The decision by the organisers of this event to move this a week earlier than usual means it has now clashed with the whole day we have to be in Swansea on Sunday 2nd December for the dress rehearsal of the War Requiem and the performance in the evening. Their new date is very disappointing for the choir. Last year's event was cancelled because of snow, and both choir and parents love it so much. What a great pity. But we still have the Christmas Evening at Monmouth on 7th December, which likewise will be very successful and enjoyable for the choirs. The Abergavenny Christmas Festival was a high spot of the choir's year and the adult section enjoyed it too joining in with a lot of the carols and sampling the food and drinks.
Nidus Children's Choir Sing for Prince Charles on occasion of the renaming of the Second Severn Crossing as 'The Prince of Wales Bridge'.
On the 2nd July 2018, The Nidus CHildren's Choir arrived at the Celtic Manor Hotel near Newport, to sing for the occasion of the renaming of the Severn Bridge as 'The Prince of Wales Bridge.' The conductor Evelyn Nicholson, Heidi Nicholson and Sarah Huxley from the Ashton Gate Bristol Primary School which joined them and decided on two songs, to symbolise the coming together of the two towns on the Estuary. Our Nidus Choice turned out to be Moon River, which we had ready tosing and in two weeks, and two rehearsals the choirs prepared for 'Getting to Know you' from The King and I which both thought was very apt, the tolls on the Severn Bridge, disappearing later this year. On the minus side, the intense heat was very challenging all day, with little complaint from the tough little singers. I particularly enjoyed the music of the harpist, playing Welsh airs throughout and with their royal highnesses walked around mingling with the crowds.
There was a lot of waiting around, rehearsing with the Ashton Gate choir, some very nice voices, and a serious rehearsal session first thing in the morning. Another wait before a sound check, the first song-Moon River, then the marquee had filled with Welsh business leaders, First Secretary Carwyn Jones and the Secretary of state Alun Cairns. Their royal Highnesses came into the marquee and began to be presented to the guests .Finally the choir reassembled , the Bristol Choir included in the middle section and the music track began.Getting to know you. After a rehearsal which was a bit 'touch and go' as the two choirs familiarised themselves with each others' styles., the end result was brilliant. From the semi chorus at the beginning to the rousing ending, in three parts, the children were inspired to new heights, and Sarah generously said to me how glad she was that the children had had the opportunity to sing with a choir like Nidus. We all got on very well indeed and was a delightful occasion. Parents and choir members appeared really happy, many of them having met the Prince or the Duchess of Cornwall. The choristers in both choirs were very excited!!!
Many other important people from Bristol (Lord Lieutenant, Mayor and Mayoress attended) and the South Wales Argust was very interested indeed in the choir. This was a historic occasion , including the removall of the tolls, which the choristers will always remember. They did not let themselves, nor the inheritance of the legendary Nidus choir down. An excellent performance, with some beautiful performances. Many of the business leaders stopped to congratulate myself and the choir on their performcne.
Emily Walker joined the Nidus Choir last year and busily went about achieving her Grade 2 Certificate of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.this year. Singing in the Christmas concerts, Emily has continued to attend regularly. She was a Gold medallist singer at the Hereford Musical Festival, and came third in her school's Eisteddfod against other Year 6's. Emily has a wealth of high notes and also sings in her school choir. Here she is pictured with the cup from her school Inglefield House of Monmouth School for Girls- a prize given to the child who has contributed most towards music in her school amidst considerable competition. Emily is a talented swimmer and keen cyclist. Sheis currently preparing Grade 4 Singing and sang a solo in the Black Velvet Band, an Irish Folk Song with Lily May and Jessica Millard, who all gave spirited performances......
Nidus Choir Members Lily May Davey and Oliva Gibbs singing 'Panis Angelicus' at St Mary's Church. Bryn Eglwys, Croesyceiliog, Cwmbran. Both recently achieved their Grade IV Singing with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. A lovely performance!
St Mary's Church sits on the lower slopes of Croesyceiliog on the aptly named Bryn Eglwys (Hill of the Church) . It is spacious, with a good accoustic, large leaded windows and good community facilities. The Children's choir attended on a swelteringly hot evening, many people travelling from other areas too, Brecon, Monmouth, Devauden and outside the Bran, but theyall came to give an excellent performance.No one fainted, thank heavens.
