About the Choir
Garndiffaith is a village located in Torfaen, in the Eastern Valley of South Wales. It is a small rural area situated between Talywain and Varteg, three miles north of the town of Pontypool and 3.5 miles south of the town of Blaenavon. It is part of the Abersychan suburb of Pontypool.
Situated near the old British coal mines and works, the Garndiffaith area is renowned for its agricultural and industrial heritage based on the mining of iron ore and coal. The choir practices at Zion Hill Community Centre in Pontnewynydd on Mondays from 7:30pm till 9:00pm.
The Zion Hill Community Centre provides us with excellent practice facilities. We have a large Practice Room with a first class piano. There is a large hall adjacent to the practice room where we can hold concerts. The Community Centre has a bar and catering facilities.
What we do:
We are also available to sing at Weddings
Want to join us?
We are always looking for new choristers. If you enjoy singing, come along to a practice. No experience is necessary (there is no voice test),but you must be able to sing in tune, we have a first class musical team who will teach you all you need to know, you don't need to read music. We practice every Monday evening between 7:30pm and 9:00pm – just turn up. You’ll get a very warm welcome in a relaxed and layed-back atmosphere and can join us in the bar afterwards! for a pint.Lets keep the Male Voice Choir tradition on track, when its gone its gone for ever. thankyou
Musical Director & Pianist
John Jolley – Musical Director
Born in the Isle of Man, John’s musical career started with studying piano with Mona Goldsmith and the organ with Doctor of Music George Tootell, resulting, at the age of fifteen, to him becoming Organist and Choirmaster at Loch Parade Methodist Church in Douglas. He had been a member of the Douglas Town Band from the age of nine.He was accepted into the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Staff Band as Principal Euphonium at the age of 18. He served for eight years also playing Piano, String Bass and Pipe Organ. After service he became a professional musician in the entertainment industry and appeared with many top line artists.
In the sixties John came to Wales demonstrating the Hammond Organ and studied singing at Cardiff College of Music with Gerald Davies, also Covent Garden Soprano, Jenny Maud. In the eighties he was involved as Musical Director of the Pontypool and the Blaenavon Brass Bands after which he became Musical Director of Newport Male Voice Choir for a period of five years until ill health forced retirement.
From March 1996 until 2012 he was the very successful Musical Director of Blaenavon Ladies Choir. In addition he was associated with The Gleemen as their accompanist on several tours in 2000/2001 prior to accepting the permanent role of official accompanist in 2003. During this period both choirs benefited from John’s exceptional talent for arranging musical scores. Following Gethin Banfield’s retirement, the choir was extremely fortunate that John accepted the post of The Garndiffaith Gleemen’s Musical Director; a role we hope will continue for many years!
Gareth Kibble – Accompanist
Born in Caerphilly, Gareth attended the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama from year nine until the end of sixth form. Following school he attained a degree in music and his Masters Degree in Advanced Musical Studies from Cardiff University. Although piano is his principal instrument he enjoys playing saxophone, guitar and drums. Currently he leads a Soul / Funk / Rock Band named “Maddie and the Pandas” playing Keyboards, saxophone and backing vocals. He teaches piano, guitar and drums privately and at several primary schools. Although new to the role of male voice accompanist, he has successfully integrated into the role of the choir’s accompanist, has performed well in practice and at concerts and has become a valued asset to the Gleemen.
Photos from the past
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The Choir was formed in 1949 originating in the Village of Garndiffaith, located in the eastern edge of the South Wales Coalfield. Horace Carter, Musician and local businessman established the Choir as a competition choir in the "Glee" category, this being a choir staging up to forty voices. It soon became a success in local Eisteddfdaiand and in National Competitions. During this period of twenty-severn years the choir was fortunate to have the same Musical Team and Chairman.
The Choir continued to thrive establishing a more social outlook in participating in National Male Voice Concerts, and frequent concert tours to Germany, Canada and U.K. Venues. The Choir continues the long standing Tradition of holding an Annual Remembrance Concert, inviting local dignitaries and fine soloists from the Welsh National Opera. The Concert is held on the Saturday evening prior to Armistice Sunday at the Garndiffaith Millennium Hall.
During the lifetime of the Choir fortunately we have had only three musical directors, Horace Carter, Gethin Banfield and John Jolley. Presently Gareth Kibble is the Choirs first class Accompanist. The Choir is a registered Charity, and continues to support local charities and community groups throughout the South Wales Area, we are also available to perform at Weddings and Functions if it does not clash with our normal concert appearances.
Events in 2020
It is with regret The Garndiffaith Gleemen Male Voice Choir is suspending all Concerts and practices for the foreseeable future following advice of the Government and the Welsh Association of Male Voice Choirs.We are sorry for any inconvenience caused. Keep washing your hands