Updated 20th January 2021
* Hot Off The Press *
What an achievement for LARS member Callum Scott-Howells as he stars in the new Channel 4 drama, It’s a Sin. (Channel 4 at 9 pm 22.01.2101) Not only is a major TV drama, it’s written by one of the UK’s leading writers, Swansea born Rusell T Davies – known for Coronation Street, Dr Who, Torchwood, Queer as Folk, A Very English Scandal and so many more popular and ground-breaking dramas.
Russell T. Davies says he started to write It’s a Sin in 2016, when our very own Callum was still in school in Treorchy and had not long since joined LARS. He had no clue then that he would be acting in any TV drama four years later, yet alone one by such a man as Davies. Callum plays trainee tailor Colin Morris-Jones, a young man from Wales learning his trade in London, in a drama described by the Radio Times:
Of all his work, It’s A Sin is probably Davies’s most autobiographical piece, a fiercely angry, poignant, heart-breaking, often outrageously funny, five-part account of the emerging HIV/Aids virus and its effect on a group of young gay men in the early 1980s.
The drama also has appearances by experienced actors Stephen Fry and Keeley Hawes.
Callum has now moved on to become an Associate Member of LARS. Congratulations to him on being cast in such a prominent production and LARS send him our very best wishes.
Sydney Richards and Neve Summers joined LARS at around the same time, and LARS supported them in every way possible as they were both aiming for professional careers in or associated with music. As their higher education has progressed, they have decided to switch career paths. Sydney has now started a BA (Hons) degree in Media and Communications at Cardiff University and Neve has embarked upon a degree course in nursing. While we are obviously sad that they are leaving us, we feel incredibly proud that they are both leaving for the right reasons.
In recognizing Sydney and Neve’s contribution, LARS chairman Cerith Owens said: ‘I think you will all agree that it has been an absolute delight to have been able to share the LARS experience with them over the last couple of years. They are two lovely ladies and have been a delight to work with, professional in every aspect of their performance and have played a key part in helping to bond with and support their contemporaries.’
The final of this prestigious competition was streamed live on Zoom last Saturday to a large audience. The standard was incredibly high but LARS performer Lauren Williams shone on the night providing a varied programme of high quality and won the competition. LARS was delighted to see her success.
LARS is delighted to announce that Mavis Anderson is to be the first recipient of the LARS Volunteer Recognition Award. LARS could not function without a loyal family of volunteers and the Board of Trustees thought that the exceptional contribution of some volunteers needed to be acknowledged. They decided that Mavis Anderson should be the first person to receive this new award.
Mavis has raised over £12,000 for LARS. She has given an exceptional level of time and commitment unfailingly in support of LARS and in particular, this Award recognises the exemplary work undertaken by her not only in raising such money but in promoting LARS as well.
This award demonstrates the respect Mavis is held in by everyone belonging to or associated with LARS. We recognise the very considerable support and encouragement she has given to LARS and its members both past and present. Mavis has made herself readily available to undertake a range of tasks requiring commitment and diligence, involving herself fully in the work and furtherance of LARS.
We extend our most sincere thanks to Mavis for all she has done. All we can do now is wait for the circumstances to change so that we can present her with her award!
This award is part of a wider new LARS scheme, that you can read about on the bottom of the home page.
Congratulations to George Parker on being awarded the MBE in the recent Queens Birthday Honours. George is a most worthy recipient. We are proud to have enjoyed George’s friendship and support since LARS began. He has been steadfast and encouraging to us at all times throughout the development of our small charity and we feel sure that his loyalty and dedication will continue for many years to come.
We are proud that his extremely hard work in the community, over more than forty years, has been recognised. Local press reports of his award accurately describe him as a true gentleman with a kind heart. He has tirelessly supported a number of local charities in Carmarthenshire whilst employing hundreds of local people over many years.
It was with great sadness that we learned of the recent passing of Lawrence C.Murphy JP. Lawrence was a huge supporter of LARS, and indeed the local musical scene. He was a very well-liked and much-respected member of the local community.
He was instrumental in initiating the St Elli Masonic Lodge annual bursary award to a LARS member and personally bought the trophy that is presented each year. He was a stalwart supporter of LARS and always looked forward to the Night with the Stars annual concert and the St Elli Masonic Lodge’s Ladies Dining event, where LARS provided the music. He took a great interest in the musical development of our members.
