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Cwmbran man’s ‘carol of the day’ raises over £1,300 for Congress Youth Theatre

A Cwmbran man has raised over £1,300 for the town’s Congress Youth Theatre after singing a daily ‘Carol of the Day’ and sharing it on social media.

Wayne Beecham has been the musical director of the youth group for 30 years and supported young people to sing, dance and act in many stage productions. He started doing a ‘Carol of the Day’ on Facebook in 2009 but the format has changed several times, and now his daily videos feature him singing and playing the piano.

Wayne told Cwmbran Life: “In 2009 I started choosing a carol each day of December leading up to Christmas and putting the lyrics up on Facebook. Friends would comment and share memories of the carol in question.

“A couple of days in a friend asked if I could put up the words to ‘It Was On A Starry Night’, so I did.

“From there people started requesting their favourite carols and each day I would choose a carol that had been nominated and put the lyrics up. I then started asking in October each year for people to nominate their favourite carols.

“This went on for a few years and I started asking for voluntary donations for various charities. I then started adding YouTube links so people could click to listen to a professional recording of the nominated carols. Due to popular demand, I started putting up the lyrics and the videos for people to sing along.

“In 2018 it was suggested that maybe I could start uploading pre-recorded videos of the carols. The series of videos that followed that year were full of props and were all filmed last minute and were funny because they were so rough around the edges and ridiculous.

“The 2019 series was also pre-recorded and each day I appeared in a different Christmas jumper sat in a cosy chair in front of a roaring fire backdrop. This was the first year that I started singing the carols with my own voice and not miming to other recordings.

“Christmas 2020 and covid had hit. You’d think this would have put a stop to Carol of The Day but it was needed by friends and family more than ever before and with people’s plans being cancelled left, right and centre I was determined to go ahead.

“The Congress Theatre, where I’ve worked since 1993, had stopped live performance but had reopened as a studio space for recording and live stream. I was invited by the team responsible for the virtual studio to record the videos there. I had a team of expert technicians, professional lighting, sound and cameras and 14 hours of non-stop filming and we had made the 25 videos for that year.

“This was also the year that the ‘Carol of the Day’ jingle was ‘composed’. It’s actually the last line of ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ that I arranged and adapted, and it recently came to light that not many people had realised that, This was also the year that ten ‘Carol of the Day’ commemorative mugs were made.

“There was a competition to win a mug and everyone who shared all 25 videos were entered into the prize draw, There was also a special “bloopers” video made that was broadcast at 3.10pm on Christmas Day after the Queen’s speech.

Watch Wayne sing The Little Drummer Boy

“By Christmas 2022 I’d decided that going live on Facebook was the way forward for ‘Carol of the Day’. The jingle was adapted again to include the word ‘live’ on the end and the entire thing has been delivered live at 8am each morning through December ever since.

“Originally it was strictly traditional carols that were used but I have since relaxed the rule and I do include some well-known Christmas songs if they are requested. I’m more than happy to include some Wham, Aled Jones and who doesn’t love a bit of Cliff Richard at Christmas?

“Since asking for donations ‘Carol of the Day’ has raised quite a few thousand pounds for various charities including for dementia and cancer. This year I have been asking for donations for a charity closer to home and to my heart, The Congress Youth Theatre.”

The money raised from this year’s appeal will go toward’s the youth theatre’s production of Evita in March 2024 at the Congress Theatre.

Click here to make a donation. So far 94 people have donated and raised a total of £1,348.

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Cwmbran man’s ‘carol of the day’ raises over £1,300 for Congress Youth Theatre

wayne beecham at this piano
Photo: Wayne Beecham