Risca Male Choir in the underground 'Cathedral' within the Wieliczka Salt mine in Krakow, Poland, during a very successful tour in August 2010.
Founded in 1970, Risca Male Choir has established an enviable reputation; the choir has not been afraid to experiment with and explore many musical styles, at the same time it has been a trendsetter with its diverse performance styles.
The choir's competition successes have included the title Male Choir of the Year, winning the Welsh Choral Challenge shield, the National Eisteddfod, the Bronze Medal from the Malta International Choral Competition, and Male Choir Winners at the International Choir Festival of Jersey.
The repertoire of Risca Male Choir includes traditional material, operatic and music theatre items, and original compositions from the world of classical music. A highlight from the classical field was a much-acclaimed performance of Cherubini's Requiem in D minor for male voices and orchestra. The choir has given many première performances of works by contemporary Welsh composers, including particularly music by Mervyn Burtch and Richard Roderick Jones. A performance of Beowulf and Grendel, a large work by Mervyn Burtch for male voices and brass band, resulted in the choir being given the 1997 WS Gwynn Williams Award, recognising its contribution to music making in the community, and also its continued promotion of new Welsh music. In November 2000, Risca Male Choir was invited to perform the cantata Owain ab Urien as part of a centenary celebration of works by the Welsh composer David Wynne. In May 2005 the choir combined with Crosskeys College Choral Society for a performance of Verdi's Nabucco. In April 2006 the choir took part in a prestigious performance of Beethoven's Choral Symphony at the St David’s Hall, Cardiff.
The choir is famous for its unique theme concerts, one of which was turned into a feature length television programme. Other television appearances have included The Magic of the Musicals, which featured Bryn Terfel, Peter Karrie and Catherine Zeta-Jones, an appearance on the National Lottery's first birthday broadcast, and in the summer of 1998 a performance on GMTV's Breakfast Show. In January 2000, Risca Male Choir featured in the BBC Millennium Songs of Praise from the National Stadium in Cardiff. Further television appearances have included Can they hack it? and the FA Cup Classic.
The many recordings involving the choir include Bryn Terfel's We'll Keep a Welcome which reached Gold status. More recently, the choir has made a CD called Risca Male Choir Sings the Movies. In September 2007 the choir also produced a single for the Children in Need appeal.
In June 2008, the choir did four performances with Welsh National Opera of CARBON 12, a specially-commissioned piece about the natural and social histories of South Wales. A more detailed write-up of this event can be read within our Latest News section.
The choir has undertaken many successful concert tours, including visits to Spain, Gibraltar, France, Germany, Scotland, Ireland, and the Czech Republic. Three highly-acclaimed visits to California have been particularly memorable. The Choir will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2010, and part of the celebrations include a concert tour to St Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna, and Dross, Austria, together with the Mariacki Basilica, Krakow, and the 700 year old Wieliczka Salt Mine Cathedral, Poland in August.
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