A DEEPLY moving poem written by a National Eisteddfod-winning bard is the inspiration behind a concert at a top music festival.

The poem, Y Gorwel (The Horizon), links in with the theme for the North Wales International Music Festival at St Asaph Cathedral from Friday, September 15 to Saturday, September 30.

It was written by John Evans, the grandfather of Aled Lewis Evans, from Wrexham, who is also an acclaimed, award-winning poet.

The poem describes an old man gazing out across Cardigan Bay from his home in the Barmouth area of Gwynedd and looking back to his childhood and how the innocence of youth looked to the horizon of his future not knowing the woes of life.

The Leader:

Aled, a chapel minister, will take part in the bilingual concert, Gorwelion y Gair (The Horizon of Words) at the festival on September 22, when he will be reading some of his own poems.

It’s all being made possible thanks to the support of the Arts Council of Wales and the festival’s headline sponsor, the Pendine Arts and Community Trust (PACT), that was set up by the Pendine Park care organisation to provide funding for arts and community activities.

Other sponsors include Colwinston Charitable Trust, Arts & Business Cymru and Tŷ Cerdd while PACT is also supporting the Gorwelion y Gair concert.

Aled’s grandfather, a headteacher at Llanegryn near Tywyn, Gwynedd, won the chair at the National Eisteddfod in Aberystwyth in 1952 and again at Ystradgynlais two years later.

He said: “When the festival’s Artistic Director, Ann Atkinson, asked me for suggestions for a concert at this year's event themed ‘Horizons’, the poem, Y Gorwel, quickly came to mind.

“It tells of some crossing the horizon into world wars, and not returning. At the end of the poem he looks straight to the last horizon which is death, and beyond. He faces it confidently and completely naturally at the end of the poem.”

The event also plays a part in the anniversary celebrations of the two male voice choirs, with Ann being the musical director of both.

Côr Meibion Trelawnyd is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year and the Corwen-based choir, Côr Meibion Bro Glyndwr, was formed 50 years ago.

Both choirs have staged special concerts this year to celebrate their anniversaries and I thought it would be apt to bring both together to sing at this concert. 

The 30-strong Dee Sign choir will join the two choirs in the cathedral to sign the song in British Sign Language or BSL.

Choir director Celia Chapman said: "Anfonaf Angel is new to us and we are arranging for it to be translated into BSL."

The festival itself will be looking to new horizons and the closing concert on Saturday, September 30 will take the form of a farewell to Ann who is stepping down after 20 years at the helm.

This orchestral concert will include the young instrumentalists from our Instrumental Project and a bit of Opera and favourite pieces.

The programme will include the 2013 Commission by Paul Mealor 'A Welsh Prayer' and a follow-up new commission from Paul Mealor for 2023 'A Welsh Blessing'.

The talented vocal ensemble, Tenebrae, who have performed at the festival twice before, will star in the opening concert on Friday, September 15.

Acclaimed Manchester-based acoustic quartet Kabantu aim to 'celebrate the spaces where different cultures meet' with their eclectic, folk-inspired original music at a concert on Thursday, 21 September.


On Saturday, September 23, NEW Sinfonia will be joined in concert by American violinist Tai Murray and Welsh pianist Teleri-Siân.

Canadian-born pianist Janina Fialkowska will perform a recital featuring pieces by Schubert, Brahms and Chopin, on Thursday, September 28.

The following evening former Royal harpist Catrin Finch takes centre stage on September 29, when she will be appearing with Irish violinist Aoife Ní Bhríain.

In addition, there will be an extensive programme of daytime concerts and other events, including a dementia-friendly and inclusive concert, a "Schools” concert and a “Tots" concert all with musicians from Live Music Now Cymru.

There will also be a morning concert with classical guitarist Jonathan Richards and various masterclasses and workshops.