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Newport – The Land of Song – Dean Powell

On 26th February 2020, Dean presented enthusiastically the history of the male voice choir movement in Wales. Its origins are based in the strength of Nonconformity as a religious force and the accelerated growth of the coal mining industry.

The choir sessions were originally almost bonding session for the locals but later monetary prizes started being offered and so the professionalism of the choirs increased tremendously. Three of the most successful were those of Morriston, Pendyrus and Treorchy. These three main choirs for many years shared the triumphs at the various Eisteddfodau.

A very succesful conductor was Caragog who took a joint choir of some 450 voices to the then Crystal Palace where they defeated the best of the English competition in both 1872 and 1873.

The reputation of the Welsh choirs grew worldwide as they toured many of the most important venues throughout the world. Our speaker was himself a member of the Treorchy Choir which sang at the Sydney Opera House. It was the fame of the Welsh Choirs which lead to Wales being named the ‘Land of Song’.

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