THE REFORMATION 1946-1952

"A wonderful beauty is born”
Padraic Pearse


With the Second World War over and many servicemen returning to valley life in the Rhondda again, those gallant heroes realised there was something missing in their lives. They missed the camaraderie of the forces and more than likely the discipline it enforced.

It came as little surprise that in September 1946 the chairman of the pre-war choir, George Neighbour, and the secretary, Tom Jenkins prepared a scratch notice to appear on the cinema screen of the Park and Dare Theatre with notices in shop windows throughout the town informing readers that plans were afoot to re-form the Choir.

It was indicated that discussions had taken place in the Pengelli Hotel since it was a favourite “watering hole” of former Treorchy Boys Club members and Treorchy rugby players. The young regulars were all products of local Noncomformity and the standard of impromptu community singing was high. The landlord was Emlyn Jenkins and his relative was Tom who also regularly came to the pub at this time and kept prompting the other regulars to re-form the Choir.


A meeting was convened in the main hall of Treorchy Senior School, Glyncoli Road, on Wednesday, October 16th, 1946. George, an official at the Clerk’s Department of the Rhondda Urban District Council while Tom, a stalwart of Bethania Chapel and clerk to the head office of the old Ocean Coal Company, led the debate.

About twenty men, mostly former choristers received letters of invitation from Tom and it was resolved that the Choir be re-formed and to publicise this matter by more window-bills and screen advertisements.
 

Chairman, George Neighbour

It read: “Those interested in singing are welcomed to a meeting at the Treorchy Senior School, Glyncoli Road, on Sunday October 20th at 3pm. It is intended to reform the Treorchy & District Male Voice Choir and previous choristers are welcomed."

On the following Sunday afternoon George was elected Chairman. David Jenkins was elected Treasurer and Edward (Ned) Knapgate was elected Vice-Chairman. Stanley Jones, a local barber, had already been elected Secretary at the inaugural meeting. Some eighteen members attended that first meeting, including such figures as Haydn Erasmus, Cliburn Willis, Haydn Thatcher and Danny Williams and within a month the numbers increased to forty.


Ieuan Lawrence, Reg Davies, Richard Meredith and Glan Nicholas
 
A resolution was then passed empowering the officials to approach John Haydn Davies and Tom Jones to offer them the posts of Conductor and Accompanist respectively.

The conductor made it clear that if Tom Jones was accompanist then only he would play for the Choir for in previous years the Choir’s regular pianists had been replaced by semi-professionals for major concerts and eisteddfodau which was hardly conducive to morale.

Similarly, the committee felt the same of John Haydn - he was the man for all seasons. In return he certainly remained faithful to them, turning down the position of chorus master of the Welsh National Opera Company to remain with “his” Treorchy.

John Haydn, who later became a local headmaster, had already gained a reputation as a musician as conductor of the Blaencwm Choral Society, Blaenselsig Male Choir and Glenrhondda Colliery Choir during the war. His Choral Society was based at Blaencwm Welsh Baptist Chapel in Tynewydd and had been chosen by the BBC to take part in what was probably the first performance of Handel’s Messiah arranged for choir and brass band – the band being Haydn Bebb’s Parc and Dare.

Here was a man of integrity, or incredibly vision, high principles and yet very retiring and deeply humble. Despite having no musical qualifications, his depth of knowledge and his capacity to read and interpret music was admired and respected throughout the land. His accompanist, Tom Jones worked at the Park Colliery before becoming an insurance agent in the upper Rhondda Fawr. A quiet, unassuming character, Tom often preferred to remain in the background and away from the glare of publicity but was continually praised by adjudicators at eisteddfodau for his professional playing.


In that first rehearsal in 1946 John Haydn invited the men to take their seats on a set of benches and along with Tom Jones at his side, welcomed them all. He recognised previous choristers of the pre-war Choir and noticed the several raw musical recruits by their side. He explained that to select the four sections required the men had to sing scales with him supported by Tom on the piano. First they went up the scale and after a certain note he said that those who could not comfortably sing it were second tenors and above that top tenors.

The procedure was reversed as first bass and second bass were decided, although initially it remained unbalanced because so many of the men preferred to stay close to their pals instead! Each section was later split into an “a” and a “b” for the rare moments in music when the Choir would divide into eight sections.

