Since tonight's concert was more community-spirited in nature (regardless of the high quality performance on show) it feels misrepresentative to regard it as a formal concert in the following review. The Massed Children's Choir, representing the Welsh Assembly Government's laudable CânSing scheme for young children, as well as the participatory element in Jeffrey Howard's “A Welsh Celebration” has thus resulted in a slightly different slant.

The BBC NOW and the National Chorus of Wales were on top form, as always when I have seen them previously. Although baritone Gary Griffiths was unable to attend the concert due to illness, the première of Mealor's new work Celtic Prayers, which was to feature him as soloist, proceeded nevertheless. I was later informed that the men of the chorus had stepped in to perform the vigorous Cornish song “To The Sea”, which was prepared at short notice and executed as well as the rest of the work. Overall, Mealor's composition had a natural and organic pacing to it, particularly the opening as it unfolded from one solo soprano (Sian Newman), adding an alto voice (Catherine Jones) before the entire chorus entered. The five songs were treated with an engaging variety and the final prayer, “May the Road arise to Meet You” revealed some tender and colorful harmonies, close ethereal part-writing and a touching unaccompanied section for children and female voices, delivered with great clarity and a gentle tone by the chorus. This was also true of Gareth Glyn's Gwlad y Gân, which offered interesting and varied treatment of the traditional melodies and a seamlessness between the songs, tied together with small instrumental interludes.

The two orchestral pieces of the evening, William Mathias' Anniversary Dances and Grace Williams' Fantasia on Welsh Nursery Rhymes, were charming. They were rather evocative and, at times, akin to film music. Williams' Fantasia, in particular, despite the rather modest title, had genuine depth to it, with flowing twists and turns and some very penetrating melodies. She wove an expansive sound world that did not at any point feel contrived.

Between the above works were a number of tub thumpers: Glyn's Caneuon Cariad, Einion Dafydd's Sing Out Loud! (both for Chorus, Children's Chorus and Orchestra) and Howard's Welsh Celebration of popular Welsh tunes and the Welsh National Anthem to close. Typically rousing (especially so, given the location), a number of these items had the audience on their feet, both during and after each performance. Tonight's concert brought together a familiar display of the singing heritage of Wales as well as it's still-current urge for singing as a past-time and community pursuit.