the latter being a Vice President of the Morriston Orpheus Choir.

“I am absolutely delighted that such well known personalities enjoy our music and remember their roots, Michael Heseltine born in Swansea, Lord Geoffrey Howe born in Port Talbot Michael Howard, of course, born in Gorseinon, Swansea” said Alwyn Humphreys, Musical Director of the Morriston Orpheus Choir.

For those supporters of the Choir that were unable to listen to todays broadcast there will be another opportunity to listen to Desert Island Discs on Friday 9 July on BBC Radio 4 at 9 am.

ENDS


Review

MORRISTON ORPHEUS CHOIR ANNUAL CONCERT BRANGWYN HALL

VARIETY was the order of the day at the Morriston Orpheus annual concert, not just in the programme of the choir itself, which ranged from Welsh hymns to a Zulu chant and a Taiwan special, but from the guests as well.

The National Chamber Orchestra of Wales provided backing for the choir as well joining forces with the choir’s accompanist Joy Amman Davies for performances of the themes from Exodus and Gone with the Wind.

The two soloists, soprano Sharon Evans and tenor Andrew Rees, added their own selections to the melting pot to provide a superb evening of music.

If there was a criticism it was a last-minute change which saw the wonderfully haunting Maori Lullaby Hine e hine dropped. As usual the choir provided a wonderful standard of singing in a disciplined performance.

MR



Press Release

15 June 2004

SEARCH IS ON FOR THE YOUNG WELSH SINGER OF THE YEAR


The Morriston Orpheus Choir Supporters` Association (MOCSA) this year holds its 28th annual Young Welsh Singer of the Year Competition. Previous Winners have included Rebecca Evans, Bryn Terfel and, in 2003, soprano Sarah-Jane Davies from Senny Bridge. The Winner receives the MOCSA Trophy (held for one year), the Ivor E Sims Memorial Prize of £1000, an inscribed silver salver and a cheque for £300. The other finalists each receive a cheque for £300 and an inscribed plaque.

Entry to the Competition is restricted to students of Welsh background studying singing at any college or university in the United Kingdom. A number of entries for this year's Competition have already been received but there is still time to enter before the Preliminary Heat to be held in Swansea during July 2004. The Final will take place during the MOCSA Annual Concert at the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, on Saturday 18th September 2004 when the Adjudicators` Panel will comprise the distinguished tenor Stuart Burrows, the renowned mezzo-soprano and previous MOCSA Winner Leah-Marian Jones and the well known adjudicator and ex-Head of Music at BBC Wales Huw Tregelles Williams.


Full details and Entry Application Forms are available from the MOCSA Secretary, John Betts, 01792 419714, E-mail gensec@morristonorpheus.com

ENDS




2 June, 2004


THE NATIONAL CHAMBER ORCHESTRA OF WALES TO STAR AT MORRISTON ORPHEUS CHOIR'S 69th ANNUAL GALA CONCERT IN JUNE


The National Chamber Orchestra of Wales will be guests of the Morriston Orpheus Choir at its Annual Gala Concert at the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, on Saturday, June 12. Also appearing will be guest soloist Sharon Evans, soprano and Andrew Rees, tenor.



Alwyn Humphreys MBE, Musical Director of the Morriston Orpheus Choir, said “I'm knee-deep in orchestrations at the moment. Naturally we will do our best to feature some of our supporters’ favourite items as we did last year. We can't, of course, repeat ourselves completely so I'm now creating the orchestrations of a number of items including Blaenwern, Mansions of the Lord, Be my love (Andrew Rees solo tenor) and Ynys y plant (Sharon Evans solo soprano).



The Morriston Orpheus Choir’s accompanist Joy Amman Davies will also feature as piano soloist at the Annual Gala Concert playing with the orchestra a special arrangement of the theme from 'Exodus', also featuring the Choir. “In other words, we have a varied musical programme featuring Choir, orchestra, soprano and tenor soloists, plus piano solos - a truly varied musical extravaganza!” said Clive Williams, spokesman for the Choir.



Tickets at £12, £10, £8 and £6 are available from the Grand Theatre box office on 01792 475717 or from Evan Roberts, Engagement Secretary on 01792 526211.



The National Chamber Orchestra of Wales, NCOW, the Principality’s foremost Independent Orchestra, is based in Swansea. In the short time it has been in existence, the Orchestra has completed numerous television series for the BBC, BBC Choice, ITV and S4C. There have been concert and televised performances at major venues throughout the country including the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea, St David’s Hall and International Arena in Cardiff, and the Royal Albert Hall in London. The NCOW has participated in many "Classic Spectaculars", including one in the presence of President Carter of the USA, and gives dozens of performances in stately homes and castles all over the UK in the summer months.



