CÔR MEIBION ABERTYLERI

ABERTILLERY ORPHEUS MALE CHOIR

FOUNDED 1908

PATRON: Lynette Greenway



2015 Committee
President:
Martin Budd
Chairman:
Bernard Assinder
Vice Chairman:
Michael 'Mick' Bishop
Secretary:
Gareth Spracklen
Treasurer:
Hank Jackson
Publicity & Webmaster:
Kevin Harris

 

(Please contact the Webmaster if you require a copy for printing)


"HISTORY''

The Abertillery Orpheus Male Choir was founded in 1908 and was predominantly made up of members from local church choirs whom in turn, were employed in the local coal mines. Abertillery is a typically hard worked town in a narrow valley where coal tip clusters and mountains retain the scars of nineteenth century greed for coal at any price. Not everything is scarred however. Ebbw-Fach river, which runs through the centre of the valley, is now cleaner than the smog laden days of old and in modern times, there are even rumours of trout in some stretches!

Singing as part of the choir and maintaining it's heritage allows us to recollect childhood memories in the dirty, noisy, politically conscious times of in the 'Valleys' . We enjoy true fellowship, humour, camaraderie and the intense concentration at twice weekly practices.

These days, we don't spend our lives in the dark dangerous abyss of coal mining and since the closures of the mines we have moved into the world technicians in clean factories, headmasters, engineers, shop owners, gentleman of retirement and yes, unfortunately unemployment in some cases. This has no bearing in the choir. All men are born equal to Abertillery Choir.

Our fathers and forefathers sang and we sing with them today. We are proud of our heritage.

 

Only those of us who live here, know where to look for natural beauty. We can see the rugby posts in the park and remember the tries we scored in each slanting field. We know the stories of the 'tump', a burial place of ancient Briton's never proved, because each time it is disturbed it is miraculously replaced by the next morning! We know where to pick the blue bells and get clear mountain spring water in a drought.

Life President Mr Trevor Wilde was a member of the choir for 62 years both as a chorister and as an elocutionist. He enthralled audiences with his blend of elegance and humour and in 1996 he was awarded the MBE.

Whilst the choir was formed in 1908, it took until 1982 to do a continental tour. It was to Rome during the Easter Period and the choir received an audience with POPE JOHN PAUL II in St Peter’s Square, whereupon he joined in the singing. During the years since Rome, the choir has toured U.S., Germany, Holland, Spain, and France, with home tours to Eastbourne/Hastings and Scotland, where latterly, it was invited to take part in the Mary Mass Festival at Irvine in Ayrshire.

The choir have sang in many famous venues including the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, The Royal Albert Hall London and St David’s Hall Cardiff. In 1992, the choir took part in the world choir 'Ten Thousand Voice Concert' at The National Stadium Cardiff. Here, the choir entertained the crowd at the National Stadium in its own right prior to the Wales v Italy international rugby match. In 1999 the choir performed in the closing ceremony of the Rugby World Cup at the new Millennium Stadium. In more recent times, the choir were invited in particpate at Beaconsfield Festival of Music, represented Welsh choirs at the World Judo Championship at the Millenium Centre, entertained at the Raglan Garden Festival and for 8 years, entertained guests every Christmas Eve at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport. In 2017, the choir were invited to represent Wales at the L'Orient Festival Interceltique entertaining crowds everyday at diferent venues of a seven day period.

The choir have also appeared on television on several occasions, notably at Cwmtillery Colliery appearing in a production by American ABC television network, and in the making of a programme “Six Foot Cinderella” with the opera singer Mr Robert Lloyd who was previously the choir’s patron.

In 1996, the choir performed in concert at Swansea’s Grand Theatre and Cardiff’s St David’s Hall with the popular Peter Karrie, voted the world’s favourite “Phantom of the Opera”. Easter of 1999 and October 2012 saw yet another successful tour of Eastbourne/Hastings and in 2000 the choir visited Canada.

In terms of music, the choir has produced four recordings, each one available by contacting the abertillerymvc@btconnect.com.:

  • 1983 The Tillery Sound.
  • 1987 With A Voice of Singing.
  • 1992 By Request.
  • 1997 Encore.

The choir is now well passed it's centenary and invitations to perform still roll in.

Abertillery Orpheus is still renowned as one of the top male choirs in Wales, its success largely due to the dedication and musical ability of Mr Stephen Bard who served the choir as Musical Director from 2001. Stephen balances his time between work, conducting the male choir, conducting the female choir and being part of Abertillery Brass Band.

The choir looks forward to the future with great confidence in the knowledge that our music helps enrich the lives of audiences both locally and further afield. Many charities have received financial benefit from concerts performed by the choir, a tradition it is hoped will continue in the years to come

Visit Abertillery one day and learn more, we'd love to have you. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy listening to our music, as much as we enjoy making it.