It is indeed very touching that the family have held us in their thoughts at this time, with donations in lieu of flowers in memory of Lawrence being given to LARS. This is a touching and dear gesture for which we are very grateful
Liam lives in Gorseinon and is a former pupil of Ysgol Gyfun Gŵyr. He has just finished his second year at Gower College Swansea, studying A-Levels in Music, Drama, English Literature, French and History. Liam will focus on Music Technology in his third year at Gower College. We first met Liam when he competed in the Dunvant Male Choir Young Singers Competition earlier this year and were very impressed by his performance. We invited him to an informal audition and this was followed by an invitation to a formal audition – then the lockdown happened! With lockdown restrictions continuing to make live auditions impossible we decided that a virtual audition would be appropriate.
This took place on 12 August. The audition panel included all three of our musical advisors. Liam performed The Vagabond by Vaughan Williams and Du Bist die Ruh by Schubert. The musical advisors of LARS (Catrin Hughes, Andrew Pike and Stewart Roberts) were highly complimentary of his performance and he passed the audition with flying colours. We notified him last night of his success and promptly we received this reply: ‘I would like to thank you for this incredible opportunity to join such an amazing organisation, I cannot wait to start’, this response was well received by the Trustees.
Liam’s ambition is to become a classical performer, although he also enjoys performing other genres such as musical theatre. Along with a busy school life Liam has an excellent track record in Eisteddfodau competitions. He intends to complete his Grade 8 Flute exam this summer along with his ABRSM diploma in Singing. This year he intends to join ‘The Ariosa Singers’, the Swansea Philharmonic Choir, the Dunvant Male Choir and audition for the National Choir. Also, he hopes to join the Gilbert and Sullivan production in order to improve his confidence in performance with opera on stage, as well as continuing in competitions like the Dunvant Young Singers and the Eisteddfod. I know you all would like to join me in greeting Liam into LARS and to wishing him all the very best.
‘I am over the moon and a proud recipient!‘
That’s how Nikkila Thomas greeted the news of being one of the eight LARS members who received the 2020 LARS Bursaries. The others, Joseph Cavalli- Price, Osian Clarke, Lauren Fisher, James Oakley, Imogen Price, Sydney Richards and Lauren Elizabeth Williams have also expressed their delight and gratitude.
‘I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at Loud Applause Rising Stars for this very generous bursary that you have kindly awarded me, This will be a big help to me during my studies over this next year and I truly appreciate it.‘
‘I happily accept the terms of the bursary and am very grateful for this opportunity as I’m sure it will be a great help for funding my musical development.‘
Sydney Richards from Treorchy had this to say:
‘I’d like to thank you for considering my application and I’m very grateful for the amount you have given me. I look forward to being able to perform for you, hopefully, in the very near future.‘
‘Sincere thanks for the generous bursary and for your continued support and opportunities with LARS.‘
On behalf of Lauren Fisher, Debbie Gallagher Fisher says:
‘Lauren is delighted to receive the Friends of Lars Bursary – Thank you!‘
‘I would like to offer my sincere thanks for all the help, support and advice LARS has given me. Furthermore, I am completely overwhelmed at this offer and will ensure it is used to enhance my performance for LARS and aid in the promotion of LARS and all its artists and supporters and patrons.‘
The LARS Music Bursaries.
Despite the obvious financial restrictions over the last few months, we felt that it was still important to give this assistance to our young people. We are delighted to have been able to do so. This is again down to the invaluable support of the Friends of LARS – support which we have needed and appreciated more than ever this year – and the continued support of the other organisations who contribute to our Bursaries.
There are four types of bursaries available to LARS performers: Friends of LARS Bursaries, offered this year to Joseph Cavalli-Price, Osian Clarke, Lauren Fisher, Imogen Price and Sydney Richards; St Elli Masonic Lodge Music Bursary was given to James Oakley; Llanelli Grammar School Boys and Graig Former Pupils Music Bursary was awarded to Nikkila Thomas; Cronfa’r Utgorn Music Bursary was given to Lauren Elizabeth Williams.
LARS performers who wish to be considered for a bursary must complete a stringent application and review process with emphasis on how it would benefit their musical development. Past funding, for example, has been used for additional musical tuition, purchasing of music books, attending masterclasses and courses and paying expenses for interviews.
Friends of LARS have given £10,000 over the last four years for Bursaries. In 2017 £1,000 was donated, 2018 £2,000, 2019 £4,000 and in 2020, £3,000.
