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Young Neath Port Talbot singers raise their voices to raise money for Ukraine

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Young singers from Neath Port Talbot schools are starring in a video of their inspirational cover of You’re the Voice, the song made famous by John Farnham.

The moving cover version by The Cerdd NPT Music Service and pupils from Neath Port Talbot schools was recorded at Cwmtawe Community School to raise money for humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

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Kirstie Roberts, a singer and singing teacher who works with the Cerdd NPT Music Service, along with colleagues, drove the project forward.

She said: “Just a few weeks after hearing Ukraine had been invaded by Russia, feeling frustrated and helpless that more needed to be done, I wanted to raise money to send to the families and children struggling to survive under constant threat but had no idea where to start!

“So, after not having sung together for two years due to the Covid pandemic, we gathered some of our talented and inspirational young singers in local schools together after deciding we could all help by raising voices, hearts and funds for the people of Ukraine.

“In just three and a half weeks 60 singers, six string players and a four-piece band had to learn their parts before coming together with a camera man and sound engineer to perform it for the first time at Cwmtawe Community School.

“The entire team had one chance to perform You’re the Voice and get it right and our Welsh children sang their hearts out for the children of Ukraine. Please watch this astonishing video and share as widely as you can. These children gave their time, passion and everything they had. If you can spare some time and money to help we would all be so grateful…as would the children in Ukraine.

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“I’m so delighted to finally share our GoFundMe link and YouTube video of our incredible and inspirational singers of Cerdd NPT Music, Neath Port Talbot, raising their voices, hearts and funds for the children of Ukraine.”

The choral arrangement for the song was by Mark De-Lisser and the performance by the Cerdd NPT Music Service Choir was conducted by Kirstie Roberts

The soloists were Tom Meo Ford, Moli Edwards, Emily Rees, Sophie Kneath, Holly Oakwell Jenkins, Alex Stockton and Bethan Nicholas-Thomas. Strings – Sharon Williams, Caroline Nicholas Thomas, Imogen Kent, Amy Marston, Laura Cotrell and Mia Verallo. The band was made up of Luke Evans, Andrew Coughlan, Ray Dizon and Luke Lockyer. String arrangement was by Luke Lockyer.

Soloist Bethan Nicholas-Thomas is this year’s Neath Port Talbot Youth Mayor. Bethan is a member of the British Youth Council and the Youth Climate Ambassadors Group which campaigns to make changes for a healthier planet.

The song was recorded and produced by Luke Evans with filming and editing by Christian Reason. Sunflowers for the recording were donated by Neath florist Stella Blooms. Many thanks go to Cerdd NPT Music Service staff and the pupils and staff from Cwmtawe Community School, Llangatwg School, Dwr-Y- Felin School, Cwm Brombil School, St Joseph’s Comprehensive School, Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera Bro Dur and Neath College.

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(Lead image & Video: Neath Port Talbot Council)

Music

Mike and the Mechanics to play Swansea Arena

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Mike & The Mechanics – who have sold more than ten million records worldwide – Have announced their “Refueled!” 2023 Tour – all the hits and a drop of Genesis.

They’re set to play Swansea’s brand new arena in May 2023 as part of an epic run of 34 UK concerts through April and May.

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Opening on April 12th, 2023 at the Barbican, York and including prestigious venues such as The Royal Albert Hall and Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall.

The Swansea Arena show is on Thursday May 11th 2023. Tickets go on sale Friday, June 24th at 10.00am from www.swansea-arena.co.uk.

Mike & The Mechanics are Genesis founding member Mike Rutherford (Guitar), one of the UK’s most prolific R&B singers; Andrew Roachford (Lead and backing vocals), whose previous hits include Cuddly Toy and Family Man; and Canadian-born Tim Howar (lead and backing vocals), who formed and toured his band Vantramp with the likes of Rod Stewart and Paulo Nutini. Tim shares vocal duties with Andrew and they both add a new soulful dimension to the band’s already established sound.

The “Refueled!” 2023 tour, will include tracks from Mike & The Mechanics’ critically acclaimed latest album Out of the Blue plus a smattering of Genesis favourites.

Their ninth album features re-workings of some of the band’s best loved tracks, including The Living Years and the unforgettable Over My Shoulder, along with three brand new songs Out Of The Blue, One Way and What Would You Do?

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Musicians and fans tune up for Swansea jazz special

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Swansea International Jazz Festival is back with a line-up packed with legendary performers and familiar favourites.

Swansea Council has joined forces with Swansea Jazz Club and this year’s Swansea International Jazz Festival will be held at venues across Swansea from Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th June 2022.

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The concert programme opens with Bruce Adams (trumpet) and Alan Barnes (saxophone), both award winning and highly respected musicians on the UK jazz scene, playing at Swansea Jazz Club at the Garage Music Venue in Uplands.

The Maritime Quarter’s Dylan Thomas Theatre is the setting for festivals further five ticketed events, starting with the Simon Spillett Big Band playing the music of Tubby Hayes on Friday evening. Spillett’s 17-piece Big Band is packed with the cream of British Jazz musicians, all regular members of BBC Big Band and Ronnie Scotts Jazz Orchestra.

