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The Forgotten Years


Treorchy, as with so many other towns and villages in the Rhondda, enjoyed a plethora of musical activity during the late Victorian era and the first half of the 20th century. Central to this culture was often the local Nonconformist chapel, offering the musical training background to so many choral societies, ladies choirs, children’s choirs, brass bands, and of course the male voice choir. This was an era where competition at the local, let alone national eisteddfod was fierce and it was not uncommon for the local colliery to form a male voice choir to enter a forthcoming competition which would disband just as quickly once the last note was performed. At the height of the depression in the South Wales valleys, an opportunity to claim a share in the competition winnings was not to be ignored, particularly when times were hard.
This was certainly typical of the society in which the original Treorchy choirs existed which often makes it difficult to determine a starting point for the revival of an established male voice choir in the town. What can be ascertained is that despite Treorky Male Choir’s early successes they only mark the beginnings of what can be called a protracted gestation period, as consistent success was to elude them for many years following the First World War. It existed in many guises for the next thirty years, often with a variety of conductors, although one element that remained constant was their undiminished enthusiasm.

Treorchy District Male Choir c. 1917
The Forgotten Years: Text

Although the present-day Treorchy Male Choir has achieved worldwide recognition, it is important not forget the roots of that organisation which eventually led to the great revival in post-war male voice choir singing. The Rhondda still boasted some excellent competitive choirs during the early years of the 20th century, including Treherbert Male Voice Choir, Cwmparc Male Voice Choir and Williamstown Male Voice Choir formed by Ted Lewis. Sometime before the end of the “Great War”, a male voice choir had been formed once more in the town of Treorchy.
The first recorded existence was in a performance at an eisteddfod in Treorchy Pavilion on New Year’s Eve 1917 when the Choir of young men performed under the baton of John Pugh and lost the first prize to Wattstown Male Choir under the leadership of Danny James.
Tom Jenkins, who later played such a pivotal role in reforming the current Choir, was the first secretary but resigned in 1919 in favour of Mr G. Picton Williams. The accompanist at the time was Mr E.T. Thomas and rehearsals were held in Park Hall, Cwmparc. One of their public performances that year was at Bethania Welsh Congregational Church, Treorchy on August 19th with Treorchy Choral Society, the highlight of which was a performance of “Martyrs of the Arena”.
The next report of the Choir comes from 1921 when they competed in the Mountain Ash Welsh Musical Festival before a crowd of 8,000 people. The test piece was “War Songs of The Saracens” by E. Bantock and the adjudicator was Ernest Newman, probably the most famous music critic of his generation. The first prize of £100 was presented to Penywern and Dowlais Male Choir who scored 83 points, with the Treorchy & District Male Choir coming a commendable third place out of seven choirs with 78 points – just behind Rhymney.

