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History of the Choir

 

old-imageThe original Moelwyn Male Voice choir (Cor Meibion y Moelwyn) was formed in 1881 with Cadwaladr Roberts its founder conductor. Not much is known about that choir except that they made two visits to the USA at the beginning of the last century to raise money for silicosis and other chest illnesses, which were rife amongst the quarrymen of that period. The choir also had the honour of performing to the Royal Family on the Royal Yacht moored off Anglesey, but declined the title of Royal Moelwyn choir. That choir faded away and it was later followed by the Oakley choir, made up mostly of quarry men, conducted by T.O.Thomas, before he was to take over the Moelwyn choir in 1960. Mr Thomas was not an advocate of the Eisteddfod scene and the choir were busy on the concert stages all over the country. He led the choir until 1971 when Harry Jones Williams of Penrhyndeudraeth was to take over the baton to success, with the choir winning many Eisteddfodau, including the National on several occasions. Mr Williams was a quiet, shy person really who was followed 4 years later  by the flamboyant Glyn Bryfdir Jones who also was successful with the choirr. The choir made several tours abroad over the years to such places as Iceland, Western Islands, Norway, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Bahamas and Brittany; many of those countries being visited more than once.

church signWhen Mr Jones left it was a woman who took over the baton, in Sylvia Ann Jones. The first woman to conduct the choir, having taken over in 1981, she is still at the helm. Over the years the choir must have sung at thousands of concerts and given much delight to audiences and choir members as well, many of whom have been true to the choir for many years. 
 
Over the years the choir has been practicing at various venues in the Blaenau Ffestiniog area, from the Old Hospital at Rhiw, Maenofferen Boys School, yr Urdd, Ebenester Vestry and others until in 1984 they opened their very own centre at Rhiw. There the members bought the empty Salem Chape. After some months of hard work by a handful of the members, they were able to transform it into the choirʼs centre where they practice regularly on Friday evenings - if they are not in concert. That centre was officially opened with a grand concert by Dr Meredydd Evans of Aberystwyth, a native of Tanygrisiau of course, and over the years the choir has welcomed many visitors from all over the world to listen to them practising as well as giving concerts. The venue has also been used for funeral services of those who had any connections with the Salem Chapel. The Dwyryd Rhiw Club also use it as their base for their monthly meetings.

 

The present choir has two very accomplished accompanists in Gwyn Vaughan Jones and Wenna Frances Jones, the latter also taking over as conductor when Sylvia Ann Jones is unavailable. Anthony McNally is the present chairman with Gwyn Jarman as concert secretary and Eifion Morris as secretary.  Finances are looked after by Meirion Ellis, a post he has held since 1969. The choir remains a close knit society where friendship and comradeship is paramount.

We welcome new members of all ages to join our ranks. 

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