Opera star brothers head home for night to remember at Chirk Castle

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TWO opera singing brothers who have starred in some of the world’s greatest theatres are returning home for a special performance – as a favour to their old Cub Scout leader.

David and Stewart Kempster will be teaming up with the chart-topping Voices of the Valley, the Fron Choir, for a charity concert in the magnificent surroundings of Chirk Castle on Sunday, June 12.

It’s a decade since David, a baritone, and bass Stewart, last performed together – and they say they can’t wait.

The charity concert is being held as part of the Wrexham Year of Culture 2011.

It is the brainchild of Wrexham County Borough Council’s Deputy Mayor, Cllr Ian Roberts, who lives in Chirk.

He said: “I floated the idea of holding a mid-summer concert but without the help of my wife Hilary, fellow councillor Terry Evans and the team at Wrexham County Borough Council I may never have got the idea off the ground.

“I wanted to celebrate Chirk and the surrounding area and thought of the Fron Male Voice Choir as many of the choir members originated from Chirk. I was thrilled they were free on June 12th as they have an incredibly busy schedule.

“And, of course, I was absolutely delighted to sign up the Kempster brothers. It was lovely to hear from them again. I simply asked them to do me a favour and they had no hesitation in agreeing.

“They were great lads when they were in the Cub Scouts all those years ago and it was obvious at a very early age that they were both hugely talented singers."

David, 41, who lives with his wife, Charlotte, and their children in Kendal, Cumbria, is looking forward to the performance.

He said: “It’s always good to drop back in on North Wales and it will be a real treat to work with my brother, Stewart, again. As an opera singer I work away so much which is difficult when you have a young family.

"I have known Cllr Ian Roberts all my life and when he and his wife Hilary got in touch I was absolutely delighted to agree to come back to Chirk. It will be a fantastic night."

Currently performing in Il trovatore in Cardiff before going on tour to Bristol and Birmingham, David, has performed around the world.

He added: "Growing up in Chirk, classical music played such a big part in our lives. My dad just loved opera and the house was always filled with the sounds of arias or choirs.

"I started out as a member of Rhos Orpheus Male Voice Choir after taking Stewart's place when he went off to study at the Royal Academy of Music."

Now living in Scotland, Stewart, 46, was thrilled to get a call from his brother asking if he was free on Sunday, June 12.

He said: "I jumped at the chance. David had had a call from Ian Roberts asking if he was free and wondering if David and I fancied performing together. Of course we jumped at the chance especially as it's at Chirk Castle.

“I'm also looking forward to working with the Fron Male Voice Choir. It’s been more than 10 years since I last performed in Chirk. That was at the church along with David.”

Stewart is still regularly performing opera and has recorded music with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In addition he has regularly recorded and broadcasted with the Royal Opera and also with Wexford Festival Opera.

He has just returned from Bornholm Island, which belongs to Denmark and he will be singing Bach's Matthew Passion in Edinburgh over Easter.

Stewart also travels the world in his role as an examiner with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

Fron Male Voice Choir Liaison Officer, David T Jones, says members jumped at the chance to perform alongside the Kempster brothers who have gone onto become huge classical stars.

Cllr Roberts added: “We are really looking forward to seeing families come along for a tremendous night of music. Bring along a picnic and some chilled wine for mid-summer nights concert that you'll never forget.

“We haven’t set a fundraising target as we are focusing more on celebrating the culture of Chirk, Wrexham and the surrounding area through music. However, it's a good opportunity to raise funds for charity too."

Ticket prices: Adults £12.50, Concessions £9.00, Family ticket £35 and under 5s free. To book call Hilary Roberts on 01691 773758 or call Wrexham tourist information on 01978 292015. Gates open 5.30pm with the concert commencing at 7.30 pm. Visit www.fronchoir.com/Diary.htm

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