Liverpool Welsh Choral: Festive Fanfare
Booking fee applies
The Liverpool Welsh Choral (conductor Keith Orrell) and Stephen Hargreaves (accompanist) join forces with Northop Silver Band (conductor Daniel Brooks) for a spectacular Christmas concert, full of festive cheer, humour, beauty and charm.
Join in with some of your favourite carols, listen to some Welsh melodies too, together with many great arrangements and original pieces by Robat Arwyn, Gerald Brown, Gordon Langford, Robert Orledge, Keith Orrell, Goff Richards, Richard Vaughan and Will Todd. The ever-popular Christmas collaboration of the choir with the Northop Silver Band, renewed once more after a few years’ break, promises to be a very special evening filling you full of festive spirit.
(*The concession discount is available for: people over 60, Liverpool University Students, and people in receipt of Universal Credit or Job Seekers Allowance.)
About Northop Silver Band
In 1892 a group of young men met in Soughton (Sychdyn) village in North Wales and committed to play in a band together for one year. Within 2 years the band had relocated to the nearby village of Northop and a bass drum, still found in the current bandroom, has the inscription ‘Northop 1894’. No written records have been found of these early years, with the first known contest success being in Flint in 1921. At that time the band rehearsed in The Boot Inn in Northop which still retains a close association.
Northop Silver Band is currently the only Championship section band in North Wales. The band competes annually with the best bands across Wales to qualify for the National Finals in the Royal Albert Hall and take a place to play amongst the top 20 in the UK. We were delighted to do this most recently in 2015, 2019, and 2022. In May the band were promoted to the British Open competition, to take our place in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall in September. This lines up against the top 18 bands from the UK and Europe. The band are particularly proud as this is the first time in our 130-year history we have achieved an invitation to this competition. Other highlights in 2022 include playing in the National Eisteddfod of Wales and taking part in a concert for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The band also performs at a wide variety of events including weddings, church services, and parades.
In 1969 a junior band played its first contest and the organisation continues to run two other bands. Northop Brass, conducted by our euphonium player Aled Williams, and a Sunday community band with our chairman Graham Williams. These are for players of all ages and also undertake their own calendar of performances around the local area. Membership is available to anyone in the community who wishes to come along to play a brass or percussion instrument. All bands regularly hold concerts in the bandroom for the local residents to attend and to raise funds to help run and maintain the facility. Many players from the organisation have progressed to music conservatoires, teaching, and careers in the Forces.
We are delighted to have been invited back to perform again with the Liverpool Welsh Choral in this new venue and hope you enjoy the concert.
About Keith Orrell (Conductor)
Keith Orrell is a versatile and vibrant choral and orchestral conductor, and music leader, based in the north-west of England.
He is currently the Musical Director of the Liverpool Welsh Choral (since 2004) and the William Byrd Singers of Manchester (since 2009). In 2011 he took up the choral directorship of the Pennine Spring Music Festival. Keith recently retired after thirteen years as Vocal Projects Leader of Wigan Music Service, where he made a strong impact on the development of singing in schools in the area. His seventy-six ‘Let’s Sing!’ projects and concerts had a massive impact on the singing experiences of around fifty thousand children in the area and has left a lasting legacy. He is also a dedicated church musician, organist and pianist, and is the Director of Music at the church of St Agnes and St Pancras in Liverpool.
He was Chorus Master of the Hallé Choir in Manchester for seven years, working with leading international conductors such as Kent Nagano and Mark Elder, and has acted as a guest Chorus Master for other symphony orchestras in the UK, including the BBC Symphony Chorus. When residing in the Midlands, he formed and directed the Shropshire-based chamber choir, the Beaumaris Singers until 2004. More recently he worked briefly as Director of Music at Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral. He has also led children’s choirs, youth choirs and larger mixed adult choirs such as the Birmingham Singers, Stone Choral Society and Staffordshire Youth choir.
As a choral composer, Keith is developing a growing repertoire of original works, including Exsultet and The Sacrifice, both for choir and instrumental ensembles, which have received acclaimed performances. His most recent large composition for unaccompanied choir, From Harmony, from Heavenly Harmony, will be given its first performance by the William Byrd Singers in November 2021. His list of arrangements for choirs is extensive.
He continues act as an adjudicator, and leads choral workshops and courses, including conducting courses for ABCD (the Association of British Choral Directors).
About Stephen Hargreaves (Accompanist)
Stephen Hargreaves, the regular accompanist for Liverpool Welsh Choral, studied organ with Ian Tracy at Liverpool Cathedral and subsequently with Noel Rawsthorne and Nicolas Kynaston. He was organ scholar at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge where he combined reading law with directing music in the chapel.
Following a 12-month period in the United States, teaching organ at Texas Technical University and broadcasting live across the State on radio and television every week, he returned to Liverpool to pursue a full-time career as an insurance broker and is now a Director at Griffiths and Armour. He is also Assistant Organist at St Mary’s, Walton-on-the-Hill and is much in demand as a free-lance accompanist.
Stephen is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, having twice won the coveted Limpus Prize for the most outstanding overall performance in the College’s practical examinations as well as the Coventry Cathedral Prize and the Dixon Prize for improvisation. In 2013, he was awarded the Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians.