ABERTILLERY ORPHEUS MALE CHOIR
(Cor Meibion Abertyleri)
Whilst the choir was formed in 1908, it took until 1982 to do a continental tour. The choir travelled to Rome during the Easter Period and the choir received an audience with his Holiness Pope John Paul II in St Peter´s Square, whereupon he joined the front line of choristers to joined in the singing of a Polish Folk song 'Matka' which the choir had learnt especially for the occasion.
During the years since Rome, the choir has toured U.S, Canada, Germany, Holland, Spain, and France, with home tours across the UK including Scotland, where it was invited to take part in the Mary Mass Festival at Irvine in Ayrshire.
Sat 23rd April 2022
Concert with Markham Band -
The Metropole Theatre
Sat 30th April
St Peter´s, Blaina
Sun 3rd July (TBC)
Usk Choral Festival
Sat 23rd July
The Bundred Hundred -
The Metropole Theatre
Sat 24th September
Annual Concert -
Llanhilleth Miners Institute
Sat 15 October
Joint Concert with Solent MVC -
St Paul's Chichester
Thurs 27 October
Harmon Trust Concert -
The Metropole Theatre
Sat 12th November
Manor Hotel, Crickhowell
The choir have sang in many famous venues including the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, The Royal Albert Hall London and St David´s Hall Cardiff. In 1992, the choir took part in the world choir Ten Thousand Voice Concert at The National Stadium Cardiff. Here, the choir entertained the crowd at the National Stadium in its own right prior to the Wales
vs Italy international rugby match. In
1999 the choir performed in the closing ceremony of the Rugby World Cup at the new Millennium Stadium.
In August 2017 the choir represented Wales at the Interceltique Festival in Lorient, France (pictured above) and in 2018 we returned to the Royal Albert Hall to sing at the Festival of Welsh Male Choirs.
We continue to regularly host visiting choirs and in 2019 we hosted a mixed choir from Stavanger, Norway.
Please keep an eye on our Facebook page which provides up to date information and memories.
We welcome enquiries from other choirs regarding joint concerts and we also welcome enquires from individuals and corporations to sing at Weddings, Corporate or promotional events, Birthdays and fund raisers. We are also available for Funeral Services and Celebrations of Life.
If you would like to discuss booking the choir please contact us by email below.The choir looks forward to the future with great confidence in the knowledge that our music helps enrich the lives of audiences both locally and further afield. Many charities have received financial benefit from concerts performed by the choir, a tradition it is hoped will continue in the years to come.
We are currently taking Concert bookings through till 2023, although we are happy to discuss longer term planning for Weddings and International and large scale events.
For details of our Wedding services please visit our Wedding page
Stephen Bard MA (Musical Director) Stephen was educated locally attending Nanyglo Comprehensive School where he began his music studies under the former choir conductor Mr Martin Budd who was, at that time, Head of Music. Stephen enrolled at Salford College of Technology where he studied for three years graduating with a Graduate Diploma in Band Musicianship.
Stephen joined the Abertillery Orpheus Choir at the age of 15 and was appointed Assistant Musical Director in September 1991. After serving in that post for 8 years he became the Musical Director.
He is also Musical Director of Abertillery Orpheus Ladies Choir and Torfean Male Voice Choir.
Penny Hughes (Accompanist) Penny studied Voice at the Guildhall School of Music and Piano with varuious International Teachers. Penny has had a succesful career as a piano soloist and won several prizes including the Royal Overseas League competions in London. However it was her love of Ballet that won her over and she became a pianist for several Royal Academy of Dance (R.A.D) Schools in London and also provided her services as an additional pianist for the Sadlers Wells Company which is now the Birmingham Royal Ballet.
Penny moved to Wales in 1990 and some became involved with several R.A.D ballet schools and also local Cecchetti ballet schools where is is the West Wales Associate Painist for the Society. Penny is on the staff of the Royal Ballet School of London and plays for specialist classes in Bath once per month.
She is a highly experienced accompanist with a varied background in music and dance. She divides her time between her ballet work, a busy teaching schedule, and being the accompanist for three choirs.
Elizabeth Tiley (Deputy Musical Director / Accompanist)
Elizabeth Tiley graduted from Cardiff University with a B.Mus (Hons) degree in Music where she was awarded the Sir Geraint Evans Award for vocal performance for two consecutive years. In recent years Elizabeth has worked with Metro Voices at both Abbey Road Studios and Air Studios London recording numerous film soundtracks.
An experienced soloist, Elizabeth has been a featured performer on BBC Radio Wales and has performed at many presigious venues including Chatsworth House, The Wales Millenium Centre and St David's Hall Cradiff in shows such as The Three Phantoms, A celebration of Rogers and hammerstein and The Magic of the Musicals. Elizabeth is a former member of the national Youth Choir of Wales and Welsh National Youth Opera and is also an accomplished pianist and violinist.
During COVID lockdown we produced a number of Newsletters to help Choristers keep in touch with each other while we were unable to meet in person.
You do not necessarily need to be a Pavarotti or a Bryn Terfel to join the Choir. it is more important that you have a pleasant musical voice that is able to blend with others.
You will not be required to have an embarrassing voice test in front of other people, just a short 5 minutes with our Musical Director to enable him to place you in the most appropriate singing section - if you are embarrassed to come along on your own not knowing any one, then please bring a friend with you as there is always plenty of room for all.
The choir is always looking for prospective new members, so why not come along to our rehearsals and find out what we are all about.
There is a small weekly subscription which can be paid in person or, if you wish, you can set up a standing order
for payment. If you want more
information contact us via email or
come along to Ebeneezer Baptist
Church where choir practice takes
place twice a week on Tuesday and Friday evenings at 6.45pm.
Ebeneezer Baptist Church, Park Place, Abertillery NP13 1ED
The benefits of singing have long been documented: We know it feels good to sing, but what actually happens to our bodies when we sing?
Research has shown that singing may actually help us ward off illness ( a benefit that is not to be underestimated
in this current pandemic situation).
In order to understand the therapeutic effect of singing and how our voices can help our overall wellbeing, we explored the scientific mechanisms underlying the relationship between singing and our body chemistry.
We discovered that singing alters the hormones and neurotransmitters that boost mood-state and the immune system. We have also found that singing reduce stress, which is linked to so many health conditions. Our previous research shows that listening to positive music for more than 5 minutes a day can improve mood state and that engaging in music by singing or playing instruments is more effective than listening alone.
We have also found that singing can be good for mental well-being and that through group singing we can nurture our spiritual health and sense of belonging. Singing also boosts the immune system which may help reduce frequency of illness. For more details of the benefits of singing click here
Some Health Authorities and GP Practices are now able to prescribe group activities to patients, such as choir singing, as part of a holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing. They connect people to community groups and statutory services for practical and emotional support. More details can be found https://primarycareone.nhs.wales
Abertillery Orpheus Male Choir is listed under Dewis Cymru and is a Health and Well-being Wales Partner.
More details here
A list of current Choristers can be found here:
The Abertillery Orpheus Male Choir (or Abertillery Orpheus Male Voice Party) was founded in 1908, although it had existed under other names since the 1870s, and was predominantly made up of members from local church choirs whom in turn, were employed in the local coal mines. Abertillery is a typically hard worked town in a narrow valley where coal tip clusters and mountains retain the scars of nineteenth century greed for coal at any price.
On Tuesday 6th June 1916 Dame Clara Butt, the world renowned Contralto, appeared at the Metropole, Abertillery in a concert to raise funds for the employment of Artistes who were adversely affected by the Great War. The Abertillery Orpheus Male Choir, conducted by Tom Bundred, supported Dame Clara Butt in the concert and the conductor later received a letter from Dame Butt congratulating him on his professionalism and organisational skills.
Other world renowned singers we have performed with include the former Principal Bass of the Royal Opera House Robert Lloyd, who subsequently became Patron of the Choir. We have also performed with the Peter Karrie, viewed by many as the best Phantom of the Opera ever. Other soloists include Inia Te Wiata, Vernon and Maryetta Midgley, Cynthia Glover and Margaret Price. We have also been blessed over many years with having many fine local singers, both from within and outside the Choir.
These days, we don't spend our lives in the dark dangerous abyss of coal mining and since the closures of the mines we have moved into the world technicians in clean factories, headmasters, engineers, shop owners, gentleman of retirement and yes, unfortunately unemployment in some cases. This has no bearing in the choir. All men are born equal to Abertillery Orpheus Choir.
Visit Abertillery one day and learn more, we'd love to see you. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy listening to our music, as much as we enjoy making it.
The Choir are currently researching the history of the choir with the aim of producing a printed history of the choir both for prosterity, reference and choir funds. For more details visit the book project.
For links to other Welsh Choirs and sites of local interest please visit the Links Page
To view historic and current photos of the choir please visit our photo gallery.
To join the Friends of Abertillery Orpheus Male Choir or to become a Vice President click here:
The choir has made a number of recordings.
Some of these recordings are available for purchase at all concerts performances. You can also order a CD by contacting Abertillery Orpheus Male Choir
For more details visit our merchandise page