The Orchestra works extensively with "Opera Box", and over the last five years has performed in venues throughout the UK including the Bath, Brighton, King’s Lynn, and Exeter Festivals. Opera Box’s maxim of making opera available to everyone in all corners of the country, is one with which the National Chamber Orchestra of Wales is in total accord. There are over seventy performances scheduled annually throughout Britain, and in 1999 the Orchestra performed the world premier of a newly commissioned Opera - "Tower" - based on the story of Wales’ Tower Colliery composed by Alun Hoddinott, and realised with the assistance of a national lottery grant.



Equally at home in the studio, on the concert platform, or in the orchestra pit, the versatility of this small independent organisation is apparent in the variety of work undertaken - recording sessions; opera, ballet, television, festival appearances and public concerts etc. Artists that have worked with the NCOW include Carlo Rizzi, Owain Arwel-Hughes, Vernon Handley, Charlotte Church, Leslie Garrett, Dame Gwyneth Jones, Dennis O’Neill, Jason Howard, Bryn Terfel, Shân Cothi, Rebecca Evans and Leah-Marian Jones. There was even a sell-out concert with the "Bootleg Beatles".



The National Chamber Orchestra of Wales has appeared on the digital and analogue, satellite and terrestrial television services. The Orchestra was involved in three major television productions in 2000 - resulting in prime-time exposure on BBC and S4C over Christmas and Easter 2001.



Recently the NCOW broadcast a performance from St. David's Cathedral, Dyfed conducted by Owain Arwel Hughes. There was also a concert tour of South Wales with legendary violin virtuoso Igor Oistrakh, performances of Bach's Easter Oratorio in Cardiff and Swansea, and a performance of William Mathias' "St. Teilo”. In 2001 the Orchestra returned to Bryn Terfel's Faenol Festival, where it accompanied major international performers in a number of televised concerts.



There are currently three CDs on the market which feature the Orchestra, they are:-



Peter Karrie Unmasked - Fog and Gas records.



1000 Male Voices at the Albert Hall 1998. - Black Mountain records.



Shân Cothi, highlights of the TV series. - Avanti records.



Andrew Rees, Tenor



Exciting young Welsh tenor Andrew Rees studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and subsequently on the opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, which he completed in 2001.



In September 2001 Andrew became a member of the Jerwood Young Singers Programme at English National Opera, and has since appeared in many operas including War and Peace, Khovanshchina, La Traviata, Tosca, La Vestale, The Handmaids Tale (British Premiere) and most recently as Froh in Wagner’s TheRhinegold.



Other roles include Alfredo La Traviata, Mid-Wales Opera; the Lawyer in Birtwistles Punch and Judy in Portugal; Pinkerton, Madam Butterfly in New Zealand and created the role of Ryan in Jonathan Dove’s television opera When She Died: Death of a Princess. Concert performances include Lucrezia Borgia and Ernani at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the roles of Walther/Hugo/Old Woman in Judith Weir’s Blond Eckbert with the NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg.



Andrew is an active concert singer and has appeared at the Newbury Spring Festival, Chelsea Festival, Henley Festival, Buxton Opera Festival, St. Davids Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall. He gave a recital at the St. Asaph Music Festival and most recently he performed Elgars Dream of Gerontius at the Finlandia Hall, Helsinki which was broadcast to 18 countries across the world. Other repertoire includes Dvorak Stabat Mater, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Ramirez Missa Creolla, Handel Messiah, Mozart Requiem, Mendelssohn Elijah and Bizet Te Deum.



He is currently performing the role of Boris in Janacek's Kata Kabanova in St, Gallen, Switzerland, before working at Glyndebourne and English National Opera, where he’ll perform Dr. Caius Falstaff and Lenski Eugene Onegin.



In 2000 Andrew Rees won the Young Welsh Singer of the Year Competition organised annually by the Morriston Orpheus Choir Supporters’ Association (MOCSA). He has since sung with the Choir on a number of ocasions.





Sharon Evans - Soprano



Sharon Evans was born at Brynteg on Anglesey and at present is still living there. She is married to Derek and has two children Ffion and Ryan.



She was educated at Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones, Amlwch, Anglesey and then studied singing at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester.



