Morwen, music and her men

PUBLISHED: 16:58 21 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:18 20 February 2013

''What would I do without my music?" asks Morwen Pugh, Musical Director of Côr Meibion Talgarth Male Choir which she founded 40 years ago this month.

The choir have come a long way since `Morwen, now 82 and still very much in charge, was asked by a group of local men to help them sing together. She was a teacher then, having trained at

the Guild Hall School of Music and the would-be choristers included fathers of her pupils. "I said if they could get 20 men together I'd see what I could do," she says. Over the years Morwen's men ("I don't think I could say to ladies what I say to the men") have performed nearly 1,000 concerts at venues throughout the United Kingdom and abroad, entertaining an

estimated 150,000 people and raising approximately £750,000 for causes including Cancer Research, Macmillan Nurses, Save the Children, Arthritis Care, the British Heart Foundation, a church roof, church bells, chapel restoration and village hall facilities. A large number of concerts take place within a 30-mile radius of Talgarth where the choir endeavour to accept as many invitations as possible and members are frequently asked to sing at weddings, and parties. The Talgarth Choir have sung regularly at the Albert Hall as part of the massed Welsh Choir and at the Festival of Remembrance concerts at St David's Hall in Cardiff; have visited Holland as part of a combined Welsh Choir and toured in Brittany. In September 2003, the choir embarked on a week's tour to Spain and in May 2008, members enjoyed a mini-tour to Belgium which included singing at the Menin Gate. Recently the choir were asked to perform for a TV programme for the Discovery International Channel in America. A tour to South Africa is being talked of... The choir's accompanist is Val Whiston. Soloists are Sheila Owens, mezzo soprano, who enjoys life on a busy farm and works for the MOD and Susan Williams, soprano, a community midwife. Both were born and brought up in the Talgarth/Hay-on-Wye area. The present choir has 62 members with ages ranging from 17 to late-80s. The repertoire is varied: "We add to it all the time, religious music, Welsh songs, opera and light opera and folk songs," says Morwen whose fellow musicians describe her as their "inspiration". Her own favourite piece is Y Tangnefeddwr which translates as The Peacemaker. "Music is my life, it suits my life," says Morwen, a girl from The Valleys who has lived in Brecon for 35 years. "We are a happy band and I am going to continue until I drop. Sadly we have lost a lot of members over the years, so I have a heavenly choir up there too. But I'm not going to join them yet," she says. The 40th anniversary of Côr Meibion Talgarth Male Choir will be celebrated with

a dinner at Summerhill Golf Club, Hay-on- Wye on October 23. Choir rehearsals are held on Monday evenings at Talgarth Rugby Club. New members "don't have to be Luciano Pavarotti but do need to enjoy singing." For more information contact Secretary Richard Williams, tel: 01874 625140.

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