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Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School

Cultural & Musical Activities

old school

The Glamorgan Youth Orchestra and Choir & Mid-Glamorgan Youth Orchestra and Choir

from Colin Rees & Jennifer Jones (née Short)

The old Glamorgan, and Mid Glamorgan, County Education Committees organised a County Youth Orchestra, a County Youth Choir and a County Youth Brass Band. The original orchestra was established in 1949, and the choir in 1960, although from 1950 a variety of youth choirs had shared the concert platform with the orchestra. The Youth Band was established in 1952.

Here are some programmes of their concerts. The concerts span the years from 1959 to 1980.

Click on the icons below to obtain larger images

Orchestral Concert 1959, Aberdare

1959 p11959 page 1

1959 p21959 page 2

1959 p31959 page 3

1959 p41959 page 4:
Members of the
orchestra

1959 centre panel 1959 centre

Orchestral Concert 1960, Ferndale

1960 page 11960 page 1

1960 page 21960 page 2

1960 page 31960 page 3

1960 page 41960 page 4:
Members of the
orchestra

1960 centre panel1960 centre

Choir & Orchestral Concert 1962, Mountain Ash

1962 page 11962 page 1

1962 page 21962 page 2

1962 page 31962 page 3

1962 page 41962 page 4:
Members of the
choir & orchestra

 

Choir & Orchestral Concert 1963, Gorseinon, Aberdare & Bridgend

1963 page 11963 page 1

1963 page 21963 page 2

1963 page 31963 page 3

1963 page 41963 page 4:
Members of the
choir & orchestra

Glam Youth Choir1963
Photo of the Choir
& Orchestra.

Choir & Orchestral Concert 1964, Treorchy & Mountain Ash

1964 page 1 1964 page 1

1964 page 2 1964 page 2

1964 page 3 1964 page 3

1964 page 4 1964 page 4

 

