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Swansea International Festival returns for 2017

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THE 2017 Swansea International Festival heralds in the autumn with a wealth of such exciting and diverse national and international talent that it will be impossible not to tempt you out and about for the next two weeks!

For the opening concert at the Brangwyn Hall, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conducted by Tecwyn Evans, will play a programme of Copland and Dvorak, with Karl Jenkins’ harp concerto, Over the Stone, being performed by brilliant Welsh harpist Catrin Finch.

BBC NOW are also making a return to the Festival with their successful Family Concert, conducted by Clark Rundell and compered by Naomi Wilkinson – a regular face on CBBC and CITV.

With music from films such as The Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Simpsons this has proved to be a popular event for families when introducing their youngsters to the fun of live music – as well as giving them the opportunity to try out some instruments for themselves before the concert!

If you like your music a little more avant-garde then take in The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments with their adventure in words and music based on the writings of Francis Bacon. Performing on extraordinary lost instruments from history they conjure a special world of music, physics, theatre and philosophy Or go along and hear percussionist extraordinaire Joby Burgess and his adrenalin-fuelled Powerplant concert where he uses an aluminium harp, typewriter, giant steel sheet, electronics and video with such musical athleticism that it will astound you!

Take in a whole day of activity on October 8 when you can hear a recital from talented young pianist Tim Horton, enjoy lunch with the Festival Friends, then a talk by broadcaster Stephen Johnson and a piano recital by Wales’ own international talent Llŷr Williams.

Next week is just as busy with organist Jonathan Hope giving his own live improvisation to the 1925 Lon Chaney classic silent film, Phantom of the Opera; Thomas Carroll’s Orpheus Sinfonia, performing in Swansea for the first time; two very much home-grown plays – Granton Street and Not About Heroes; the Russian State Opera with two of Puccini’s most powerful operas – Madam Butterfly and Tosca; Ballet Cymru’s delightful new ballet The Light Princess and James Wilton Dance’s athletic contemporary ballet Leviathan.

There is a unique opportunity to hear Lord Heseltine in conversation with Jamie Owen, A Primary Schools Festival and Free Lunchtime Lectures and a Morriston Hospital Music Festival – and much, much more.

Two concerts round off the Festival for 2017 – The Dunvant Male Choir and Morriston RFC Male Choir, with soloist Gwawr Edwards, sing some of your most well-loved songs in their concert on 13 October and on 14 October the St.Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Dmitriev, with solo cellist Tim Hugh, will bring the Festival to a rousing finale.

See Festival website for full details on: www.swanseafestival.org

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‘Knife attacker’ remanded into custody

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A CARMARTHEN man accused of ‘repeatedly’ stabbing another man in Bridge Street on Friday (Dec 8) was remanded into custody until January.

Gareth George Edwards, 44, of Priory Street, indicated two guilty pleas to charges of maliciously wounding Michael Byard with the intent of causing grievous bodily harm and possessing a bladed article in a public place, namely a kitchen knife.

Representing Edwards, David Williams made no submissions at this stage.

No application for bail was made, and Edwards was remanded into custody until he appears at Swansea Crown Court on January 8.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “Following an incident in Bridge St, Carmarthen on Friday afternoon, Dec 8, at around 4.30pm, three people have been charged.

“A 44 year old man has been charged with Section 18 Assault and Possession of an Offensive Weapon and is due appear at Llanelli Magistrates court today, Dec 11.

“A 50 year old man has been charged with Common Assault and bailed to appear at Llanelli Magistrates Court on Thursday, Dec 28.

“A 43 year old woman has been charged with Assault and bailed to appear at Llanelli Magistrates Court on Thursday, Dec 28.”

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Snow causes school closures across county

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SEVERAL snows across Carmarthenshire are closed today (Dec 11) as heavy snowfall overnight has caused hazardous conditions.

The current list of schools closed in Carmarthenshire this morning consists of:

  • Beca
  • Brynasaron (Llangeler)
  • Cae’r Felin
  • Carreg Hirfaen
  • Llanllwni
  • Llanybydder
  • Rhys Prichard Llandovery
  • Talley / Talyllychau

All of the closures cite snow as the reason.

The council’s website states for Talley / Talyllychau: “The majority of staff are unable to make it in, plus the taxi service have informed us that they are unable to collect the children from the most rural areas.”

Over the weekend a weather warning was issues for the majority of the UK as snow fell and temperatures dropped.

You can check the status of your child’s school on the Carmarthenshire County Council website: http://www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/home/residents/education-schools/emergency-school-closures#.Wi5Sokpl_IU

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Christmas parcel delivered to Glangwilli Hospital

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BLISS, the UK’s leading premature and sick baby charity, has donated Christmas parcels to every neonatal unit in Wales – including Glangwilli Hospital – to make sure that babies and their parents know that they are not alone this Christmas.

The Christmas gifts will arrive at the neonatal units this week and will be distributed by unit staff and volunteers.

The parcels, which also contain gifts for parents, comprise of: a Bliss teddy bear, dungarees, photo frame, children’s book, snacks and toiletries. The parcel includes additional information about the support parents can receive from Bliss. The majority of these gifts have been donated by Bliss’ corporate partners including Pampers, Mothercare, Barnack Confectionary and Mush.

Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive at Bliss said: “Having a baby on the neonatal unit can be an isolating experience for parents – especially at Christmas. We hope through this small gesture, we can let parents know that they aren’t alone.

“Bliss would like to thank all of our corporate partners who helped to make this project possible. We hope that if the scheme is successful we will be able to roll the Christmas parcels out nationwide in future to reach all parents with a baby in neonatal care at Christmas.”

Head of Nursing for Children’s Services for NHS Wales Eirlys Thomas said: “On behalf of all the parents and babies we would like to thank Bliss for their kind donations. They will certainly cheer up all the parents who will need to spend Christmas in hospital with their babies.”

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