This is the fourth year that St Elli Masonic Lodge has sponsored a bursary. Under normal circumstances, the Lodge provides an opportunity for the successful recipient to perform and meet their sponsors at the Lodge’s annual Sunday Lunch and at the Ladies Dining functions. LARS has facilitated Llanelli Grammar School Boys and Graig Former Pupils Music Bursary for four years. One of the requisites for this bursary is that the recipient is a past or current pupil at a Llanelli school or college. The successful recipient performs at the annual dinner of the Association and at other selected functions. This is the second year that the Cronfa’r Utgorn Bursary has been awarded, given by a gentleman from Carmarthen who has a strong interest in supporting young people and the arts.
Loud Applause Rising Stars LARS members did exceptionally well in the Llanelli Rotary Young Musicians Competition held yesterday at Ysgol Y Strade. Lauren Fisher won the vocal category and the Area Competition – District Finals next in Blackwood !. Lauren Elizabeth Williams was runner up in the Area Competition. James Oakley also gave a praiseworthy performance. Congratulations / llongyfarchiadau
Samuel Wyn-Morris – Wonderful performance at Tabernacle Chapel, Morriston
Sam’s first appearance at this breathtaking Chapel, known as the Nonconformist Cathedral of Wales was as a guest of the Morriston Ladies Choir under the baton of Anthony Jones. It was a very enjoyable musical evening and along with the ladies choir Sam shared the stage with the Swansea Citadel Salvation Army Band.
Sam was on top form, accompanied by Andrew Pike a musical advisor to LARS, presented a lovely programme which included: Oh What a Beautiful Morning (Oklahoma), On the Streets Where you Live (My Fair Lady), Ar Hyd Y Nos, Stars from Les Misèrables and his interpretation of Ryan Davies’ Pan Fyddo’r Nos Yn Hir which always creates a big reaction.
Sam is performing at several concerts this year not only for LARS but also as guest soloist for Noteworthy Choir on the 11th May, Morriston Orpheus at Oystermouth on 13th July and Burry Port Band on the 20th July with other dates to be confirmed.
Osian Clarke – A praiseworthy recording for S4C’s Noson Lawen programme
Osian Clarke one of our most promising rising stars gave an outstanding performance in the recording of S4C’s Noson Lawen programme. The recording which was on Sunday 14th April at the transformed sports hall, Llanelli Leisure Centre was a memorable occasion and Osian shared the stage with a plethora of stars including the group Harmoni whose musical director is Catrin Hughes one of LARS’ musical advisors. Osian performed a lovely arrangement of Eryr Pengwern from the show ‘Heledd’
The recoding will be televised later this year – we’ll keep you posted.
The Fair Trade Party An Afternoon of Fun Entertainment to Raise Awareness and Celebrate Llanelli’s Achievement of its Fair Trade Status The Fair Trade Party event at Llanelli’s Selwyn Samuel Centre was first class enhanced by the excellent performances of LARS singers Lauren Fisher and Osian Clarke. They did LARS proud in the way they conducted themselves and performance – both receiving rapturous applause and encores from the packed function room. In the audience civic dignitaries were there in force, along with the general public and members from the other guest performers – Côr Meibion Llanelli, the Phil Harmonics Choir and Carmarthen Ukuleles. The organisers were delighted with the whole event and highly praised the LARS performers. Osian and Lauren were accompanied by Catrin Hughes and Andrew Pike. Osian performed Stars from Les Misèrables, Anfonaf Angel and Caro Mio Ben and Lauren performed a song by Caro Emerald, The Rose and Listen from Beynocé. If you are interested in Fair Trade Llanelli here is the Website address:
We are delighted to announce that Mezzo Soprano Nikkila Thoms has been successful in joining LARS. Nikkila is from Llanelli, a former chorister and soloist in the Hywel Girls Choir and Hywel Boy Singers, chorister with the Swansea Philharmonic Choir and now studying Voice and Opera at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. We warmly welcome her into LARS.
LARS – Loud Applause Rising Stars will be providing the entertainment once again for the Rotary Club of Mumbles in their annual charity Champagne Sunday Lunch at Langland Bay Golf Club this Sunday.
Performing will be Daisy Owens, Lauren Fisher and Jack Owens accompanied by LARS Musical Advisor Catrin Hughes Catrin Lleisiau’r Cwm.
Another sold out event for the Rotary Club this time in support of Talking Hands (a Swansea based group for young deaf people) and Forget Me Not Mumbles Branch (Dementia Care). A privilege for LARS to be supporting the great work of Rotary.
£3,500 in bursaries for members of LARS – Loud Applause Rising Stars
Six young members of LARS achieved bursaries totalling £2,000 from monies raised by the Friends of LARS. Annually LARS allocates a significant amount of their income achieved through various forms of fundraising to be able to award bursaries to successful applicants.
