January 13 2014

Betws Community Choir blog

Betws Choir Caroling

by Laura Bradshaw, choir facilitator

This term has been about the choir re-connecting with the local community of Betws. We had the opportunity to spread the fun of singing to the local people at the local shops in Betws in early December to get the festive cheer off to a good start. This was a great launch to our singing season. There was a lovely turn out from the community who joined in singing some of the songs – some of the children even had a little dance to the music we made. The people who run the grocery shop were most welcoming offering sandwiches and a drink afterwards!

Next came a concert alongside Betws Primary School children at the wonderful setting of St David’s church in the village, which was a joy for several reasons – we had not participated in a school event for a while – and we had not sung in the church for a while, and singing at Christmas and especially with children’s voices is really special. It was a real treat to hear the children’s choir lifting their voices for their lovely Christmas songs, and they also added their voices beautifully to a couple of the songs sung by our Community Choir too. The Betws Community Choir sang with their usual “heart”, making it a memorable performance.

Our last performance was with the Valley and Vale youth drama group which is facilitated by Drama and Visual Arts Worker Tim Smith, and supported by our Visual Arts and Drama team, Alison McGann and Ali Franks. We were asked to do this early on in the term – and it really did feel like a new venture for us as we had never collaborated with the drama group before. We got to watch the play during the first half which was actually quite involved and very impressive how the young people performed so well and remembered their lines as it wasn’t by any means a small script. Then Tim announced us and we came on singing “So Here it is Merry Christmas!” We did our set and people seemed to really listen and enjoy our performance. We sang some well known songs as well as our own composition “Peace We Need” and the lovely Welsh carol “Tua Bethlem Dref”. Lots joined in singing a couple of songs with us – we always like to have an “inclusive” part of any performance we do where anybody can join in – then more people can experience the “feelgood” factor of singing together. Brian – a choir member – announced one of the songs and invited people to join us in singing. We added the South African song “Shosholoza” even though it is not a Christmas song, we felt it important to honour and mark the death of Nelson Mandela who had passed away the previous week.

We are sad for us but very happy for Macie, our young violinist, as she will be leaving us to study violin at Chethams music school in Manchester – we wish her the best of luck and will miss her hugely!

I would like to extend a welcome to any new people who are even half thinking they would like to do a bit of singing. You will be made most welcome by our group. We have a fabulous time during our rehearsals as well as during our events. We have a suggested donation of £2 per week for adults and 50p for children. Children under 13 need a responsible adult to come with them and those over 13 will need to be dropped off and picked up after choir rehearsal and performances.

We usually rehearse for 10 sessions per term at the Sardis Media Centre, Heol Dewi Sant, Betws, Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan, CF318SU, on Wednesday evenings 6-8pm, starting on 15th January. We have a break and a chat in the middle of the rehearsal – with tea and biscuits too.

Singing is a great activity to participate in and it really lifts your spirits! There is no audition – no experience needed – just a willingness to work as part of a team working towards making beautiful music.

Contact Valley and Vale Community Arts [email protected] or [email protected] for more info.

Give it a try!