COLWYN MALE VOICE CHOIR reaches the heights in North America
Colwyn Male Voice Choir has just returned from a tour of Canada in August and September. The Colwyn choir of 42 choristers and their guests began with a four night stay in Vancouver. On the first full day in Canada a tour of the city of Vancouver including Stanley Park and the famous Totem Poles. In the evening the Vancouver Welsh Society then welcomed us to a reception at their Cambrian Hall, the only such society which owns their own premises where many famous Welsh choirs and personalities have visited over the years, a beautiful evening with plenty of good conversations, drink, food and a song or two. Then on the following day an early start with a visit to Vancouver Island with time spent in the beautiful town of Victoria and the very scenic cruise to and from the island. On the Sunday morning twenty two of the party then took a flight in three small sea planes from Vancouver harbour for a half hour scenic view of the area whilst the not so brave rest waited on the seadrome balcony waiting our return, similar to the scenes when the Beatles returned to London from America, others also went on a whale spotting boat later on. On Sunday evening the 28th August the choir sang at the full to capacity Ryerson United Church to an enthusiastic audience , sharing the stage with the Vancouver Orpheus Male Voice Choir who had previously shared a concert with us at St John’s Church Llandudno the previous year. So this was a return concert for both choirs and again a rerun of the previous year’s ‘afterglow’ this time in the Cambrian Hall for the second time in two days. The highlight has to be said was when the two choirs ended the concert with the Welsh hymn Gwahoddiad (The Invitation) to a standing ovation during the last amen. The next day Colwyn travelled through the Rockies to Salmon Arm on the large Shuswap Lake. Whilst this is a small town, the local organisers, the Shuswap Welsh, had made very special efforts to host and prepare for the concert. Their volunteers built a special stage and one concert goer travelled 150 miles each way to the concert. The church was completely sold out and there was a further standing ovation. Many people without tickets had to be turned away. Such welcoming people again with after concert refreshments provided, homedae food and cakes and drinks. The following 2 days were spent in the Banff area and the whole choir took the cable car gondolas to the top of the 8000 feet Sulphur Mountain, while many walked via a walkway onto the next peak and climbed up to the historic weather station.
Later we sang at the famous Lake Louise (with snow and glacier in the distance) to an audience of tourists and a Native American Chief and had a picture taken in front of the lake and glazier.
Colwyn then travelled to Calgary, where the choir was the special guest choir of the North American Festival of Wales, which was attended by people from across the USA and Canada. Here the choir sang at the Saturday evening concert on 4th September again to a full capacity audience of at the Knox United church to a great reception from the whole audience, the stage was shared by the local soloist Edith Pritchard, again a standing ovation at the end of Cymru Fach which prompted a repeat as an encore. Many locals without tickets had to be turned away. On Sunday 5th, the choir joined in the hymn singing and provided choir section to an enthusiastic congregation of delgates and visitors in the afternoon and evening sessions of the Cymanfa Ganu conducted by our Musical Director Tudur Eames.
Both the Canadian organisers and the choir considered all the concerts and tour a great success. The choir returned to Wales on 6th September and was soon busy, putting jet lag behind us, again singing at the Proms in the Park in Parc Eirias on 10th September, along with distinguished Royal Northern College of Music student and local baritone John Ieuan Jones.
The Tour was organised for the choir by Debbie Kearney of Travel Counsellors. She did an amazing job putting all her knowledge of the tours industry to give us an amazing and most enjoyable trouble free experience. Everyone in the party were very complimentary of he arrangements and the excursions including the two amazing tour guides provided.