Orchestral Concert April 1965, Pontypridd & Bridgend

Apr 1965 p1 April 1965 p1

Apr 1965 p2 April 1965 p2

Apr 1965 p3 April 1965 p3

Apr 1965 p4 April 1965 p4

Apr 1965 Middle Spread April 1965 Middle

Apr 1965 p4 transcript April 1965 p4
Transcript

Orchestral Concert July 19th 1965, Neath

Orch Jul 1965 p1July 1965 page 1

Orch Jul 1965 p2 July 1965 page 2

Orch Jul 1965 p3 July 1965 page 3

Orch Jul 1965 p4 July 1965 page 4
Members of the Orchestra

p2-p3 July 1965 centre

July 1965 Orchestra Photo Orchestra Photograph
July 1965

Page 4 transcript page 4 transcript Members of the Orchestra

Orchestral Concert July 20th 1965, Porthcawl

July 20 1965 p1 July 20 1965 p1

July 20 1965 p2 July 20 1965 p2

July 20 1965 p3 July 20 1965 p3

July 20 1965 p4 July 20 1965 p4

July 20 1965 Middle Spread July 20 1965 Middle

July 20 1965 p4 transcript July 20 1965 p4
Transcript

Choir & Orchestral Concert, September 1965, Bargoed & Aberdare

Sept 65 page 1 Sept 1965 page 1

Sept 65 page 2 Sept 1965 page 2

Sept 65 page 3 Sept 1965 page 3

Sept 65 page 4 Sept 1965 page 4

Sept 65 page 4 transcript Sept 1965 page 4 transcript

Choir & Orchestral Concert, January 4th 1966, Barry

Jan 4th 1966 p1 January 4th 1966 p1

Jan 4th 1966 p2 January 4th 1966 p2

Jan 4th 1966 p3 January 4th 1966 p3

Jan 4th 1966 p4 January 4th 1966 p4

Jan 4th 1966 page 4 transcription January 4th 1966 page 4 transcript

Choir & Orchestral Concert, January 5th 1966, Neath

Jan 5th 1966 p1 January 5th 1966 p1

Jan 5th 1966 p2 January 5th 1966 p2

Jan 5th 1966 p3January 5th1966 p3

Jan 5th 1966 p4 January 5th 1966 p4

Jan 5th 1966 page 4 transcriptionJanuary 5th 1966 page 4 transcript

Orchestral Concert, April 12th 1966, Sandfields, Port Talbot

Apr 1966 p1 April 12th 1966
page 1

Apr 1966 p2 April 12th 1966
page 2

Apr 1966 p3 April 12th 1966
page 3

Apr 1966 p2-p3 April 12th 1966
page2-3

Apr 1966 p4 April 12th 1966
page 4

April 1966 page 4 Transcript April 12th 1966
page 4 transcript

Orchestral Concert, April 13th 1966, Ystrad Mynach

Apr 13th 1966 p1 April 13th 1966
page 1

Apr 13th 1966 p2 April 13th 1966
page 2

Apr 13th 1966 p3 April 13th 1966
page 3

Apr 13th 1966 p2-3April 13th 1966
p2-p3

Apr 13th 1966 p4 April 13th 1966
page 4

April 13th 1966 page 4 Transcript April 13th 1966
page 4 transcript

Apr 13 1966 photograph April 13th 1966
Orchestra
photograph

Choir & Orchestral Concert, August 1966, Porthcawl

p1 front cover Aug 1966 August 1966 page 1

p2 August 1966 page 2

p3 August 1966 page 3

p2-3 August 1966
page 2/3 centre

p4 August 1966 page 4

p4 transcript August 1966 page 4

Choir & Orchestral Concert, January 1967, Neath

Jan 1967 p1 January 1967 p1

Jan 1967 p2 January 1967 p2

Jan 1967 p3 January 1967 p3

Jan 1967 p4 January 1967 p4

Jan 1967 page 4 transcription January 1967 page 4 transcript

Jan 1967 photograph Choir & Orchestra
photograph, January 1967

Orchestral Concert, April 1967, Ferndale & Bridgend

Apr 67 p1 April 1967 page 1

Apr 67 p2 April 1967 page 2

Apr 67 p3 April 1967 page 3

Apr 67 p4 April 1967 page 4

Apr 67 p2-p3 April 1967 page 2-3

p4 transcript April 1967
Page 4 transcript

Apr 67 photo Orchestra photograph
April 1967

Orchestral Concert, September 1967, Porthcawl

Sep 67 p1 Sept 1967 page 1

Sep 67 p2 Sept 1967 page 2

Sep 67 p3 Sept 1967 page 3

Sep 67 p4 Sept 1967 page 4

Sep 67  p2-p3 Sept 1967 page 2-3

Sep 67 p4 transcript Sept 1967
Page 4 transcript

September 67 photo Orchestra photograph
Sept 1967

Orchestral Concert, April 1968, Kenfig Hill

Apr 1968 p1 April 1968 p1

Apr 1968 p2 April 1968 p2

Apr 1968 p3 April 1968 p3

Apr 1968 p4 April 1968 p4

Apr 1968 p2-3 April 1968 centre

Apr 1968 p4 transcript April 1968 p4
Transcript

Orchestral Concert, July 1968, Sandfields School, Port Talbot

Jul 1968 p1 July 1968 p1

Jul 1968 p2 July 1968 p2

Jul 1968 p3 July 1968 p3

Jul 1968 p4 July 1968 p4

Jul 1968 p2-3 July 1968 centre

Jul 1968 p4 transcript July 1968 p4
Transcript

Choir & Orchestral Concert, January 1969, Neath

page 1 Jan 1969 January 1969
page 1

page 2 Jan 1969 January 1969
page 2

page 3 Jan 1969 January 1969
page 3

page 4 Jan 1969 January 1969
page 4

page 4 Jan 1969 transcript January 1969
page 4 transcript

Jan 69 Musicians Photo Choir & Orchestra photograph,
January 1969

Orchestral Concert, April 1969, Penarth

page 1 Apr 1969 April 1969
page 1

page 2 Apr 1969 April 1969
page 2

page 3 Apr 1969 April 1969
page 3

page 4 Apr 1969 April 1969
page 4

page 4 Apr 1969 transcript April 1969
page 2-3

page 4 Apr 1969 transcript April 1969
page 4 transcript

Orchestral Concert, July 1969, Ystrad Mynach

Jul 69 page 1 July 1969 page 1

Jul 69 page 2 July 1969 page 2

Jul 69 page 3 July 1969 page 3

Jul 69 page 4 July 1969 page 4

Jul 69 centre text July 1969 centre

Mid-Glam Orchestral Concert 1975, Aberdare & Caerphilly

1975 p1 1975 page 1

1975 p2 1975 page 2

1975 p3 1975 page 3

1975 p4 1975 page 4:
Members of the
orchestra

1975 Orchestra transcript 1975 page 4
Transcript

Mid-Glam Brass Band Course, March 1976

March 1976 Musicians Photo Band & Tutors photograph,
March 1976

Mid-Glam Choir & Orchestral Concert, January 1977, Kenfig Hill & Aberdare

Jan 1977 p1 January 1977 page 1

Jan 1977 p2 January 1977 page 2

Jan 1977 p3 January 1977 page 3

Jan 1977 p4 January 1977 page 4
Members of the
choir & orchestra,
with soloist
Ann James (Soprano, Aberdare)

Jan 1977 Choir and Orchestra transcript January 1977 page 4
Transcript

Mid-Glam Brass Band Concert, July 1977, St Elvan’s Church Aberdare

Brass 1977 p1 July 1977 page 1

Brass 1977 p2 July 1977 page 2

Brass 1977 p3 July 1977 page 3

Brass 1977 p4July 1977 page 4

Brass 1977 p4 transcriptJuly 1977 page 4 Transcript

Mid-Glam Orchestral Concert, July 1979, Sobell Sports’ Centre, Aberdare

Ticket July 1979 July 1979
Ticket only

Mid-Glam Choir & Orchestral Concert, August 1980, Aberdare & Pencoed, Bridgend

CandO_Aug1980_p1 August 1980 page 1

CandO_Aug1980_p2 August 1980 page 2
with soloist Annette Merriman, Contralto, (Aberdare)

