EISTEDDFOD: Choir reunited after 52 years

REUNITED: Members of the Ebbw Vale-Dyffryn School choir

WINNERS: Memories of 1958

First published in Eisteddfod 2010

A VALLEYS choir group, who won a singing competition at the National Eisteddfod when it was last held in Ebbw Vale in 1958, were reunited at this year’s event. BEN FRAMPTON was on the Maes yesterday.

EIGHT members of the Ebbw Vale-Dyffryn School choir have fond memories of their time in the National Eisteddfod spotlight.

They scooped the school choir 11 - 16 title more than half a century ago, and this week came together for the first time since then as their choir, now known as the Patrick Sheen singers, sponsored the under-19 choir category.

In its original guise, the choir was 42-members strong and they were the first English-language choir to win the competition.

And this week, the ladies we reunited for the first time after one of their number, Cwm’s Delyn Jones, 67, contacted her friends so they could have a get-together.

When the group last trod the Maes in Ebbw Vale, it was housed on the site where the civic centre and leisure centre currently stands and it was considerably smaller than the 300 acres it occupies on The Works this year.

Mrs Jones said: “It’s totally different – it’s much bigger and wasn’t as commercial as now. It’s massive, you can’t take it all in.”

The choir, which was formed in 1951, was renamed in memory of its former conductor, and husband of singer Avril Sheen, from Cwm, who died in 1994.

The previous year, Mr Sheen was awarded an MBE for his services to music.

Choir member Susan Garrett, 63, from Cwm, said: “We’re sad we never thought about it before but it’s wonderful being back together.”

The ladies spent most of their time reminiscing, exchanging stories and going over old photographs of the choir in its heyday, as well as soaking up what was the first Eisteddfod for some of them since they were on stage in the late 1950s.

Mrs Garrett added: “The Eisteddfod has been fabulous and we’ve really enjoyed being here together again.”

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