News & Events



A great opportunity for any singers interested in renaissance music to work with our conductor, Luke Spencer, at a one day workshop in November. Application details are on the website of  



Sat.4th Nov., 2023.  

St.Ismael's Church Hall, Uzmaston, near Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, SA62 4AA. Registration 9.30 am, event 10 am - 4.30 pm. Optional event 4.45-5.45pm. Cost: £22 Early Music Forum Members, £26 non-members, £5 students.  



Cyfle arbennig i gantorion sydd a diddordeb mewn cerddoriaeth ‘renaissance' i weithio gyda ein arweinydd Luke Spencer, mewn gweithdy un diwrnod ym mis Tachwedd.  Manylion pellach i wneud cais i fod yn bresennol, ar wefan BORDER MARSHES EARLY MUSIC  

GWEITHDY I GANTORION GYDA LUKE SPENCER, Sadwrn, y 4ydd Dachwedd, 2023.  

Yn Neuadd Eglwys St. Ishmael, Uzmaston, ger Hwlffordd, Sir Benfro, SA62 4AA.

Cofrestru am 9.30am  - Y digwyddiad o 10yb – 4.30yp

Digwyddiad dewisol – 4.45-5.45yp

Pris:  £22 i Aelodau Fforwm Cerddoriaeth Cynnar

Pris:  £26 i rhai heb Aelodaeth,    £5 – Myfyrwyr      

Click here for more information on the Workshop    

The Paul Sartori Foundation

 Côr Dyfed Choir presented The Paul Sartori Foundation with a cheque for £7,666.32

Côr Dyfed Choir presented The Paul Sartori Foundation with a cheque for £7,666.32, the money raised from the Carols by Candlelight concert in St Davids Cathedral on December 10th    

Rose Bowen retired after 45 years singing in Côr Dyfed Choir

 Rose Bowen retired after 45 years singing in Côr Dyfed Choir

Rose Bowen retired after 45 years singing in Côr Dyfed Choir and acting as concert organiser from 2011. The choir presented her with several gifts including, appropriately, a rose for her garden.    

Saying Goodbye to Oli


Last month on July 8th the choir held their last rehearsal under Oli's baton, singing some of their favourite short pieces, and ending the evening with a farewell presentation.  

After eight years as our Music Director, Oli is heading north to Yorkshire to take up a new post at Selby Abbey.  

He will be sorely missed, but we wish him every success and happiness in the future. We will be able to look back on many wonderful and varied concerts directed by him in St Davids Cathedral and local churches.  

Thanks to his careful attention to detail in rehearsal and meticulous preparation we were always confident on the day!  

Concerts include no less than three performances of The Messiah, and also many others in the cathedral and various local churches. Some particularly memorable dates include ‘ A Feast of Renaissance Music ' with The City Musick in July 2014, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle, with piano and harmonium in 2016 and all the fabulous concerts celebrating our 50th Anniversary Year, culminating in a truly memorable performance of the Verdi Requiem with British Sinfonietta.  

However, there was still time in November 2017 for the challenging and thrilling experience of singing Two Great Organ Masses by Langlais and Vierne. inspiringly accompanied by Simon earce on the cathedral organ. But there are so many more concerts to remember, so look them up on this website and savour the memories!

Follow the concerts, past concerts links.  

We all have our special concert favourites, and there are many more occasions to refer to and remember with pride and gratitude, not least all those Zoom rehearsals led by Oli and accompanied by Stuart, which have helped to keep so many of us focussed and connected in recent times.  

So to Oli,

Thank you from us all! ​  



In recent years, not long before the start of the afternoon rehearsal with orchestra in St Davids Cathedral, you may have noticed a particular young man quietly arranging seating for the players, connecting cables for their stand lights, and checking space allocation for larger instruments. Later that evening you may have seen the same young man, in concert dress, behind the timps playing with the rest of the orchestra.

This is Dave Danford, professional percussionist and founder of the British Sinfonietta and an established orchestral contractor working in the UK, providing orchestras and ensembles of professional musicians for concerts, films and theatre productions.

But that tells only part of Dave's story…….  

In February 2020, with the Covid pandemic just beginning, the Dyfed choir had the sad task of cancelling our next two concerts, which included the British Sinfonietta. From that time, orchestras around the world stopped live performances and Dave Danford was a casualty of the pandemic.

Dave appeared on the television news one evening, telling the plight of musicians everywhere, and delivering parcels for Hermes! Not an ounce of self-pity though, but a wry humour as he described selling his lovely instruments' van and buying a banger. "It starts second time, so I suppose you could call it reliable" was his comment. That seems to sum up Dave's positive and flexible attitude to life and probably helped him to achieve so much in a short time, and across so many genres of music.

Dave readily accepted our invitation to talk to the choir on Zoom and kept us captivated with his anecdotes.  

