On a recent trip to Scotland I visited the Old Course at St Andrews, the undisputed home of golf. It made me think – which is the oldest male voice choir in Wales?
Golf was first played at the Old Course at St Andrews over 600 years ago. Comparatively, male voice choirs do not have such a long history.
In fact, it’s not that easy to be precise about which choir is the oldest Male Voice Choir in Wales.
Vast numbers of men worked in the coal, slate and steel mining districts. Moreover, it is no surprise that such a collection of men produced large male voice choirs by the dozen.
Oldest Male Voice Choir in Wales
The internet suggests that the oldest male voice choir in Wales is Treorchy Male Voice Choir.
Formed in 1883, this veritable juggernaut is now synonymous with male voice choirs.
Prestigious approval granted with a Royal command performance for Queen Victoria and the Royal Family at Windsor Castle on November 29th 1895. Apparently, she was amused. Complimenting the choristers on their fine voices.
Also, world wide fame has resulted in many invitations, including four tours to Australia.
For 133 years the Treorchy Male Choir is one of the greatest choral ensembles of all time.
North Wales Oldest Choir
Comparatively, in north Wales the oldest male voice choir is Rhos Male Voice Choir.
The village of Rhos, with a population around 9,000, has a unique reputation for its musical culture.
Furthermore, this continues with the existence of two large male choirs, two mixed choirs, a musical theatre society and a female choir.
Rhos male voice choir started in 1891. In 1957 the successful partnership of conductor Colin Jones and accompanist John Tudor Davies lasted 30 years.
Furthermore, this period brought considerable success especially at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.
All things considered, it’s heartening that the oldest male voice choir in Wales (and north Wales) is still going strong and maintaining a proud cultural tradition.