“Songs, Shanties & Smiles”
“Fabulous Cornish, nautical and shanty songs presented with smiles, by the group who have represented Cornwall live on national ITV breakfast programmes; at the prestigious Festival Interceltique in Lorient Brittany; and from the Boardmaster’s stage in Newquay.”
Oll an Gwella Male Chorus is delighted to confirm that bookings are now being accepted for our performances and we have a busy year looking forward, honouring bookings for postponed weddings and the majority of major Cornish Festivals, celebrations and garden parties. We were ‘up with the larks’ as we appeared with presenter, Andi Peters, from Watergate beach in a July 2021 feature as part of ITV’s ‘Good Morning Britain’ and the ‘Lorraine’ shows. We cautiously managed our, post-covid, summer ’21 and our pre-Christmas programme of choral performances, and we were still keen to keep our audiences (& ourselves) as safe as possible and appropriately jabbed & boosted (thank you NHS!)!
We are again meeting regularly for a busy rehearsal programme, usually held (6.30-8.00pm on a Thursday) at “The Newquay Centre” in St Michael’s Road, Newquay, and we have on occasion, made arrangements for guests & visitors to join us.
Just prior to the first lockdown in January 2020, we recorded a number of songs which now feature on our 3rd Charity CD “From the Heart of Cornwall” which is available from members (or see webpage “Music”). The 15 songs featured on this latest CD, raising money for charity, include Cornish favourites “Cornwall my Home”, “Camborne Hill, “Lamorna”, “Cornish Farewell Shanty”, “Trelawny” and “The White Rose” along with a couple of songs that have delighted Welsh audiences on our visits to South Wales ”Calon Lan” and “Eli Jenkins Prayer”. The rest of the songs on the album represent the Sea Shanty and mining influences of our Cornish homeland, along with songs which confirm our Male Voice Choir background. … in fact the CD is pretty representative of an Oll an Gwella performance.
CD sales to date together with donations and collections from before ‘lockdown’ have enabled us still to contribute funds to each of our chosen charities – Cornwall Blood Bikes and Cornwall Hospice Care – both very worthwhile local charities which have suffered as they have been unable to run their usual charity fund-raising programme. Recent – 2022 – cheques have been presented to each of our 2 charities for £2,000 and this brings our distribution of charity funding to a total of £31,695.14 since 2015 when our charity account was opened.
Oll an Gwella choristers urge everyone to ‘stay safe’ as we return to encouraging smiles … and supporting good local causes … with our wide range of songs, shanties and laughter.
Who are we? ….. Oll an Gwella consists of a bunch of beauties! All members of Newquay Male Voice Choir, they are a rehearsed, a cappella, male chorus with a repertoire consisting of over 100 songs including Shanties, Cornish folk, 1960s classics, seasonal & sacred music.
Combining their 4-part harmony with infectious humour the group has earned wide acclaim for their extensive repertoire. Wherever they find themselves, Oll an Gwella’s mission is to spread their joy of singing amongst others and everyone is encouraged to participate – from pensioners to youngsters in school workshops. The group’s reputation and popularity has grown steadily with their repertoire. Normally annually, the group perform “Songs about the Sea” at both the International Shanty Festival in Falmouth and Newquay Fish Festival; they were asked to sing a programme which included a song about flying at a reception to celebrate 100 years of the RAF; they were booked to sing a range of mining songs at a reception in Pendennis Castle, hosted by ‘Cornish Lithium’ as the extraction industry looks again at possibilities in Cornwall; and separately, booked to sing Cornish Folk songs (with some Kernewek – the Cornish language) at both a reception hosted by Cornwall Council to recognise minority Celtic languages and, for both a German and London-based film crew.
Whilst entertaining for pleasure, they have raised thousands of pounds for local charities and significant donations have been made to “The Cove” Cancer Centre in Truro and to the ‘RNLI’. ‘Cornwall Blood Bikes’ and ‘Cornwall Hospice Care’ are the group’s current chosen charities (in total, Oll an Gwella have been responsible for donating more than £30,000 from money received in lieu of appearance fees and CD sales) .
Oll an Gwella have been delighted to accept invitations to sing at numerous shows and festivals, especially pre-covid. In 2016 they represented Cornwall at the “Festival Interceltique” in Lorient, Brittany, with 16 performances over a 10-day period, singing to many of the 700,000 visitors attending. In a 12-week period in the summer of 2018, they showed their versatility, with lyrics in Cornish, Welsh and French, as they entertained at the Royal Cornwall Agricultural Show; organised a sea-shanty cruise down the river Fal; performed in Cornish at the “Gorsedh Kernow” cultural festival; auditioned for “Britains got Talent”, performed at a charity concert in Pontypridd and opened the main stage at “Boardmasters” Music Festival, singing a specially commisioned George Ezra number. They have exported their distinctive harmonies across England and Wales and invites to France have seen performances in St Malo, Dinard and Dinan (as well as Lorient). They have shown themselves to be equally at home singing on elaborate festival sound stages, on the deck of the “Cutty Sark” or in Cathedrals, Schools, retirement homes and nursing homes. They have broadcast live on local radio and have been recorded by “Spotlight” for BBC Television. April 2019 saw them singing at the UK’s most popular Charity Garden Day when they performed at “Tregothnan Gardens” for iSight Cornwall and in May they were appointed as stewards at the Cornwall International Male Choral Festival as choirs visited Healey’s Cider Farm for an informal day of songs and smiles. They are often engaged to perform at weddings and funerals, offering bespoke performances and they volunteer to sing in “Memory Cafes”, nursing-homes and schools where their choral workshops encourage children’s singing. October 2019 brought a celebration of their 10 years support for the local community. They enjoyed a fabulous trip to Morlaix and Henvic in Brittany, singing in concert with “La Cle des Chants” choir in Morlaix and with “Voisins Voix’in” and “Les Marins des Legendes” choral groups based in Henvic – and enjoying the generous French hospitality offered! Emerging from the Covid pandemic, in July 2021, Oll an Gwella were delighted to be asked to represent the Cornish Choral Scene with a live performance on national Television with Andi Peters when he visited Watergate Bay for ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” and the “Lorraine” show.