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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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).