Oxford Welsh Male Voice Choir

Founded in 1928...

 

Choir News

March 2021

In the run up to Easter and the Rugby World Cup we have released another 'lockdown' recording. World in Union is very special to us as it not only reminds us of good times past but gives us hope for a better future.
The recording was made possible by our music team with help from Thame Choral Society and a selection of talented instrumentalists who all joined together to record an arrangement of the song “World in Union” as a tribute to the multitude of people who have joined together in the fight against Covid.

The musicians were: Kelly McCusker & Jon Spinner on violin. Kate Bickerdale playing viola & Peter Wilson on cello.
The flautist was Yvonne Mcllwain, John Bickerdike played trumpet and Ste Morris provided clarinet & bass clarinet.
Jonathan French was the accompanist and Helen Swift was MD.



February 2021

At the end of a long wet January our thoughts turn towards Spring. I was reminded of this by seeing snowdrops and emerging daffodils on my morning walk.

snowdropdaffodil

Daffodils are associated with St David's Day in March, however, as a chorister we start to prepare for the day months ahead. This year there will be no public St David's Day in Oxford, Covid has caused the cancellation of both our Celebration in The University Church and also the Welsh service in Jesus College Chapel. This sad news made me think about other happier Celebrations which I would like to share with you.

Firstly, from 2011 is the traditional song Hen Fenyw Fach Cydweli. The song begins with Lyn Davies telling the story of the sweet shop where 'The dear old lady of Kidwelly. A seller of sweets is she, Counts out ten for a halfpenny. But always eleven for me.'

The day before the concert I had bought a large bag of 'losin du', 'black sweets', which Lyn handed to the audience. They were passed back until by the third row a 'little old lady' took the nearly full bag of sweets and put them in her enormous handbag. No persuasion from other audience members could release them!

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We have had numerous talented singers join us at the celebration. Here is a reminder of the last 5 years.

Click on the link if you want to see the pictures.

in 2020 the multi award winning tenor Laurence Kilsby

2019 baritone Gwion Thomas

2018 ex Swansea University Rechoir

2017 our soloist was Samantha Oxborough. Samantha won the Welsh Association of Male Choirs, Geraint Morris Memorial Award, following our recommendation.

2016 was our last year in the Wesley Memorial Church. The soloist was tenor Richard Lloyd Owen


January 2021

A very Happy New Year to you all from everybody in the choir. With the availability of the Oxford vaccine we really can say good bye to 2020 and hope to see you in Oxford for our Autumn concert.

Our latest video montage offers a sense of hope for the New Year. It is called Yfory (Tomorrow).
'The work of the day is over, everyone has said goodbye... but tomorrow the Sun will come again'
The words seem particularly fitting as we look forward to better times.


The Choir has more news on Facebook.

 

December 2020

A quiet time before Xmas

4 years ago the choir sang in St Barnabas Church, Jericho. It's an exceptional Victorian Basilica-style Church in west Oxford, built in 1869.

One of our 'between sets entertainers' was chorister David Reid who read extracts from Dylan Thomas. We are pleased that in addition to his other readings David has now made public 'A Child's Christmas in Wales'... we hope your Christmas is at least as enjoyable Click here to listen to it

The Church has its very own poem by John Betjeman and it features in Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure, where he describes the church's levitating cross – seemingly suspended in mid-air by barely visible wires and swaying gently – beneath which lay the crumpled, prostrate figure of Sue Bridehead, forlornly covered in a pile of black clothes.

 

November 2020

Over £4631 raised for MIND!

Our MD Helen Swift also runs Thame Choral Society and Towcester Choral Society. During Zoom rehearsals, Helen picked up on the stress many were experiencing and resolved to do something to combat ‘lockdown blues’. She decided to raise money for the mental health charity MIND by slightly adapting a classic fundraising challenge – the ‘Three Peaks’ of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales. Instead of climbing them all within 24 hours, as is the usual objective, she decided to do them separately but within a total time of 12 hours. To add an extra dimension, she would sing at the top of each mountain, accompanied by her husband, Jonathan French. Of course, that therefore required that Jonathan carry a piano up with them.
Towards the end of September, Helen and Jon scaled Ben Nevis and sang Flower of Scotland, ascended Scafell Pike and sang Jerusalem and then in early October, they were joined by some other choir members to complete the trio with Snowdon, when they all sang the Welsh National anthem Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, in the wind and rain. To ensure the 12 hour target was met Helen & Jon ended up running back down the mountain (still with the keyboard on Jon’s back!).
There were plenty of people supporting Helen’s endeavours in other ways too. Some climbed their stairs many many times, others cycled (both conventionally and on static exercise bikes), Oxford Welsh’s president, Malcolm Hookham was sponsored for playing 54 holes of golf and Thame and Towcester’s accompanist, Rowena Gibbons, raised a large sum by donning her running shoes and pounding the streets of her neighbourhood.
The total raised so far for Mind is a magnificent £4631
Online donations are still being accepted. Click here: Mind.

