Category Archives: Llangollen

Fun, Friendship and Four performances in 2 days … Llangollen 2015

Hereford Cantabile had a ball at Llangollen with two days of singing and socialising, and a trophy to bring home having won the Childrens Folk Choir competition. They were also the highest placed British choir in the Senior Children’s Choir coming fourth to choirs from Canada, the Czech Republic and the USA.

Mrs Williamson said:

“Well done girls and Laurence and thank you. So proud of you all and many congratulations to our wonderful Canadian friends.”

Their new friends from the St Collen’s Concert – Canadian Shallowly Newfoundland & Labrador Youth – had the winning score for the Senior Childrens Choir class which was the highest score overall and gave them the Choir of the World title too.

Cantabile’s festival started with the fabulous St Collen’s concert where we were treated to two world class performances from the two very different choirs –  both were simply awesome! We also got to see the hoodies for the girls from the HCS PTA for the first time which looked fab.

The opening ceremony and royal visit followed, both full of colour and enthusiastic cheering. Then in the evening the ‘Heart of Llangollen’ Concert had Charlotte and Emily, who are sadly leaving this year, carrying the Union Jack in the Ceremony of Nations. Terry Waite’s following address emphasised the importance of music in creating harmony with ourselves and with our neighbours. Cantabile’s two songs ‘The Butterfly’ and ‘Hava Nagela’ echoed those sentiments beautifully.

Early on Wednesday morning they were the second of fourteen choirs to compete in the Senior Children’s Choir just after 9:00 am. They impressed the judges with ‘The Skylark’ and ‘Johnny Says No!’ commenting they were “technically wonderful … fantastic dynamics and pianissimo …wonderful tuning and flexible singing …”.

In their second competition class their singing of ‘Waly Waly’ and ‘Dance to your Daddy’ quite literally wowed the judges “Beautiful blended choral sound … Wow – great solos in Dance to your Daddy … “.

Naturally Laurence was superb in both classes but seemed very taken with his role as Johnny!

You can watch highlights from Tuesday and Wednesday on S4C Welsh TV (click ‘S’ on bar for English subtitles):


You can also watch all the choirs’ singing on Llangollen TV.  See if you agree with the difficult decisions the panel of judges had to make!

The scores are all published on the official Llangollen Eisteddfod website:

A9 – Senior Childrens Choir competition – Judges Suzi Digby, Paul Mealor and Aida Swenson

A10 – Senior Childrens Choir competition  – Judges Paul Mealor, Gwenan Gibbard and Aida Swenson





Cantabile look forward to this year’s Llangollen Eisteddfod …

This year Cantabile are greatly honoured to have been asked to perform in the Heart of Llangollen concert on Tuesday evening which is “a feast of music and dance from the best of the Eisteddfod’s international competitors” and “will also include the official opening ceremony, Procession of Nations and the annual International Message of Peace.”

But that’s not the only event for them on Tuesday  – it will follow the the spectacular opening parade through the town which Cantabile will also be taking part in after their lunchtime concert with Shallaway Newfoundland & Labrador Youth (Canada) in St Collens Church at 1 pm.

On Wednesday they will be competing in the Senior Children’s Choir in the morning and then the Folk Children’s Choir in the afternoon.

It’s a fantastic chance to meet old friends and new and soak up the unique atmosphere that this Welsh international celebration of music creates.

The two clips below show the Cantabile competition performances in 2014:

Folk Children’s Choir

Senior Children’s Choir


Recital at St Collens Church in Llangollen Village – 1pm
International Parade, walking parade through the streets of Llangollen – 4.30pm
The Heart of Llangollen Concert, Main Pavillion – 7pm


A9 Senior Children’s Choir – 9.10am performance, main pavillion
A10 Folk Children’s Choir – 1.50pm performance, main pavillion

Old friends and new make 2015 a promising year for Cantabile

2015 looks set to be an exciting year for the choir.

Fantastically they have reached the semi-final of the BBC Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year for the third year in a row.

For some of the girls this will be their fourth appearance on the show; for others their first but they will all be very thankful for the time and encouragement given by Mrs Williamson, Mr Lane and Mrs Cuthbert to help them achieve this.

The semi-final and finals for the Junior and Senior Choirs will be filmed in Nottingham in March this year and details for free tickets will be published on the BBC website in due course.

In 2015 they would love to replicate their 2014 feat in helping to raise thousands of pounds for local charities at their Concerts at Christchurch in Malvern for ARCOS SMILE and the Military Charities Concert (ABF, TRBLand SSAFA) at Hereford Cathedral with the The British Police Symphony Orchestra. A huge thank you to everyone who helped to make these events such a success.

They are looking forward to sharing the discovery of unfamiliar as well as familiar favourites with their audiences this year. Christmas showed exactly how hard existing and new members have been working to consolidate and extend their already significant repertoire so their audiences will be in for a treat.

