|Performed by Rhos Orpheus Male Voice Choir
|North American Festival of Wales
Cleveland, Ohio - 2011
|Check out the 'Photos' page
for pictures of this event
This year, the 80th North American Festival of Wales was held at Cleveland, Ohio between
September 1 - 4, 2011 and this Society was represented by eight of our members.
Every day seminars were organized on various topics ranging from learning the Welsh
language to genealogy, legal history, folk dancing as well as discussions on the life and
times of the early Welsh pioneers to the United States. All seminars were conducted by
people highly proficient and respected in their field so it was a real treat.
For those not wishing to attend seminars, a tour of The Amish Country and places of
interest in Cleveland were arranged and enjoyed by all who attended.
Friday night was the Banquet and an excuse to dress up in our 'Sunday Best'. After the
meal, awards were presented to Alan and Gretta Upshall in recognition of their
outstanding service to the Welsh-American community. Entertainment followed by the
choir Hogia'r Ddwylan, conducted by Ilid Anne Jones with mezzo-soprano Megan Elizabeth
Morris, soloist. Fantastic evening!
Saturday evening brought us the Grand Concert which commenced with a speech by the
Guest of Honour, Catrin Brace, who is the US Representative for the Office of the First
Minister of Wales. Again the male voice choir, Hogia'r Ddwylan, rendered a wonderful
performance not only with our favourite Welsh hymns but also with a selection of
contemporary pieces. The soloist was tenor Aled Wyn Davies who had an amazing voice.
After Church Service on Sunday we had a little time to prepare for the afternoon and
evening sessions of the Gymanfa Ganu. The organizers of the Festival had thoughtfully
sent out a list of what we would be singing, so we were able to familiarise ourselves with
the pieces beforehand. We all sang our hearts out with the help of the choir and soloists
and the atmosphere was charged with emotion as the singing took us back to our
childhood and our Gymanfa Ganu's in Wales.
A new aspect of the Festival was the 'Cinema from Wales' with showings on Friday and
Saturday of short films produced by the BBC, S4C and Cinetig. These were favourably
received and there is a possibility we may borrow some of these films to show to members
of our Society.
Another fantastic group entertaining us was the folk band Moch Pryderi (Pryderi's Pigs).
Their music is rooted in the traditional Brythonic-Celtic music of Wales and Brittany,
interwoven by music from various other countries. Their instrumentation includes the
rare Welsh triple harp, Welsh pibgorns (a type of horn), Welsh pipes, highland pipes,
fiddle, Breton bombard, Celtic bouzouki, flutes, whistles and percussion. Whew! As well
as that they sang like angels.
I can't leave this without a mention of the fun we had at the Pub Night every evening from
10 pm to midnight. In a relaxed atmosphere we sang all our favourite hymns, reaching
those high notes (no doubt) with the help of some liquid served from the bar!
I should also mention the event took place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel where the staff were
suburb, accommodating our every need to ensure the Festival went without a hitch.
The 2012 North American Festival of Wales will take place in Scranton, Pennsylvania
so start saving now because this is an event not to be missed.