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Glyndŵr University Community Choir set for St David’s Day public stage debut

24 February 2010

This year St David’s Day promises to be particularly special for a group of talented singers, when they make their public stage debut at Wrexham’s William Aston Hall.

Backed by the nationally renowned Welsh Chamber Orchestra, the Glyndŵr University Community Choir will be presenting the finale of a special concert and dinner, to mark the memory of Wales’ patron saint.

The event begins on Monday, March 1, starting with a 6.30pm dinner, and followed by the concert at 7.30pm.

Conductor on the night is Anthony Hose, baritone Jeremy Huw Williams and flautist Fiona Slominska. The choir’s chorus master is Peter Litman.

The programme will incorporate Purcell’s Trumpet Overture, Haydn’s Welsh folk song arrangements, Mozart’s Flute Concerto No. 2 in D, Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Vivaldi’s Gloria RV 589.

Glyndŵr University Choir evolved from a conversation between Dr Peter Litman and Professor Michael Scott, vice-chancellor of Glyndŵr University.

A one off taster session was arranged to gauge the level of interest and this was attended by some 35 people, comprising students, staff and community members.

Following this taster session, and with the wave of enthusiasm to form a choir, the Glyndŵr University Community Choir was established.

Dr Litman said: “We had our first 'public' sing on December 16 in the University library, where we were joined by the choir from Yale College for a short concert of Christmas music. This concert was repeated at Yale College the next day.

“Following the success of this first event, the choir continued to grow and the forthcoming concert was arranged, collaborating with the Welsh Chamber Orchestra.

“The choir will perform Vivaldi's Gloria in the latter half of the St David's Day concert.”

The choir is an open access choir for students, staff and for members of the community.

There is no requirement to be able to read music, just a pure enjoyment and love of singing.

With the advent of many televised 'choir' programmes there is a growing base of research that reveals that the activity of singing is beneficial for mental, spiritual and physical health.

"It is truly amazing what these singers can do,” Dr Litman added.

“To get together for a couple of hours once a week for eight to 10 weeks and pull off a professional performance is very exciting.

“Furthermore, I believe it is not only improving an individual's health and esteem, but it is a bold statement in creating a sense of community for the very multi-fractured world we live in"

Professor Scott pronounced himself astounded by the rapid growth of the choir since it was formed in November.

He said: “The level of interest has taken us completely by surprise - to have more than 60 members after just a few weeks is absolutely tremendous.

“The idea of starting a community choir was something a bit different for the University and, as far as I’m aware, something which the institution hasn’t had before in its 100 year history.

“Glyndŵr is a university for the community of Wrexham and this is what the choir is all about – bringing together people with an interest in singing from across north east Wales.

“We already have an excellent community facility with the William Aston Hall and I’m delighted we now have a choir to grace the venue.

"I wish them all the best for their performance on St David’s Day.

“I would like also to pay particular tribute to the choir master, Dr Peter Litman, who has provided inspired leadership in creating this choir.

“The University choir is truly fortunate to have someone like Peter guiding and cajoling the members from the very start of the choir.”

Rehearsals take place on Tuesdays at the University from 5.30-7.30pm, all singers are welcome.

Formally an organ scholar at Canterbury, until recently, Peter Litman was also the course director of the MA Choral Education at Roehampton University in London.

He has worked with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, BBC Singers, National Choir of Peru, and the RSCM Voices.

He has also been engaged in the research aspects of choral conducting and is a published author in the field.

Besides the Glyndŵr choir, his teaching and organ recital commitments, he is organist and choirmaster at St Peter's Collegiate Church in Ruthin.

The Welsh Chamber Orchestra was founded to fill the gap in the music making life of Wales between performances of solo and small chamber orchestra ensembles and those of the symphony orchestra. 

Since its inception in 1986 it has performed with many of the worlds greatest artists, undertaken several European concert tours as well as performing throughout Wales. 

It has recorded many television programmes including a New York film festival, prize-winning opera series. 

Tickets:  Stalls: £15.00 Concessions: £13.00.  Price includes hotpot supper served from 6.30pm.

Available from Wrexham Tourist Information Centre, tel 01978 292015 or online at www.glyndwr.ac.uk/events or in person at the Print Room or Book Shop on campus.

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