A COMMUNITY choir that spans a continent concluded its summer tour of Wales with a rousing finale concert in Abergavenny.
Côr Cymru Gogledd America (North American Welsh Choir) features choristers from across the United States and Canada, including the descendants of Welsh immigrants and expatriates.
St Mary’s Priory Church was the venue on Saturday evening (8 July) for the culmination of a tour that also saw performances in Conwy, Aberystwyth and Cardigan.
Founded in 1998 by renowned cymanfa ganu conductor Dr Mari Morgan, who is originally from Llanelli and moved to the US in 1996, this was the choir’s first significant tour of Wales since 2002 and a celebration of its 25th anniversary.
Monmouth MP and Secretary of State for Wales David Davies, a fluent Welsh speaker, met the choir before officially opening Saturday’s concert.
He was invited to attend by local resident Deborah Haylock – a friend of Dr Morgan’s from university days – who helped to ensure a packed audience gave the choir a very warm welcome to Abergavenny.
Mr Davies said: “It was an honour to meet the choir beforehand and have a chat in Welsh, as the choristers are all learning the language.
“They actually only got together in person for the first time last week and had been practicing online. Singing for us were 50 choristers from 18 American states and three Canadian provinces, many of whom have family ties to Southeast Wales.
“We were treated to a wonderful evening of uplifting music, with a moving rendition of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau at the end. The whole event was a credit to Abergavenny and I very much hope the choir comes back again on its next tour of Wales.
“My thanks to the Rector of Abergavenny, Reverend Canon John Connell, for his hospitality and for hosting the choir at St Mary’s Priory.”
Côr Cymru’s repertoire included three newly commissioned works from some of Wales’ most notable contemporary composers and writers, sung in both Welsh and English.
Since 1999 the choir has performed the world over, from New York to New Zealand, and released several recordings.