Hywel Girls’ Choir & Hywel Boy Singers - Last Night of the Proms
Collection raises £557.00
Saturday night [6th June 2015] saw the town of Llanelli cram itself into the Ffwrnes for the big concert event of the year – the Last Night of the Proms, the summer annual concert of Llanelli’s famous Hywel Girls’ Choir & Hywel Boy Singers.
This year’s event was destined to be an emotional challenge, being the first return concert for John Hywel, Jeremy Hywel and the Hywel Choir after the recent tragic death of Jean Hywel a few weeks earlier. True to the words of John Hywel “the show goes on”, the show did more than that – it inspired, it excited, it elated and kept the audience on the feet for much of the show.
It would be wrong to call this a concert for it was a musical and emotional extravaganza as the Hywel Girls’ Choir & Hywel Boy Singers put on, what critics felt, was their best yet Proms. Only those on the long waiting list for tickets were to be disappointed.
Big musical and choral guns of Welsh talent were brought onto one stage for the landmark event which saw John Hywel Williams bring together the Hywel Choirs, the mighty Pontarddulais Male Choir, the Llanelli Choral Society, the acclaimed British Sinfonietta Orchestra, organist and pianist Huw Tregelles Williams, conductor Clive Phillips and pianists Rhodda Pickens and Rachel Saunders – and directed and hosted by Jeremy Hywel.
After a stirring opening chorus of Conquest of Paradise by the giant choir, the audience enjoyed an epic journey of music and song from across the world of music spanning classical, musical theatre, opera, world of film and Welsh favourites.
With both the auditorium packed with audience and the stage packed with hundreds of performers, big exciting musical highlights included the William Tell Overture, Sabre Dance, music from Star Wars, The Theme from E.T., The Great Escape, Dambusters, O Fortuna, Pearlfishers and a massed choral rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus.
John Hywel gave the audience a 50th anniversary tribute to the film Sound of Music by the Hywel Choir who have been pioneers of the film music at world class concert halls and behind the Soviet Iron Curtain soon after the film’s world release half a century ago.
The Hywel Choir transformed the stage with their dramatic rendition of Les Miserables with tavern tables, revolution banners and gun smoke across the auditorium which brought audiences to their feet.
The Pontarddulais Male Choir reinforced their standing as Wales’ most successful Eisteddfod winning choir while the Llanelli Choral Society embraced the big works from opera and oratorio and an emotional rendition of Karl Jenkins’ Hymn to the Fallen.
A special VE Day tribute again got audiences to their feet as the orchestra stirred patriotic heart strings with The Great Escape and the Dambusters March and the emotional appearance of military standards and WW2 veterans came onto stage as a living memory of the great debt owed to this war time generation. As Jeremy Hywel read a remembrance poem, the trumpet sounded the Last Post and poppies fell as the Hywel Choir sang Abide with Me. Local veteran William Arthur Francis was on one of the first landing crafts of D-Day. The audience was clearly moved by his determined participation in the event.
Karen Ford Morris said “Thank-you enough for making my dad William Arthur Francis a very, very proud VE Day Veteran.”
In true Proms style, the night ended with plenty of pomp and elation with the traditional jubilation expected with Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory and the dropping of thousands of multi-coloured confetti on the audience and the frenzied waving of flags and roof-raising singing.
“The concert was awe-inspiring and congratulations and thanks must go to John and Jeremy and all the Team for organising such a spectacular and unforgettable evening”, Susan Thomas of Ty Bryngwyn Hospice. “I also extend thanks, on behalf of the Ty Bryngwyn Fundraisers, for allowing us to hold a bucket collection at the end of the concert. The magnificent sum of £557. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.”
Melanie Carroll-Cliffe, Town Clerk for Pembrey and Burry Port said online, “A truly inspirational concert-such an exceptional performance by everyone and so moving. Mr Williams and Jeremy were amazing – what a display of true dedication!”
Audience member Leanne Jones described the night as “Absolutely amazing! I spent most of the night on my feet in applauding and cheering.”
Jan Cantle of Llanelli said, “I don't think there is enough praise for the performers - they were fantastic.”
There was huge warmth and adoration by the audience for conductor John Hywel Williams. Despite nursing fractured ribs, the audience were clearly moved and enthused by his determination to conduct and deliver another great event for his town.
Despite recent sad events, the Proms was proof that John Hywel was as committed as ever to continue to build on the last 60 years of his musical magic for the town with the town’s much loved Hywel choristers showing that their magic continues as strong as ever. The show goes on. The legend continues.
Reproduced by kind permission of the Llanelli Star