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The excerpts from The Raven King at the Albert Hall were presented by the Caerphilly Kids Opera Group in South Wales, UK.

They are the KidsOp partners in Wales, using children from a number of schools in the Caerphilly County Borough Council school district - the home area of Mervyn Burtch, our composer.

For this performance, their organizer and conductor, Keith Ellerington, brought together 500 children aged 8 to 12 from ten schools. Keith and Mervyn then went round all the schools rehearsing them individually, so that their contribution would be consistent. Then they brought them all together for the final rehearsals in Ystrad Mynach, Mervyn's home town.

You can imagine the organization required to bus 500 kids to London... And get them back (we are told that the children were so exctied on the way back that none of them slept - and they didn't return until 3:30 in the morning!)

Rehearsing at the Lewis Girls' Comprehensive School

The Year Three class at Ystrad Mynach Junior School
Together with the 500 Welsh children were four children from Alberta, Canada, who had taken part in the Banff Arts Festival production of The Raven King. They had  wonderful time, making new friends, staying with families in the area, visiting schools, and generally promoting cultural exchange!

Janice Tole, KidsOp's musical director, was with them, and she visited the Year Three class at Ystrad Mynach Junior School, and arranged with them an exchange with her Grade 2 class at Norwood School, Wetaskiwin, Alberta.

Also with them was Peter Murray, who has played Ma Murray in Coyote and the Winter that Never Ends, and the Wizard in both Wizard Things and The Raven King (he's also Vice=President of KidsOp!). He brought a specially-made plaque over from Alberta to commemorate the occasion, and in the picture on the right he is presenting it to Mrs. Kirkham, Headmistress of Ystrad Mynach Junior School.

Carew Castle
The Canadians also got the chance to see some of the wonderful sites of South Wales - here are a few of them!


St. David's Cathedral


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Barafundel Bay