Chairman’s Report Winter 2014

P1040863Well, we’ve had a very successful six months.  We’ve welcomed yet more new members: we’ve held a diverse range of events, all of which have been well attended and enjoyed.

If that sounds familiar it is because:

(1)  the Society continues to thrive; and

(2)  it becomes difficult to find new words to describe a thriving Society!

A pleasant and informative walk around the South Bank; yet another successful golf day;  five days based in Swansea during which we saw barely a drop of rain (!);  the wonderful sound of the massed choirs at the Albert Hall:  and that was just in a few months!

I don’t have the gift of words possessed by our latest speaker, the poet Professor Tony Curtis, so I’m going to let the reports themselves do the talking.

We have a lot to look forward to, and I hope our 2015 events prove as successful and popular as those of 2014 – not forgetting that we have one of our favourite events of the year – the Christmas Drinks party  – still to come!

Nadolig LLawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

 

My Life with Dylan

On the evening of 7th November at Coleshill Village Hall some 60 of members of the Society enjoyed a somewhat different event from our normal style.

The first noticeable difference was that the delicious light supper was provided not by outside caterers, but by a team of ladies from the Welsh class – expertly marshalled by Jean Owen and Ann Lawrence.

Well fed, and having enjoyed an hour or so of lively conversation, we settled down to a most erudite talk from Professor Tony Curtis: “My Life with Dylan Thomas” based around his book of the same title that was recommended as a Summer read by The Observer.

Tony himself did not meet Dylan – but he had been taught by Vernon Watkins, Dylan’s best friend, and has known many of the people (especially Welsh people) who encountered Dylan or were influenced by him.  Not only is Tony Wales’s first professor of poetry and a fine poet in his own right, but he is also an art connoisseur and avid collector.  He was therefore uniquely qualified to talk to us about the Welsh poets (such as Vernon Watkins, Dannie Abse, and Glyn Jones) and Welsh artists (among them Augustus John, Ceri Richards, and Jonah Jones) whose lives were touched by Dylan Thomas, as well as presenting amusing anecdotes about Dylan’s life.

This was a comprehensive presentation and there was something in it for everyone and much for all to enjoy and appreciate – as evidenced by the lively and lengthy question and answer session, which Tony handled with panache.

I certainly learned a lot!

Jonathan Pegler

London Welsh Festival of Male Choirs, Royal Albert Hall
– 18th October 2014
25 members and friends were part of the audience to pack the Royal Albert Hall for the 24th Biennial concert of massed male voice choirs organised by the London Welsh Male Voice Choir. The group were picked up at Amersham, Gerrards Cross and Denham and transported to the venue by coach.

This year the committee decided, after advising the members early in the year, to
only order sufficient tickets for those wishing to go, and to lay on the necessary coach. An early commitment was rewarded by a comfortable hassle free ride to and from London, and a very enjoyable concert.

One of the soloists was Rhiannon Llewellyn who entertained us so well at our Society’s 2013 St David’s Day dinner. Well compered by Frank Lincoln, with three overseas choirs from South Africa, Sweden and Norway, the two soloists, soprano Rhiannon Llewellyn and tenor Trystan Llyr Griffiths, Robert Nicholls on the organ and Annabel Thwaite on the piano, the concert flowed from beginning to end.

It finished with the audience joining the choirs to sing Calon Lan, before the National Anthem. A fitting end to a varied programme that included recitations from Dylan Thomas by Trefor Ellis.

Maldwyn Pugh.

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