A Tarporley-based women’s choir at the Llangollen International Music Festival this week to learn from the experience of being part of one of Europe’s premier choral events.
It’s part of a three-year plan by Kathleen Ryan, a retired musician who took on the role of musical director to the Decibellas Women’s Choir of Tarporley 18 months ago.
The Canadian, who has a master’s degree in conducting from the University of Toronto, moved to the UK in 2000 and set up home in Kelsall after marrying her husband, Dr Thomas Anthony Ryan.
Katie, as she prefers to be known, says the choir visited last year’s Llangollen festival and she wanted to take her charges back so they could hear and learn from choirs from all over the world.
She said: “The choir was formed in 2010 and when I took on the job of musical director we came up with a three-year plan. The idea was to start small and grow by taking part in local, then national and ultimately international events.
“We visited Llangollen last year and thought it was just amazing. This year we are performing non-competitively both at the festival and at St John’s Church in the town on the Thursday, July 9.”
She added: “As a choir we meet every Thursday evening at Tarporley Primary School and have more than 65 active members of which around 35 will be going to Llangollen.
“Our women come from all walks of life and aren’t just from Tarporley. We have women from surrounding villages as well as Chester and beyond who attend every Thursday. They really are committed and want to improve.
“It’s a dynamic choir and we are touring southern Italy next year and as well as competing in Cardiff.
“However, this year is all about learning and I really want our members to experience Llangollen and to listen to these amazing choirs from around the world that will be competing at the festival.”
Katie says she also wants to encourage any other women from the Tarporley area interested in joining the choir to get in touch.
She said: “We have women from all walks of life who are committed and eager to improve and perform at a high standard. We support a number of charities and the idea is to raise as much as we can.
“We rehearse between 7.30pm and 9.30pm at the school and we’d love to welcome any new members. Just get in touch and join a group of women with lots of different skills that enjoy singing and want to be the best they possibly can be.”
Eilir Owen Griffiths, music director of the Eisteddfod, said: “The Decibellas couldn’t have chosen a better place to learn about competition and choral signing, Llangollen is the UK’s premier choral competition.
“It’s wonderful to have them here and I’m sure they’ll be back and in the thick of competition before very long.”
To learn more about The Decibellas – Women’s Choir of Tarporley visit www.decibellas.co.uk
To book tickets and for more details on the 2015 festival go to the website at www.international-eisteddfod.co.uk