Cwmbach Choir was formed in 1921, and has survived to the present day
even though it was severely tested by periods of hardship, depression
and the Second World War. During it's 90 years it has flourished and
built up an enviable record of success in competitions and concert
Its success in competition,particularly eisteddfodau, was established
in its early days. The first taste of success was second prize at
Treorchy in 1928, followed by Cardiff in 1938 and Ebbw Vale in 1958.
The first prize was ultimately achieved at Port Talbot in 1966 and
repeated in 1968 at Barry.
During the 1950's when the Although in recent times the Choir has not
been nearly as active in the competitive arena, it was successful in
taking First prize in the Male Choir competition at the Limerick
Festival of 1996 in Ireland. In 1997, the Choir took part in the
International Eisteddfod at Roodeporte, Johannesburg, South Africa
where they competed in the Folk Music Competition. They not only came
fourth out of seventeen strong groups but also were the highest placed
repertoire of the Choir is wide and varied. It includes music for all
tastes, ranging from operatic choruses, spirituals, hymns, folk music
and popular ballads. The Choir maintains the great tradition of male
singing by including the 'big guns' of, 'Nidaros', 'Castilla',
'Comrades in Arms', etc., in its programme. It also has an extensive
range of religious music, including major works such as the 'Cherubini
The Choir has had
the privilege of sharing the concert platform with some world famous
artists, Paul Robeson, Sir Geraint Evans, Stuart Burrows, Dame Gwyneth
Jones, Constance Shacklock, Patricia Kern and the internationally
renowned guitarist John Williams, to name but a few.
Halle Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the BBC Welsh Symphony
Orchestra, the Black Dykes Mills Band, the Band of the Welsh Guards and
the South African Naval Band are examples of the well-known orchestras
and bands with which the Choir has worked.
During the last 40 years the Choir has travelled
extensively both nationally and internationally. It has appeared at
the Royal National Festival Hall, the Albert Hall, the Barbican, the
National Exhibition Centre, St. David's Hall and at numerous Cathedrals
throughout the British Isles.
The Choir's first
visit abroad in 1961, was by invitation to take part in the Bela Bartok
Festival at Debrecen in Hungary. They were the first Welsh choir to
sing behind the 'Iron Curtain' and the impression created resulted in a
further invitation in 1978 and again in 1986 for the Festival's 25th
Anniversary where they reached the final of the competition.
Since 1961 the Choir has visited and performed in
France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Ireland and Spain. Inter-continental
travel commenced in 1990 with a tour of On Canada repeated in
In 1996 the Choir celebrated its 75th
Anniversary. It performed 23 concerts during the year, the highlight
being the Gala Concert given at St. David's Hall, Cardiff when the
Choir was joined by the renowned Italian soprano, Nuccia Focile, and
the Internationally famous baritone, Jason Howard.
In autumn, 1997 a concert tour of Johannesburg and
South Africa took place. In 2001 the Choir returned to Canada, but this
time to Vancouver and Vancouver Island in British Columbia, for what
was, according to press adulation, probably their most successful tour
ever. In 2002 the Choir represented Wales at the Interceltique Festival
held in Lorient Brittany, in 2003 undertook a short tour of Jersey and
in 2004 visited Malta and Gozo where they were very well received being
the first Welsh choir to visit Gozo. 2005 saw a return to Vancouver and
in the following years trips to Venice, San Marino and Cyprus were
In the last few years the Choir became involved
with memorial events relating to the 70th anniversary of the
sinking of the "Arandora Star" ship, with performances in the Catholic
Cathedral, Cardiff and also in Liverpool where memorial plaques were
erected. On a visit to Italy the Choir visited Bardi - the spiritual
home of many Italian immigrants who settled in Walesand from where
fifty of the victims hailed. The Choir sang in a Mass at the church of
San Francesco and placed a floral tribute in the beautiful memorial
chapel especially erected in Bardi cemetery.
The Choir has produced a number of records, cassette
tapes and CD's. For the first occasion of the World Choir performance
at the National Stadium in Cardiff, Dr. Owain Arwel Hughes invited
Cwmbach Male Choir to make a cassette which was sent to choirs all over
the world as their learning tape in preparation for the 10,000 Voice
Concert in 1992.
Male Choir was also the first choir invited by the Welsh Rugby Union to
perform at the famous Arms Park, to entertain the crowd and lead the
singing prior to an International rugby match, and it was again invited
to perform at the International between Wales and Ireland in March 2005
when Wales won the Grand Slam.
2010 the choir undertook a short tour of Paris.They were
invited to join in celebrations of the Tenth Anniversary of the opening
of the Stade de France in Paris. Whilst there the Choir sang in
the chapel of Notre Dame de Paris in an extremely successful charity
concert for the Paris Welsh Society.
A second short tour of 2010 was to
Northern Ireland. The Choir started early
on Friday 23rd October when they boarded a double
decker coach. The choir took part in a joint charity concert with the
Queens Island Victoria Male Choir, and performed to a capacity
audience. The following morning the Choir were delighted to take part
mass at the Saint MacNissi Catholic Chapel in Randalstown,County
Antrim. They also performed a Charity Concert at the St.
Parish Centre Randalstown on the Sunday. All proceeds went to the new
Palliative Care Unit situated there.
its inception the Choir has upheld the tradition of Male Voice singing
in the Cynon Valley and further afield. It is the fervent hope of the
present Choristers that the high standard, which has been set and
maintained during the Choir's long existence, will continue well into