A truly memorable feast of music!
Pendyrus Male Choir, the celebrated performers from Tylorstown in the Rhondda Fach, last visited Llanidloes in 1959. Remarkably, when they returned this weekend several choristers were making the return trip.
The concert in the China Street Chapel involved an unusual formation: the tenors occupied the end of one upper gallery, while the baritones and basses were opposite them in the other. Conductor Stewart Roberts, pianist Gavin Parry plus guest organist and soloists were on the ground floor between them. The programme was introduced by Professor Gareth Williams, a historian and second tenor with the natural timing of a gifted comedian. It included a smattering of familiar Welsh hymns – Myfanwy as ever was a haunting highlight – and stately chorales from Wagner, Gounod and Janacek.
The tone brightened in the second half for a seductive medley from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, arranged by Roberts himself and a Pendyrus staple, a selection of songs from Les Miserables. The star soloist was Tom Richards, who since appearing on The X Factor, has honed his natural instincts for selling a song. One to watch is Sydney Richards, still only 15, who gave a powerful account of Sondheim’s Losing My Mind. Pendyrus, which celebrates its centenary in a few years’ time, still purrs like a finely tuned vintage Bentley.