There was a splendid competitive edge to this Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir annual concert staged at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli.

The Llanelli choir had invited Côr y Penrhyn, from North Wales, to perform – and that meant that we had two of Wales’s finest male voice choirs for the price of one.

There was a healthy bit of one-upmanship throughout the concert as both male voice choirs tried to out-perform each other.

Playing a diplomatic role between the two choirs was Pontarddulais soprano Adele O’Neill, who sparkled like a diamond all evening long.

There’s a health rivalry between Côr Meibion Llanelli and Côr y Penrhyn which extends back to a visit the West Wales choir made to help launch the Pontio Arts Centre in Bangor.

Côr Meibion Llanelli’s round one included the stirring Rejoice, Then! and two items which featured Adele O’Neill as soloist, Ave Maria and Libiamo, Limbiamo, which saw musical director Eifion Thomas duet with the soprano.

Two of the choir’s stalwart members, Terry Richards and found member Byron Thomas, were given their moment in the spotlight for Bizet’s famous Pearl Fisher’s duet, Au Fond Du Temple Saint.

Côr y Penrhyn, under the direction of Owain Arwel Davies, bounced into the ring with Y Ddau Wladgarwr, Eric Clapton’s Tears In Heaven, Robat Arwyn’s Benedictus, a dramatic Moliannwn and Pererin Wyf, set to the tune of the House of the Rising Sun and performed as a New Orleans funeral march.

The North Wales choir emerged from the audience to start the second half of the evening, with the South African national anthem, Nkosi Sikelelei and Tshotsholoza. They followed up with Myfanwy, Willy Richter’s demanding The Creation, Holst’s Byd o Heddwch (World in Union) and the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

It was stirring stuff and a quality performance which demanded a quality response from Côr Meibion Llanelli.

They came up with the goods with Calon Lan, Calm is the sea, Anfonaf Angel (featuring soloist Anthony Bowen), a swinging rendition of Elvis Presley’s Teddy Bear and American Trilogy.

At the close, both choirs settled on an honourable draw game and united in song for a finale which included La Vergine Degli Angeli (featuring Adele O’Neill), Gwahoddiad, Y Tangnefeddwyr and Tydi a roddaist.

Adele O’Neill delighted her many fans with Quando me’n vo from La Boheme, Puccini’s O mio babbino caro and I Feel Pretty from West Side Story. It was a performance full of passion and quality.

The accompanists for the evening were Frances Davies, Aled Maddock and Allan Fewster MBE. The compere was Robert Lloyd.

Pics of Adele O’Neil singing with Côr Meibion Llanelli

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