Orpheus Goes North
Press Release 16 October 2006
ORPHEUS GOES NORTH
On 18th November 2006, the Morriston Orpheus Choir travels north to Machynlleth in a rare visit to that part of Wales. The concert will take place at 7.00 pm in the Bro Ddyfi Leisure Centre, a few hundred metres from where, in 1937 and only two years after its formation, the Choir achieved the first of its many successes at the National Eisteddfod.
The Choir will be conducted and compèred by its Musical Director, Siân Pearce, with Joy Amman Davies at the piano.
Guest soloist will be baritone Eirian Davies from Cwm Ifor near Llandeilo who has sung with the Choir on a number of occasions in England as well as in Wales.
The concert is organised by former RAF Group Captain Huw Madoc-Jones, a member and past Chairman of the Choir, who has close family ties in Machynlleth. Tickets (£10 unreserved) are on sale at the Leisure Centre or may be ordered by telephoning 01792 851641.
Notes for Editors
1. SIAN PEARCE - Musical Director
The Morriston Orpheus Choir made history when, in 2004, it appointed Sian Pearce as its Musical Director, following the retirement of Alwyn Humphreys. Sian is the first lady to hold this post and brings to it a wide breadth of musical experience.
Born in Risca, Gwent, her passion for choral singing has been evident since an early age. At 16, she was a member of the National Youth Choir of Wales and the youngest founder member in the BBC National Chorus of Wales. She gained an interest in choral conducting by singing under the baton of prestigious conductors such as Sir Neville Mariner and Andrew Davies. Sian gained her vocal training studying under Jennifer Rhys Davies and Beverley Humphries. She then studied classical singing and flute at Trinity College of Music, London, under the great James Gaddarn. Thereafter, she performed extensively as a classical solo singer but was also invited to share her musical talents with others. She became the Community Musician for Penrhys Estate, Rhondda, where she set up youth and adult choirs and even rock bands! She was also involved in the design and development of a new Arts Centre and Recording Studio that now brings quality musicians to a once deprived community.
Nowadays, Sian is especially interested in the teaching and directing of singers and has more than 30 individual singing pupils. She also runs a company called “Singing Tune” that provides vocal teambuilding workshops for corporate clients. In addition, she is the appointed Singing Teacher in South Wales for the government initiative New Deal for Musicians and shares her vocal expertise with various Musical Theatre Art Schools. The late Glyn Jones, conductor for many years of the Pendyrus Male Choir and Music Director for Gwent, took a keen interest in developing Sian’s career, igniting within her a great ambition one day to conduct one of the world’s greatest male voice choirs. In her role as Musical Director of the Morriston Orpheus Choir, Sian is fulfilling that ambition and adding further depth to what has already proved a colourful life in singing.
Although she has performed in many countries, Sian has never visited the Antipodes. However, that situation will change in April 2007 when she undertakes her first major overseas concert tour with the Choir, visiting Australia and New Zealand immediately following a performance at the World Trade Center in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
2. JOY AMMAN DAVIES – Accompanist
Joy Amman Davies was born in Glanamman, Dyfed. Whilst still at school, she won a scholarship to have piano tuition at the Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff, before entering the University of North Wales, Bangor, where she studied with the Czech pianist, Jana Frenklova. After graduating with an honours degree in Music, she took a post-graduate course at Trinity College, London, where her tutor was the distinguished Hungarian pianist, Joseph Weingarten. At present, Joy combines teaching the piano privately with tutoring at the University of Newport and freelance accompanying work. She also conducts the prize-winning children`s choir of Elm Tree House in Cardiff. She was appointed Accompanist to the Morriston Orpheus Choir in 1981 and her expertise in that role is widely recognised.
Beyond the United Kingdom, she has accompanied the Choir and soloists in Australia, Canada, Eire, New Zealand, the Oman, Poland, Spain, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates and the USA.
In 2004, in recognition of her outstanding contribution and commitment, Joy was made a Life Member of the Choir.
In April 2007, Joy will travel with the Choir to the United Arab Emirates, Australia and New Zealand. Sadly, this will be her final tour with the Orpheus since she will be leaving in June 2006 after 16 years dedicated service as its Accompanist.
3. EIRIAN DAVIES – Baritone
Eirian Davies is a native of the small rural village of Cwm Ifor near Llandeilo. After graduating from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, with an honours degree in Biology in 2003, he went on to follow a PGCE course for secondary schools. Since September 2003, he has been a member of the science faculty at Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera. He is very fond of outdoor activities and recently returned from a month-long expedition with the school to Ecuador, leading a group of sixth form students. This involved participating in community projects such as helping in local orphanages and planting crops, and also trekking in the Amazon jungle and climbing volcanoes.
Eirian has been performing before audiences since the age of nine. As a boy soprano, he competed regularly and successfully in local Eisteddfodau. He has collected many prizes including the Unawd Bechgyn at the 1994 National Eisteddfod, the Under 19 solo at both the Urdd National and the National Eisteddfod in 1999 and the Under 25 solo at the Urdd National Eisteddfod in 2003. He has twice performed at the Urdd Gobaith Cymru`s Bryn Terfel Scholarship, in 2002 and 2003. He has also made many TV appearances, the most recent being on S4C in “Noson Lawen”.
His vocal tutor is John Mitchinson with whom he has studied for the past two years. He is currently working on expanding both an Oratorio and Operatic repertoire whilst undertaking varied concert work within and beyond the UK.
Overseas, he has sung in Canada, Holland, Ireland and the USA. In England and Wales, he has appeared in concert with the Morriston Orpheus Choir on a number of occasions; he has also performed with the Celticana String Quartet and the Pontarddulais and Ystradgynlais Male Voice Choirs.
Recent performances include Mass in D Minor (Dvorák), Requiem Mass (Fauré), Messe Solonelle (Gounod), Messiah (Handel), Mass in C and Nelson Mass (Haydn), Coronation Mass (Mozart), and Atgof o`r Sêr, the popular Welsh work by Robat Arwyn.
For the moment, Eirian aims to continue teaching but has aspirations someday to become a professional singer.
4. The Choir holds rehearsals on Wednesday and Sunday evenings
5. Further information may be obtained from Clive G Williams or Huw Madoc-Jones on 01792 851641.
6. Visit the Morriston Orpheus Choir web site at www.morristonorpheus.com