Glyndwr’s Male Choir, Mountain Ash, Wales, Fourth American Tour, 1919 (click to enlarge)
Standing, left to right: J O Jones, M.E. (President), J N O Williams, Rhys Thomas, Hy. Evans, D. Teifi Davies (Tresurer), Stephen Jenkins, Tom Davies (Secretary), Geo. Anthony, D Pennar Williams, D J Davies M.E. (President).
Sitting: M J Edwards, Sydney Charles, B Davies (Chairman), T Glyndwr Richards (Conductor), W Evans, L.R.A.M. (Accompanist), Gomer David, Dd Lewis.
(Names sourced from p123 of Bernard Baldwin’s Mountain Ash and Penrhiwceiber Remembered in Pictures.)
“The famous choir from the Welsh colliery town of Mountain Ash will give a concert before the King and Queen . . . at Windsor Castle tomorrow afternoon.”
(The Times of London, 17 April 1922)
The Mountain Ash choir of this period, and earlier, is well-known for its travels and for performing for the occasional head of state. All I know of them is that they maintained a level of success over several years, this coinciding with the stewardship of Glyndwr Richards. The above photo states that 1919 was the occasion of their fourth American Tour, their first, I believe, being in 1908 when they performed for President Roosevelt. On the 1919-1921 tour, they performed for President Harding.
The Times article goes on to say that most of its members were coal-miners and that the choir had formed in about 1904. Professor T. Glyndwr Richards’s stewardship of the choir is such that they are frequently referred to as Glyndwr’s Mountain Ash Male Choir. Not everyone felt that the success was deserved: a correspondent in a later Times article finds the choir in fine voice individually but lamentable as a choir, with the “worst possible arrangements”, out-of-tune singing and constant vibrato.
The tours of America were not only notable for the success of a choir from a small industrial town but led to the choir being recorded in 1909, 1920 and 1926, with a record being released in 1926. This is available on youtube thanks to a collector of old records. Continue reading