The arts are in difficult times and sourcing additional financial support is paramount for those studying music. Support is needed for vocal coaching, music lessons, attending music courses, travelling costs for interviews, music scores etc.
LARS is delighted to be in a position to help. The bursary money is made available from the ‘Friends of LARS’ support network and through fundraising events.
Our successful recipients were: Callum Howells, Lauren Fisher, Sydney Richards, Neve Summers, Keely Morgan and Osian Clarke. This is the second year for LARS to offer
bursaries. In addition this year £1,500 was made available to LARS members from three other bursaries: St Elli Masonic Lodge Music Bursary (Osian Clarke), Llanelli Grammar School Old Boys and Graig Former Pupils Association (Joseph Cavalli-Price) and the Gethin Hughes Bursary Award (Lauren Fisher).
LARS is grateful to all for their continued support.
Saturday 30th June 2018
Six members of LARS competed in the Gethin Hughes Bursary Competition at Ffwrnes Theatre, which was hosted by Côr Meibion Llanelli as part of their annual concert.
LARS members were Osian Clarke, Lauren Fisher, Daisy Owens, Jack Owens, Joseph Cavalli- Price and Neve Summers. The standard of the competition was exceptionally high and all were worthy winners, however only one could receive the bursary and the accolade went to Lauren Fisher. Congratulations to Lauren who was awarded a bursary of £750.
The feedback received from our other five members was that of gratitude as it had offered them great experience, exposure and confidence building. Our immense gratitude goes to Catrin Hughes who was stalwart in her support to them all day; this was the first time most had competed. It also gave them an uplift to see so many familiar faces in the audience.
The guest accompanist was the Jeffrey Howard and the adjudicators were Meinir Richards, Allan Fewster MBE and D. Hugh Rees.
The LARS singers performed:
Osian Clarke: O Del Mio Dolce Ardor (Von Gluck) and Stars (from Les Miserables)
Neve Summers: Can’t Help Lovin Dat Man (mus. Jerome Kern Words Hammerstein) and Lascia ch’io Pianga (G.F. Handel from Rinaldo)
Lauren Fisher: Maybe I like it that way (from the Wild Party) and And I’m telling you (from the movie Dreamgirls)
Daisy Owens: I’m a Star (by Scott Alan) and Nella Fantasia (by Ennio Morricone)
Jack Owens: Run Away with me and Sychwn Ddagrau
Joseph Cavalli-Price: Total Eclipse (Handel) and The Lotus Flower (Schumann)
Sunday 3rd June 2018
St Elli Masonic Music Bursary
The 2018 bursary was awarded to LARS member Osian Clarke from Tycroes. The presentation was at the Masonic Sunday Lunch in Stradey Park Hotel on 3rd June. Osian and his parents were totally unaware of the accolade until it was announced that day. He had been under the impression that he was there to perform only. He sang two songs beautifully and was accompanied by LARS Musical Advisor Andrew Pike. We are grateful to Andrew for supporting Osian that afternoon.
Andrew Pike read out a letter from Joseph Cavalli-Price, last year’s recipient of the bursary. It is worth noting that on May 19th Joseph was guest accompanist at the Royal Albert Hall at the Welsh Festival of Massed Voices (better known 1,000 voices), which part of his award for winning their young accompanist bursary.
A very special thank you to all those who have generously offered to sponsor our Promotional Video. The video will be released in the near future.
Successful LARS Candidates September 2017
LARS auditions were held on 3rd September 2017
Three very promising young singers were successful in their audition and were invited to the category of Aspiring Loud Applause Rising Stars:
The three new members were invited to perform in the LARS Soirée at Stradey Castle the following week on the 9th September – each gave a praiseworthy performances. LARS is looking forward to working with and helping to musically develop these young singers.
Stewart Roberts – new Musical Advisor
As a solo pianist Stewart has performed concertos by Grieg, Shostakovich, Mozart and Beethoven. His most recent performance was in the ‘Warsaw Concerto’ with the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra at St David’s Hall, Cardiff, and the orchestra has invited him to appear with them again in the near future.
We are delighted to welcome on board Stewart Roberts as one of our LARS Musical Advisors.
Stewart Roberts spent his childhood in Pembrokeshire, and when the family moved to Treorchy in the Rhondda he was educated at Treorchy Comprehensive School and later at the University of Wales in Cardiff. Whilst at Cardiff he studied the piano with Richard McMahon and Caroline Rae and cello with Chris Hodges. In 1995 he graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree, and was awarded the Eleanor Amy Bowen Scholarship which enabled him to pursue his Master’s Degree in 1996. In 2001, Stewart gained the LRSM Diploma in Piano Performance.
