A TOP Flintshire male voice choir celebrating its 80th anniversary has become an internet sensation.
Côr Meibion Trelawnyd’s touching rendition of the ever popular Welsh love song, Myfanwy, has received more than a quarter of a million hits on YouTube.
The news is a major boost to the choir ahead of a special 80th birthday concert they have organised for Saturday, October 12, in the Rhyl Pavilion Theatre at 7.30pm.
The 261,787 people who listened to Cor Meibion Trelawnyd singing Myfanwy put them way out ahead of the Wales’ best known choir, the Fron Male Voice Choir, in the internet stakes.
Even with their global fame, the so-called oldest boy band in the world from Froncysyllte could only manage 44,000 hits for their most listened to song.
This was music to the ears of Arwel Lloyd, chairman of Côr Trelawnyd, who is the great nephew of the famous Welsh tenor David Lloyd.
Arwel was delighted that the choir’s version of Myfanwy had gone viral.
He said: “I’m not sure how it happened really because I’m an IT technophobe. Myfanwy always connects with audiences universally – our English and non-Welsh speaking audiences feel the emotion and know it’s a love song and connect with it.”
The choir that has more than 80 members was formed in Trelawnyd in 1933 by the village schoolmaster, William Humphreys, father of the critically acclaimed novelist, Emyr Humphreys.
Since then the choir has performed in the USA, Canada, many parts of Europe and of course all corners of Britain and Ireland.
Other famous venues where the choir has sung include the Royal Albert Hall and the Wales Millennium Centre.
The choir has achieved success in a host of competitions, winning the Eire International Festival in Cork and is a six times winner of the National Eisteddfod male voice choir competition.
Hollywood movie star Jonathan Pryce, originally from nearby Carmel, who starred in the Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies is one of the choir’s vice-presidents as is Rhys Jones, the well-known broadcaster, composer and musician, who is a native of Trelawnyd.
Geraint Roberts, the choir’s conductor for over 30 years, is devising a varied programme for the anniversary concert.
The items will reflect the choir’s wide repertoire and includes the familiar and innovative new pieces for the occasion.
Geraint said: “We hope to entertain the audience with a variety of music aimed at pleasing everyone. It’s a programme representative of the last 80 years including one or two of the more traditional male voice pieces."
The guest renowned soloists are baritone David Kempster, a native of Chirk, and tenor Adriano Graziani, who hails from South Wales.
Geraint added: “The choir members are passionate about the music, their choir and the name and reputation of Trelawnyd. They want to keep that going.”
Ednyfed Williams, 83, has been a member of the choir for more than 50 years which he credits with keeping him fit and active.
The choir was also there as a support system when he lost his beloved wife Eirlys, 79, to cancer four years ago.
He said: “The lads were there for me and offered friendship and support at a very bad time in my life.
“They made sure I wasn’t lonely. The phone would go and I would be invited out for a drink or meal. Attending choir rehearsals twice a week gives you a focus in life. The community spirit within the choir membership is strong and reminds us that there is more to choir than singing.”
The highlight for Ednyfed was being invited by the Association of North Wales MVC’s to compere the 1,000 Voices Festival in the London’s Albert Hall.
He said: “I’ll never forget walking down the tunnel and facing an audience of 5,000 seated in the towering balconies and galleries.
“It was a hair-raising experience. It’s always the first few moments when the nerves are on edge but these are soon dispelled when you start performing.”
He added: “I can’t wait for the anniversary concert at the Pavilion in Rhyl which will be a momentous milestone in our history as a choir. I am sure it will be a very special and memorable occasion.”
Tickets cost £15. Contact the box office 01745 330000 or for further information, call the choir secretary on 01745 730059.