It also became a rule to place the stronger voices at the back, with sweeter voices in the front and each section had their own recognised cornerman to show this deliberate divide. The new music was set out in tonic solfa, that great bastion of musical interpretation, inspired by John Curwen and the building blocks for all potential choristers in chapels the length and breadth of the country.

The majority of those choristers would of course have been chapel goers themselves, faithful to their local place of worship and therefore already had a clear understanding of this notation and one in which John Haydn himself so clearly promoted.
 

Secretary, Stanley Jones

Rehearsals were arranged for Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sunday afternoons with new pieces and a simple technique to learning them giving the Choir a firm foundation for the future. It was recognised that male voice singing stemmed from two major aspects of valley life – the camaraderie felt amongst the work force under ground and their love of singing at the local chapel.

It is interesting to note how much of a great command the conductor had over his singers. Admittedly this was built on the respect and admiration they had for their leader, but it is worth considering how so many of those early choristers had been members of the armed forces and used to taking orders. This military discipline about them made it easy for John Haydn, a man short in stature but a giant as a musician, to rule them with ease. At one rehearsal he made the second tenor section face the wall, claiming “I don’t want to see you let alone hear you.” They did so without question.

On October 27th both gentlemen were confirmed in the positions that they would hold for more than two decades to come and guide the fortunes of the Choir to peaks as yet unattained by any male voice choir in Wales or possibly the world. That week the numbers in attendance increased to twenty four and this provided the nucleus of the choir.


Rehearsals, c. 1950
 
Gradually a committee of two choristers per section was established with George Lewis and Ron Davies for first tenors, Phil Davies and Haydn Thatcher for second tenors, Eddie Davies and Arthur Powell for first bass and David Davies and Myrddin Hopkins for second bass.

The role of registrar was an important one to ensure a good attendance at rehearsals. The early minute book mentions two original registrars in Mr A. Rosser and Mr T. Elliott, but it was Richard Williams who took over the reins by the early part of 1948, only to be succeeded, following his untimely death, a year later by Mel Davies.

Contributions were set at 3d a week and a small trunk of music copies of the previous choir were left in charge of Mr D. Roberts, along with a cupboard.

A certain D. Davies was elected Librarian, followed soon afterwards by Cliburn Willis. In later years he relayed the story how it was Haydn Thatcher who moved he be appointed Librarian and he was handed a brown paper bag containing the copies of music used by the previous choir. There were eight copies of "Comrades in Arms", six of "Nidaros" and a handful of other songs.

It was hardly a sound basis for the repertoire of a new choir but it was John Haydn who rapidly produced new arrangements and gathered music from around Wales and even further afield. Within a few short months the growth of the music library was enough to result in an Assistant Librarian being appointed and Albert Stubbs filled the role.

By the early part of 1947 the re-formed choir was gathering strength but there was a sense of imbalance in a lack of top tenors and it was decided to canvas and approach a number of people with a view to strengthening this vital section of the choir. It appears that there was a certain amount of discord in the management committee at this time as the chairman did not attend any meetings from January until June and the secretary was ordered to visit him.

The office of president of the Choir was discussed and a list of contenders put before the committee members. Candidates included W.P.Thomas, the controversial figurehead of the Ocean Coal Company who played an active role in William Thomas’s choir; local wine merchant and supporter of local charities J.J. Thomas who was the “sole agent for Bulmer’s Cider” in the valley and Levi Phillips, the General Manager of the Ocean Coal Company.


Levi was the committee’s choice but there are no records to explain why he did not accept the position. The presidency was also offered to Tom Jenkins, but with rapidly failing eyesight and eventual blindness he declined the invitation but was made the choir’s first Vice President and in fact was also the choir’s first Life Member.
 

Treasurer, David Jenkins

On September 28th 1947 the committee elected Councillor Iorwerth Thomas of Cwmparc as its President and he held office for almost twenty years during which time he became the MP for Rhondda West. Rather ironically he was elected to the post with W.P.Thomas again as the other candidate. It can be safely said that their relationship over the years was anything but friendly.

New choristers were also placed in the hands of more experienced singers and this sense of mentoring continues to this day. It was an important role for those experienced stalwart members, such as Cas Powell, Elwyn Davies, Emlyn Davies, Trevor Protheroe, Haydn Thatcher, Idris Higgon, Eddie Davies and Will Jones who remained cornerstones of their sections as teachers to many new members.