Gwilym T. Jones, Conductor
The Forgotten Years: Text

On December 1st they gave a concert in St Matthews Hall, Treorchy where John Pugh was accompanied by Mr A. Tawe Thomas and the Choir was reported as being “particularly good”, by the local press. In June 1922 they returned to the choral arena with the Hirwaun Eisteddfod, losing to the Williamstown men. However, all was not lost when they entered the eisteddfod later that month in Treherbert Opera House and won the first prize. In July they returned for a second eisteddfod and competed on the favourite test piece, “Martyrs of the Arena” where they beat Maesteg and Treherbert Male Voice Choirs to the first prize. The difference between both competitions however was noticeable, as John Pugh had resigned at the end of June, only to be succeeded by Gwilym T. Jones of Cwmparc.
Jones was the Conductor of the Royal Welsh Male Choir, the same organisation that had stemmed from the original Treorky Male Choir. In 1920 he had also formed the 120-strong Treorchy Vocal Union at Noddfa and came to the “new” male voice choir with his accompanists Tom Knapgate, Fred Hughes of Sunnybank, Cwmparc, and occasionally his own wife.
The male choir grew to over 130 voices and rehearsals were moved to the Auction Hall or the Glyncoli Road School every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. The official uniform was a dark suit with a black bow tie and copies of music were sold to choristers with contributions coming to sixpence a week – a charge which was reduced by the time of the onslaught of the 1926 General Strike.
In November 1922 they gained another first prize at an eisteddfod in Williamstown Wesleyan Church where adjudicators Tom Gabriel and Mr W. Leyston were impressed by their performance of Maldwyn Price’s famous warhorse, “Crossing the Plain.” By July 1923 Jones had firmly imposed his musical authority on the Choir and they beat their rivals, Williamstown, in the Treorchy Semi-National Eisteddfod before giving a celebrity concert in Bethania Chapel with Manuel Jones of Ferndale and the well-known baritone Mostyn Thomas as soloists. Earlier that year Mr Thomas had performed “Dafydd Y Garreg Wen” from a tiny studio above a music shop at 19 Castle Street, Cardiff, marking the first broadcast of BBC Wales and the first Welsh words ever heard on British radio.
Williamstown Male Choir didn’t remain beaten for long when they returned to the competitive arena in January 1924 to face Treorchy at an eisteddfod in the Ferndale Workmen’s Hall and claimed a £20 first prize. On April 17th Treorchy claimed a first prize at the Eighth Annual Chair Eisteddfod again at the Workmen’s Hall, this time beating Wattstown and Ferndale Labour Male Choirs. Later that month they also beat five other choirs at Gilfach Goch Workmen’s Hall with their performance of “Fallen Heroes”.
The run of success for the Treorchy & District continued in May 1924 when they claimed the first prize for their performance of “Destruction of Gaza” at the Pontypridd Eisteddfod, gaining 98 points out of 100. During the same month the Duke of York, who later became King George VI, visited Treorchy’s Ystradfechan Park. The Parc and Dare Silver Band, conducted by Rufus Jones, The Perry Smith Orchestra and the Choir provided the entertainment that afternoon. The Conductor of the Choir and the Conductor of the Band – who were brothers – were both presented to the Duke and congratulated on fine performances.
At the Llandaff Eisteddfod in early May the Choir gained an unprecedented hundred points for their performance of “Fallen Heroes”, setting the scene for further success at an Eisteddfod held in Pontypridd Town Hall on May 24th, organised by the South Wales Branch of Workingmen’s Club Institute Union. The test piece was “Destruction of Gaza” and this “battle of giants” included seven male voice choirs from throughout the South Wales coalfield. Treorchy claimed 98 points and the first prize of £30.
Defeated by Williamstown Male Choir on June 7th at the Ferndale Workmen’s Hall Eisteddfod, Treorchy went on to win the Taff’s Well eisteddfod in July. Also competing that day was the Treorchy Choral Society (which consisted of the male choir members also), under its conductor Arthur Morgan, whose five sons all sang with the reformed Treorchy Male Choir from 1947 onwards.

Royal Welsh Male Choir, Conductor Gwilym T. Jones
The Forgotten Years: Text

The summer of 1924 proved a memorable one in the history of he Choir when they competed and won five different eisteddfodau in West Wales. The test piece in each eisteddfod was Dr Parry’s “The Pilgrims” and they travelled from town to town on charabancs to compete. First prizes were gained in Lampeter, Glynderwen, Newcastle Emlyn, Burry Port and they returned to the Rhondda with £310 in prize money!
Such an ongoing, impressive list of victories rapidly earned Treorchy the title of the “Premier Choir In South Wales” and they elected their new President, none other than W.P. Thomas of the Ocean Coal Company and former secretary of the original Treorky Male Choir.
Following a series of fundraising concerts in 1924, the Choir travelled to London for a three-day trip to compete and perform in the nation's capital. The highlight was a performance in the Central Hall, Westminster, to a capacity audience. On the following day they were booked to perform “The Pilgrims” at the Cenotaph, but the Metropolitan Police Force, concerned that it would cause chaos to motorists and pedestrians, forbade the performance, causing Gwilym T. Jones to complain – unsuccessfully – to Scotland Yard.
As a new year dawned it became obvious that the Choir was gaining an impressive reputation, causing the local press to state, “Treorchy has become something of a tradition in Welsh singing, no male voice contest is complete without them on the list.” In March 1925 the Choir reunited itself with the Royal Welsh Male Choir to pay a final tribute to one of the great Welsh baritones of his generation, Aneurin Edwards. For over thirty years he had impressed audiences throughout the world and the choirs joined under the direction of Gwilym T. Jones to lead the singing during the funeral procession through Treorchy.

