ABERHONDDU & DISTRICT MALE CHOIR

Founded 1937

Brecon Choir

Brecon & District Male Choir © 2018. All rights reserved.
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JOIN THE CHOIR  

We warmly welcome interest from potential new choristers. Come along on any rehearsal night, sample the atmosphere and perhaps join the Brecon & District family.


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MAKE A BOOKING


You can book the choir to perfom at concerts, charity concerts, private engagements and weddings.

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PRACTICE NIGHTS


The Choir practises every Friday evening in Llanfaes School Hall commencing at 7.00 p.m. You are most welcome to come along and listen to the Choir rehearsing.

Check our diary first to make sure we are there.


History

Brecon and its environs have always had a strong musical heritage, and in the vanguard of keeping this tradition alive is Côr Meibion Aberhonddu.


The earliest records show that a choir was formed in the town in 1889 under the leadership of a Mr Heins and with the support of the Brecon Philharmonic Society to compete in that year’s National Eisteddfod which was being held in Brecon. They did not have any success at the eisteddfod and the following open letter taken from the June 21st issue of the County Times might provide a clue as to their lack of success:-


“It is of the utmost importance that those who have joined the eisteddfod choir should use every endeavour to attend as many practices as they possibly can. The Philharmonic Committee has to draw attention to the rule that it will be impossible to allow places in the choir for the eisteddfod to any but those who have attended a sufficient number of practices. Some of the finest musicians in England and Wales will be present at the eisteddfod, and members should remember that with them and them alone, it remains to uphold the credit of their choir and of their town. This fact the committee feels confident will cause members to see the necessity of attending practice more regularly from now onwards.”


 E.S. Allen. Hon Sec B.P.S


The choir’s fortunes gradually declined and by the commencement of the 20th Century it had become a mixed ensemble still run by the Brecon Philharmonic Society.


At the termination of the 1914-1918 conflict male voice singing gained a resurgence in the town as the following article from the Brecon and Radnor Express of 10th January 1924 would seem to indicate:-


“The Brecon male voice choir under the conductorship of Mr Rhys Jones commenced their weekly practices after the Christmas holidays last Thursday night when there was a good muster. Apart from “Fallen Heroes” which is the test piece for the Brecon Eisteddfod, they are also practicing two or three other popular pieces amongst them being “Invictus” by Daniel Protheroe, and “Men of Harlech” arranged by the late Harry Evans. (Coincidentally we still sing Harry Evans’ version of Men of Harlech today.)


During the 1930s choir numbers dropped and the choir nearly collapsed altogether. However, in 1937 Aberhonddu Choir was refounded to the choir that we see today.


Aberhonddu Choir gained a first-class reputation during the 1940’s under the guidance of Mr Alf Morgan and accompanist Nellie Probert, earning many successes on the eisteddfod circuit of South and Mid Wales. The highlight of this period of the choir’s history was its triumph in the 1946 National Eisteddfod at Mountain Ash, when it won the competition for male choirs of 30-50 voices. The test pieces were “Can Buddugoliaeth”, “Ar Hyd Y Nos” and “Llwyn Onn”, the first prize was £25.


Unfortunately Aberhonddu Choir did not capitalise on this success, and fortunes fluctuated until the late 1950’s when Mrs Ogwen Thomas (music adviser to the county of Brecknock) was invited to become the choir’s musical director. Her efforts developed the foundation of what the choir has become today. On Ogwen Thomas’ retirement the baton was passed on to our current musical director Mrs Lynnette Thomas who had previously been accompanist to the choir for 15 years. Her appointment proved to be a wise one, and her enthusiasm and expertise has allowed the choir to develop as a capable singing unit with a comprehensive repertoire of popular male voice songs. Lyn has been with the choir for over 40 years and in 2018 Lyn received the British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours list for her services to the choir, music, education and the Welsh language.


In 2011 an invite from the choirs of Bramming in Denmark saw us embark on a concert tour of the country singing at various locations including concerts at the cathedrals of Ribe, and Haderslaz. A year later saw the choir relocate to Brest in Brittany to spend a week performing at the prestigious “Festival of the Sea”.


During 2012 the choir recorded the song “The Gift of Life”, the music and lyrics having been composed by two choir members, the proceeds of the sale of the CD were donated to organ donor charities. This gesture led to the choir being invited to perform the song at the opening ceremony of the “World Transplant Games” in Rochester Cathedral.


Social evenings and trips away are also very important to the choir, where the Choir can let down their hair (or lack of it!), get to know everyone and plenty of laughter. There have been weekend trips to Tenby, enjoying the sand between our toes and performing in a couple of concerts, and to Aberystwyth, travelling to Devil’s Bridge on the steam train and performing with our friends in Tregaron.


In 2017 Aberhonddu Choir returned to Denmark to participate in the fifth International Choir Festival in Ribe.


Mention must also be made to our deputy musical director Lynne Griffin who has been with the choir for over 12 years and also has a well-deserved reputation as a very fine soprano.


Aberhonddu Choir are still a busy and vibrant choir who are united by their love of singing together and sharing that joy with others. Drawing its members from both town and country the choir is always in demand both locally and abroad. Over the years we have seen the choir perform in the USA and across Europe. Whilst nearer to home the choir has sung at such diverse locations as village halls, barns, and churches, to cathedrals of Liverpool, Southwark, Worcester and St David’s. Not forgetting many appearances in the Principality Stadium, Royal Albert Hall and Cardiff Castle.