We drew from our usual repertoire, Rutter's I will sing with the Spirit, The Water of Tyne in Neaum's lovely arrangement, Moon River Henry Mancini, Getting to know you from The King and I being a new addition. Other contributions included Spanish Eyes by Villalobos , Kalinka in Joan Gregoryk's arrangement, Amanda McBroom's The Rose and the French Vois se ton chemin., an exhortation for pity for suffering children. The recent prize-winning song from Abergavenny 'The Happy Wanderer' ended the first half.
Our three soloists in 'The Black Velvet Band' were Emily Walker, Jessica Millard and Lily May Davey-see below. Few photos were taken at this concert, but these are the choir members at Usk Priory.
Half way through each part of the programme, we were treated to some soloists, who had prepared particular duets for the programme. The First half presented Olivia Gibbs and Lily-May Davey, Sopranos in a truly lovely rendering of Cesar Franck's Panis Angelicus which we hope will be entered at Abergavenny next year. They are stalwarts of the choir with good attendance.Their voices were very different, but they bought poignancy and pathos to this beautiful song.
The choir is most fortunate to have two stalwart members, who have supported the choir from a very young age and whose voices are rapidly turning into an excellently developed and musical sound. They have gone on,however to support the choir Soprano and Alto sections. Amelia Hughes lovely voice supports the sound, yet she has,on occasion even taught her section their parts and always turned up at rehearsals to help. Her rounded and developed technique caught the ear of many at Abergavenny, especially the professional opera singer brought in to adjudicate. She said 'If she sounds like that at 15 years old, where will she be in a few years' time?' Rhys Nicholson is also a gift to the choir and is highly prized, for his support of the altos-to date the younges section of the choir, which is now taking extra members. A Cellist and pianist, Rhys' musical ability makes him especially important to this section of the choir as it rebuilds and he is a powerful leader. He has also instructed the altos in their parts. Amelia Hughes joined together as soloists to sing the delightful 'Bei Männern welche Liebe fühlen' from the Magic Flute by Mozart. Both the gifted young performers sang exquisitely, Rhys as the hapless birdcatcher Papageno expressing his lines in immaculate phrasing and Amelia as Princess Pamina, with her very difficult cadenzas expertly and expressively executed. With techniques like this, they will catch the ear of many producers.
A TIMELY THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING THE CHOIR DURING RETRAINING
MAny thanks to two other members of the choir entangled in exams at the moment. We would like to thank all of them, plus former members who have come to help out and substitute for absences. Thank you to ALEX COURTNEY a lovely soprano,/vocalist, HANNAH KINDRED who achieved a Distinction at Grade 8 Singing andis engaged in A levels, after which we will lose her to university, GEORGIA NICHOLSON-TOTTLE who has recently won a major scholarship to the Millennium Performing Arts School, winning awards at school plus a suspected Distinction at Grade 8, and Hannah Tottle , an exceptional voice, with a Diploma in Singing and a Distinction at Grade 8, but is now at University but is willing to help when she can. Lastly NICOLE COX who kindly helped by singing soprano at Abergavenny with her beautiful bright tone. Missing you all, those who have had to go. ALEX please stay with the choir when you can!
FINALLY The evening came to a close with a tribute to the patron of the church - St Mary with the ancient hymn Hail Holy Queen in a rocking arrangement by Shaiman. This got everyone excited, the young choristers rattling off the Latin words as if they had know them forever to an ecstatic reception by the listeners and a thank you on behalf of the StMary's Ladies' Guild by Croesyceiliog South Councillor, Veronica Crick JP. The Ladies of the Guild then invited in the choir and ticket holders to a buffet reception, which ended an exciting performance. The warmth and appreciation of the audience was palpable,one lady saying to me 'You teach them real music.what it is about' a lovely comment and a vinidcation of my teaching and that of my c0-workers, Heidi Nicholson, Gabriela and Nicholas Dunbar and Christian Jenkins.
Nidus Choir Soprano Olivia Gibbs won the Junior 11-14 Vocal Solo Gold Medal at Abergavenny Eisteddfod in April. She was not in the Gala, because only the older classes were asked, but she won with a beautiful rendition of Max Reger's The Virgin's Slumber Song in the higher key of Ab. Olivia recently obtained excellent results in Grade 5 Theory and Grade IV singing. She is also an excellent dancer, winning that category as well. Like Amelia she is supportive of younger choir members, uncomplicated, friendly and very hard working as well as having excellent talent. Well done on your awards, Olivia.
I am going to post more details about individual choir members who achieve good things and make the choir what it is becoming again.