len and john

October 2020

Mission accomplised. Helen Swift and husband John fininshed their 3 peaks challenge with minutes to spare. For the final climb (Snowdon) they had help and support from friends in the choir. Together, they all sang the Welsh National Anthem at the summit, in rather poor weather conditions. Back 'home' other choir members were all attempting their 3 Peaks on stairs, local hills and dog walks. Well done to all in team Helen, we hope that you raise lots of money for your chosen charity, Mind.


Semptember 2020

Covid 19 is sadly still with us and causing problems for people in all walks of life. Helen, her husband Jon and choir members from her 3 choirs decided to try support the charity Mind. Mind is trying to help people cope with the mental stress and strain caused by many of the aspects of Covid 19. Helens challege is to sing from the top of the three peaks in Scotland, England and Wales. She hope to finish the challenge on top of Snowden on October 10th.

Helen wrote.

'First leg of the Three Peaks, Three Choirs, One Voice, One Mind completed. Jon and I are trying to climb all three peaks (with keyboard) and a song at the top in 12 hours. Completed Ben Nevis today in 4.45 hours (with snow). Here is our slightly tired rendition of “Flower of Scotland” at the top. '

If you wish to support MIND the Charities secure donation page is linked here
Ben Nevisben nevis'Two days later " Jon (with keyboard on back) and I climbed Scafell Pike on the most glorious day ever and sang with wobbly legs Parry’s Jerusalem.'
Scafell PikeIf you wish to support MIND the Charities secure donation page is linked here

July 2020

Sadly the choir has made the difficult decision to cancel all public performances for the remainder of the 2020 season. Some good news! Cwmbach Choir hope to be performing with us at the Oxford Town Hall on 16 October 2021.

We hope that all of our followers are safe and making the most of lockdown.

The Choir have more news on Facebook. We have made a 'distanced' recording of Calon Lan. Click below.

Go to our YouTube channel for more recordings.


 

 

April 2020

In the light of the continued restrictions placed on us by Corona Virus the choir has taken the decision to cancel the concert in Woodstock on June 30th.

The Choir did manage a trial virtual rehearsal using 'zoom' software, last Thursday. 35 lads 'attended' and we managed a parts rehearsals of a couple of old pieces and a new one. One advantage of the format is that Helen can switch us off if we don't behave. She did allow a few 'discussion' sessions which were greatly appreciated. It reminded us of how much were are a group of people bound together by our music.

 

March 2020

Covid Concert Cancellations

Unfortunatley, the current Covid -19 'lockdown' means that our next two concerts in Goring and Stadhampton have had to be cancelled. Please keep following this page for further announcements if they become necessary. The choir will never put its members, audience or music team at risk and will always follow the best current public health advice.

 

On a lighter note, the choir are still rehearsing on Thursday evening! Don't worry, its quite safe as we will all be in our own homes using an internet connection to rehearse with Helen. What could possibly go wrong! I'll post a report on Friday.


COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Our forthcoming events and concert schedule will be adjusted due to Coronavirus. We will be having discussions with organisers to confirm the steps we must take and we will update this page, website and Facebook once confirmed.
We will naturally put the health of our choir members and the public foremost and will continue to be guided by government advice.
In the meantime, and with an aim of remaining positive, if you would like to have us sing at a future event or special occasion, we would be very pleased to start those discussions now, though dates will have to remain fluid for the time being.
We are also investigating ways that our choristers can remotely rehearse so we remain ready to bounce back. Technology can be a friend.

note


We had one of our best ever St David's Day's celebrations this year. The choir was exellent as was our soloist Laurence Kilsby. You missed a real treat.

We do have other concerts and events planned for 2020.