Stewart Roberts has accompanied many of Wales’ distinguished vocalists, including Rhys Meirion, Rebecca Evans, Shân Cothi, Wynne Evans and Anthony Stuart Lloyd, and in 2007 he accompanied Hayley Westenra in concert at St David’s Hall.
Stewart’s passion for male choral singing was ignited when he was appointed accompanist to Côr Meibion Morlais at the age of sixteen. Since then he has worked with Dunvant, Ynysowen and Only Men Aloud, and was Musical Director of Dowlais Male Choir 2000-2007. Following the retirement of John Samuel as Pendyrus’ Conductor on 14th January 2009, Stewart readily agreed to take up the baton, and he was formally appointed the fifth Musical Director in the choir’s 94 year history on 22nd February 2009. Two proud moments in Stewart’s career was winning ‘Choir of the Eisteddfod’ and ‘Best Conductor’ with Pendyrus in 2010 & 2012 at the Cardigan Semi-National Eisteddfod. Pendyrus also won best Male Choir at the same competition in 2017. Stewart was appointed accompanist to ‘Noteworthy Mixed Choir’ from Maesteg in 2014.
Stewart currently teaches in Ysgol Gyfun Y Cymer, Tonypandy Comprehensive and Treorchy Comprehensive giving instrumental and vocal lessons in addition to GCSE and A Level.
Stewart is delighted to become part of the LARS team and is looking forward to working closely with Cerith Owens, Catrin Hughes and Andrew Pike to give opportunities to young, talented singers and instrumentalists across South Wales.
LARS performs at Armed Forces Day in Swansea
4th June 2017
Again LARS was invited to provide young singers to perform at the City and County of Swansea’s Armed Forces Day Celebration in Castle Square.
Lauren Fisher, Daisy Owens and Jack Owens gave praiseworthy performances.
2017 Bursary Awards
The 2017 Bursaries were awarded in April.
Successful Applicants for LARS Bursaries:
Keely Morgan, Nia Rees, Joseph Cavalli-Price and Callum Rhys Williams
Successful Applicant for St Elli Masonic Lodge Music Bursary:
Successful Applicant for the Llanelli Grammar School Old Boys Union & Graig Former Pupils Association Music Bursary:
Information on LARS Bursary
A bursary is an amount of money given to a LARS member for the purpose of them being able to study and further develop their musical talents.
LARS will make available in March / April of each year financial support, a bursary, to those who meet the eligibility criteria below and have successfully demonstrated the need for additional help towards their musical development. Those wishing to apply will need to complete a pro-forma and be explicit in describing the reasons for the application and providing detailed costs.
The amount available to award each year.
Applicants may apply for other bursaries provided through LARS in the same financial year e.g. St Elli Masonic Lodge Music Bursary and the Llanelli Grammar School Old Boys Union & Graig Former Pupils Association Music Bursary.
The financial award will normally be for 1 year and will be made up of one payment transferred to the recipient’s bank account. Recipients will be eligible to apply in subsequent years subject to meeting all criteria.
Those under 18 years old will require the support of their parent or guardian before applying.
All candidates will require 2 appropriate referees one of which must be their musical coach/tutor.
Applicants may be requested to attend for interview with a panel made up of LARS trustees.
What we are looking for
We want to invest in talented artists who are performing or creating great music. You must be able to demonstrate that you are already making an impact. You should include in your biography any notable artistic achievements or career highlights to date. These could include:
Prestigious performances or engagements
Qualifications, prizes or awards
Eligibility for applicants
Existing members of Loud Applause Rising Stars and Aspiring Loud Applause Rising Stars who;
Has been a member for not less than 6 months
Can evidence their ongoing professional development
Made available 2 referees as specified.
Evidenced parental support where applicable
Have understood and worked to the agreed LARS Code of Conduct
Have represented LARS in an appropriate and professional manner at all times
Is in full time education or aspiring to become a musician
Completed the questionnaire with sufficient information and detailed costings
Provided an up to date CV and/or biography
Has made themselves available on an ongoing basis for LARS events
Able to evidence the need for financial support and the difference an award would make
Successful candidates must provide a report every 2 months on their progress
The LARS Charity will expect successful candidates to continue as active members for at least 12 months following an award being made.
Examples of eligible support
Master class attendance
Additional musical advice from an agreed coach/ tutor
Travel costs to perform or receive specialist training for a prestigious event
Equipment – contribution to a new musical instrument or refurbishment of existing item
Additional study costs
Additional lessons to increase repertoire