Saturday afternoon sees the Karen Sharp Quartet take to the stage, putting the spotlight firmly on two of the UK’s finest female jazz musicians, Karen Sharp (saxophone) and Nikki Iles (piano). By way of contrast, the James Taylor Quartet, who perform Saturday evening, have set the standard for the coolest sounds in funky acid jazz for over 30 years, led by James on the Hammond organ.

The Louis and Ella Music show will recreate the great songs of the swing era on Sunday afternoon, with authentic arrangements of songs Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald recorded together and individually. The festival rounds off on Sunday evening with Some Kinda Wonderful, a band created by and featuring Jools Holland’s sax player Derek Nash, and with Noel McCalla’s soaring vocals, they will have you on your feet dancing to the great songs of Stevie Wonder.

Swansea Council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Swansea International Jazz Festival, which has become a strong fixture in the city’s event calendar.

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“The festival attracts some of the best musicians from the UK jazz scene playing a range of styles across the jazz music genre, which I’m sure audiences from across the Swansea region will come to enjoy.

 Swansea International Jazz Festival has done a great job in establishing the Festival over past years and we now look forward to working collaboratively to continue its success and develop it even further”

Swansea Jazz Club’s artistic director, Dave Cottle, said: “We haven’t had a big lead time for this year’s festival, but we have managed to get an excellent and varied jazz programme together quickly.

“There are great concerts to look forward too and some firm favourites are returning on the stroller programme. Swansea Marina will be buzzing again to a weekend of live jazz!

“We are delighted to be working with Swansea Council and look forward to some exciting times ahead”

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Festival patron Sir Karl Jenkins is delighted that the Swansea International Jazz Festival is back for 2022. He said: “It’s great news that the festival is back this year. It has been a very difficult time for the whole music industry and musicians particularly these last two years.

“However, the festival’s return is a positive sign that things are finally getting back to normal and I do hope people are able to come along and support the concerts this year.”

Besides the exciting line-up of ticketed concerts, this year’s festival features a packed stroller programme at venues across Swansea’s maritime quarter including: The Pumphouse, Queens Hotel, The Swigg, The Riverhouse, and the amphitheatre outside the entrance to the LC.

Also part of the programme this year are the series of jazz cruises on board the Copper Jack, a narrowboat that tours the River Tawe, featuring Ellie Jones and Gary Phillips on Saturday afternoon and the Afternoon in Paris Duo on Sunday.

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Hit musical ‘Jersey Boys’ is coming to Swansea Arena

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New dates have been added to the UK Tour of smash hit musical Jersey Boys, with the show coming to Swansea’s brand new Arena later this year.

The show will play Swansea Arena from Tuesday 29 November to Saturday 3 December 2022.

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The UK Tour of the Tony and Olivier Award-winning show is running simultaneously with a London West End production playing in a packed-out and recently refurbished Trafalgar Theatre.

Written by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe, Jersey Boys takes you behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

Described as “just four guys from New Jersey, until they sang their very first note. They had a sound nobody had ever heard… and the radio just couldn’t get enough of. But while their harmonies were perfect onstage, off stage it was a very different story.”

The show is packed with their hits, including Beggin’, Sherry, Walk Like A Man, December, 1963 (Oh What a Night), Big Girls Don’t Cry, My Eyes Adored You, Let’s Hang On (To What We’ve Got), Bye Bye Baby, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Working My Way Back to You, Fallen Angel, Rag Doll and Who Loves You.

Recipient of Broadway’s Tony, London’s Olivier and Australia’s Helpmann Awards for Best New Musical, Jersey Boys is the winner of 65 major awards and has been seen by over 27 million people worldwide.

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Jersey Boys originally opened in New York on 6 November 2005 and, by the time it closed on 15 January 2017, it was the 12th longest running show in Broadway history. It returned to New York with a new production in November 2017. The Jersey Boys US National Tour is still breaking house records in cities across North America.

Jersey Boys first ran in London’s West End from 18 March 2008 to 26 March 2017 – nine amazing years – and, at the time, was the sixth longest musical running in the West End. Last year, the musical returned to the West End, opening the new multi-million pound reinstated Trafalgar Theatre on 10 August 2021. Jersey Boys previously played two record-breaking UK and Ireland Tours from 2014 to 2016 and from 2017 to 2019.

The Jersey Boys UK and Ireland Tour will be staged by the entire original Broadway creative team, led by the Tony Award-winning team of director Des McAnuff and choreographer Sergio Trujillo, with scenic design by Klara Zieglerova, costume design by Jess Goldstein, lighting by Howell Binkley, sound by Steve Canyon Kennedy and projections design by Michael Clark. The orchestrations are by Steve Orich and the music supervision and vocal arrangements by Ron Melrose. Casting is by Jill Green.

Tickets are available from www.swansea-arena.co.uk.

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