News Archives 2020

Trallwng Eisteddfod, Sennybridge

David Jones (Penrhiwmoch) was joint third in the Trallwng Eisteddfod, Sennybridge which this year was a ground-breaking first ever digital eisteddfodheld . David competed in the Hymn section and sang Mi Glywaf Dyner Lais.

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Marathon Success for Bracken Trust Supporter

Builth Male Voice Choir second tenor Steve Benbow has just run his first marathon at the ripe age of 74. Sponsors have been donating to the Llandrindod Wells based Bracken Trust cancer support charity via his Just Giving page.  Steve didn’t commence running until he was 70 and only because wife Liz had taken it up before him via the local “Ladies Just Move Group”. Another major source of inspiration has been provided by participating in many Park Runs around the Groe in Builth.

Steve then gave himself the ambitious target of completing a full marathon of 26.2 miles and registered for the UK’s second largest, the Manchester Marathon and began training in earnest. Of course this had to be postponed until October 2021 due to Covid-19 but it was augmented by a virtual Manchester Marathon which could be completed in a number of cumulative short runs which would add up to 26.2 miles or a single run of the full distance. Tenors are known to be ambitious, so it was decided to do it in a single run just before the Wales wide lockdown came in on Friday 23rd October.

Steve started the run with a number of laps around the Lake at Llandrindod, then to Builth using quiet back roads and completed the distance with laps of the course used for the Groe Park Run in Builth to finish  in six hours five minutes.  Various friends ran with him on different stretches to keep him enthused. I asked Steve how he managed to do this feat and he put it down to lots of training, keeping a steady, sustainable pace and the great support from Liz and many friends in the running community.

Steve and the choir are looking forward to the time when the choir can get back to their activities. Meanwhile to add to the total collected please go to Just Giving, Bracken Trust, Steve Benbow

Thanks from Wales Air Ambulance

Wales Air Ambulance Charity has sent the Choir a Certificate of Appreciation for the gift of £1,000 raised by the Choir at the Annual St David’s Day Concert held just before the Covid 19 Lockdown was imposed earlier in the year.

John Probert

It is with much sadness in the choir that we learnt that John Probert passed away at Nevill Hall Hospital on Saturday 18 April having contracted Covid-19 Coronavirus. John had been admitted to Nevill Hall Hospital suffering from another illness which had been successfully treated and was awaiting a care package for discharge when he became infected with Covid-19. John was 87 years old and had been suffering ill health for a number of years and it is particularly upsetting that it was a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic that he lost his life.

John was the most senior member of the choir having joined over fifty years ago. John played a very active part in the life of Builth Male Voice Choir during his fifty year’s membership. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s he served as Chairman and he led the Choir on its first visit to Germany. Later in the 1990’s and early 2000’s John became the Choir’s third President, a duty he performed with pride and dignity always making new members at ease and welcome.

John was a loyal and dependable member of the choir singing in the second tenor section. He rarely missed a practice except in recent times when due to his failing health he was unable to attend. However, his interest in the Choir never waned and even in the past few weeks he was asking how things in the Choir were going.

Our thoughts and sympathy are extended to Glenys and family in their grief at the loss of a loving husband and father. John made a major contribution to the life of the Choir and the wider community of Builth Wells and he will be sorely missed. A private family funeral was held on Saturday 25 April but many members of the Choir were able to pay their respects by standing beside the route of the funeral procession.

Builth Male Voice Choir Zoomin Along!

Builth Male Voice Choir has started using Zoom video conferencing for getting together via the internet. No longer able to meet in person for weekly rehearsals or committee meetings, members have been downloading and installing the app on their phones, tablets and PCs.

It requires some self discipline to get used to using this type of technology and it works best when only one person at a time is speaking. Best of all, the app is free and the previous time limit of 40 minutes on free accounts has been lifted.  So far we have not tried using it for rehearsal purposes but it seems that some choirs are doing so.  As the current lock-down has an indefinite end this could be something we investigate and try ourselves.

Meanwhile we are using it to provide some social cohesion through maintaining contact. Our world has become a less physical one but with Zoom and other similar technologies such as Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp etc many of us are learning to interact with it in new ways.

Builth Male Voice Choir Raises £1,000 for Wales Air Ambulance

Builth Male Voice Choir presented a cheque for £1,000 to Wales Air Ambulance from the proceeds at its annual St David’s Day concert which took place on 1st March. The concert was again held at The Strand Hall in Builth Wells with a packed and appreciative audience in attendance.