Aneurin Edwards, Baritone Soloist.jpg
The Forgotten Years: Text

On Saturday March 21st the Choir continued to sweep the competition aside by claiming further glory against eight male voice choirs in the Ynysybwl Eisteddfod at the Workmen’s Hall. On June 5th they competed in the South Wales Chair Eisteddfod held in Treorchy in aid of Pentwyn Hospital. The Park & Dare Hall had been decorated especially for the occasion and portraits of famous conductors such as Caradog, Tom Stephens and William Thomas adorned the walls. The unaccompanied test pieces were “O Peaceful Night” and “Admiral Death”. The composer of the latter, Dr Vaughn Thomas, was one of the adjudicators, but of the four competing choirs, Treorchy was placed last.
This moment of failure was forgotten when the Choir competed at the Pontypridd Semi National Eisteddfod in Temple Chapel, Graig against nine other choirs, some coming from as far as Swindon for the event. The adjudicators, Llywelyn Bevan (Conductor of the London Welsh Male Choir) felt their performance of “Martyrs of the Arena” was fully deserving of the first prize of £25 and an oak chair. Mr Bevan said, “The prayer was splendidly done, and they terminated a fine performance with a magnificent manner.”
Very little is known of the Choir’s whereabouts in 1926, but it becomes increasingly obvious that Gwilym T.Jones, who had been appointed organist and choirmaster of Bethlehem Chapel, was finding it difficult to remain dedicated to both the Treorchy & District and the Royal Welsh Male Choirs. Whilst one was a competitive choir, the other depended on concert performances and although both benefited massively from the expertise of Mr Jones, it was no longer possible for him to conduct both. It is interesting to note that during certain competitions the Royal Welsh would make up the front rows of the Treorchy & District Choir to assist them with their performance. Sadly, this arrangement would eventually cause a major disagreement between both musical organisations as one was an amateur choir, while the other were professionally paid singers – a luxury in the 1920s depression.
“Rival conductors seem to keep a watchful eye for the appearance of Treorchy and when they see them anywhere near they tuck up their sleeves and determine to bring the best out of their choristers for Treorchy are worthy opponents.” This opening line from a newspaper story in May 1927 introduced the reader to another competition victory, this time in Pontypridd Town Hall where Treorchy beat Williamstown, Ogmore, Wattstown, Merthyr and the relatively young Pendyrus Male Choir to the first prize. Pendyrus, which came last in the competition, was conducted by the inimitable Arthur Duggan and the rivalry that stemmed from these early eisteddfodau would continue for decades.

Treorchy District Male Voice Choir c. 1925
The Forgotten Years: Text

After coming third in the Pontypridd Semi National Eisteddfod in July, the Choir entered the autumn months to be faced by the sad news of the resignation of Gwilym T. Jones who was about to embark on a six month tour of South Africa with the Royal Welsh Male Choir. On his return he moved to Pontypridd to reform Cor Meibion Pontypridd.
A period of uncertainty followed in the Treorchy camp until a Royal Welsh Male Choir tenor soloist, John Isaac Jones, was appointed conductor with Tom Knapgate as rehearsal accompanist and Idris Jones as competition and concert accompanist. It was a difficult time for the Choir to readjust to a new musical director and was probably the reason they didn’t compete in the Royal National Eisteddfod in their own hometown in August 1928, the only time it came to the Rhondda.
The Choir’s first victory with their new conductor was in June 1927 at Penygraig Welfare Hall before they competed at the Pontypridd Semi National Eisteddfod in Taff Vale Park. The five competing choirs could either choose “Fallen Heroes” or “Lovely Maiden” and the old rival Williamstown Male Choir came first with 94 points, followed by a new rival in Pendyrus coming second with 91 points. Treorchy staggered behind on 88 points. A local journalist pointed out that some of the Treorchy choristers had once performed before the Queen at Windsor – but as members of the Rhondda Glee Society, not the original Treorky! It is also worth noting that in fourth place was Pontypridd Male Choir under the direction if none other than Gwilym T. Jones himself.

