Croeso i Côr Meibion Blaenafon
Registered Charity No 1021994
'The great beauty of Welsh song is that it needs no occasion and it beautifully, plaintively or playfully accompanies every moment in Welsh life, like a natural soundtrack for reality' (Revelations-The Initial Journey-Through the Ages)
The Choir singing at Big Pit - Blaenavon (December 2023)
The Choir Rehearses at
The Constitutional Club
James Street - Blaenavon - Np4 9Ej
Tuesday and Thursday from 7.30pm - 9.00pm See you all soon.
A New Era For The Choir
New Musical Director for Blaenavon Male Voice Choir
A new chapter is about to be written in the long and proud 113-year history of Blaenavon Male Voice Choir.
After 35 years Gareth Whitcombe, the Choir’s current Musical Director, has decided to hang up his musical baton and retire. During this period Gareth has guided the Choir with typical Welsh passion to the heights of Male Voice excellence and forged a distinctive quality sound that has set the standards for excellence across Wales and the UK. His own exceptional baritone voice has often featured in solo pieces in concerts.
Under his directorship, the Choir has spread its wings and its voices from Blaenavon to other parts of the World including three journeys to the U.S.A, France Spain and many other countries. There have been many competition wins - along with being crowned “Best British Male Choir” at the prestigious “Cornish International Choral Competition” in 2015.
Gareth will be handing over the baton to the very safe and experienced hands of yet another Blaenavon local, Andrew Protherough Jones, who last year was appointed as the choir’s Deputy Musical Director. Andrew - Head of the Expressive Arts Faculty at West Monmouth School - was musical director of Coro Cantabile for 21 years and has worked with numerous musical organisations throughout the UK. He is equally at home working with choirs - traditional as well as more contemporary musical styles, instrumental ensembles and in the theatre where he has served as musical director for many diverse productions.
Andrew has worked tirelessly since January with the Choir’s accompanist Jackie Charles to lead them to a new first; singing with the world-renowned Welsh National Opera in their production of “Blaze of Glory” in the Bristol Hippodrome - a performance which prompted a long and heart-warming standing ovation and subsequent 5 star reviews in the media.
Chairman Daniel Davies said "Gareth has set standards to which other choirs aspire, and he respected the importance and reputation that Male Voices bring to Welsh communities, but of course, especially here in Blaenavon. Retirement is never an easy decision and can lead to uncertainty, but our proactive succession planning has enabled the Committee to quickly appoint Andrew to lead the Choir into the next truly exciting era."
Gareth Whitcombe said “My time at Blaenavon has been very special for myself, my Wife Kath and our family. Over the years we have had so many highlights. It would be wrong to single out any particular event, person, concert or tour, but they have all added enormously to our life experience and we are all the better for it. Music has that effect on people, and I am very proud to be a resident of Blaenavon and to have worked with the choir to successfully promote our home Town, our heritage and our Choir across the UK and beyond. Blaenavon Male Voice Choir is unique, and it is the people, a very special group of people, that have made it so. I extend my very best wishes for the future under Andrew’s experienced baton”.
On his appointment, Andrew said “I am delighted to become the Musical Director of Blaenavon Male Voice Choir and to build on the fine legacy that Gareth leaves. I am in no doubt that this Choir deserves its place among the great Choirs of South Wales. No more has this been evidenced than in the recent collaboration with WNO and the outstanding feedback from the Opera Company and wider public alike. I look forward to an exciting musical future with the Choir."
Following Andrew’s appointment, the choir has also announced it will be moving to a new rehearsal room – the Constitutional Club in Blaenavon - and has already begun welcoming new members, including Irishman Gerard Cunningham who is loveing singing with the choir - even though his first major project involved singing in Welsh!
Exciting times lie ahead for Blaenavon Male Voice Choir and anyone thinking of joining them on the journey are most welcome. Come along and listen at the Club on Tuesday or Thursday at 7:30, where you will be greeted by the Musical Team and meet a great bunch of choristers who will go the extra mile to make you most welcome. Equally you can keep an eye out the Facebook Live sessions which will be starting shortly when you can get a taster of how the Choir practices.
The Choir can also be contacted direct on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter or Email the Secretary Mike Tanner via email@example.com.
Notes to editors
Blaenavon had well-established Male Voice Parties as early as 1870s. There is no record of activity between the years 1893 and 1910, and it can be assumed that between those years the choirs disbanded. In 1910 the present choir was formed.
For further information, please contact Tony Kear 07824810182 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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Any potential new Chorister you are most welcome to come along and listen to the Choir in Rehearsal - talk to the music team and resident Choristers - it is much more than just a Choir.
See you Tuesday and Thursday 7.30pm - Constitutional Club - James Street - Blaenavon Np4 9Ej
on any matter contact our Secretary below
Mr Geraint York
In the first instance Email: email@example.com
Phone - 07402 934727
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Click on Choir News for up - to - date Choir News
Mr Geraint York
In the first instance Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone - 07402 934727
Why should I join Blaenavon Male Voice Choir?
Blaenavon Male Voice Choir was officially formed in 1910, however there is evidence to show that men gathered in Blaenavon to sing in harmony as far back as 1873.
The Choir are very fortunate to have the services of an excellent musical team led by the extremely talented Musical Director Mr Gareth Whitcombe MA, who is more than ably supported by our Deputy Conductor Mr Andrew Protheroe-Jones - taking over when required.
The Choir has had successful tours to Cork, Norway, Hungary, France the USA on 3 occasions and Canada. In 2007 travelled to Spain and in 2012 to Jersey. These tours combined with concerts in all parts of the UK make it a very busy - but enjoyable time for members of Blaenavon Male Voice Choir.
The Choir has had the pleasure of performing with many operatic stars including Delme Bryn Jones, Dame Gwyneth Jones and Vada-Kiss Laylo and notable bands such as The Band of the Royal Air Force, The Royal Welch Fusiliers, The Combined Army Cadet Band, The Royal Marines, City of Coventry Band, many touring American bands and of course the Welsh Guards and lately with Royal harpist Kathryn Finch and Wynn Evans.
Over the years the Choir has been very successful in Eisteddfodau and has performed on numerous occasions with the massed Male Voices at the Royal Albert Hall, the choir was heavily involved with the BBC’s highly acclaimed series The Coalhouse and were guest "diners" on the food programme "10 Mile Menu". Membership of the Choir is encouraged from all ages and backgrounds.
At the present time the Choir is around 45 in total and we are always pleased for potential choristers to come along and listen to the choir rehearsing before making any commitment. Voice tests are held on a strict one to one basis with the Musical Director in the practise room.
At many practices we have guests from all over Great Britain and many parts of the World and the Choir would be very pleased to welcome anyone (near or far) who would like to listen to a choir in rehearsal (please check with Choir secretary that the choir has practise on your preferred visit date)
The Choir rehearses on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7:30 and 9:30pm at Bethlehem Chapel in Broad street, Blaenavon NP4 9NE
Many people have kindly emailed our website to ask could the Choir sing at private weddings. I'm pleased to inform you that in future, enquiries for this type of booking will be considered by the committee/choir, if it does not clash with our normal concert appearances. Go to the Contact Us page for further information.
Last Modified on: 24-12-2023