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Interview: Cefin Roberts From Côr Glanaethwy - BGT 2015 Finalist

Posted by sean123 from Cardiff - Published on 14/07/2015 at 12:25
0 comments » - Tagged as Culture, Music, People, Stage, Sport & Leisure, Topical, Yn Gymraeg

  • Côr Glanaethwy

Côr Glanaethwy is a Welsh choir and, as you probably know, they came third on Britain's Got Talent in 2015. Kit-Kat and I were lucky enough to be able to do a telephone interview for theSprout with the musical director (basically the conductor), Cefin Roberts and ask many questions, which I will explain in the following paragraphs.

Firstly, we asked him what it felt like to come third on the UK's biggest talent show. He explained to us that it was an amazing experience for everyone, especially the young ones (the age range is eight to 68).

Côr Glanaethwy is a Performing Arts School with evening classes. The students pay for lessons but children from under-privileged backgrounds are able to get a scholarship, so they do not have to pay.

Cefin explained that there are three choirs within Côr Glanaethwy: the junior choir is up to the age of 13 and is coached by Cefin's wife, and the other two are coached by Cefin himself.

Cefin explained that they will be celebrating their 25th birthday as a school this year.

"They wanted someone to set up something"

The idea to start Côr Glanaethwy 25 years ago came about when Cefin was directing a theatre show for the National Eisteddfod up in North Wales with 80 young people and, at the end of the show, they were quite sad because they didn't have anything similar to go back to, so the general feedback from them was that they wanted someone to set up something similar.

Cefin was born in a little village just underneath Snowden, called Llanllyfni. He had a really musical background before he decided to start Côr Glanaethwy, and he mainly focussed on singing. He competed in national competitions when he was a boy soprano and he had voice training in Liverpool as a young singer.

When he was around 17, he took A-Level Music and then went on to Trinity College in Carmarthen for three years. But, it doesn't stop there. After that, he studied to become an actor and a performer at the Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, after which he joined the Welsh National Theatre Company in Bangor in 1977. And, now, Cefin is learning Italian!

"It would be lovely to release a Christmas album"

When I asked Cefin if he has starred in many well-known shows, he explained that he has been on S4C a lot (Welsh is his first language). I asked Cefin if he would ever like to release an album with Côr Glanaethwy and much to my surprise he said that they have already released four! But, he did say that it would be lovely to release a Christmas album if ever they have the chance because the songs they sang on Britain's Got Talent had quite a Christmassy feel to them and they had a good response from the public. 

When Kit-Kat asked what the meaning of Côr Glanaethwy is, we found out that it is a very long story. The River Aethwy is the Welsh name for the part of the sea that is between Anglesey and the mainland. When the "Glan" part is put in front of "Aethwy", it means on the banks of the River Aethwy. It's because people from both sides of the river come to the school and Cefin explained that it is just like naming the school after any place.

Cor Glanaethwy is a family-run business, so Cefin does not have a "day job". However, currently, he is writing a drama series for S4C. Cefin told us that the choir have been to Italy, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Ireland, Scotland, England and, this summer, they will be going over to Patagonia to sing.

Currently, they are planning a UK tour for the autumn, where they will go to Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Llandudno. So, you might be able to go to see them sing live if you love classical music and lovely Welsh folk songs sung by an amazing choir! In the video, the guy at the front conducting is the man we interviewed.

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Images Credits: Côr Glanaethwy Facebook page

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