I can honestly say I knew nothing about Wales when this all started. I had an idea of where it was but knew nothing of the people or culture. I had friends who said their ancestors were Welsh but never really heard anything else about it, so when I was introduced to the President of the Welsh Society of Philadelphia, Jack Williams, Jr., I had no idea what was in store for me.
In the past 7 years I have grown to love these wonderful people. The passion and fierce pride they have in their artistic and cultural heritage are unmatched. I started very slowly on my journey, learning how to pronounce a few words here and there with the help of friends. I attended and performed at Cymanfaoedd Canu (Welsh hymn singing festivals) and banquets in honor of St. David (Patron Saint of Wales), but I didn't delve very deeply into the solo repertoire until more recently.
About 2 years ago I was invited to come to a rehearsal of the newly reunited Côr Cymry Gogledd America (The North American Welsh Choir) and I decided to give it a try. Over the first few rehearsals I was able to become better acquainted with their director, Dr. Mari Morgan. Dr. Morgan, who is a Welsh music specialist, was kind enough to lend me a bag full of Welsh vocal music by various composers. In that bag I found a book of songs by Morfydd Owen and I was hooked. The music spoke to me and I knew right then I had to sing it...and find more. I looked online and was able to find enough other pieces by Morfydd Owen to put together a small recital. Since then I have not looked back! I have spent the past 2 years exploring and learning new solo repertoire by Dilys Elwin-Edwards, Robat Arwyn, Gareth Glyn, Eric Jones, Meirion Williams, Richard Vaughan, Mansel Thomas, D. Vaughan Williams, Sioned Terry and W.S. Gwynn Williams among others. Throughout these past two years I have met some of the most wonderful Welsh people who have given me advice, council, guidance and friendship. I have been welcomed by Welsh friends around our country and all over Wales. It has been an experience I never could have imagined having just a few years ago.
As I looked deeper into the world of Welsh music, I was surprised by the wealth of repertoire and shocked that I had never been exposed to it throughout either my undergrad or graduate studies. How could it be that a country would have this much music and almost none of it, with the exception of "All Through the Night", was in any of my Art Song anthologies? None of it was used on any recital or competition program I had ever heard. This is what I hope to change.
This website has been designed as a resource to work in conjunction with my presentation on Welsh Solo Vocal repertoire. It will highlight the composers on my presentation as well as other Welsh composers of vocal solos. Each composer will have a brief biography and links to other resources, some available recordings of their music and published sheet music. My goal is to make this music and other resources more available and accessible to American singers.