Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Help Haiti Christian Aid Concert

Countries around the world have shown their support for Haiti and at St David’s Hall on Monday 15th February Welsh singers did their bit. What started out as a small dream evolved into a tribute to Welsh talent and an epic fundraiser for Christian Aid’s Help Haiti appeal.

The evening was laced with short films about the tragedy in Haiti which showed us where the money raised will go. The earthquake happened more than 4 weeks ago but the concert has brought it back to the forefront of people’s minds. For the audience it was a mixture of the big acts and the charity appeal that drew in the crowds.

Gwawr Owen the organiser of the event told me the idea came to her when she was in chapel one morning. She thought she could do something with the mixed choir Cor Caerdydd that she conducts. But Gwawr has many music connections and managed to recruit big names such as Rhydian Roberts, Denis O’Neill, Wynne Evans and many more to perform on the night.

The variety of Welsh talent was something to be proud of. I asked Wynne Evans why holding a charity concert like this was a good way or raising money.

“People are more likely to come to a concert than to donate money in the privacy of their own home. More people are willing to part with their cash if they feel they are getting back something in return.”

“It’s nice to catch up with old friends and be part of such a fantastic cause.”

Of course Wynne Evans is known from the ‘Go Compare’ adverts but for tall those in the audience at St David’s he will now be remembered as an outstanding opera singer. Wynne sung the Lord’s Prayer in Welsh and ‘My life belongs to you’ by Ivor Novello. Wynne did joke that he “may as well send the (Go Compare) moustache to concerts and stay at home!” But that certainly wasn’t the case. Wynne only performed in the first act and at the half time interval I spoke to one member of the audience who wanted him back in the second act!

The evening was a show shopping event and drew out Wales’ finest musical acts. Elin Fflur a singer/song writing from North Wales told me what it meant to her to be singing at the event.

“I think you know when we all saw the disaster being shown on television sometimes you do kind of feel a bit useless. So being able to give something, especially through music is quite a big thing for me.”

I think it was a special occasion for all the performers. A glittering variety of music, dance and instrumental performance. Ruth Jones from Gavin and Stacey didn’t sing but came on to the stage to show her support and congratulate everyone for being part of such a worthy cause.

All the acts were outstanding. A lot of the songs were performed in Welsh. Even though I don’t understand Welsh it was still an amazing show. What surprised me the most was my favourite performers of the night, two opera singers. Before attending the concert I wouldn’t have said that I was a big opera fan but thanks to David O’Neill and Natalya Romaniw I have been converted. Dennis has such a powerful and emotive voice that you are captivated by his every word. For me St David’s Hall was the perfect setting for his bass notes and his textured performance. Natalya Romaniw injected her songs with theatre and performance which lifted and seduced the audience into the wonderful sound of opera. Truly outstanding.

We were also treated to a guest appearance from some of the stars of Pobl y Cwm to close the evening. A spectacle of song and dance that left the audience on their feet in a standing ovation to show our appreciation of the performers and our support for Haiti.

Help Haiti Concert by bribriwilliams

Over £11,000 was raised from ticket sales alone but the total figure that the evening raised will not be known until the event is shown on S4C on Sunday 21st of February.

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