Brian Tolley representing Wales Air Ambulance receiving a cheque in the sum of £1,000 from BMVC Vice-Chairman Ian Coldrick with Musical Director Adrian Morgan & Accompanist Ann Bufton after the St David’s Day Concert at the Strand Hall Builth Wells

The main guests for the concert were Synergy, the award winning close harmony male voice choir from Abergavenny.   Synergy won the UK Best Small Choir prize in 2013 and aims at perfect harmony, singing a range of songs from ballads, pop, swing to laugh-out-loud – “we love what we do – we’re infectious!”. They were led by Martin Flory – their talented gold-medallist Musical Director who was supported in conducting by Colin Ganderton and James Scott.  They boosted the proceeds by generously donating a large part of their fee to Wales Air Ambulance. Their programme ranged from the classic Welsh language ballad of the 1870s, Myfanwy, through to some of the biggest recent selling popular songs such as ELO’s Mr Blue Sky.  It included popular songs covering the 1930s to the noughties from some of the biggest artistes including Elvis, Billy Joel, The Monkees and The Beatles – soulful ballads, swing numbers, upbeat songs and other anthemic songs.

Synergy Choir
Builth Male Voice Choir & Synergy Choir in the finale of the St David’s Day Concert

Rhiannon Jones of Ysgol Calon Cymru brought along some of her talented pupils who provided some excellent solos with Isabelle Frewin on piano,  Maisie Wicocks and Flossy Twigger on flute and Mabli Jones with Libby Walker singing a ballad.

Builth Male Voice Choir was led by Adrian Morgan in his first St David’s Day concert as Musical Director with Mrs Ann Bufton as Accompanist. Their performance included two songs from Les Misérables (Do You Hear the People Sing and Bring Him Home), We Rise Again, Music in the Air and Gwahoddiad before a joint grand rousing finale of An American Trilogy with Synergy.

Anniversary Poem by Bruce Watkins

Jim Evans

It is with much sadness in the choir that we learnt that Jim Evans, passed away suddenly in the early hours of Sunday 9 February. Jim had taken part in a very successful concert with Builth Male Voice Choir at Trefeglwys Memorial Hall on Saturday night but suffered a sudden and critical heart attack on his return home.

Jim was a senior member of the choir and only last month stood down after seven years honourable service as President. Jim, with his father Lambert and brother John, was a founder member of Builth Male Voice Choir over fifty years ago. Jim was elected the first Secretary of the choir and was a key figure in its successful establishment.  Members of the choir have been recounting their many fond memories of Jim, recalling his generous and very helpful nature. For many years he was the stage manager and ensured the choir was staged in a disciplined and professional manner. His joinery skills were put to great use in constructing the choir’s demountable staging which he ensured was transported and erected at the various concert venues we were asked to perform.

Jim was a much respected, hard working and dependable member of the choir. He started as a bass member but for the majority of his career was a key member of the second tenors as well as one of the second tenors in the choir’s octet. He had a natural talent to pitch and led everyone on the many “afterglow” singing sessions after concerts

Our thoughts and sympathy are extended to Yvette and family in their grief at this very sad time. Jim will be sorely missed in the ranks of the choir. The funeral will be on Monday 24 February 2.00pm at St Mary’s Church Builth Wells.

Saturday 15 February : Choir Social / Dinner

Approximately eighty guests (choristers and partners) sat down for a lovely three course meal in the luxurious surroundings of Caer Beris while Storm Dennis (the Menace) did its best to stir things up outside.

Once the dishes had been cleared away the Carmarthen Ukuleles entertained us with a broad range of songs from the present day going right back to the thirties, including of course the occasional George Formby number. In between songs they told us jokes and anecdotes.

Towards the end of the evening some of us practised our afterglow numbers before departing around midnight.

Click to view Wye Voice Newsletter 2020

BMVC 2020 Newsletter

Saturday 8 February : Trefeglwys Concert

The Choir ventured further North than usual to Trefeglwys near Llanidloes. We sang in a packed Memorial Hall which was a lovely building but we found the underfloor heating too efficient! During the pre-concert warm-up we discovered that the stage was fully mic’d and our singing was being projected via a good PA system. The concert was in aid of the local eisteddfod.

We shared the stage with what was described as the local “Von Trapp” nee Davies musical family.  At only 11 years of age Sioned had a lot of stage presence and a very musical and powerful voice for the show songs she performed.  Her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” was particularly impressive. 

Two adult brothers of the same family sang some lovely duets accompanied by the keyboard.  They ended their second slot with a very humorous operatic ,but unfamiliar ,spelling song.

Our musical director Adrian Morgan was keen that Choir performed to a high standard in an area known for its high musical traditions – he was pleased at the end of a very successful evening.