President, Ivy Price                                               Mike Price                                  


Chelmsford and District Welsh Society – meeting report Wednesday 24th April 2019


At its April meeting the Society thoroughly enjoyed an “Ar Eich Cais” with several members submitting a variety of musical pieces for the entertainment of fellow members. Each choice was introduced by a short talk from the member concerned and accompanied by a video presentation.


Firstly Diane Moul introduced “The Waltz Song” from the comic opera “Tom Jones” written by Edward German Jones and sung by Joan Sutherland. Diane herself often sang this as an encore during her own singing career. This was followed by Andrew Gold singing Never Let Her Slip Away, a favourite of Jonathan and Gillian Hinton from their courting days in the 1970s.


Alan and Ann Simpson’s choice of Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli singing “Time to Say Goodbye” was a reminder of a holiday in New Zealand, a trip that included a hunt for the elusive kiwi and a visit to a house built on whalebones, salvaged by the owner from his whaling expeditions.


The next offering was from Glenys and Ron Freeman. Glenys introduced us to Harry Price a soloist with the Treorchy Male Voice choir (apparently known as the “Singing Dustman”). A recording of Harry and the choir singing “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” was preceded by Glenys’s personal film of  Harry singing “Amazing Grace” at her daughter’s wedding.

Diane Moul                               Johnathan Hinton                             Alan Simpson

Glenys Freeman                                            Derrick Thomas

Derrick Thomas introduced “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, a favourite of his wife Vera. This was sung by Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawio’ole and accompanied by Israel’s video, filmed in Hawaii. The poignant end to the video showed Israel’s ashes being scattered off the Hawaiian coast following his death in 1997; a death caused by complications from profound obesity (Israel’s weight is recorded to have peaked at around 54 stone).


Two versions of a traditional Welsh song “Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn” came next. During his introduction Clive Williams reminisced about his own performance in 1958 as a 6-year old schoolboy at the celebration by Liverpool Corporation Waterworks of the 70th Anniversary of the construction of the reservoir at Lake Vyrnwy. The gloss on this event was somewhat tarnished in the minds of some locals as the construction had involved the “drowning” of the original village of Llanwddyn.


The schoolday reminiscences continued when Clive Bright introduced Kris Kristofferson performing “Casey’s Last Ride”, a track from one of his early albums. The track was remembered by Clive as a backdrop to a geography field trip to Betws-y-Coed in the mid 1970s.


“Eli Jenkins’ Prayer” from Dylan Thomas’s “Under Milk Wood” (on this occasion sung by Bryn Terfel as opposed to her husband Don) was Shirley Moody’s well-loved contribution to the proceedings.


Val Doonican’s version of “Paddy McGinty’s Goat” (whatever happened to “novelty” records?) followed Sina Willams’ recollections of her A-level days; these included fond memories of visits to “The Fountain” public house in Pontarddulais and being entertained by a local singer, Tommy Tucker.


Returning to an operatic theme Anja Welsh-Smyth selected “Nessun Dorma” as performed by Franco Corelli. Corelli (whom Anja recalled being known as “The Voice of Bronze”) performed this aria from Turandot with the Rome Opera Chorus and Orchestra at the height of his career in 1965.


Fittingly the evening’s entertainment was brought to a close by a rousing performance of “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” by choir and orchestra, performed in its entirety (yes, there are three verses) selected by Ivy Price.


Thanks go to all who contributed to making this evening such a success, particularly to Mike Price for all his hard work in co-ordinating the overall event and and producing the visual accompaniment to our musical miscellany.


Clive Bright

Clive Williams                                    Clive Bright                                 Shirley Moody

  Sina Williams                                                              Anja Welsh Smyth