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In The Bleak Mid-Winter







Founded in 2004                                                                President - Lord Berkeley of Knighton

Llanfair Singers

NEWS

For previous year’s news, click here

And from before 2015

Front of Bath Abbey






Bath Abbey July 2016

Rehearsing for evensong at Llandaff Cathedral 2020

Llandaff Cathedral March 2020

Whilst the coughs seem to have lingered into January, the enthusiasm amongst the choir for the term ahead was palpable.  We always enjoy the opportunity to sing choral evensong in Cathedrals and our trip to Llandaff Cathedral on 7th March did not disappoint!  We now need to sing at St Asaph, Bangor and Newport to have sung in every Cathedral in Wales. We need a few more than that to complete England!

Good Friday  at 6.30pm (April 10th) will see our chamber choir singing at St Mary's Llanfair for a meditation service with Sean Farrell playing the organ. Looking even further ahead on 6th June, we shall be singing at a summer concert at Brampton Bryan by kind invitation of Mrs Susan Harley. Two good dates for your diary.

In the meantime it's back to rehearsing................... and, yes, we're still keen to recruit more basses and tenors so, if you fancy joining in with all that we do then please contact our membership secretary via the website. Of course, you can only attend the end of year choir party in July if you're a member of the choir and, by now, you must know our reputation for being bon viveurs!  WE look forward to you joining us there........

At Llandaff Cathedral, March 2020

SPRING/SUMMER 2020

March 2020

Autumn may well be the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness but winter proved to be the season of storms, floods, colds and coughs and, as one approaches, Christmas, family commitments. None of which is entirely conducive to ensuring a successful, well-attended, concert - neither for singers nor audience!

It was with enormous relief (and no small amount of thanks to all concerned), that our concerts in both Clun and the Everest Hall were well supported. Indeed, our charity concert managed to raise £900 meaning that we shall be donating £300 to each of our three chosen charities:  MS-UK, Children's Chronic Arthritis Association and Children with Cancer UK.  A HUGE thank you to everyone who braved the weather and the coughs and colds to be with us, and make such a result possible.

Chairman's Diary  May 2020

Our story starts on March 7th BCL (Before Covid Lockdown - and doesn't that seem a long time ago?) with the joy of singing Choral Evensong in Llandaff Cathedral.  For us, the bonus was discovering that we had a good size congregation and, with Wales playing England at Rugby at the same time, that was definitely not one of our expectations!

The following Thursday, with hand washing all the rage, we met for our regular choir practice with the prophetic words "We must assume that every practice is our last - so here is the music for the next two events - Easter at St Mary's and the June concert at Brampton Bryan - rehearse at home if necessary"

Inevitably that proved to be our last rehearsal and within a week all the concerts and church events were also cancelled.  Now, adults are just children, only older, so knowing the events were cancelled you just knew that no-one would bother rehearsing anything despite being given the instruction that "if we do not sing these this time then we shall be doing them again once normal service is resumed..... so learn them".  Our directors of music have long experience of teaching children and knew exactly what would happen or rather, not happen.

It should not have come as any surprise then to be told with only three days warning - "we shall  be having a pre-VE day choir rehearsal - on Zoom!"  (Zoom is not an up-rated zimmer frame but a video conferencing app).   That set the cat amongst the pigeons as people desperately tried to find where they'd buried their music and whether it was under the stack of loo rolls or even the piles of pasta.  

Many  of you will have seen the YouTube videos of choirs singing and rehearsing using Zoom. Aren't they wonderful? Aren't they inspiring?  It's all lies!  

Let us deal with the reality: In this area in which we all live we have our flash "Super-fast broadband buddies" (BT, with their gift for PR, have a box in Knighton labelled ‘superfast broadband  here’ - nowhere does it add "and that's where it's staying") and then there's the  rest of us using our ordinary connections boasting dial-up speeds.  

However, I digress: Our rehearsal starts. We all have our music (there's a first time for everything).  Graham raises his baton; he lowers it and instantly our superfast broadband buddies know about it and start singing and being superfast, Graham hears them immediately in time with him, and smiles.  Its working .... strangely quiet for 50, but working.  However, it is only now that the rest of us see the baton drop and start singing but by the time our signal has reached Graham we are  already a bar behind and we can't actually hear anyone else, anyway… the smile stops. The hands signify that we should stop and, like a Mexican wave, the singing from the outlying areas ripples to a close...... BUT  by the time the last members have stopped, the superfast brigade have seen the signal to start again.. and so it goes on.

Now, if we had been singing rounds (remember those from school? - one group starts singing and then a little time later the next group starts singing the same thing etc.) it might have worked.   After several restarts it was generally agreed that we might as well  have rounds. So we did and that didn't work, either - so we tried a different round  .......and mine was a large red wine!   

In case you were wondering, you will not be seeing our rehearsal on YouTube!    

It was, however, a great evening of fun and camaraderie and wonderful to see our friends again -  even if our conversations were sometimes like the two Ronnie's sketch where people were apparently answering the previous question.  

I hear some of you doubting the veracity of my account of the rehearsal - particularly those who took part -  you're right. It was worse. Oh, so much worse! But a wonderful evening, nonetheless.

We can't wait to see  everyone again........... at an appropriate distance. Of course, in the meantime we send our good wishes to you all, along with our sincere thanks to ALL key workers for the challenges that you face and the sacrifices that you and your families are making. Without you we could not survive either literally or metaphorically.

Stay safe and see you all soon.

Michael Symonds

SPRING 2021

Sadly, we have not been able to meet to sing or rehearse since this time last year, though we have met twice for a Zoom meeting - once to sing (ergh!) And once for the Annual General Meeting in September, when it was decided to forego choir until further notice, when the risk to our members of catching Covid was considerably reduced. Hopefully we will be able to meet for rehearsals again in September this year and be able to at least perform a Christmas Concert.

In the meantime, I am publishing this picture taken at Llandaff Cathedral of three ghost-like figures against the wall and three even more ghost-like heads above them!  Any information about them would be appreciated as I have forgotten who they are and where they were from!

Llandaff figures