According to its website at www.twmvc.com, the Toronto Welsh Male Voice Choir (TWMVC) “proudly draws on the great Welsh tradition of singing hymns and songs born of the mountains and valleys of Wales.” As audience members quickly discovered when the choir performed approximately a year ago at St. Marys Presbyterian Church, that mandate translates into a fun-filled, passionate entertainment experience that rivals any Broadway show.
The TWMVC returns to the Presbyterian Church on Saturday, Sept. 28 for another concert. Tickets are $20 — once again, in support of the congregation’s efforts to refurbish the church’s stained glass windows.
Although many of the current members still lay claim to Welsh connections, the TWMVC now has members from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. Though outreach to the Welsh community remains strong with the base operations in Toronto being the Dewi Sant Welsh United Church, there exists an open invitation for any and all to come and join in the fun.
The Choir was established in 1995 when founding member, Gwyn Roberts, gathered together a group of like-minded individuals of Welsh heritage to kindle the spirit of traditional Welsh male voice singing in their adopted country of Canada. Ably assisted by (now emeritus) music director David Low, the founding members saw their numbers increase to a membership of 60 choristers.
Today, the choir continues to grow musically under the direction of William Woloschuk and his associate music director and accompanist Christina Faye.
Aside from its core material drawn from Welsh tradition, the choir has also grown to emphasize a multicultural context in its broader repertoire. Selections next Saturday might include spirituals, operatic arias, Canadian folk songs, as well as Broadway show tunes and contemporary music.
“Our blend of traditional and contemporary music sung in the unique sound of Welsh four-part harmony appeals to a broad audience,” boasts the www.twmvc.com website.
From its inception, the choir has performed in churches, cathedrals and concert halls throughout Ontario, Quebec and New York State. In 2002, members embarked on their first overseas tour of Wales and England. Then in 2005, the choir toured the Maritimes. And in 2008, it was honoured to be invited to take part in a combined choir of 400 voices at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City. The soloist of the evening was Bryn Terfel, the renowned Welsh opera star.
For the Sept. 28 concert, some local flair will be added to the program, thanks to performances alongside the TWMVC by soloists Krista Fowler and Chris Yates. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $20, available from the church office (519-284-2620), Don Vanstone (519-284-1044), McPhails Pet and Animal Needs, or the St. Marys ReMax office.