Swansea Tour 2023

Saturday 30th September, 2023 - 2:31pm

Mousehole's annual tour this year took us to Swansea. A trip over the Tamar  and Severn bridges  to sing with our Celtic cousins was one we were all looking forward to. A party of over 100 settled into two coaches. Looking resplendent in our choir polo shirts....thanks to Kevin Wild for designing and organising these...we arrived at our hotel on the Swansea Marina and prepared for our forthcoming concerts.

This year Mousehole were  to sing with two of Wales's finest choirs...the Gwalia Singers and the Pontarddulais Male Choir..and on Thursday evening a quiet sing after dinner.."no louder than lovely"..was the order of the night.

Friday morning saw the tour party travel out on a trip to Rhosili on the Gower. With its stunning coastline and beaches we all felt rather at home. Some aimless and some organised meandering ensued. But the sun shone, laughter split the air and the local pub served some superb Welsh cuisine.

Back to the hotel to change and then off on the coaches to St. Paul's church in Sketty. There we met with the Gwalia singers for a pre-concert practice with our hosts and soon realised that the church had beautiful acoustics that was going to make it a joy to sing in. We were also grateful to see that the hosts had hired security dogs from Davies and Son to patrol the perimeter of the church grounds.

The concert was a sell out and both choirs gave excellent performances. The Welsh audience were very appreciative of our version of Calon Lan, saying that our command of their language was first class. They....and Mousehole...loved Maureen Trevorrow's flute playing in The Prayer and David Ceredig-Evan's solo in Slow Me Down Lord...as well as his wonderful piano playing throughout the concert. It was a wonderful place to sing in and at the end the joint pieces by both choirs raised the roof.

More singing followed as both choirs went to a nearby pub to eat, drink and forge new friendships. It was a tired but happy choir who went back to the hotel for a well earned rest. 

A late breakfast on Saturday was followed by a short trip to the Mumbles. The afternoon was spent brushing up on a few songs and a final look through at some of the more difficult Welsh phrases in Calon Lan again. Our concert this evening was at the All Saints Church in Mumbles where our hosts were the Pontarddulais Male Choir.
The concert was part of the Mumbles Festival of Music and Arts and was sold out well in advance. All the proceeds were to be split between the Mumbles RNLI and Penlee RNLI lifeboat stations.

In the All Saints Church where we sang there is a beautiful stained glass window which commemorates the crew of the Mumbles lifeboat who lost their lives in trying to rescue a ship called the "Samtampa" in 1947.

Both choirs have a strong connection with the RNLI. Our vice chairman and bass singer, Colin Lawry, is a member of the Penlee RNLI visits team and he presented to Roy Griffiths from the Mumbles RNLI a copy of Ralph Curnow's image "Truly the Bravest Eight", showing the Penlee lifeboat "Solomon Browne", the coaster "Union Star" and the Rescue Helicopter; and secondly a canvas print of a photograph by Phil Monckton, showing Penlee's current lifeboats the "Ivan Ellen" and "Mollie and Ivor Dent".

Our Chairman, Brett Farmer, presented Pontarddulais with a stunning silver salver which encouraged friendship through song.  His speeches at both concerts really were excellent and his idea and theme of friendship struck a perfect note with everybody.

Both choirs sang together "Home From the Sea" which has been adopted by the RNLI and the depth and feeling vocally from both choirs reflected the understanding both communities shared from such tragic maritime events.

The extra practice of "Calon Lan" paid off, as we got a standing ovation from our hosts and audience for our version of this classic Welsh song. Again, we were fortunate enough to sing in another venue with wonderful acoustics, and our MD certainly got the best out of the choir when we sang our quiet numbers.

The concert was another joyous evening. Both choirs sang to a very high standard and it was inspirational to join them at the end of the concert for the joint pieces which raised the roof. Two great Celtic choirs in perfect harmony.

We are lucky to have such a wonderful MD who inspires us to sing well. Thank you Steve for all your hard work. And also a huge thank you to the members of our musical team, Annette, David and David.

Many thanks to Vance and Katherine Webster who organise the hotels and transport. It is a huge task and once again, everything went like clockwork. And last, but by no means least, the singers themselves. Hard work and dedication results in great concerts.

Looking forward to next year!

Our vice chairman and bass singer, Colin Lawry, a member of the Penlee RNLI (right) and Roy Griffiths from the Mumbles RNLI (left).

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