Welsh Choirs of the Present Day
choirs came to be the expression of solidarity among a people, who were
suppressed in their own land. Apart from the chapel movement and the influence
of the eisteddfods it was especially miners in the coal-mining, tinplate and
slate communities who led to the flourishing of the male voice choirs.
following male voice choirs especially are considered to be among the best in
the country: Pendyrus, Rhos, Pontarddulais, Morriston Orpheus, Treorchy,
Llanelli and Morriston Rugby male choirs. Many of these regularly go on tours
to all parts of the world, and warm friendships are made in this way.
Treorchy Male Choir was founded in
1946. It has been extremely successful for over 50 years now and has turned into
a Welsh legend. The choir has won the National Eisteddfod more often than any
other choir and has produced more records than any other Welsh male choir. It
has made tours all over the world (Australia, Canada, USA etc.) and has "became
an admirable ambassador for Wales".
equally famous Pendyrus Male Choir comes from the Rhondda Valley in South Wales,
and came into being over 100 years ago as a miners' choir. It now comprises
about 100 members who come from all kinds of occupations (architects, teachers,
miners, masons, a tax inspector, rugby player etc.).
choir's repertoire includes Schubert's “Ave
Maria“, “Di Provenza il Mar“ from Verdi's “La Traviata“ the Russian “Kalinka“
and “Myfanwy“ which alongside “Mae
hen wlad fy Nhadau“ ("Land of my fathers") can almost be
considered as a second Welsh national anthem.
Morriston Orpheus Choir  was established in 1935 and has been for a long time
one of the three best Welsh choirs. It has toured all over the world (even New
Zealand and America). Its great success is mainly due to its conductor and
musical director Alwyn Humphreys whose principal aims are to increase and vary
the choir's repertoire, i.e. to have them sing not only Welsh hymns, but also
Elvis songs and to make a kind of big
show out of their performance in order to reach out to the audience and
Alwyn Humphreys has a very charismatic personality and has even been desribed as "probably the most charming man on the planet"  by an American newspaper.
Pontarddulais Male Choir  was just formed in 1960 and made a name for itself in
the Welsh world of music in the mid 60s when it won one eisteddfod after the
The choir has a very wide repertoire which ranges from Welsh hymns to famous classical works such as "The pilgrims chorus" by Wagner and folk songs from different nations such as Russia.
Mynydd Mawr Choir
was formed in 1965 and had already been very successful when they won the
National Eisteddfod in 1970. The choir's conductor, John Rhyddid Williams, is
not only a well-known conductor and judge at the competitions, but has also
written a lot of famous books on penillion singing and folk songs. My
great-uncle, Aneurin Morgan, was a member of this choir and his son still is.
male choirs still attract a lot of members among the older generation but young
blood is lacking. Few of the once very popular mixed
choirs still exist. The leading choirs of this type are the Cardiff
Polyphonic, the Swansea Bach Choir, Cantorion ty Ddewi, Côr Blewthum, Côr
Aberteifi A'r Cylch and the Pembrokeshire Youth Choir.
the Royal National Eisteddfod, a mixed choir of some 200-300 voices is formed
some two years before the Eisteddfod week begins, drawn from within the
surrounding area of the Eisteddfod venue. The choir is required to perform
various choral works and all the works are sung
National Youth Choir of Wales was formed in 1994. The workshops and
summer camps demand a lot of time
from the choristers who come from all parts of Wales.
Cardiff is the seat of the Welsh National
0pera, which has risen above the provincial standard and whose choir,
according to the estimation of Geraint Evans, can be compared without hesitation
to that of the Scala in Milan.