It is interesting to note that in the first edition of Excelsior, published in 1948, John Haydn opens his article with the words “The King is Dead, Long Live the King”. Obviously the need to shake off the traditions of the defunct pre-war Choir were paramount and a bright new Choir of younger choristers (the average age being mid twenties) was the way forward. He was also adamant in his determination to ensure that no chorister be allowed to sing in another choir other than Treorchy. It was blatantly obvious that John Haydn well remembered the bad-feeling amongst the pre-war Choir as Royal Welsh choristers joined the ranks. This tradition had resurrected itself to some degree in the reformed Choir and John Haydn was having none of it.



Ramah Chapel, 1947 - The First Concert
 
In June 1948 the Choir entered their first competition at the Treorchy Eisteddod and it was pointed out that those Royal Welsh Choir members who had also joined Treorchy were joining Cor Meibion Pontypridd on the day of the competition – possibly because of the association with former conductor Gwilym T. Jones.

It certainly sent alarm bells through the Treorchy camp for having a “choir within a choir” was clearly dangerous and a recipe for future disasters. Treorchy won the event by five clear points over Pontypridd. Admittedly those Royal Welsh singers, all experienced voices, were of assistance to the early days of the Treorchy Choir, with the likes of Leslie Edwards and Tom Griffiths so readily helping out but this situation could not continue. However, it was a further two years before the subject was discussed in a Special General Meeting and the rule was passed not to accept choristers who were still members of other choirs. The rule continues today.

Early committee meetings illustrate the desire to raise funds by holding local dances or raffles, often with the first prize of Brylcreem (probably from the secretary’s barber shop!).

In the early years the committee certainly showed a strength of will in administering the Choir by meeting new and challenging situations. At one point the committee visited the Empress Dance Hall, later taken over by Remploy, with the hope of purchasing the building as a rehearsal room. But owing to financial restraints they remained in the school hall on Glyncoli Road where they still rehearse six decades later. The scrutiny of attendance of rehearsals, to ensure musical standards could be achieved and maintained, remained very important to the early committee.

In January 1948 they made it clear that although there were 140 members on the books the “effective membership” was 108 and by October they terminated the membership of 18. It was often a case of admitting choristers “en bloc” in the early days with little time for auditions. By the following year the admission books were closed as choristers were “in excess of 170, but the future of 54 will be decided shortly”. Those early minute books make fascinating reading when it comes to attendance records, for in 1951 a purge of attendances were discussed over two three-weekly periods when up to 50 members were scrutinised for poor turn-outs with many receiving “stiff” letters requesting their resignation. 


As today, there remained that core of enthusiastic members, those who trudged to rehearsals come wind, rain or shine, through the darkness and cold of winter, knowing that the other “boys” would be there and the journey not in vain. When life was difficult then the sudden release of performance, whether in rehearsals or concerts, raised the spirits and the Choir gradually became a way of life. It is no secret that today Treorchy is still very much a family and when times are difficult the arms of Choir are held out to comfort those in need. Comradeship remains an essential ingredient to its success despite witnessing such a rapidly changing society throughout the years.

John Haydn remembered how rehearsals were a refuge during the war, “I shall never forget a rehearsal during the dark days of 1940. The news of the day could hardly have been worse. Over the radio we heard the tired and strained voice of Winston Churchill warning the nation to be prepared for heavy tidings. The evening was fine and men gathered outside the school discussing the news in anxious tones. We felt reluctant to go inside. However, the rehearsals started and just before the end we sang "Lullaby of Brahms" (an “enemy” composer!). Something happened I cannot explain. We all felt a lightening of the burden of anxiety. Hope was restored. We went out on our ways refreshed and more prepared to face what the future had in store.”

 

Conductor, John Haydn Davies

In the early concerts many of the soloists came from within the ranks of the Choir such was the wealth of talent. At least ten different choristers appeared as soloists within the first year of concerts, with Sam Griffiths giving his first concert in Ramah Chapel, Treorchy in July 1948. For the next forty years the baritone performed almost three hundred times as a soloist, not counting the many occasions he performed as a chorister or sang a solo item in a Choir item. Tenor Idris Higgon, a former member of the Royal Welsh, Tom Griffiths and David Davies (later John Cynan’s father-in-law) were other popular soloists during those early years.

In 1947 they gave four concerts in the upper Rhondda, starting in Ramah on July 20th, with soloists Cas Powell, D. Davies, Eddie Hughes and boy soprano Jack Hughes (brother of future Choir chairman Meurig) and gained £12 for Choir funds from a silver collection. It was obvious that John Haydn had whipped a band of largely raw musical recruits into a fine body of singers. A week later they performed in St Peter’s Church, Pentre and then Salem Chapel, Cwmparc in August. A month later and they gave their first “away” concert – at The Pavilion, Porthcawl followed by another concert in Treorchy, this time Bethlehem Chapel and by the end of the year were numbering a hundred strong.

By April 1948 they felt the time was appropriate to hold their first Celebrity Concert in Bethlehem Chapel with soprano Linda Parker and baritone William Parsons. Ieuan Rees-Davies, the composer of "Close Thine Eyes" was a member of the audience and invited on stage to conduct this item. It was one of twelve concerts given throughout the year and by 1949 the choir performed twenty four concerts and a further twenty seven concerts in 1950 such was their growing popularity in a short period of time.





Outfits for performance were quite simply “Sunday Best” with a bow tie and it wasn’t until the early 1950s that choristers enjoyed the privilege of their own uniform. During this time support was given to the Choir by managers of the Polikoff clothing factory where a number of the choristers worked.

Polikoffs became the venue for subsequent fundraising “go as you please” evenings of entertainment (attracting more than four hundred guests a time!), several annual dinners and numerous concerts and broadcasts during the early years. The support of the company was superb.

It was a time when enthusiastic young choristers bonded in the most magnificent way, with “all hands on deck” to raise funds for their fledging organisation in an effort to purchase their first set of uniforms. Memories remain vivid for some choristers who attended some of the dances also held at the British Legion Hall in Pentre when Ron Lewis would drive around collecting sandwiches, cakes and pies made by chorister’s wives and mothers to be sold during the dance at a buffet overseen by Trevor Protheroe. It was Polikoffs that presented the Choir with its first uniform, a blazer and grey trousers made out of the thinnest material possible!

In 1948, the year that the Choir constitution was finalised, the first quarterly edition of the choir magazine, Excelsior, was published after a request was made to the committee by chorister William Wilshire who thought a monthly journal would be an ideal opportunity to celebrate their growing success. The title was chosen because they felt it was "the essence of an ideal almost impossible to attain". The suggestion was adopted and Keri Evans, Richard Williams, W.J. “Donna” Griffiths and Ernest Lewis joined him to form a sub-committee. 

At this time the emergence of Donna  became obvious. Originally a committeeman for a year he became the Choir’s first Publicity Officer to deal with the growing popularity of the organisation from the local and national media. In 1952 he was elected secretary and this great man retained the post for the next twenty eight years.

For the first two years Excelsior appeared as a quarterly magazine costing 3d and later 6d a copy before developing into an annual publication in 1953. Originally published by Pentre Printing in Llewellyn Street and later Caxton Press in Treorchy, the first ten pamphlets contained crosswords, musical quizzes, columns of information on sport and weddings as well as regular articles from officials, music staff and supporters. As John Haydn put it, “Let fame be its spur and let it scorn delights and live laborious days in its muse-inspired mission to convince others of Treorchy’s goodwill and the surety of its aspirations.”

What a command of the English language the writers of those early editions had! As each edition unfolded the maestro’s intense devotion to the Choir became all the more apparent as prior to each eisteddfod he addressed the choristers like a general preparing for battle, but even in defeat set a tone of dignity by congratulating a rival choir on its success. In one of the last quarterly editions of 1950, concern was shown over the depletion of male voice choirs and the conductor thought radio sets were a cause because people were not as willing to leave the entertainment of their "wireless"! He had little to worry about as the majority of choristers were below the age of thirty.

Treorchy was indeed becoming a Choir of renown. Their achievements were built up by faithful and unflagging work. They combined concentration and laughter, cheerfulness and industry. Engagements saw them travel even further distances, occasionally “all through the night” and often in the most difficult of weathers and gradually more concerts were held for fundraising activities which is why the Choir became a charitable organisation. The long hours on the journeys passed quickly, thanks to the banter and leg-pulling from which no one, least of the conductor, was exempt. Things haven’t really changed so much after all!
 

Vice Chairman, Edward Knapgate

In 1948 Choir registrar Richard Williams died under the saddest of circumstances. He worshipped at Salem, Cwmparc, and after the minister and choir president finished their graveside eulogies, John Haydn stepped forward and read the final chorus of Nidaros:

“The dawn is not distant, nor is the night starless
Christ is Eternal, God is still God
And his faith shall not fail us
Chris is Eternal.”

The Choir moved into their musical tribute and that moment on a mountainside graveyard in Treorchy remains eternal. The sound of collective emotion and controlled passion in song became overwhelming. Treorchy had waited for generations of musical hope – as a community it had deserved it.

Competition was incredibly important to the Treorchy & District Male Voice Choir (later renamed Treorchy Male Choir in 1953) of the day, remembering that the eisteddfod had long since been recognised as the testing ground of Welsh choirs. The maestro eloquently wrote in Excelsior, “Our object is not to gain a prize or to defeat a rival, but to pace one another on the road to excellence.” He was determined that his Choir would not fall foul to the dreaded “Cythraul y Canu” between choirs and was often the first on stage to congratulate the conductor of a winning choir – although compared to Treorchy’s incredible record of victory, there was no need for him to undertake this duty on a regular basis!

They first competed at the Parc & Dare Whitsun Eisteddfod in May 1948 with a staggering 157 choristers on stage to perform Daniel Protheroe’s "Nidaros". It was the first and only time that the choir came second to neighbouring Pendyrus. The first victory at competition level was in Llanharan in 1948 for another performance of "Nidaros" and the success was repeated three months later in Pontllanfraith with Douglas Robinson the Chorus Master of the Royal Opera Chorus in Covent Garden as the adjudicator. It was quite an achievement for an organisation that had been established less than two years – and what a remarkably exciting time for those original choristers. It is hard for us today to imagine what those early days must have been like, how full of enthusiasm everyone was to succeed, how intense a competition must have been and how determined they all were to become a major force in the male voice choral arena. In 1949 they won the eisteddfodau of Treorchy and Llanharan which took place within a few weeks of one another.
 

Birmingham Town Hall, 1951
 

The first visit to a National Eisteddfod since the reformation was to Dolgellau on August 6th, 1949 where the test pieces were "Mordaith Cariad", "Full Fathom Five" and "Tiger Tiger". In true tradition, all competition items were performed for the general public with a fundraising eisteddfod concert held in Ramah Chapel on July 24th.

It was a regular occurrence for the Choir to allow the public an insight into the work they were about to perform before the adjudicators. However, the final rehearsal prior to an eisteddfod was always a closed event and visitors were turned away from the rehearsal room.

A host of logistical problems were faced by the secretary as he prepared for the Dolgellau visit. It was decided that the number of choristers and supporters would not exceed 300.

     
A legion of buses was needed and it was necessary for Stanley Jones to make a prior visit to Machynlleth where he organised three hundred lunches in five different cafes. It was reported that during the visit there one chorister made “a remark which reflected on the Secretary” and George Neighbour used his legal knowledge to draft a letter demanding an unreserved apology which was countersigned by the entire committee! Naturally, the apology came without delay! That day the choir came an honourable second to the experienced Morriston Orpheus under the baton of Ivor Sims. It was the last time they ever lost to Morriston.

Such was the determination of the Choir, they returned to the National Eisteddfod arena again in 1950, when it was held in neighbouring Caerphilly. The preparation saw the same intensity, determination and effort sustained throughout. As ten coaches set out to conquer Caerphilly, the same mixture of enthusiasm and nervousness rushed through the choristers. They performed "Baich Damascus", "Deryn y Bwn" and "Cysga Di" for the capacity crowd. Despite all efforts, they once again received second prize, but their work was not in vain. This intense rehearsal and preparation was a formidable method of perfecting the art of choral singing. This was a choir that had rapidly become a disciplined entity and one that was rapidly perfecting its own distinct “sound”. It was a “sound” nurtured by John Haydn and his successor, making Treorchy the Choir (that Sir Harry Secombe so kindly said) the “Welsh choir others try to imitate.”

Although the Choir continued to win many of the semi-national and Whitsun eisteddfodau at Llanharan and Treorchy, it wasn’t all victorious in the early days of competition. At Sennybridge in May 1950 the Choir were placed fourth. “We were robbed”, claimed a number of choristers, who had forgotten to follow John Haydn’s famous adage, “If you lose say little, if you win say less.” Having said that, Rhymney came first and without wishing to question the judgement of the adjudicator, he teased the audience with a glowing account of the time he spent as a youth in the village. There was some comfort for Treorchy as Manselton came last but went on to win the first prize at the National Eisteddfod in Caerphilly three months later.

