The North American Welsh Choir will soon undertake a tour of Wales, and perform in venues across the country to celebrate its 25th anniversary.
The 50-member choir, which features choristers from over 17 American states and three Canadian provinces, will visit Wales between 1-8 July, in its first significant tour of the country since 2002.
The choir was founded in 1998 by conductor Mari Morgan, who is originally from Llanelli. Prior to Covid-19, the choir met on a yearly basis, but the pandemic changed everything, as Mari explains;
‘‘The choir found that 2020 was a year unlike any other! Prior to that we came together once a year, and each term on a regional level. But when Covid-19 struck, we gathered together virtually almost every week to sing and to strengthen our community.’’
The choristers include descendants of Welsh immigrants, and over half the choir has been learning Welsh since September 2020. They meet every week online, where they learn about Welsh culture and poetry, as well as conversational Welsh, including pronunciation and basic language patterns, based on the course books developed by the National Centre for Learning Welsh.
Lisa Hopkins lives in Pennsylvania, but her family comes from Wales. She has learnt Welsh and is now a Learn Welsh tutor;
‘‘I wanted to learn Welsh in order to understand more about my heritage. Also, being able to read Welsh means that songs and hymns mean more to me. I have been teaching an Entry level course for beginners for two years. It’s lovely to see how much everyone in the group loves the Welsh language. It gives me great satisfaction to see the learners’ confidence grow as they speak Welsh.’’
Allison LaPointe, from Saint Paul, Minnesota, has been learning Welsh for the past three years. She can’t wait for the tour, and is specifically looking forward to visiting north Wales;
‘‘I’m excited that the tour is starting in north Wales, where my family originally comes from. My great-grandfather moved to Utica, New York from his home in Dyffryn Ardudwy, north Wales. I have never visited Wales before, so this choir tour is going to be quite an experience for me.’’
For more details about the tour please visit the choir’s website: