Singing at the International Eisteddfod is my all time favourite choir gig. This year was no exception. And we were not only doing our own set but also sharing a set with Kor Rey (Kór Reyðarfjarðarkirkju) – that wonderful Icelandic choir we first met up with 2 years ago. Going to the Eisteddfod is a remarkable experience; it feels like a cross between a community event and an international event and it draws on the best of both. Choirs and dancers from all over the world – think India, Poland, Canada, Slovenia, Indonesia, Estonia, South Africa (the Stellenbosch University Choir were stunning), USA, Albania, Ireland, Germany etc. And there was food and drink to match.
We sang our first set immediately after Kor Rey – a hard act to follow – but soon got into our stride in the (over) glorious heat. Our songs were selected to resonate with the spirit of the Eisteddfod, a spirit of diversity, of friendship and shared love of music. Our singing of Unison in Harmony really made this clear – ‘Nation shall sing unto nation until nations cease to be, unison in harmony’.
I especially enjoyed our joint set that followed with Kor Rey. Adding their voices to ours really opened out our sound especially our Bass section, or that’s how I heard it, being a bass myself. We sang Happy Together, which indeed we were. The farewells at the end of our joint busking session later – in Llangollen’s newly-minted Centenary Square – were poignant and hoping to ‘see you again’.
As ever our grand performance was a result of both plenty of good practice beforehand and very excellent guidance before, and on the day, by Liz Powers our choir conductor. I can’t wait until our next Eisteddfod. Thanks to everyone at the Eisteddfod and at Llangollen Methodist Church for making our trip so enjoyable.
Blog by William West
Pictures by Melissa Gün