Most Recorded Choir in the World
Treorchy Male Choir’s recording history is an outstanding achievement for any musical organisation. The Choir has recorded almost sixty records and CDs since its first commercial recording took place in February 1956. Arguably, its list of almost 500 recorded tracks makes the Treorchy Male Choir the most recorded male voice choir in the world.
Those early days were an exciting period for this newly formed Choir, enjoying international recognition within a few short years of existence. Although they remained in demand for concert performances and had a number of national competition victories to their name, the need to broadcast their music to an even wider audience was greater than ever.
In actual fact the Choir’s sound was recorded even earlier than 1956. Five years earlier in June 1951 choristers appeared in a Rhondda Music Week concert from the Pentre Colliery site and baritone soloist Sam Griffiths was given the opportunity to record two songs. With choristers supporting him he recorded “Little Liza Jane”. A similar situation occurred in August 1952 when they won the National Eisteddfod in Aberystwyth and this was also made into a private recording, as were several other subsequent eisteddfod performances.
During the 1950s the Choir collaborated on a successful series of radio broadcasts for the BBC Overseas Service and the response to their performances was overwhelming. Towards the end of 1955 they were introduced to John Edwards, the Managing Director of the newly established Qualiton Record Company based in Pontardawe.
Following lengthy discussions it was decided to record their first 78rpm record on the Qualiton label on February 23rd, 1956 at Bethlehem Chapel, Treorchy. The two songs recorded were “Sospan Fach” and “Men of Harlech”.
This was the first of six 78rpm records made for Qualiton between 1956 and 1957 and included the tracks “Nant y Mynydd”, “Y Lon I Lan Ar Lei”, “Lord Is My Shepherd”, “Shepherd’s Lullaby”, “Hyfrydol”, “Llef”, “Myfanwy” and “Soldier’s Chorus”. John Haydn Davies conducted each of them, with Tom Jones at the piano.