Earlier this year Amelia Hughes (Soprano) a Grade 7 Student, shortly to do Grade 8 if the ABRSM singing examinations, won the 15 to 18 category at the Abergavenny Eisteddfod. She is a unique talent and very advanced technically, which has already caused waves among the professional people who have heard her.She is a splendid team player, donating her time and energy to helping the Soprano section as we retrain the new choir. Both she, Rhys and Morgan Thomas (tenor) recently taught the sections of the choir they represented in a French song. She is consequently respected by those in the choir. Millie is also a music theatre singer with a high range, and will probably be very sought after for that in the future. sensibly, she is working steadily to learn repertoire and improve. She recently sang the lead in the Croesyceiliog School performance, and also a meticulous actress and can create enormous pathos in her singing expression. A rare talent in a very mature 15 year old. The adjudicator at the Abergavenny Eisteddfod, a well known professional soprano came over to congratulate her (and me!) for her beauty of tone and technical ability. There are a number of excellent sopranos in the choir and I am sure they could not have a better role model than Amelia for sheer hard work, a sunny disposition and attention to detail. Congratulations on your very well deserved reward Amelia.
An enormous pleasure was being chosen as winners of the youth Performers of the Eisteddfod, to appear at the Gala at Abergavenny. The choir were thrilled to be chosen, although the unexpected inclusion of the concert in the Schedule meant not everyone would be there. Some former students, to whom the choir had meant much, and were local, came back to help out-and we were very grateful.
Only one song was sung, our signature song 'The Happy Wanderer' and the choir's beloved conductor, Christian J Jenkins returned to conduct them. The choir sang their heart out, and the audience were very responsive, stopping them as they left to congratulate them! There were a number of excellent instrumentalists as well-a flautist, a pianist and a harpist. What a treat for the audience. Jeanette Masocchi, respected vocal coach and an organiser and supporter of the Eisteddfod for many years, said 'Absolutely beautiful' and she was right.The high sopranos were particularly admired for the beauty of their voices and their stamina! Amelia,Georgia, Nicole, Rhys and Morgan. Thank you so much for returning to help with the missing voices. It was lovely to hear you again! What I have always admired, is that the choir members are team players, essential for any role in music and it is excellent training...
On Saturday 16th June, the Nidus Choir went at lunchtime to sing in the centre of Pontypool. Unfortunately the weather drizzled lightly, but all of the children came and we eventually had to climb up into a lorry, which had been modelled into a stage. There were only 2 microphones and 3 sections, and whilst the volume was not that of the ear-splitting pop music which had gone on before, they could easily be heard. The most popular pieces were probably 'The Rose' and 'The Happy Wanderer', although the final rendition of Salve regina from 'Sister Act' resulted in very enthusiastic applause. As they say-'Shame about the weather!'. The audience was not huge. Still a worthy cause!!! I was playing the keyboard and so have not yet traced any photos of the occasion. Very good experience for the choir.
On Sunday 13th May, the Nidus Choir took part in a choral workshop led by Eve Nicholson, and Morgan Thomas, who conducted. Heidi Nicholson worked with the backing tracks, neccessary where no piano is available. The sections were led byAmelia Hughes, Soprano I, Amelia Johnson & Mali Whittle and Rhys Nicholson. A variety of pieces were studied and the first hour was immensely challenging as the very young choir got to grips with Russian Folksong, Kalinka Howard Goodall's Ecce Homo , then Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen) from Sister Act. The African Medley was commenced but then there was a break for doughnuts and drink. Following this, the choir learned The Water Of Tyne in an arrangement by Miichael Neuam, I will sing with the Spirit by John Rutter, The Rose by Amanda McBroom, Vois sur ton chemin by Bruno Coulais from Les Choeuristes.
The Choir's winning entry at the Abergavenny Festival The Happy Wanderer was then rehearsed with all the new members, because these will be repeated in June at the Abergavenny Eisteddfod and has not yet been learnt by new members.
There followed more doughnuts, drinks and a photography break, where professional photographer Hannah Merrett took photos of the choir.The choir were almost 100% present and so the official photograph was made for the new banner. The audience og parents, townspeople, and congregation of St Mary's entered around 4pm and the choir were well rested, when they came in front the beutifully painted and illuminated screen and a short programme of eight of the twelve songs which had been worked was presented to enormous enthusiasm and applause. The happy choir left with their parents, many of whom made a huge contribution that afternoon, from publicity, photography, heavy lifting , publicising the choir , donating and handing out food and drink. A very fine afternoon, when the choir were offered a future concert and the Priory Church of St Mary anxious to have us return to sing again. In the Springtime warmth and greenery of the trees it was a truly memorable afternoon as well as providing much needed rehearsal time.
This is the Nidus Childrens Choir Blog - random musings on what we've been up to