In the next few months, the choir hopes to have a concert in Woodstock. (Sorry, this has been cancelled, see April 2020)


January 2020

Happy New Year to all readers. Our first public concert for 2020 is our St David's Day Celebration on Saturday 29th February 2020. Tickets are £13 and full details can be found on our poster here. Bring a friend, its the ideal way to banish the winter blues or a buy as a gift for someone special?

st dave advert

December 2019

Where has the year gone? We have had a large number of public concerts in addition to weddings etc. Rather than write about it I've attached a video featuring one of our favourite songs and a selection of photos. Happy 2020 to you all.



March 2019
So much has happened already this year. 3 amazing concerts so far and a busy calendar ahead. In addition to our Autumn concert we have three joint concerts for 2019, one with Wantage MVC on April 13th, a second with Mansfield MVC on 25th May and a return concert with the Silver Ring on July 20th. We are also taking part in a competition in Poole on 27th April.

 

December 2018
At the end of a very busy 90th Birthday Year we can look back on many concerts and performances with briliant soloists and a series of other choirs. We have been to the Albert Hall, Cycled to Penarth and sung with Towcester and Thame Choirs, The Silver Ring, Risca Male Choir and Côr Meibion De Cymru. In addition we have sung a few concerts by ourselves!

I've made a short Birthday showreel which is on our YouTube and Facebook pages, it gives a taster of our music and concerts during the year.


                  

 

November 2018

Our 90th birthday concert in the magnificent Oxford Town Hall was one of the best ever. Our guest choir, Côr Meibion De Cymru blended perfectly with us. Our two award winning young soloists delighted the packed hall with their individual sets and with their choral joint pieces, O Gymru and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. There are a selection of photos on our Media page. To see where we are performing next, look at News and Events.

 

October 2018

Do look at our photo gallery (Click 'Media', then 'Photo Gallery') to see what a busy year we have had. Our trip to Penarth and concert with Risca Choir was great fun and also raised almost £3,700 for The British Heart Foundation.

Our 90th Birthday Concert is going to be really special, the amazing 'South Wales Choir' (Côr Meibion De Cymru) and two prize winning young soloists will be joining us in Oxford Town Hall on 27th October. If you haven't seen a poster do click here

Finally, if you are male, like singing and are free on Thursday evening.... do come and join us. (Details under the membership Tab)

book90th logo

Please say 'Hi' to our 90th birthday logo...
and buy our new choir history at the concert...
'From The Valleys to the Spires'... only £5.

(Or from sharron.jenkinson@gmail.com)


April 2018

A very busy start to 2018, 4 concerts, snow and a postponed 80th brithday dinner. This is the choirs 90th year and we are already preparing for our annual concert with Côr Meibion De Cymru. Before that we have a busy calendar of local concerts, a massed choir event at the Albert Hall, a bike ride to Wales and a special concert in St Augustine's Church, Penarth.

 

September 2017
Tickets are going on Sale for our Annual Concert in the Oxford Town Hall. Our guests this year are Ogmore Valley Male Voice Choir, the concert also features Sophie Pullen & Charlotte Tetley. Its at Oxford Town Hall on Saturday, 21st October 2017 7.30 pm
Tickets £12 from Sharron Jenkinson 01235 203929 oxwelsh@gmail.com
or The Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont Street, Oxford, OX1 2LW http://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/ticketsoxford/
Click here for a poster

Fantastic news from the Welsh Association of Male Voice Choirs: Samantha Oxborough has won this year's Geraint Morris Memorial Award. Congratulations from all of us in the Oxford Welsh and we all look forward to hearing you again in the Albert Hall. We were delighted to nominate Samantha for the award after her magnificent performance at our St David's Concert last February.


April 2017

We have had a lovely concert in Thame and on Saturday 8th we appear at St Peters Church in Great Hasley. Tickets are selling fast. Some of the choristers are providing additional enetertainment!

 

March 2017
The choir is well in to its 89th year which began with our St Davids day celebration in the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. It was an amazing concert. Our music team excelled, the choir had 42 members on stage and the new venue is magnificent. We had an excellent review of the concert which is available to read if you click here.

We have a busy year ahead with a number of public performances in addition to weddings and other events. We are also looking forward to two trips to Wales to sing with other choirs who are also members of the Welsh Association of Male Voice Choirs.

I've just added photos of the last 2 concerts of 2016 to the website, if you want to see the photos click here

 

 

 

For older news follow this link