Chichester Festival Theatre
Date: Saturday 12th February 2011
The choir came out to do a few numbers at the start, followed by Allan Y Yn Fan, a Welsh folk group (yes, there are such things!), and then the choir did a longer stint after the interval. There were lots of chairs ranged in three rows at the back of the stage, with the microphones and usual kit about mid-stage in front of them, and a keyboard off to the left. The keyboard was for the choir’s accompanist, while the band had a range of instruments, as well as singing beautifully (their CD has a lovely version of All Through The Night).
I wasn’t so impressed with the choir tonight. I found the singing a bit on the thin side – I was expecting a richer sound – and the keyboard, set up to mimic a regular piano, seemed to be a fraction of a tone off-key with the singers, or vice versa, which grated with me a lot. The choir did a few songs unaccompanied, which worked ever so much better, as the balance was fine within the choir itself. I also wanted more Welsh songs from them, but they included a lot of modern numbers, including some I’d done as part of a choir in my schooldays, so I could make some direct comparisons and even allowing for the mellowing effect of nostalgia, they didn’t come off best in my book.
However, the Welsh group, Allan Y Yn Fan, were much better. Their main singer has a lovely voice, and their blend of instruments was good, though I did get the impression they hadn’t been together long as they seemed a little rough to begin with. But they soon settled down, and had us well warmed up by the time we left the stage. And we bought several CDs of theirs.
For the second half, the choir actually used the chairs. Their leader did some patter between songs, to give the others a chance to rest their voices – his apparently could hold out for the whole evening without a break. His jokes concerned a couple, Dai and his wife (don’t remember her name), and kept us entertained in the gaps. Actually, they were the best bit of their section for me. They finished with a traditional Welsh song whose name I cannot spell, but which would be instantly recognisable to many, and rounded things off with the national anthems, British and Welsh. I can’t help feeling I’d like to learn the Welsh one sometime, though whether I will…….. We didn’t buy their CD, but I’m still happy to see another Welsh male voice choir in the future. I noticed the members of this one were mostly getting on a bit, so I hope they can get some new recruits to keep them going.
© 2011 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me