Swansea Valley Celebration Male Choir
Comes to Eastern Pennsylvania
By Dr. S. Robert Powell
Côr Dathlu Cwmtawe Male Choir, under the direction of Conway Morgan, will perform three concerts in eastern Pennsylvania in October. The hosts for these concerts, all of which will begin at 7 P. M., are the Saint David's Society of Lackawanna County, the Carbondale Historical Society and Museum, and the Trinity Episcopal Church of Bethlehem, PA. The tour manager is Ted Frutchey.
The first concert will take place in the Elm Park Methodist Church, 712 Linden Street, in Scranton on Tuesday, October 27. Special choral guests at this concert will be the Scranton High School Knight Rhythms.
The second concert will take place on Thursday, October 29, in the ballroom at the Carbondale Best Western Pioneer Plaza, 25 South Main Street, Carbondale. Special guests at this concert will be the Valley View High School Choir. The third concert will take place on October 31, in the Trinity Episcopal Church, 44 East Market Street, Bethlehem. Featured at this concert in Bethlehem will be Aram Basmadjian, Trinity’s Artist-in-Residence.
The leader of this 50-voice male choir, which was formed at Ystradgynlais in November 2011, is Conway Morgan, who is Head of the Creative Arts Faculty at Ysgol Bro Dinefwr, a bi-lingual High School in Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire.
The Choir’s accompanist is David Lyn Rees M.D., who took a first degree in Natural Sciences from Girton College at the University of Cambridge, and then graduated from the School of Medicine, Cardiff University. He is now working at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.
Two female soloists and three guest tenors will perform with the choir during this tour to America.
Helen Gibbon, who has a degree in Latin from the University of Wales, has won the Soprano Solo Competition at the National Eisteddfod of Wales on four occasions, and has toured internationally, singing with Côr Meibion Ystradgynlais in North America in 1989, 2000, and 2010.
Ffion Hâf Jones, who graduated in mathematics from the University of Wales, is a C. P.A. in Swansea. In 2014, she won second prize in the Open Vocal Solo Competition at the 2014 Llangollen International Eisteddfod. In 2013, at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, she won the Lieder Solo. In both 2014 and 2015, she won the Contralto Solo Competition. At this year’s National Eisteddfod of Wales she won the Blue Riband (the David Ellis Memorial Prize) as the best classical vocal soloist.
Ffion Hâf and David Lyn Rees were both pupils of Conway Morgan’s at High School, as were the three tenors who are singing with the choir on this tour, Luke James, Sion Mattey, and Finley Bizzell-Browning.
Côr Dathlu Cwmtawe Male Choir was formed the year after a choir from Ystradgynlais visited Scranton, Carbondale, Shamokin, and Wilkes-Barre in May 2010. It includes choristers who sang with Côr Meibion Ystradgynlais and some who still also sing with Côr y Gyrlais, Morriston Rugby Club Choir, Dunvant Male Choir, and Pontarddulais Male Choir.
The choir’s first president was Dr. Rowan Williams (Baron Williams of Oystermouth) who was born in Ystradgynlais and recently retired as the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr. Williams has been succeeded by Lord John Thomas (Baron Thomas of Cwmgiedd) who is the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.
On Facebook, follow this tour by Côr Dathlu Cwmtawe Male Choir at "CD Choir US Tour 2015."