A CHOIR that has delighted music lovers across Europe and has a history of glittering success is celebrating its diamond anniversary.
The Hawarden Singers, multiple winners of the National Eisteddfod of Wales, became the first Welsh choir to win the Mixed Choirs Competition at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod in almost 30 years when they triumphed in 1973.
The choir is also a past winner of the International Trophy which choirs compete for at the Cork International Festival, and has performed in many countries, including Malta, Germany, Sweden and France.
Founded in 1954 by Dr Emlyn Roberts, the Hawarden Singers plan to celebrate their anniversary with concerts, a beetle drive, a barn dance and a celebratory dinner.
Secretary Harold Taylor hopes the choir’s history can be inspirational in achieving even more success, saying: “It is a very important year for us.
“Everything we do we seem to do well and we are very proud to play a part in the fabric of Hawarden.
“For some of the people who have been with us since the choir was founded it must be fantastic to see the choir come so far.
“Two of the original members are still singing and it is great to be a part of it.”
Dr Roberts, a former examiner for the Trinity College of Music in London, conducted the choir’s first concert at the Hawarden Institute.
Hawarden Singers were invited to represent Great Britain as a guest choir at the Nordic Music Festival in Sweden the following year and during the 1950s they won the Welsh regional ‘Let the People Sing’ competition on the BBC’s Welsh Home Service four times.
The choir’s 1958 triumph in Cork gave way to a run of six National Eisteddfod of Wales victories within the space of eight years during the 1960s.
But the Hawarden Singers’ greatest hour arguably came when the choir claimed first prize at Llangollen’s prestigious international eisteddfod.
“It was a wonderful achievement for a small choir from a small village,” Mr Taylor said.
“It was before my time but I know members worked very hard and the performance they gave was almost perfection.”
In 1977 Hawarden Singers gave a concert at St Nikolai Church in Spandau in Berlin and in 1981 they were invited to visit Malta by the Maltese Ministry of Culture, giving two concerts in Valletta.
Dr Roberts stepped aside in 1988 with Hywel John, a former member of the bass section and headteacher at Hawarden’s Rector Drew School, then leading the choir for the next 13 years which included a week of performances in Auzeville-Tolosane, France, after being invited by the Broughton and Bretton Twinning Association to visit their twin town in 2000.
The choir, which is looking to recruit more soprano and tenor singers, will return the favour in May this year under the guidance of current musical director Malcolm Williams.
A former tenor soloist with the choir, Mr Williams began his musical career under the baton of Sir Benjamin Britten and he led the singers on their tour of the Isle of Man in 2006.
Choral Auzeville will visit for the joint concert being staged on May 3 at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Ewloe.
Information about forthcoming events and tickets can be found at www.hawardensingers.com