Arwel Price obituary: Charity concert pays tribute to a ‘wonderful’ Opera North musician

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A charity concert in memory of the well-known Opera North musician and Cleckheaton and Gomersal organist, Arwel Lyn David Price, has raised over £5,000 for Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Before venturing up North in the 1980’s, Arwel Lyn David was born on Beiligwern Farm, Wales, to Gwyn and Glenys Price. Arwel was the third of four children, Hefin and Gwenllian older than Arwel, then Carys five years younger.

The family lived on and worked on the farm until 1984, before moving to Coedhowell.

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Arwel was always musical, he started to play the piano and sing at around four years old and continued to have lessons, where his dedication to practise allowed him to become an accomplished pianist, organist and singer.

Arwel Lyn David Price.Arwel Lyn David Price.
Arwel Lyn David Price.

Arwel’s parents supported him all through his younger years where they would take him to many Eisteddfoddai - a competitive festival of music and poetry - all over Wales.

He was a member of Brecon High School Choir and in 1984 the National Youth Choir of Wales was formed by Arwel and Lynne Griffin.

Arwel left Wales to go to University in York to do his music degree. Whilst there he joined the York Minster choir and sang there for two years.

Whilst at York Arwel had his first taste of working at Opera North, and remained at the company as extra chorister and finally, from 1997, full time chorus as 2nd tenor until his recent death.

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The memorial concert raised over £5,000 for Yorkshire Cancer Research.The memorial concert raised over £5,000 for Yorkshire Cancer Research.
The memorial concert raised over £5,000 for Yorkshire Cancer Research.

In 1986 Arwel left York and went to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama at London's Barbican, joining in the second year of the performers course.

He also sang in the church choir at St Giles Cripplegate most Sundays. He always remained faithful to the church throughout his life both at Crai - his home village in Wales - and at St John’s church, Cleckheaton, and at St Mary’s Church in Gomersal, where he was an organist.

He met his partner, Paul Foster, in 1986 and they remained together until Paul’s death in 2003 from Prostate Cancer.

Arwel was in Phantom of the Opera in Manchester, Edinburgh and London for four years and returned to Opera North full time in 1997 where he remained performing

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in all their productions until his death in September 2022, after a battle with cancer.

In memory of Arwel a memorial concert was held at St John’s Church in Cleckheaton on Sunday, February 19.

The concert included musical medleys, opera and instrumental pieces, ending with a final performance of Te Deum from Tosca, which Opera North are currently performing in Leeds and on tour.

In total, the concert raised £5,200 for Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Jeremy Peaker, a close friend of Arwel’s and a full-time member of Opera North, said: “Arwel was a very much loved and hard working vital member of the team.

“He played and understudied many roles for the company and was respected as a fine musician and worked for 10 chorus masters - he gave his all in everything he did.

“He loved his home in Bierley, Bradford and his antique furniture, he loved his cats and his holidays to Madeira and of course returning to the family home in Wales.

“Sadly Arwel lost his battle with cancer after 10 months.

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“For us all he was special, when he entered a room it lit up and his loss is profoundly felt.

“The love and respect he had is borne out by all the people who knew him.

“When God makes a truly wonderful soul as Arwel they are to be cherished and he was cherished by all who knew him.

“The esteem he was held in by all his colleagues at Opera North was evident when they all came to St John’s Cleckheaton for Arwel’s Memorial Concert.

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“A full house, including members of his family who travelled up from Wales, were treated to over three hours of sensational music from the chorus and orchestra of Opera North.”

All the funds raised at the concert will be donated to Yorkshire Cancer Research, a charity which aims to help at least 2,000 more people survive cancer each year across the region.

For more information about Yorkshire Cancer Research, visit