A talented young baritone who has been dubbed a new Bryn Terfel will be returning to North Wales take a starring role in a popular gala concert making a post-Covid comeback.
Tickets are now on sale for the musical spectacular where Emyr Lloyd Jones, 25, will share the stage with the award winning NEW Sinfonia orchestra for their New Year Gala at St Giles’ Church in Wrexham on Saturday, January 7.
Earlier this year the powerful vocalist clinched the prestigious Pendine International Voice of the Future title at the 75th Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod when his “astounding” performance was compared to a young Bryn Terfel
He won a £3,000 prize, to help further his musical career, from the Pendine Arts and Community Trust (PACT) which supports cultural and community initiatives across Wales.
Now the PACT trust has got behind the vibrant gala being staged by NEW Sinfonia, a stand-out orchestra founded a decade ago by Wrexham-born brothers Robert and Jonathan Guy, and comprising multi-talented instrumentalists from North Wales.
The trust donated £1,000 to help stage the gala, a much loved annual event which will be back to its usual live format for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Robert Guy said the entire orchestra is hugely grateful for the sponsorship from PACT.
The trust was set up by art and music lovers Mario and Gill Kreft who own Pendine Park care organisation, which has care homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon, to support community and arts activities in Wales.
Mario said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that Emyr will be taking centre stage at the gala concert which has become a tour de force on the cultural calendar of Wrexham.
“Having witnessed Emyr’s bravura winning performance at Llangollen, I know the audience at St Giles are in for a real treat and they will have the opportunity to enjoy the talent of a superstar of the future.”
Robert said: “The support from PACT and Mario and Gill is massively appreciated, both from a financial viewpoint, but also their dedication to the orchestra and absolute commitment to furthering the arts in our community.”
Robert was on the judging panel at the Voice of the Future competition in July where Emyr won in a thrilling sing-off against soprano Oksana Lepska, of Latvia.
He said: “You could tell immediately that he is a great talent with the potential to go far. His baritone voice is astounding. It has become something of a tradition for the winner of the Voice of the Future title to sing solo at the NEW Sinfonia gala and this year we couldn’t be happier than to have Emyr in the spotlight.
“I can promise audiences they are about to witness an operatic superstar in the making.”
Emyr comes from Bontnewydd, Gwynedd, the son of proud parents Derek and Gillian Jones. He grew up less than 10 miles away from the place where his singing hero Sir Bryn Terfel was raised in Pantglas.
He said he was overjoyed to have been asked to perform at the gala, especially as it is in Wrexham, not far from the Gresford home of his former singing tutor Brian Hughes.
He said: “I have never performed at St Giles Church before but I know the setting is just dazzling and I can’t wait to be in the middle of that fantastic atmosphere with the whole audience buzzing. I’ve heard so much about past galas and I know everyone gets into the spirit of the occasion, creating a joyous mood.”
The New Year gala became a hugely popular yearly event at St Giles Church, but for the past two years it has had to be curtailed due to the impact of pandemic lockdowns and social distancing.
Robert said: “We are all so looking forward to returning to the live format and recreating the energetic and electrifying atmosphere that has become synonymous with the gala in previous years.”
It will be one of the first major events held at St Giles following the visit of King Charles and the Queen Consort Camilla, who this month attended a service there celebrating Wrexham having gained city status.
Robert said: “It really will be a celebration of the new, as well as the New Year, there are exciting new projects happening with our own orchestra and communities all round Wrexham.
“Tickets are on sale now and we advise people to book early as the event usually sells out. There is seating for 450 and we are hoping everyone will sing-a-long to classic compositions from around the world including Blue Danube, Bolero, Sabre Dance and of course Auld Lang Syne.”
Along with some classic arias Emyr will sing two traditional Welsh pieces, Y Cymry, and Pan fo’r nos yn hir (When the Night is long) by Ryan Davies.
He said: “I chose the Ryan Davies number as I have fond memories of watching the Ryan and Ronnie television show when I was younger.”
Emyr has performed with NEW Sinfonia previously including at the 2022 North Wales International Music Festival in St Asaph.
In the weeks just before the gala Emyr will be visiting the Welsh-language speaking settlement of Patagonia in Argentina to spend Christmas with his fiancé, singer Rhiannon Ashley, who is on a work placement teaching in Patagonia.
Lionel Messi fan, Emyr said: “I booked the trip some months ago as we wanted to spend Christmas together but who would have known at the time that Argentina would make it to the finals of the World Cup. Getting to watch it with Argentine fans over there was a chance in a million.”
After the New Year Gala Emyr will be heading back to London where he is studying at the Guildhall School of Music.
He will then go into rehearsals for a modern opera Dead Man Walking composed by American Jake Heggie.
The NEW Sinfonia New Year Gala will be staged at St Giles Church, Wrexham, on January 7 from 3-5pm. Tickets can be booked via the NEW Sinfonia website: www.NEWsinfonia.org.uk or from Wrexham Tourist Board.