One of Wales’ oldest choirs, Whitland Male Choir is emerging from the Covid pandemic as busy as ever.
The choir kept together throughout the lockdown periods by meeting weekly online and even managed to learn a couple of new songs via the internet.
Choir chairman Richard Lewis (pictured) explained, “I am sure our online rehearsals were vital in maintaining the choir’s spirit throughout the pandemic and the benefits are apparent now.
“Sadly, we have heard of a number of choirs struggling because members have not returned and only last week, we learned of the demise of a choir not far away.
“I am pleased to be able to say that we are still recruiting singers at Whitland. We have just welcomed three new choristers and average almost 40 members at every rehearsal,” he said.
Over the winter, the Choir sang twice in the grounds of Whitland Abbey; at an outdoor memorial at Narberth Rugby Club for one of its most faithful supporters, the late Arthur Bates; at the Old Point House at Angle to celebrate the first National Laverbread Day; at a charity social evening in Wiston and at a gala concert, supporting Britain’s Got Talent television stars Richard and Adam at Folly Farm, Begelly for Narberth and Whitland Rotary Club.
The Folly Farm concert presented a challenge for the choir as it had to maintain social distancing and had to spread itself over most of the stage in the theatre but it was a very successful and well-received concert.
Mr Lewis also commented, “There were many challenges during the unprecedented lockdowns and over the two years, we had 17 events cancelled. Thanks to the dedication of our music staff, Hefina Jones, Owain Lewis and Heather Jenkins and our choristers, we have bounced back and are looking forward to a busy few months ahead.”
The return to rehearsing together started in a chorister’s garden, then in the stand at Whitland Rugby Club and for some weeks, in a workshop at Tȃf Valley Coaches and Llanboidy Market Hall before the choir was able to meet in its normal rehearsal venues.
The choir was due to celebrate its 125th anniversary during 2020 with special concerts and a gala dinner but all had to be cancelled.
The dinner eventually took place two years late and the choir welcomed Wynne Evans – the “Go Compare man” and BBC Radio Wales presenter - as its guest speaker.
The Choir’s President, Mr Brian Jones told the members and their guests “In West Wales, we are very fortunate to be able to enjoy our way of life. We support our culture and the Whitland choir is one of those groups which is at the heart of keeping our own special culture alive.”
The choir is always looking to welcome new members and the chairman, Richard Lewis added, “We are a very friendly bunch and new singers find it easy to fit in. If you enjoy singing and good company, we invite you to come and join us. We can assure you of a warm welcome.”
Whitland Male Choir meets at Ysgol Dyffryn Tȃf, North Road, Whitland every Thursday evening at 7.30 pm.
The Choir’s next concert is at St John’s Church, Tenby on Tuesday, May 31 at 8 pm.
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