Cape Welsh Choir Performs Tonight at Montagu Youth Arts Festival

The Cape Welsh Choir
The Cape Welsh Choir

The Cape Welsh Choir will present one performance at the annual Montagu Music, Art, Dance and Drama Festival (MMADD), in the NG Church Hall tonight, 9 August at 5:30pm. Their presence at the festival will be a great inspiration to the youth choirs competing at this year's festival that takes place from 6 to 16 August 2014.

The Festival, hosted by the Rural Arts Foundation (RAD), once again takes place in the quaint town of Montagu in the Klein Karoo on Route 62. MMADD draws talent mainly from primary, high school and tertiary education institutions in Cape Town and the surrounding areas, including Port Elizabeth, Mossel Bay, Worcester and George. The festival categories are Music, Art, Photography, Dance, Literature, Poetry and Drama and this year two new sections have been introduced, namely Puppetry and Dance With a Message, and the theme for the Art entries is Heritage.The Cape Welsh Choir was established in 1982 and is a member of the Welsh Association of Male Voice Choirs. The current members come from a variety of backgrounds that all share the love of singing in the rousing Welsh male voice tradition. The love of singing in this genre, together with the resultant benefits enjoyed by a variety of worthwhile causes, are the principal objectives of the choir.

Performance venues have ranged from imposing concert halls to modest rural schools, and over the years, performances have varied from conventional concerts to State functions and musical productions.Highlights of the choir's history include a Gold Medal Award for their performance at the International Eisteddfod in Roodepoort in 1991; participation in the 2007 JOINT FESTIVAL OF WELSH MALE CHOIRS at the Royal Albert Hall in London as the only overseas choir to be invited; and annual participation in the LAST NIGHT OF THE PROMS concerts hosted at Cape Town City Hall. The Choir has participated every year since that events inception. Whilst in London during the 2007 tour, the choir was hosted at South Africa House and a short concert performed for the South African Ambassador, Lindiwe Mabuza. The London visit was followed by a tour of South Wales where the choir performed in three joint concerts with the Blaenavon, Dunvant and Cwm Bach Choirs. In June of 2009, the choir held a joint concert and performed to a packed audience at the Cape Town City Hall with the touring Melody Music Irish & British Lions Choir who were touring with the Lions rugby team.

This concert event was recorded and a CD of the recording later produced.Annually, the Cape Welsh Choir participates in the RAF Battle of Britain Remembrance service at the South African Naval Dockyard Church in Simonstown. The choir has a wide repertoire, embracing well-known Welsh hymns, songs from the operas, and many others sung in several languages.The festival was started in 1995 by teachers and volunteers from the area, supported by the local tourism office, and it has grown in strength over the past 18 years. In 2011, Helen Gooderson took over the reins as Festival Director and changed the name from the Montagu Jeug Kunstefees to the Montagu Music Art Dance and Drama (MMADD) Festival and simultaneously registered the RAD Foundation as an NPO. The festival is managed by the RAD Foundation and offers an excellent opportunity for talented youth in the rural communities to have a performance platform and gives developing talent the chance to network with other artists of all levels and professionals from all over the province. Last year the festival attracted over 1,000 participants from 72 schools and 2012 saw the participation for the first time of an outstanding dance group from Turkey.

The adjudicators in the various categories this year are Victor and Hester Honey, for Art; Dr Loftus Heunis, Emile Minnie for Music; Fahruq Valley-Omar, Godfrey Johnson and Karen Jeynes for Drama; Laresa Perlman, for Photography; Anita de Kok (Skrywersburo) for Literature; and Fiona du Plooy and Allison Foat for Dance. Trophies are awarded to individuals and groups in their respective sections as well as prizes that include Master Classes with Emile Minnie and Laresa Perlman and tickets to performances at Artscape by Cape Town Opera, the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and Cape Town City Ballet and to a show at the Fugard Theatre. The prize giving event at the end of the festival includes a showcase and takes place on Saturday 16 August at 5pm at the Montagu Primary Hall.

The Cape Welsh Choir's performance in the Historical NG Church is on Saturday 9 August at 17h30 and tickets cost from R20 to R60. Festival tickets are available at the door or via Computicket or 0861 915 8000 and cost R20 for adults and R10 for children or R50 for a 4 day pass. Call 082 886 8023 (BBM Pin 2897439E) for more info or visit the Facebook page via for updates and the festival schedule. Entrance to the Showcase is free and donations to the RAD Foundation are welcome.

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