Dates to put in your diary for 2015 so far include:

Manchester Amateur Choral Competition (MACC) Sunday 22 February 2015 Royal Northern College of Music
Songs of Praise Senior School Choir Competition Sunday 15 March 2015 The Albert Hall, Nottingham
Concert Friday 8 May 2015 St Johns Church, Bishops Castle
Llangollen Eisteddfod and Concert tbc – Please keep Monday 6 – Wednesday 8 July free
Three Choirs Festival Tuesday 28 July 2015 Hereford

Jo Williamson and Cantabile Rehearsing in St John’s


Cantabile putting Jo’s advice into action at St John’s


The Girls walking onto the Pavilion stage for their first competition of the day


Great reaction to their performance of Bobby Shaftoe


Relaxing after their performances


Loving the sunshine and keeping their fingers crossed …


Enjoying the Eisteddfod


This is sadly the last Eisteddfod with Cantabile for the fab four …


All the girls together outside the Pavilion


Jo gives the girls a pep talk


Nervously waiting for the adjudication in the Pavilion


Cantabile join the other prizewinning choirs on the stage


Jo and the Cantabile girls enjoying their well-earned success on the stage

Cantabile and the 2014 Llangollen Eisteddfod

Cantabile Girls Choir at Llangollen 2014

Cantabile sing in the Children’s Folk Choir

Jo Williamson’s preparations for the Eisteddfod this year followed their usual precise course aided by the newest member of the team from Hereford Cathedral Schools’s Music department, Mrs Cuthbert, joining forces with Mr Lane our accompaniest.

The choir’s hard work was almost scuppered by a contagion of summer colds which left Jess Price, the lead soloist in ‘I got a Robe’, taking a hit for the team and withdrawing from her vocal solo competition to save her voice for the choir entries. Our other two soloists were Rachel Roper in ‘O Waly Waly’ and Charlotte Pawley in ‘A Bunch of Thyme’.

Although no choir to date has won three years in a row, Cantabile gave it their all and despite the strength of the competition won third place in the Children’s Folk Choir. They gained the third highest mark across the three Children’s choir classes for their renditions of ‘A Bunch of Thyme’ and ‘Bobby Shaftoe’.

The welsh choir Côr Heol-y-March , who Cantabile just pipped to 6th place in the Senior Children’s Choir competition, won Choir of the World. The Russian Krasnoyarsk City Children’s Choir in the Children’s Folk Choir competition was spectacular to watch.

You can enjoy all the entries at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod website on and have fun seeing if you agree with the judges who had some tough choices! You can also glimpse edited clips on the welsh television channel S4/C.

If you like Cantabile’s performances please feel free to like, share, link to and comment.

Cantabile didn’t win but we didn’t lose either! As we congratulate our fellow finalists on a hard fought choral battle,  we can be consoled by the truly lovely comments from the Judges  Suzi Digby, Gareth Malone and Laura Mvula that recognised the quality of the singing from the Cantabile girls (and also the beautiful runners up trophy).

Listen to the performances on BBC iplayer and hopefully you will hear both the love and enthusiasm they have for choral singing as well as their technical brilliance which the Judges clearly felt singled them out and provided those ‘Magical Moments’.  Jess Price sang the beautiful solo which anchored their second hymn ‘I Got a Robe’.

Jess Price sings her solo in I Got a Robe in the Final of School Choir of the Year 2014

Jess Price sings her solo in I Got a Robe in the Final of School Choir of the Year 2014

Now the exam season is upon us, their next performance as a Choir will be at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod where they get to show a different repertoire. However choir members Serena Linley-Adams and Charlotte Pawley will also be singing in the Under 18s vocal solo competition this year with Jess Price singing in the 18 and over vocal solo competition.

Cantabile and the 2014 Llangollen Eisteddfod

Cantabile Girls have entered the following classes at the Eisteddfod this year:

  • B2 (Senior Children’s Choir) Wednesday 9th July
  • B3 (Children’s Folk Song Choir) Wednesday 9th July
  • C1 (Voice of the Future) Prelim 10th July, Final 11th July
  • C2 (Under 18′s Vocal Solo) Tuesday 8th July
  • C3 (Over 18′s Vocal Solo) Wednesday 9th July

There is more information about how to attend the Festival and support Cantabile and the other talented singers competing at the official Llangollen International Eisteddfod Festival website.

Cantabile - Llangollen International Festival 2013

Scorching Success at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod 2013

The sun was not the sole cause of a mini heat wave today in Wales – the Senior Children’s Choir class was a scorcher! What a great competition full of incredible choirs from all over the world. Cantabile was proud to be part of such a fantastic competition. Eleven, out of the twenty-one Choirs singing their hearts out, had travelled to the UK to compete.

Amazingly Cantabile won the class (90.7), with Russia’s Jazz-Choir of the State Children Philharmonic Society a close second (89.7) and Estonia’s Estonian Radio Children’s Choir third (89.0).

“Wow!” was how the Adjudicator, Ralph Allwood MBE, started his feedback to Cantabile with their performance of the Tiree Love Song with “a wonderful full sound  … very difficult to fault.” He then described their rendition of Dance to your Daddy as a “Tour de Force … effortlessly sung” despite the complexity of the arrangement.

Jo Williamson was delighted to be awarded The Musical Director’s Award which is given by the Eisteddfod’s Music Director, and was inspired in part by the choir’s performance of the Tiree Love Song, arranged by Michael Neaum.