AS PART of the celebrations of their 60th anniversary, Rhayader and District Male Voice Choir have released a new CD of 16 tracks including spritely piano duets by accompanist Bethan Rees and Kate Rees full of the joys of spring, including a piece by Grieg and Scott Joplin’s ragtime 'Maple Leaf Rag'.

It opens with a rousing 'Men of Harlech' and ends with the choir marching off again with the equally rousing 'Comrades in Arms' with highlights along the way including an excellent version of 'Do You Hear the People Sing?' from 'Les Miserables' and the contemporary classic 'Unchained Melody', writes Barry Jones.

The choir slip from English into Welsh and back again with some more tradition choir staples such as quiet versions of 'Calon Lan', 'Cwm Rhondda/Bread of Heaven', and 'Myfanwy'.

There is an exclusive moving rendition of '100 Years From Passchendaele', written and composed to music by choir members Adrian Jones and Bethan Rees to commemorate the First World War Battle of Passchendaele which took place 100 years ago and was first performed by the choir at the Menin Gate in Ypres during their visit to Belgium last November.

Bethan’s piano is soft and unobtrusive even on choices like the rather different 'With a Voice for Singing' and 'Benedictus', the pastoral 'Speed Your Journey' and the 'Shenandoah', the old American riverman’s song with its spiritual feel.

The CD is priced £8 and can be purchased by phoning the choir chairman Miah Lewis on 01597 851259.