Photo by Colleen Gauntlett
Prior to our visit to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday 22nd May, on the evening before Nicky Smith of BBC Wales, with cameraman Rhodri and sound man Paul came to the choir hall to hear us sing and interview the Choir’s Public Relations Officer, Lyn Gauntlett and Musical Director Siân Hatton live on the television. Prior to that Lyn had to do a live interview on BBC Radio Wales (Afternoon Wales) from the satellite van parked outside.
The introduction to the radio broadcast was a recording of the Choir singing Gwahoddiad to lead into Lyn Gauntlett describing how the choir came to be invited to perform at Buckingham Palace and our reaction to it. Were we excited? Of course we were.
Similarly at the television broadcast, the lead in was the choir singing ‘God Bless the Prince of Wales’ before Nicky Smith described the choir hall surroundings and how this must be the biggest event in the choir’s history before asking Lyn again how did the invitation come about and how did we prepare for it. Nicky then moved onto Musical Director Siân to ask which music we swill be singing. The reply was ‘a mixture of Welsh Music and something romantic for Harry and Meghan. Nicky made some closing remarks before the choir broke into ‘Cwm Rhondda’ for the lead out. Nicky then took the time to stand with the choir for a photograph taken by Colleen Gauntlett.
How did all this come about? About a week or so before our appearance Lyn e-mailed BBC Wales with a press release of the visit to the Royal Albert Hall and Buckingham Palace but was advised that there would not be much interest because everyone would be wrapped up with the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. However, when it was learned that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would be making their first public appearance after the wedding at the Palace, Rebecca John of the BBC e-mailed Lyn to advise that he should send a modified Press Release which he did at 6-00am on Monday morning. Rebecca then telephoned Lyn at 10-00am to say that BBC Wales would like to come along to the Choir Hall to do a live broadcast for Wales Today evening news. Time to panic! Lyn then phoned chairman John Nicholson to ask if he could get some choristers to the hall by 6-15pm. John pulled out all the stops and in the end 65 choristers turned up together with some wives and partners.
Meanwhile Lyn spent most of the day on the phone to Radio Wales or texting Nicky to arrange the timings and format of the presentation. These things don’t just happen by themselves.
Anyway it all went off without a hitch at 6-50 pm, the BBC producer was very pleased in an acknowledgement and everyone who has seen the broadcast commented that it went very well and we should be proud of ourselves. It was later learned thet the item was broadcast again on BBC Wales Today on the following morning. We didn’t get to see it because we were on the bus to Buckingham Palace. It is now Saturday and the Choir is still buzzing after the experiences of the past week. A great time for our Choir.