THE RHOS Male Voice Choir has returned from a triumphant but poignant tour of Belgium.

The much-loved Wrexham based choir have returned from a successful yet bittersweet trip from Belgium - the choir’s first event since the choir’s much-loved accompanist Kevin Whitley passed away in March.

The Leader: Rhos Male Voice Choir at the Menin Gate memorialRhos Male Voice Choir at the Menin Gate memorial (Image: Rhos Male Voice Choir)

During the five-day trip the choir sang at the service of Remembrance at the Menin Gate memorial in Ypres.

The service – held every evening at 8pm – commemorates the hundreds of thousands who died in World War One.

An audience in excess of a thousand – from all over the world – heard the choir sing the traditional Welsh hymn Gwahoddiad, and the Benedictus from Karl Jenkins “The Armed Man” Mass for Peace.

The choir also performed to a packed audience at a concert in St George’s Church in Ypres. The church was built after WW1 and is dedicated to those who died in the conflict.

At the concert musical director James Llewelyn Jones paid tribute to the choir’s accompanist Kevin Whitley who died the week before the tour.

Kevin, who was 50, had played for the choir for more than 28 years.

He said: “When we got to the church we saw that near the organ one of the memorial plaques was dedicated to old boys of Ellesmere College in Shropshire – which was where Kevin taught music and played the organ. It was a poignant moment.

“Kevin was a brilliant musician and a real servant to Rhos Male Voice Choir. He is greatly missed.”

Earlier the choir visited the Tyne Cot cemetery at Zonnebeke – the largest cemetery for Commonwealth soldiers in the world, and the grave of Welsh poet Hedd Wyn who died in the Ypres Salient in July 1917.


The trip also saw the choir singing in Ypres’s St Martin’s Cathedral, and undertaking a tour of the local Kazematten Brewery.

Choir secretary Paul Scott said: “It was an amazing trip – so many choristers – and their wives and partners - have said they will take away memories that will last a lifetime.

"It was a real honour and a privilege to be able to sing at the Menin Gate ceremony.”