Chairman’s Message 2018

Dear Festival Goers,

Tenby Arts Festival is over for another year.

We had a sparkling festival with a dazzling array of music, drama, art and talks.

The festival opened with a flourish, to music provided by a Brass Ensemble followed by a Samba Band who payed their hearts out in spite of the driving rain.

Our programme included some old favourites such as the Tenby Male Choir, Pint Sized Plays and Graham Hadlow’s Watercolour Workshop. Another festival perennial, our Rising Stars Concert featured the winners of the Gregynog Young Musician of the Year. These young musicians are talented beyond their years; playing with maturity and virtuosity. This year Chloë Jones, an extremely talented flautist, gave a solo concert after having previously played as part of the Rising Stars Concert. “Cantemus!” also returned with a scratch choir singing a selection of favourite choral pieces. This was followed immediately by the Trinity Singers; a group of up and coming young singers, post-graduate music students from Trinity College University of Wales, who gave a superb concert of arias, duets and choruses from favourite operas laced with interludes of great humour. Viv McLean performed a varied programme that included pieces by Beethoven, Chopin and Gershwin.

The afternoon talks were as always very popular, Jo Hammond spoke about the Suffragettes to honour the centenary of women first getting the vote. George Hancock  presented a talk on wine which included tastings and a lot of laughter. John Blake explained the history and importance of nautical charts, David Saunders talked about the doomed Franklin expedition to find the North West Passage and the ship “Erebus” built in Pembroke Dock and lost in the ice. Dr Jacqueline Jeynes talked about the Davies sisters and their wonderful collection of impressionist paintings. 

The two world wars were not forgotten either. To mark the centenary of the end of World War I we had an evening of songs from that era and a talk by Tony Curtis about his family’s involvement in the conflict. To commemorate the part played by the air force in war, we had a play by Derek Webb “Heroes without a Parachute.” And Greg Lewis took us from “Wales to Nagasaki” in his talk.

Alison Neil returned with one of her one-woman plays which are always so well written and so enjoyable. This one was about the author E. Nesbit who wrote The Railway Children and The Borrowers among others. She led a very eccentric lifestyle shocking the bourgeoisie of her day. 

Another fascinating event was the performance and lunch at Penally Abbey. Laure Meloy, an international soprano presented her one-women show of speech and song illustrating the life and poetry of poet Elizabeth Bishop. There was some very poignant poetry and Laure’s beautiful voice was appreciated by all.

This year we had a superb grand finale on the last Saturday of festival week. Swansea City Opera returned with their production “A Viennese Whirl”. Introduced  by the inimitable and entertaining Brendan Wheatley the concert was a feast of romantic arias from operas and operettas such as Die Fledermaus and Der Rosenkavalier. 

There were many free events too, such as Poetry Please at Caffè Vista, Japanese Calligraphy for children in the Library Hall, and art exhibitions.

We look forward to seeing you next year for another dazzling array of events.    

Rosemary Rhys Davies,

Chairman, Tenby Arts Festival