CÔR MEIBION ABERTYLERI

ABERTILLERY ORPHEUS MALE CHOIR

FOUNDED 1908

PATRON: Robert Lloyd CBE



Musical Director - Stephen Bard (GDBM, PGCE, MA)

Stephen was educated locally attending Nantyglo Comprehensive School where he began his music studies under the former conductor Mr Martin Budd who was at that time, Head of Music.
On leaving school Stephen took several jobs until he enrolled as a mature student at Salford College of Technology where he studied for three years graduating with a Graduate Diploma in Band Musicianship.
Having decided on a teaching career he took his postgraduate Certificate in Education at Bath College of Further Education later attaining a Master of Arts Degree in Education from the Open University in 1996. Stephen has had teaching posts at Trevethin Comprehensive School and Tredegar Comprehensive School prior to taking up his present post as Head of Expressive Arts at Whitecross School Lydney in Gloucestershire.

Stephen joined the choir at he age of fifteen and was appointed Assistant Musical Director in September 1991 conducting the choir for many important concerts.

Notably at the Garden Festival of Wales in 1992, St. Michael's Church Abertillery in 1993 when the choir performed in concert with Peter Karrie of "Phantom of the Opera" fame and in 1994 at Winchester Cathedral.
After serving as Assistant Musical Director for 8 years he assumed the post of Musical Director in 2001. Stephen has been pleased that the musical team of the choir has retained the services of Mr Martin Budd as assistant musical director along with Ross Leadbeater as Choir Pianist and Artiste. All combining to form a formidable ensemble of musical knowledge and experience.

Assistant Musical Director - Martin Budd

Apart from a short break caused through illness, Martin Budd had conducted the Abertillery Orpheus Male Choir from 1969 until 2001. This continuity, served through his partnership with the choir's long established accompanist, has helped the Orpheus grow in confidence and stature to become one of the leading choirs in South Wales. After National Service in the Army he completed his teacher training at Caerleon College before going on to become Head of Music at Secondary Modern, Comprehensive and Grammar Schools within the Gwent area. It was whilst he taught at Abertillery Grammar School that he was invited to become the Musical Director of the choir.
Martin Budd has been deeply involved with community life for many years. For the last 20 years he has held the office of Justice of the Peace. Martin has considerable experience in choral, chamber and orchestral music an asset which has enabled him to provide the choir with many fine arrangements during his years as Musical Director. He has been prominent in church affairs as a lay preacher, lay preacher, organist and choral conductor.

Under his leadership the choir has embarked on tours to Italy, Germany, Holland, Spain and more recently to Scotland. On each occasion the choir has been enthusiastically received, an achievement reached in no small measure to his musical arrangements and leadership qualities. Over the years he has built up a musical team which includes an associate conductor, an accompanist / organist and experienced soloists from within the choir.
A pinnacle of success was reached was reached in the summer of 2000 when the choir undertook a concert tour to Alberta, Canada where concerts in Calgary and Edmonton were most enthusiastically received. The 100 strong party of choristers, family and friends enjoyed the inspiring scenery of the Rockies in addition to the warm hearted hospitality of our Canadian hosts.

A new chapter of the choirs history began in 2001 when Associate Director Stephen Bard succeeded Martin Budd as Conductor whilst the latter continues in a deputising, conducting and accompanying role. In 2003 Martin was made Honorary President of the choir.

 

Accompanist - Penny Hughes

 

Penny has been associated with Abertillery Orpheus Male Choir for a number of years. She is a highly experienced individual with a varied background in music and dance. Her tutors included her mother Joan Hughes, Ilona Kabos, Louis Kentner and Maria Curcio. Penny studied at the Guildhall school of music with the famous Wagnerian singer, Emelie Hooke.

Penny has had a successful career as a soloist and won several prizes including the Royal Overseas League competition in London. However, it was her love of ballet that won her over and she became a pianist for several Royal Academy of Dance (R.A.D.) Schools in London and also provided her services as an additional pianist for the Sadlers Wells Company which is now the Birmingham Royal.

Penny moved to Wales in 1990 and soon became involved with several R.A.D ballet schools and also many local Cecchetti ballet schools where she is the West Wales Associate Pianist for the society. Penny is on the staff of the Royal Ballet School of London and plays for the specialist classes in Bristol once per month.

Penny divides her time between a busy teaching schedule, being the accompanist for both Abertillery and the Pontypridd Choral Society. Finally (as if this wasn't enough!), Penny is also a member of the musical team for both the Phoenix Singers and Abertillery Ladies Choir.

Ross Leadbeater MA (Former Accompanist)

Ross is a Musical Director, conductor, pianist, singer, arranger and vocal coach from Abertillery, South Wales. He trained at Trinity College of Music, specializing in piano, voice and conducting and at the University of Warwick. Recent Musical Direction credits include The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd (dir. Ian Judge, Finborough Theatre), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (dir. Ken Caswell, Borough Theatre), A Feast of Snacks (Kings Head), Fred and Gladys (Landor Theatre), Maya (Barons Court), Peak 10 (Greenwich Theatre) and as assistant MD on HMS Pinafore (Kings Head). Ross also works as a Vocal Animateur for Welsh National Opera MAX Department and was the assistant director to John E. McGrath for the inaugural production of National Theatre Wales.

As a performer, Ross created the role of Richard Lewis in the world premiere production of My Landís Shore, directed by Craig Revel Horwood and is a member of the Classical BRIT award-winning choir Only Men Aloud. He has sung with the choir at a host of events including the Royal Variety Show, Children in Need, Proms in the Park and two critically acclaimed sell-out UK Tours.