John Isaac Jones, Conductor.jpg
The Forgotten Years: Text

Treorchy came second behind Williamstown at the Porth Eisteddfod in July and went on to hold a series of fundraising concerts for the Choir over the coming months.
On Saturday August 10 1929, the Royal National Eisteddfod was held in Liverpool and eleven male choirs competed in the chief choral event. It was Treorchy’s first attempt at the national arena in the twelve years since it had reformed although they came home unsuccessful, with Dowlais Male Choir winning the first prize. Despite the disappointment they won the first prize of £80 and a 75 guinea cup at the Pontarddulais Eisteddfod on the test pieces “The Herald” and “Nidaros”. The competition was significant in that in second place was the Morriston United Choir (later Ivor Sims’ Morriston Orpheus Choir) and the adjudicator was the conductor of the Glasgow Orpheus Choir, Sir Hugh Roberton. His contribution to the Treorchy Choir over the years could never have been realised at this point.
The economic depression of the 1920s in the South Wales valleys did little to abate by the start of the 1930s with a huge percentage of men out of work. It was also a period when men left their homes for work elsewhere and this impacted on the musical organisations they often performed in, whether brass band or choir. In fact it was one of the major reasons why the Williamstown Male Choir, once a real force to be reckoned with, disbanded during the early part of the decade.
In 1930, the Choir competed at the South Wales Chair Eisteddfod, Treorchy, in aid of Pentwyn Hospital, where one of the adjudicators was Arthur E. Davies FRCO of Swansea, who would later become a conductor of the Treorchy & District Male Choir. Pendyrus gained the first prize with 95 points, followed by Treorchy with 90 points. In August Treorchy once more entered the Royal National Eisteddfod at Llanelli – the site where the original Treorky men claimed the Blue Riband almost forty years earlier. The winners were Morriston United Choir under Ivor Sims.
By May 1932 the Treorchy Semi National Eisteddfod drew a large audience as the four competing choirs of Treorchy, Pendyrus, Pontypridd and Powell Dyffryn, were recognised as major musical rivals. Performing either “The Tyrol” or “The Pilgrims”, the choirs gave a thrilling performance to the packed audience. Pontypridd came first with 88 points followed by Treorchy’s creditable 86 points. As one report announced, “Treorchy is undoubtedly a superb choir, the voices were very well balanced, and the adjudicators very much appreciated the way in which they dealt with the expression marks. The little crescendos were dealt with, there as no extravagances and one felt the Choir created absolutely the right atmosphere. The climax came naturally and the whole chorus was artistically done.”
Cwmparc tenor Idris Higgon performed the solo section in one of the test pieces at the Royal National Eisteddfod in Port Talbot in 1932 where Treorchy came eighth out of nine choirs and once again the Morriston United gained first prize. Mr Higgon, who also sang with the Royal Welsh Male Choir, was a well-known tenor in South Wales whose dedication to choral music in Treorchy was greatly appreciated. In September 1932 Treorchy Male Voice Choir and the Royal Welsh Choir combined once more to mourn the loss of another great Rhondda singer. This time it was the famous soloist of the original Treorky Choir, William Todd Jones of Treherbert.

W.D. Evans, Conductor
The Forgotten Years: Text

Treorchy travelled to the Central Hall, Westminster in November to compete but came home unsuccessful and facing huge financial concerns. It was time to concentrate on concert work once more to regain funds and on January 7 1933 they packed the Memorial Hall, Felinfach. The 90-strong Choir “were in irrepressible mood and literally drew the house down by their magnificent renderings.”
By the summer of 1933 John Isaac Jones’s relationship with the Choir became untenable and he resigned on July 22. In less than a week a replacement was secured in none other than William David Evans B.A. Mus., Bac. of Maerdy, the former conductor of Williamstown Male Choir. W.D. Evans, as he was better known, studied music at Cardiff University and trained as a teacher in Goldsmiths College, London. A respected conductor of cymanfa ganu and a talented composer of Sunday School hymns, Mr Evans made a massive contribution to Treorchy’s success over the next five years.
As a conductor, he led the Maerdy United Mixed Choir to nine first prizes in thirteen eisteddfodau. His motto of “remember three things: punctuality, regularity and thoroughness”, was firmly embedded in the minds of each Treorchy chorister as the long period of retraining and preparation for competition work began. As one reporter explained, “The moment he takes up the baton, his eyes aflame with real and infectious enthusiasm for his work, he grips his choristers in a manner which is peculiarly his own.”
On February 24th, 1934 W.D. Evans made his debut to the Rhondda people as conductor of the Treorchy Male Voice Party as it was becoming known. The concert, held in Bethania Chapel, Treorchy, was a huge success. Soloists that night were Idris Higgon, Madame Griffiths, Madame Cassidy Morris, Bryn Jones and elocutionist Tom Thomas. The repertoire also included some demanding items, including Handel’s "Hallelujah Chorus" no less. The Choir’s first victory with “W.D.” at the helm, came at the Treorchy Semi National Eisteddfod in March where the adjudicators were Dr Vaughan Thomas and the young composer and conductor Arwel Hughes.
The test pieces were“Charge of the Light Brigade” – an item that Arthur Duggan’s Pendyrus had mastered to perfection. On this occasion it was Treorchy who beat their Rhondda Fach rivals to the first prize. As one reporter said, “It was a case of Greek meeting Greek for these two organisations have been rivals for many years, and each established a reputation which seems to gain in lustre with the passage of years. Treorchy were awarded the first prize, but they were conquerors by a very narrow margin.”
On April 1 the Choir held a concert in the Pavilion Cinema, Treorchy, and the proceeds went towards their travelling costs to compete in Mountain Ash and Porthcawl over the Easter Holidays. They won at Porthcawl, but lost in the Cynon Valley.

