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.