He was born in Swansea to a scientist Mum and an IT Dad. He remembers his first introduction to music as a very small boy, with his elbows on the stage of a ceilidh band "Juice" where his Uncle Dave was the caller. To his great excitement the drummer of the band allowed him to try out his drums, and he was hooked!  

Like many mothers, Dave's Mum hoped he'd try a smaller, less noisy instrument to play as he grew up, and he was encouraged to learn piano and classical guitar.  However, in secondary school he got the chance to take drum lessons. Dave also learned the xylophone and glockenspiel and played in a County Youth Ensemble, an experience he urges all young aspiring musicians to try out. This led on to the National Youth Orchestra of Wales and also National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain.

Alongside this classical training Dave became involved with electronic music and enjoyed being a nightclub DJ.  

In the 6th form Dave realized that there really was a career path as a professional musician and he went on to study at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. He was inspired by Dame Evelyn Glennie to play the marimba and was the first percussionist to win a major competition.  

In 2012 Dave was asked by conductor and composer Eilir Owen Griffiths to put an orchestra together for the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen, and orchestral organizing  then became a major part of his life, arranging up to 30 concerts a year. His first orchestra was named the "Welsh

Session Orchestra" but Sir Karl Jenkins suggested a change to the "British Sinfonietta" as he thought that London venues might balk at the thought of all those travelling expenses from Wales! (In fact, many of the players lived near London).   ​  



Côr Dyfed was very glad to welcome Sam Howley back to the fold to take a vocal workshop with us earlier this month. Sam has been a good friend of the choir for many years, as our accompanist and as a singing teacher.  He is an accomplished composer of choral works, operas and instrumental pieces. In fact, just prior to our workshop, we heard that Sam was a winner in an international competition for composing a work for Baroque violin and harpsichord.  

Closer to home, and during Lockdown, Sam has composed two new pieces for the Dyfed Choir. We are currently rehearsing "Voices in the Wind" with words by Peter George, and "I Wandered Lonely, as a Cloud", a piece based on Wordsworth's poem. We are very much looking forward to hearing ourselves sing these pieces live, rather than on Zoom.  

The workshop took place over two Zoom sessions during which the choir was reminded how to sing correctly. Not as obvious as it sounds. Posture and breath control is everything as is loose clothing – "buy a bigger dress or suit", Sam says. Breathe purposefully but don't over-breathe. Open your mouths, drop jaws (north/south not west/east) and don't worry about the faces you make.

It seems that the English aren't as good as the Welsh at this! Imagine that you have a boiled egg in your mouth or a golf ball (but don't try this at home).  

Shoulders down, back straight, as if a string from the ceiling is running from head to base of spine. And don't frown, lift eyebrows. It made a surprising difference to the sound when we tried singing both ways. Keep your tongue flat in the base of your mouth.  

Maybe the most useful tip for me was "if it hurts you're doing it wrong". My move to the tenor section from the altos a few years ago suggests that I should have heeded the warning years earlier!

So, thank you Sam - you've made us all realise that learning the notes is a doddle compared to actually singing them!  

Kathy Sleigh   ​  

A tribute to Gwyn Phillips

​   A tribute to Gwyn Phillips

It was with great sadness that we received news in April during lockdown that Gwyn Phillips, one of the choir stalwarts, had passed away. Over a span of half a century Gwyn undertook a variety of roles within the choir and performed them all with quiet efficiency. These included: Chairman, Treasurer, for many years, and as a member of the publicity sub-committee where he was responsible for, amongst other things, planning and siting of the banner and the roadside signs advertising concerts. He was also the stage erection manager and, as choir marshal, had the unenviable task of arranging the concert seating. This job entails liaising with administration representatives of relevant venues and measuring precisely how the stage fits in with its surroundings; no mean task and such was Gwyn's meticulous diligence and unassuming manner, that choir members could always depend upon his careful planning.  

Gwyn was blessed with a calm and pleasant temperament. Liked by all, he always remained unruffled despite the inevitable challenges and occasional crises which arise at concert time. He also possessed a fine bass voice and was a dependable chorister. His absence will be felt most keenly by the bass section.  

Gwyn had other interests in life apart from the choir: as an enthusiastic yachtsman he was involved in the running of Neyland Yacht Club for many years. He also shone as a footballer in his younger days, playing as a defender for Fishguard, his home town. He recounted the time when Fishguard Sports reached the final of the Pembrokeshire Cup which unfortunately clashed with a Côr Dyfed Choir Concert at St Davids. His decision to sing in the concert rather than play football is a tribute to his loyalty and commitment to the choir. Although it is said that no one is indispensable, Gwyn's shoes will be very hard to fill and we will miss him terribly.  

We extend our deepest sympathy to Berry and the family.  

Rest in peace, Gwyn.  


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