South Wales Chair Eisteddfod, 1934
The Forgotten Years: Text

On Saturday August 4, 1934 the Choir held a concert in the Park and Dare Hall to raise more funds for the journey to the National Eisteddfod in Neath. The President, W.P. Thomas, who had recently retired after sixty years service to the Ocean Coal Company, presided over the event which included soloists Madame Arianwen Price-Evans (soprano), Madame Gwyneth Morgan (contralto) and Madame Rees-Jenkins (elocutionist).

The National Eisteddfod was an exciting undertaking as the “battle of choral giants” took place with Treorchy, Pendyrus and Morriston all competing for the first time against one another. It caused great commotion with a packed audience thrilled at the experience of seeing the rivals battle it out musically. It was Swansea Male Choir that claimed the first prize, with Pendyrus in second place, Morriston in third and Treorchy in fourth out of eight choirs.

The thrill of watching the “cythraul y canu” between the large choirs of Wales always guaranteed an excitable audience. Pendyrus and Treorchy came head to head again on June 10th 1935 at the Llanelli Eisteddfod with the test piece “Iesu o Nazareth” by Dr Joseph Parry. Thousands of spectators gathered for the spellbinding performance of both choirs and the adjudicator Dr Frederick Stanton awarded the first prize of £50 to Treorchy. The Conductor W.D. Evans and accompanist on the day, Idris Griffiths, were carried shoulder high by their victorious choir.

Treorchy came second to Morriston at an eisteddfod in Port Talbot in September. The following month a stay-in strike at the Dare Colliery in Cwmparc lasted for 200 hours. The miners finally came up on October 22nd, the day that Treorchy made their first radio broadcast at the Park
and Dare Hall. They opened with a splendid performance of “Hallelujah Chorus”, followed by “The Pilgrims”, “Nidaros” and “Tra Bo Dau”. The Conductor’s own arrangement of the hymn tune “Scranton” was followed by “Iesu O Nazareth”, with solo items by Emlyn Jones and Idris Higgon.

The local newspaper reported, “As one who has been a warm admirer of the Treorchy Male Voice Party for many years, may I extend to their conductor and themselves my congratulations on their excellent work in the broadcast. Their appearance ‘on air’ is an honour long overdue, and it was nice to observe that they seized their opportunity with “both hands”. The party was certainly on excellent form, and Mr Evans is to be praised upon the fruits of his labours for a period of little over two years. The party has never reached a higher standard of attainment than at present. The miners are perhaps the most difficult body of performers in the world to lead along disciplined paths, but Mr Evans has the happy knack of securing their submissiveness and confidence by his inflexible power of will, and their unswerving loyalty by his masterly sense of interpretation.”

On their return visit to Central Hall, Westminster, in November, they won the first prize. It meant that during the previous two years they had competed in twelve eisteddfodau, won eight and came second only twice.

For the third consecutive year they won the Porthcawl Eisteddfod on the test piece “Nidaros” in April, 1936. On June 2 it was time to return to the Treorchy Semi National Eisteddfod where they beat Morriston to the first prize. They travelled to Fishguard for the Royal National in August and came fifth, with the first prize claimed by Swansea Male Choir for their performances of “Reveille” by Elgar, Delius’s “The Wanderer’s Song” and “Desideria” by Tawe Jones. The choirs performed before an audience of more than 15,000 people.

