Treorchy Male Choir
Choirs have existed in the Rhondda Valley for more than a hundred and fifty years and Treorchy is one of the best known from the area. One of its first male choirs was formed in the Red Cow Hotel in the summer of 1883 and developed into a National Eisteddfod winner, culminating in a royal command performance for Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle in 1895. The choir would later disband after the South Wales Valleys suffered during the massive economic downturn of the Great Depression in the United Kingdom and two World Wars, but they would later reform into a male voice choir that gained international recognition.
The present Treorchy Male Choir was reformed on October 16, 1946 under the baton of John Haydn Davies. Davies led for 20 years, transforming musical recruits into an international institution. They reached musical distinction in the national Eisteddfod by gaining a record eight national wins, making a total of twenty-two first prizes out of twenty seven entries. The Treorchy Male Voice Choir has been heard worldwide as they made regular radio broadcasts, television appearances, commercial recordings, two feature films and an overseas tour to Switzerland.
Treorchy was to become the first male choir to venture into the field of popular music and subsequently the choir has made more than fifty commercial recordings, making it one of the most recorded choirs in the world. In more recent years their radical attitude to music making included an album of music by Freddie Mercury and Queen, two recordings of music by Bob Marley and in contrast they also recorded more classical works and became the first British choir to perform Sibelius’ Kullervo Symphony in Finnish.
The choir has also shared the stage with some of the world’s greatest entertainers during its long and illustrious history. Television programmes with Sir Tom Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Dame Julie Andrews, Sir Harry Secombe and Burt Bacharach was only the beginning of their long association with major celebrities. The choir has since appeared either on stage, screen or in the recording studio with the likes of Dame Shirley Bassey, Dame Gwyneth Jones, Michael Ball, Katherine Jenkins, Iris Williams, Max Boyce, Bryn Terfel, Aled Jones, Charlotte Church, Ozzy Osbourne, Jon Bon Jovi, Sir Cliff Richard, Andrea Bocelli, McFly, Russell Watson and Il Divo. They have also performed for the likes of Oscar-winner Joan Fontaine and Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley.
Overseas tours have also played an important role in the ongoing success story of Treorchy. Since the early 1980s the choir has undertaken an enviable number of overseas tours beginning with two visits to Canada and a performance in Strasbourg Cathedral for its congregation of almost 6,000 people. A series of four successful tours of the USA followed, with visits to the White House and performances in San Francisco, Denver, Seattle and the Mid West. Treorchy has also enjoyed a close connection with Australia, becoming the first Welsh choir to appear at the Sydney Opera House in 1986. In the latter years the choir has made two further visits to Australia appearing in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne while making a return to the Opera House in Sydney. Closer to home and the choir has more recently appeared on the Royal Variety Performance and has become a regular entertainer on the turf of the Millennium Stadium for various rugby union international games.
The Treorchy Male Choir, a registered charity devoted to raising tens of thousands of pounds per year for worthwhile causes, has more recently launched its own Junior Musician of the Year competition which encourages more than a thousand children per year throughout the Rhondda to enjoy the opportunity of performing.
- Treorchy Male Choir website
- BBC Wales profile
- Singing from the Heart: The Story of Treorchy Male Choir at the Internet Movie Database
- Treorchy Male Choir at the Internet Movie Database