Friday, 13 November 2009

Blue plaque for Pendyrus Male Choir

The internationally-famous Pendyrus Male Choir is the latest distinguished recipient of a Blue Plaque in honour of its major contribution to creating Wales’s image as the Land of Song.

The Rhondda-based choir, which was formed 85 years ago, has spread the tradition of Welsh choral music around the world and yet still remains very much at the heart of the community where it originated.

At a special ceremony held in Tylorstown Primary School the Blue Plaque was unveiled by the Mayor of Rhondda Cynon Taf Cllr Robert Smith and Chairman of the Choir Creighton Lewis.

Honoured guests were also given the opportunity to hear Tylorstown Primary School Choir perform followed by a rousing performance of Welsh music and tunes from further afield by the Pendyrus men.

Cllr Smith said: “This has been a splendid occasion and it is a great honour to unveil this Blue Plaque to commemorate the immeasurable contribution the Pendyrus Male Choir has made in enhancing the reputation of
Rhondda Cynon Taf and Wales as a musical nation.

“Their outstanding history speaks for itself and both as a choir and a charitable organization, we are indebted to their commitment to ensure the Welsh choral tradition continues for future generations to enjoy.

“The fact that there are so many fine voices in the Tylorstown Primary School Choir is testament to the fact that the future remains bright for choirs like Pendyrus who can rest assured that choral singing is alive and well in the county borough.”

Chairman Creighton Lewis responded by paying tribute to the ambassadorial role the Choir has played since it was formed in 1924 and expressed the delight of the choristers in being awarded the Blue Plaque.

For almost two years Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Libraries & Museums Service has been working closely with various voluntary organisations and individuals to determine 30 sites in the county borough as yet unrecognized for their historical background with the placing of a Blue Plaque

Due to £49,200 of Heritage Lottery funding, the project has set out to identify icons, events and buildings, culminating in the placing of blue plaques to commemorate their history and achievements.

The Blue Plaque for Pendyrus Male Choir will be placed on Ty Ebenezer in East Street, Tylorstown. This is the site of the former Ebenezer Chapel where the Choir was originally formed by unemployed miners Ben Jones and Emlyn Drew in May 1924 after the friends decided they wanted to add to their leisure time.

Taking its name from a local signal box, the Choir steadily grew into a national competition winner under the baton of Arthur Duggan. They continued to scale the peaks of musical distinction under their second musical director Glynne Jones who led them through a second “golden era”.

Further successes have continued and the choir has recorded a wide catalogue of music and performed at all the major venues throughout the UK as well as undertaking extensive overseas tours of Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Russia.


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