The Prince of Wales hosted a gala concert for the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama at Buckingham Palace on Monday. Dame Shirley Bassey, who generously supports two students at the college with scholarships, told BBC Wales at the event how she felt compelled to sponsor their training: “I started off with nobody supporting me, there was nothing when I started, there were no schools or college for me. I made it, and I wanted to give that back to my hometown, where I came from in the docks of Cardiff.”
Dame Shirley Bassey met nine-year-old pianist Charlotte Kwok, from Llanharan, who is a member of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama junior conservatoire, with her Mother Chui Au and and father Nicholas Kwok.
American soprano Chanae Curtis, 25, is on the college’s opera MA course and said Dame Shirley was full of praise for the show: “Just being here is incredible and then speaking to Shirley Bassey was amazing. It was nice to know that she liked it. She was so encouraging and had such a warm heart. She made a great comment and said that the college is opening doors and if she had had some of those opportunities when she was young she might have taken a different route.”
The College’s remarkable achievements in recent years have earned it a growing international reputation as a centre of excellence in training for careers in the arts and creative industries. The new venues and facilities opened in 2011 mean that exceptionally talented young people from across Wales can now train alongside their peers from more than 30 countries in facilities to rival the best in the world.
Other guests included actor Michael Sheen, actress Ruth Jones and singer Bryn Terfel.
Mae Ms Bassey yn noddi ysgoloriaethau i ddau fyfyriwr yn y coleg, a dywedodd wrth BBC Cymru ei bod yn teimlo angenrheidrwydd i noddi eu hyfforddiant. “Dechreuais i ffwrdd gyda neb yn fy nghefnogi,” meddai. “Doedd ‘na ddim cefnogaeth pan ddechreuais i, doedd dim ysgolion neu goleg i mi. “Fe wnes i lwyddo, ac rydw i’n awyddus nawr i gefnogi fy nhref enedigol, o ble ddes i – o’r dociau yng Nghaerdydd.” (BBC Cymru)