The latest 'On Song' column (about the choral scene in and around Llanelli) from the Llanelli Star and the Carmarthen Journal -

The latest 'On Song' column (about the choral scene in and around Llanelli) from the Llanelli Star and the Carmarthen Journal -

There’s a big night of choral singing coming up in the Gwendraeth Valley in October.
It is all to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Côr Meibion Mynydd Mawr.
Pontyberem Memorial Hall will be the venue for ‘Canu o’r Cwm’ (Singing from the Valley) on Saturday, October 15.
Côr Meibion Mynydd Mawr chorister John Williams said: “It promises to be a very special night as we will be joined by our neighbouring choirs for a wonderful evening celebrating our best Welsh choral traditions.”
Guest artists include star Welsh soloist and TV and radio star Shân Cothi, Côr Meibion Caerfyrddin, Côr Meibion Dyffryn Aman, Côr Meibion Dyffryn Twyi, Côr Meibion Porth Tywyn and Côr Meibion Llandybie.
In its current form, Côr Meibion Mynydd Mawr dates back to 1965.
But the roots of the choir go as far back as 1913 (perhaps 1908) in the Tumble area.
A male choir - Mynydd Mawr Male Voice Party - started in Tumble under the baton of Tom Morgan, Gwendraeth View, Tyisha Road, Tumble, and there is an even earlier record of a choir of the same name dating back to 1908.
This choir performed at the official opening of the Cross Hands Public Hall in 1911 and in its formative years the choir was successful in competitions at Abergwili and Swansea.
The choir disbanded in 1948 but the tradition of choral singing was revived in May 1965 when the male section of Bethesda Chapel's ‘Cymdeithas Ddiwylliadol’ started a choir – ‘Bois y Bryniau’ - under the baton of Lloyd Asa Williams.
Joshua Jenkins, Drefach, was the deputy conductor and the accompanist was Denzil T Jones, also from Drefach.
In 1965, it was decided to establish Mynydd Mawr Choir.
The first AGM was held in January 1966 when an invitation was extended to Sydney Evans to join as a Deputy Conductor. Dr Hopkins, Cross Hands, was appointed President.
In June, the choir was named ‘Côr Meibion y Mynydd Mawr’, recognising the fact that men other than Bethesda Chapel members were eligible to join.
The choir appeared in a BBC programme featuring Tumble in November and adopted a formal constitution.
Gloom was cast over the choir in October, 1968, at the passing of its conductor Lloyd Asa Williams. After a suitable interval, Sydney Evans was appointed conductor. The choir made a recording in December 1968 in memory of Lloyd Asa Williams.
The first appearance by the choir in an Eisteddfod was in Flint in 1969 when it gained third prize. The experience paid dividends when, in the following year, at Ammanford, the choir clinched the first.
A sequel to its success followed when the choir was invited to appear in the annual St David's Day Festival at the Royal Albert Hall, London in March 1971.
The choir has made a valuable contribution to numerous charitable organisations throughout Britain, and has been successful on five occasions on the Royal National Eisteddfod platform, as well as at other eisteddfodau.
In 2000, the choir was successful in winning the Male Voice competition at the Jersey International Music Festival.
Anyone wishing to join the choir should contact choir secretary Roger Walters on 01269 844259.
Choir practices are held from 7pm to 9pm on Monday nights in Bethesda Chapel Vestry, Bethesda Road, Tumble.
Meanwhile, Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir will be staging their annual concert at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli, at 7pm on Saturday, September 24.
The choir’s special guests will be Penrhyn Male Choir (Penrhyn Male Choir) from North Wales.
The two choirs are ‘old friends’. Côr Meibion Llanelli performed with Côr Penrhyn at one of the first events to be staged at the new Bryn Terfel Theatre at The Pontio arts centre in Bangor earlier this year.
Côr Penrhyn are paying back the favour by journeying south for the Côr Meibion Llanelli concert.
The new Chairman of the Welsh Association of Male Choirs is Gwendraeth Valley chorister, Ellis Davies from Gorslas. Mr Davies who is also Chairman of Côr Meibion Mynydd Mawr, has been the vice chairman of the Association for the last two years.
The new Vice Chairman is Richard Howells of Bois Goitre Hen a’r Cylch from the Llynfi Valley, who along with Mr. Davies, was elected to serve a three-year term of office at the Association’s AGM in Neath.

Robert Lloyd works as a media consultant – www.rlloydpr.co.uk
If you have any news about the choral scene in Llanelli, the please contact him on 07777 683637 or email rlloydpr@btinternet.com

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