Sydney Welsh Choir and Sydney Mandolin Orchestra – 26 August 2012

Sydney Welsh Choir and Sydney Mandolin Orchestra

Sunday, August 26 at 2.30pm

Blessed Sacrament Church

62 Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman NSW 2088

By Meldi Arkinstall

Performing from memory is always a bit nerve wracking, but singing from memory in a complicated foreign language such as Welsh is a different thing altogether. But it’s something choristers in the Sydney Welsh Choir do on a regular basis.

On Sunday they will perform a varied program of traditional Welsh songs, contemporary Australian music, popular and sacred works.

Viv Llewellyn has been musical director of the choir since 2003 and he will conduct. The first segment will feature a song the choir prepared especially for a wedding at St Peter’s Presbyterian Church in North Sydney three weeks ago, chorister David Evans said.

“It’s known as the Welsh church of Sydney. They have services in Welsh once a month. We learned a new work – Y Tangnefeddwyr (The Peacemakers)…it took a while to learn because some of the pronunciation was difficult. When we sang it at the wedding some guests were mouthing the (Welsh) words as we sang.’’

A Welsh narration will be given in the middle of the choir program. Clive Woosnam OAM was honoured for his recognition to the community through education and enhancing Welsh culture. His narratives are often on works by Welsh writer, Dylan Thomas.

Also included on the program will be the Welsh National Anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadaue, and the Sanctus from Schubert’s Mass in E flat.

The choir has sung at all the main performance venues in Sydney as well as overseas at venues as York Minster, Canterbury and Winchester Cathedrals in England, the American National Cathedral in the US, The Madeleine in Paris and Assisi Basilica in Italy.

After interval, during which a complementary afternoon tea will be served, the Sydney Mandolin Orchestra will perform.

Originally formed 80 years ago in 1932, the same year the Harbour Bridge opened, this group of 22 musicians is led by Christopher Keane and is the oldest mandolin orchestra in Australia.

Ages in the group range from 15 to 80-plus but across different professions and different life stories they all have one thing in common: they love music. Double bass player Jacques Emery is just 15 but has been a member of the group for 18 months. A student at Mosman High, he ‘’aims to pursue a career in music’’ and enjoys playing in the mandolin orchestra because of the slightly unusual sound. He will also play percussion in one work.

His aunt, Fiona Ziegler, has been a member for years, as well as being assistant concertmaster of the Sydney Symphony, a position she has held since 1995. Others are retired but loving playing music, like Killara resident, Paul Barnes.

The group boasts a varied repertoire of classical music from the Renaissance, Classical, and Neapolitan periods, as well as Spanish and popular music.

The group recently released a CD, Quiver, which will be on sale at interval for $20. Included in the works they will present is a work by Australian composer Richard Charlton, A Day at the Circus,  Gin and Tonic by Robert Schulz and the theme from the James Bond movie, From Russia With Love by Lionel Bart (arr. Robert Schulz).

The last work performed will see the two groups combine to perform a beautiful traditional Welsh work, Ar Hyd y Nos (All Through the Night). Two verses will be sung in Welsh and one in English.

Both groups are always happy to welcome new members. For The Sydney Welsh Choir call 9451 7806 or

For the Sydney Mandolin Orchestra call 9368 1236 or email Patricia Moran:

Access to Blessed Sacrament Church: 247 Wynyard/Taronga Zoo and 238 Balmoral/Taronga Zoo Wharf busesMosman free bus service; and the Mosman Rider.

Tickets at the door only: $25, seniors and subscribers $20, children are free.