Abergavenny based a cappella men’s choir ‘Synergy’ was awarded the accolade of Best UK Male Choir in a competition as part of the prestigious bi-annual Cornwall International Male Choral Festival in Truro Cathedral on Saturday, May 4.

The choir draws members along the length of the River Usk from Newport to Brecon, as well as a few further afield in South Wales and across the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire borders.

The Cornwall International Male Choral Festival is Europe’s largest choral festival for male choir.

In addition to the competition for male choirs, the Festival also incorporated a number of Regional Gala Concerts at various venues across Cornwall, and several informal singing opportunities at a range of tourist attractions.

Delighted by the recognition, Synergy Musical Director, Owen McCarthy commented: “It was a wonderful experience for the choir, and the accolade and high score of 89% reflected the hard work put in by the whole choir, particularly since the new year.

“For the competition we chose three songs that we felt best reflected our capabilities to sing a cappella style, choosing songs that allowed us to demonstrate musical dynamics as well as close harmonies.

“The centrepiece of our competition set was a very moving performance of ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’, set to a special arrangement by South Wales musician Jessica Ruth Morris that was commissioned specifically for Synergy.”

Synergy Chairman Tony Cecil went on to add that the choir had also participated in three Regional Gala concerts from Friday, 3 to Sunday, May 5 in Mousehole, Launceston and Port Leven, as well as two impromptu “Choir Mobs” in Truro and Newquay.

Tony said: “We had a very warm welcome from the moment we crossed the Tamar Bridge and entered Cornwall.

“In the Gala Concerts we were able to perform a range of songs that included ‘He Ain’t Heavy’, with a backstory that introduces the song relating to the life of one of our former members who battled Covid, and then the impact of Long Covid. The combination of the backstory and beautifully sung performance to an outstanding arrangement resulted in very emotional acclaim from audiences.

“We were able to mix such emotive songs with more fun numbers from our usual concert repertoire, complete with well rehearsed choreography (perhaps best described as Dad or even Granddad Dancing).

“These proved very popular with audiences of all ages, and is one of the key differences Synergy has compared to a traditional male voice choir.”

Anyone who would like to contact Synergy for further information, to book them for an event, or to enquire about joining should contact Grant Barlow: [email protected] or call on 07957 872996.