Glyn Evans, officially the country’s oldest Barbers’ Shop Chorus singer, is celebrating his 100th birthday this week with 3 very special events. He joined family and friends for a celebration lunch at The Skylark on Tuesday 24th February, his actual birthday; 2 days later The Rivertones Chorus – which Glyn founded in 1983 and whose Life President he is – have arranged a birthday carvery at The Anchor, Hillfarance and, on Saturday 28th, he will be the special guest at his local, The Cottage in Swains Lane.
The Rivertones have invited the Vice Chairman of the British Association of Barbershop Singers as well as other dignitaries to come to their lunch “and of course, we intend to have a good old sing with Glyn after the meal,” said The Rivertones Singout Secretary Graham Blight.
Glyn has recently moved from his home in Ardwyn to The Court Residential Home in Wellington as, in his own words, “I’ve got a bit wobbly on my feet.” It was there that he received dozens of birthday cards – including those from HM The Queen and Ian Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Glyn’s Welsh heritage is still evident in his love of singing. He said, “I started singing at Pontypridd Baptist Chapel when I was still in Infants’ School and I’ve been singing all my life since then.” His pronounced Welsh accent remains unchanged despite living for most of his life in Wellington where he came to work as a teacher after WW2 service in the Tank Regiment. His first school was in Corums Lane – now the Adult Education Centre – which later became Beech Grove Primary School and where Glyn remained throughout his teaching career. One of his former pupils, Peter Glover, is now The Rivertones Chorus Director.
The Rivertones is a 49 strong all male acapella harmony chorus based in Taunton but, when first Glyn founded the group, they met at The Ship Inn in Mantle Street. Now they rehearse every Thursday at 7pm at the Taunton Academy, Upper Cheddon Road, Taunton. Graham Blight said, “We’re the only group of its type in Somerset and have members from all over the county – even half a dozen from Devon too. We’d love to arrange more concerts in and around Somerset and Devon. Our rates are very cheap and organisations could benefit by booking us, make good profits and have a thoroughly enjoyable entertaining evening for their community at the same time. We do put on a good show including audience participation if required.”
This week, even at 100, Glyn will be joining in with The Rivertones, a chorus that owes its existence to him.