Stan Jones and David Jenkins faced some administrative difficulties because of the sheer widespread fame of the Choir with demands for radio broadcasts and concert performances increasing month by month. Stan was an able and amicable entrepreneur in his own right for when a china tea set was given as a retiring present for the treasurer who was moving to Swindon, or when a hired car was needed for the conductor, he could provide both from his own resources. It is also interesting to note that although the committee decided on an honoraria to be paid to the officers the amount was often “left on the table” for quite some time.

Following an audition for the BBC in October 1948 (before Idris Lewis, Head of Welsh Music at the BBC and Teddy Richards, conductor of Cor Caerdydd) the Choir gave its first broadcast in a series called For Export Only which was transmitted from the Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre in Cardiff. The fee was £26.5.0 with £15.5.0 for expenses. A second broadcast, again from the Reardon Smith Hall, took place in November. In February 1949 the Choir made its first broadcast with the BBC Welsh Orchestra, conducted by Rhondda-born Mansel Thomas from the Park and Dare with a second broadcast there a month later. In April another broadcast came from Hermon Chapel with Idris Daniels of Pencader as baritone soloist and in May the first "All Together" programme came from the rehearsal room with Alun Williams.
 

John Davies and Farquhar MacDonald

Over the next sixteen years they made more than thirty of these broadcasts, recording almost a hundred songs from sea shanties to light opera. It was an amazing opportunity for a young choir and they undertook the challenge gladly. The reputation of the Choir as a “one-take” wonder certainly spread through the entertainment world. The demand for their services on radio and later television programmes was prolific with up to nine or ten broadcasts per year, usually from the rehearsal room or a nearby chapel. However, they weren’t always “spot on” of course, remembering the broadcast at Polikoff’s canteen with the BBC Welsh Orchestra under Arwel Hughes for a programme called "From the Welsh Hills". They sang "Men of Harlech" twelve times!

In the first five years only two concerts were given in England. The first took place in London in April 1949 when the Choir of 150 strong was invited to perform at the National Coal Board Boxing Finals at Wembley Pool before HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. The invitation came from Fred Pullin, the Deputy Press officer of the NCB who regularly contributed articles for Excelsior for years to come. To a darkened hall they walked quietly to their seats wearing miners helmets and dressed in overhauls and simultaneously turned the cap lamps on as they began to sing to the 10,000 strong crowd. The effect, as one can appreciate, was breathtaking. The visit to London was a memorable occasion, with an impromptu performance given for the press in Russell Square Gardens followed by a group of fifty or more choristers mounting the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus to perform the finale of "Nidaros"!


Festival of Britain Concert, 1951
 
The second “away concert” in May 1951 took place in the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Festival of Britain with the challenge of singing Dr Thomas Wood’s specially commissioned "The Rainbow" based on the epic evacuation of Dunkirk and under the conductorship of Sir Adrian Boult.

Visits to Ipswich were frequent, as were concerts in Doncaster where John Barker, the conductor of the Wheatsheaf Girls Choir, became Treorchy’s first Honorary Member. Later that year the choir made its first visit to Birmingham Town Hall at the invitation of the Birmingham Welsh Society. Organised by secretary D.O. Griffiths, the concert was an outstanding success and one in which the Choir appeared regularly for very many years.

By the dawning of the new decade changes were becoming apparent in the Choir. Stanley Jones relinquished his position as secretary due to work commitments (he later became an estate agent), allowing the post vacant for Donna Griffiths – the duties of which he carried out so admirably for almost thirty years. Treasurer David Jenkins “emigrated” to Swindon, leaving the post filled by Gwynne Williams, who also remained in that position for almost three decades.

The enthusiasm of John Haydn, Tom Jones and their choristers knew no bounds and the sights were set to tackle the test pieces for the forthcoming National Eisteddfod in Aberystwyth in August 1952. History tells us that this was the pinnacle moment of the early years as they performed Schubert’s "23rd Psalm", causing the adjudicators to drop their pens, sit back and listen before the spokesman proclaimed if there was singing like it in heaven he was eager to get there quickly.

Within six years the Treorchy Male Choir had scaled the peaks of musical distinction. They had conquered the competitive arena, recording studio and concert platform. It was the firm foundation that has allowed the Treorchy Male Choir to remain one of the greatest musical institutions in the world.



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