By David Powell

Dowlais Male Choir hosted its 51st Gala Performance on Saturday 24th September at Merthyr Leisure Centre, featuring one of the very best vocal ensemble performers in the world.

“To bring The King’s Singers to Merthyr Tydfil was an incredible achievement,” admits PR Officer David Powell, “but to actually see and hear them perform was spectacular. The gentleman really did live up to their name and this was evident from their immaculate intonation, vocal blend, diction and incisive timing.”

The Double Grammy award-winning artists took the audience on a musical journey through Madrigal history, Postcards from the British Isles, the Great American songbook and finishing with a quartet of close harmony favourites.

The choir had to be in fine voice to match the virtuosity, life affirming energy and charm of The King’s Singers, and under the musical direction of Darya Brill-Williams and accompanist Michael Jones the boys certainly gave their very best performance, with spiritual, classical, Italian and Welsh numbers.

A poignant moment of the night saw the choir dedicating their performance of ‘Anfonaf Angel’ (Guardian Angel) to remember the survivors and those who lost their lives during the Aberfan disaster on the 21st October 1966.

In the audience was someone who also had a night to remember 50 years ago.

Suzanne Doolan (nee Barnes) was a trainee reporter on the Merthyr Express, under the tutelage of Editor Rhys Davies.

Cardiff-born Suzanne, who realized the history of the choir, felt very special to cover the 1966 concert under D T Davies when they sang the Pilgrims’ Chorus, Finlandia and Martyrs of the Arena.

She waited excitedly to see her write up in the paper the following week … but all turned to tragedy.

It was published on Friday, October 21, 1966 – the day of the Aberfan Disaster which changed her outlook on reporting forever.

Two members of the choir, Gareth Durston and Peter Rosser were presented with a gold watch and an engraved glass trophy for their 50 years of service to Dowlais. Choir President Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, who flew back especially for the performance, was on hand to make the presentations and speak about his pride in his hometown and his choir.

The night would not have been the musical journey it was if it weren’t for the incredibly versatile compère Beverley Humphreys, who held the evening together perfectly. With her distinct voice ‘like melting dark chocolate’ the evening was ‘truly a night to remember’.

The choir was very proud to stage this performance and thanks must go to all involved, particularly for the fantastic support of our sponsors, patrons, friends and not forgetting the audience, who will have gone home with a song in their heart.

Choir KS

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