ASTANA – The Astana Opera theatre will hold a gala concert Feb. 27 dedicated to the Welsh people, land and culture and commemorating the March 1 death of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales.
“The concert is all about the National Day of Wales, which is March 1. It will be a collection of old, new and traditional Welsh music with a male-voice choir, a harpist, a brass quintet, a children’s choir and a mixed choir,” said Ross Clarke, conductor and one of the organisers of the concert in an interview to the Astana Times.
The performance will feature the world premiere of “Llansteffan Bridge” by Simon Wills, traditional Welsh songs and hymns and other works by the nation’s composers, according to a written announcement from the opera.
“I have organised the concert with the help of many people, including Gareth Stamp, president of the Astana Rotary Club,” said Clarke, adding the support from his entourage was sufficient to coordinate the event.
The goal of the concert, as he explained it, is to “spread the word about our nation, which is often unknown as one of the four members of the United Kingdom, and to show how rich the cultures are. Customs include parades in town centres, normally a big feast, often a concert featuring male-voice choirs, the wearing of daffodils and often traditional Welsh folk dancing. Daffodils [are] in Wales at this time of year. Spring is beginning and it is always the first flower in spring, so in many places the country is covered in daffodils,” Clarke said.
March 1 is the day of celebration of St David’s life and achievements and the culture in Wales and countries with large Welsh communities, such as Canada and the United States. Saint David was recognised as a national patron saint at the height of the Welsh resistance to the Normans, and Saint David’s Day has been celebrated by Welsh diaspora since the late Middle Ages. Many people attend special church services, parades, choral recitals or Welsh literature readings. Schools plan celebrations often involving choirs.