Winner at all levels of vocal competitions in the National Eisteddfod of Wales, including the Soprano Solo three times. Her vocal tutor is Brian Hughes, Gresford, Wrexham, who Sharon herself admits to have worked wonders with her voice.



Sharon recently travelled to Los Angeles, USA, to sing in concerts arranged by the Welsh Society of Los Angeles where she had a fantastic experience. Her long awaited CD is selling very well throughout Wales and beyond. A selection of songs include Operatic Arias, Spirituals, Victorian Solos, Contemporary Songs and the Old Classics. She has been described as a Soprano of outstanding ability with a voice that is easy on the ear and full of expression and feeling.



Sharon appreciates the support given to her by the Morriston Orpheus Choir and the privilege of having the opportunity to sing with the Choir once more. She has been very busy lately singing with several other Male Voice Choirs and also renowned Welsh Tenors, Gwyn Hughes Jones and Rhys Meirion.



Ends

Notes to Editors

1. The Choir holds rehearsals on Wednesday and Sunday evenings

2. Further information may be obtained from Clive G Williams, Alwyn Humphreys on 02920 489409 or 07974 650823.





Review

Press Release 28 May 2004

LEARNING CHINESE FOR FIRST EVER MALE VOICE CHOIR VISIT TO TAIWAN

Visitors to the Morriston Orpheus Choir’s twice-weekly rehearsals may be surprised to find Chinese on the menu.

The Choir, which is rehearsing for its 69th Annual Gala Concert to be held in the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, next month, is also looking east and to its visit to Taiwan in July.

It will be the first time a male voice choir from Wales has performed in the country, and the visit is at the invitation of the Office of International Affairs in Taiwan.

“Amidst the many and varied pieces that visitors will hear the Choir rehearsing over the next few weeks, the Chinese words of "Ode of Formosa" might come as a bit of a surprise” said Clive Williams, spokesman for the Morriston Orpheus Choir.

The venue for the Taiwan concert will be the magnificent National Concert Hall, with a 2074 seat capacity. It also has a pipe organ, manufactured by the famous Holland pipe organ company Fientrop, and is completely hand-made and it took almost two years to produce. Many world-class artistes and groups have performed there including Luciano Pavarotti, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Moscow Art Theatre and Rudolph Nureyev.

The Choir continues in its role as musical “Ambassadors for Wales” later in the year when it visits the United Arab Emirates and Oman in September.

"These will be Arabian Night's Dream events which will include a concert with the Royal Oman Orchestra in the amazing Al Bustan concert hall within the Al Bustan Palace hotel where the Choir will be staying" added Clive Williams.

The hotel is located on the coast with its private beach and 200 acres of gardens overlooked by a mountain backdrop. For 12 consecutive years it has been voted one of the best hotels in the Middle East.

However, in the meantime, preparations are underway for the Annual Gala Concert on June 12, which will feature Sharon Evans, Soprano, and Andrew Rees, Tenor, with the National Chamber Orchestra of Wales.



Alwyn Humphreys MBE, Musical Director of the Morriston Orpheus Choir, said “I'm knee-deep in orchestrations at the moment. Naturally we will do our best to feature some of our supporters’ favourite items as we did last year. We can't, of course, repeat ourselves completely so I'm now creating the orchestrations of a number of items including Blaenwern, Mansions of the Lord, Be my love (Andrew Rees solo tenor) and Ynys y plant (Sharon Evans solo soprano).



The Morriston Orpheus Choir’s accompanist Joy Amman Davies will also feature as piano soloist at the Annual Gala Concert playing with the orchestra a special arrangement of the theme from 'Exodus', also featuring the Choir. “In other words, we have a varied musical programme featuring Choir, orchestra, soprano and tenor soloists, plus piano solos - a truly varied musical extravaganza!” added Clive Williams.



Tickets at £12, £10, £8 and £6 are available from the Grand Theatre box office on 01792 475717 or from Evan Roberts, Engagement Secretary on 01792 526211.

Ends

Notes to Editors

1. The Choir has rehearsals on Wednesday and Sunday evenings

2. Further information may be obtained from Clive G Williams, Alwyn Humphreys on 02920 489409 or 07974 650823

3. The choir will be conducted on its visits to Taiwan, Muscat and Oman by its Musical Director, Alwyn Humphreys, MBE.

4. Taiwan website http://www.ntch.edu.tw/index.html. To get into the English version of the website: http://www.ntch.edu.tw/English/English.htm

5. Visit the Morriston Orpheus Choir web site at www.moristonorpheus.com

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