Eisteddfod Card 1936
The Forgotten Years: Text

Records show that by 1937, over ninety of the singers at Treorchy were unemployed. On May 1st they appeared in a sacred concert at the old brewery garage on Taff Street in aid of Treherbert Hospital. Treorchy was one of only two choirs to enter the Treorchy Chair Eisteddfod in May were Sir Ivor Atkins and W, Matthews adjudicated. They lost by one point to Pendyrus. The local newspaper read:“Treorchy and Pendyrus have in successive years played a kind of vocal see-saw in demonstrating an ephemeral superiority and it was expected that the russle would at least hold the essence of conflict without quarter.
"The final award of the prize to Pendyrus undoubtedly took the crowd by surprise, but the adjudicators gave a reasoned analysis of the position and it appeared Treorchy had been slightly unfortunate at time in their quest of pure and satisfying chording. It was however a battle of giants and an impish touch had swayed the see-saw to see Mr Duggan and his men once more in precarious ascendancy.”
In August 1937 Treorchy competed for the last time at the National Eisteddfod, this time held in Machynlleth. They came sixth out of eight choirs with Pendyrus coming eighth. Treorchy was the only choir to enter their hometown Chair Eisteddfod in Whitsun 1938 but the “lone gladiators of the arena, rendered the test piece with solemn grandeur.”
Later that spring W.D. Evans resigned to move to his daughter’s home in Church Village and be cared for due to a heart condition. His replacement came in the form of Arthur E. Davies, a well - known Swansea musician, much revered for his work as a conductor, choirmaster, organist, adjudicator, professor of music and critic and brother in law of the brilliant pianist and composer, Claudia Lloyd.
On August 19th 1938 Choir treasurer, Fred Morgan, was injured at Parc Colliery. A few weeks later and the 33-year-old died at his home. One evening in September two men joined the Choir who would have an immeasurable effect on its future. The first was the new deputy conductor, John Haydn Davies of Blaencwm, the second was his close friend Tom Jones, a talented young pianist. As they entered the rehearsal room that night the Choir rehearsed “Mordaith Cariad,” or “Voyage of Love”. Rather prophetic given their massive contribution to the Choir in years to come.
A Celebrity Concert at the Park and Dare Hall in May 1939 introduced the new musical line-up to the local audience. Artists that night were soprano Megan Thomas, baritone Teifion Williams and cornet soloist Ivor Wlliams. The Rhondda Leader proclaimed: “The Treorchy Male Voice Party has had a long and successful career but like many other organisations has experienced changes and difficulties which only a gallant fighting experience could overcome. There have been illustrious names in its list of conductors and it has many fine triumphs in its tale of music achievements. Intermittent periods of industrial depression have inevitably adversely affected its uniform progress, but always there have been bold spirits who have kept the flag flying and with wise organisation have steered it through difficult waters to an anchorage of steadfast popularity.”

Arthur E Davies
The Forgotten Years: Text

W.D. Evans was in the audience that night, delighted when John Haydn conducted his arrangement of “Scranton”. The first half of the concert was broadcast by the BBC but the audience was robbed of the thrilling finale of “Nidaros” because the radio crew needed to “fade out” the Choir due to lack of time!

John Haydn Davies led the Choir back into the competitive arena on May 30 with the Treorchy Chair Eisteddfod. Joseph Lewis of the BBC and John Hughes were the adjudicators, awarding the first prize to Pendyrus and the second prize to Treorchy who lost by only one point. During the following year he again led them to a second place at the competition, this time with Morriston United Choir winning by five points.

With the outbreak of the Second World War many of those young singers had left the country to fight on foreign soil and it was becoming increasingly obvious that the Choir’s future was uncertain. In the Whitsun Eisteddfod of 1941 only Treorchy entered the male voice choir competition. When John Haydn Davies received the £20 prize money he donated £10 to Pentwyn Hospital and the remainder to the Cwmparc distress fund “that recently suffered at the hands of the Nazi marauders of the air.”

In September 1941 the Accompanist Tom Knapgate of Glyncoli Road, Treorchy, died at the age of forty nine. Tom Jones succeeded him in the post and accompanied the Choir for its performance at the South Wales Chair Eisteddfod in Treorchy in May 1942 with adjudicators Dr Sydney Northcote and W. Matthews-Williams. Ten years later and the latter of these two gentlemen would award the first prize to the newly reformed Treorchy at the National Eisteddfod in Aberstwyth. On this occasion Treorchy was not victorious in its entry, coming third to Morriston and Pendyrus for their rendition of “Charge of the Light Brigade.”

At the same competition in Whitsun 1943 Treorchy entered the eisteddfod arena for the last time with their performance of Daniel Protheroe’s “The Crusaders”. John Haydn Davies led his Choir to victory, one point behind the old rival, Pendyrus. The event marked the final recorded existence of the Treorchy Male Voice Party, but from the ashes of this old choir of men would rise one of the most famous of them all.

(c) Copyright Dean Powell

The Forgotten Years: Text
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