CandO_Aug1980_p3August 1980 page 3

CandO_Aug1980_p4 August 1980 page 4

Aug 1980 Choir and Orchestra transcript August 1980 page 4 Transcript

Some group photos of orchestral courses at Ogmore Camp

Ogmore c1959 Intermediate Course
c1959

c1959 b Intermediate Course
c1959

Orchestra_Ogmore_c1960 Intermediate Course
c1960

April 1962 Intermediate Course
April 1962

October 1963 Junior Course
October 1963

May 1964 Junior Course
May 1964
new

Miscellaneous Documents

Russell Sheppard article Musical Education in Glamorgan, 1960
by Russell Sheppard


Some Dates

The last year of the Glam’s existence was 1974, with the last concert at The Gwyn Hall, Neath on Friday 4th January 1974, conductors Russell Sheppard and Jeffrey Francis. After this Mid-Glamorgan set up a system similar to that which existed in the ‘old’ Glamorgan.

Russell Sheppard conducted his last concert in sole charge of the Glam on April 6th, 1972 in Porthcawl. However, he was invited back in 1979, the year of his retirement from the education authority, to conduct the Mid-Glam concerts on July 20th and 21st at the Michael Sobell Centre, Aberdare, and at the Grand Pavilion Porthcawl respectively. Sheppard was born in Mountain Ash on 30 September 1914 and died in May 1999.

Ogmore Camp

Both the orchestra and the choir gave concerts throughout the county after pupils spent about a week learning and rehearsing pieces at Ogmore Camp. This was, or so it seemed to me, an old army camp with two or three long wooden dormitories that overlooked the sea a few hundred yards up a stony lane from the coast road. Information about this camp is available by clicking here.

East Glamorgan Youth Training Orchestra

In the sixties, Gethin Evans our music master, would encourage boys with appropriate musical talents to join either the choir or orchestra. Those wishing to join the orchestra however, had to graduate from, in our case, the East Glamorgan Youth Orchestra that rehearsed every Saturday morning in Pontypridd Boys’ Grammar School. You can see a 1959 picture of this sectional orchestra by clicking here.

The Glamorgan Youth Orchestra

The Glamorgan Youth Orchestra was formed in September, 1949. By 1960, it had grown to a full symphony orchestra of 116, with a “reserve” of more than 200 players who were accommodated and given experience in Junior Orchestral Courses. In addition, there were three sectional orchestras from which ‘The Glam’ drew its players; they provided weekly opportunities for orchestral playing. Each met on a Saturday morning: The East Glamorgan Youth Orchestra of 200 players at Pontypridd, the Mid Glamorgan Youth Orchestra of 100 players at Bridgend and the West Glamorgan Youth Orchestra of 100 players at Neath. (The designations of Mid and West predate the reorganisation of local government that occurred later). Some members of the orchestra went on to play with The National Youth Orchestra of Wales. There is a programme of one of their 1964 concerts here.

Aberdare musicians and choristers

As far as Aberdare pupils were concerned, our contingent in the main Glamorgan Choir was of a respectable number, but our contributions to the Orchestra were few with, in the sixties, just K.T. Johns, French Horn, and Rhian Samuel, from the girls’ school who played the oboe as our representatives. The main choir though had a much stronger contingent from Aberdare. If you look at page four of the programmes, you will see some familiar names in the Aberdare section. Peter Ballinger, was memorable for his strong baritone voice and he is mentioned as singing in some of the Distribution of Certificates Ceremonies on this site.

Looking through the full list of names, you will see some that have become very well known. For example, Della Jones, Beverley Humphreys, and Dennis O’Neill are ones that music fans will know well.  A certain Neil Kinnock also appears.

Aberdare’s own musicians include Rhian Samuel who was a girls’ school leaver of 1962; Leslie Roberts and Pamela Field were 1965 leavers and both from Cwmbach. Leslie became a member of English National Opera North Chorus in Manchester and spent many years with them.  Pamela’s career included several years with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company where she took several leading roles in Gilbert & Sullivan Operas. Decca have released Utopia Limited on CD where she sings the role of Princess Zara. It is also possible to pick up a video on VHS of H.M.S. Pinafore; in this production she takes on the leading role of Josephine. You can read her biography by clicking here.

Susan Dennis was a 1964 leaver and also from Cwmbach. Originally described as a lyric soprano, Susan has been a professional musician since graduating from Cardiff and now lives in Vienna  You can catch up with Susan’s news by clicking here.

K.T. Johns was a very well known character at the boys’ school in the late fifties and early sixties; he too has made his career in Music. At school, he was known as KT and we understand that his alternative nickname of Drac has remained with him throughout his career. KT, who was from Hirwaun, played the French Horn in school concerts and in the Glamorgan Youth Orchestra. He also played jazz on the double bass with Robert Jones (1955–1962, nickname Sargy) who played piano. You can read a bit more about K.T. Johns here.