Sunday, 3 July 2011

JPR Williams, Heavenly Singing & Mindless Vandalism

Go back to 1176 and you will find that the first ever Welsh Eisteddfod was held in Cardigan Castle under the auspices of the Lord Rhys.

It is quite apt then that one of the biggest of the modern Eisteddfods in the west Wales region is Cardigan's Gwyl Fawr Aberteifi which has a long and proud 59 year tradition which helps make it so.

Heavenly Singing
Last night I had a very enjoyable time at the final evening of Gwyl Fawr Aberteifi 2011 where I could endulge myself in my love of Welsh music and in particular, Welsh choral music.

Because I am without hesitation, first and foremost, a Choir man. I adore listening to the Choir competitions more than I do the recitations or the solo singing performances (although I do greatly enjoy these as well). In the Gwyl Fawr, there are 4 choir competitions - for the youth, for women, for men and for a mixed choir. The winner of each then go toe-to-toe for the 'Choir of the Festival' trophy which is the one they all want to win.

Give me a choice and I will always go for the Male Voice Choir. There is something that calls out to my Welsh soul when I hear one in full flow and last night, it was a pleasure to listen to the 4 Male Voice Choirs that had come to compete and indeed had travelled some distance to do so.

JPR in his Welsh 70's pomp
Côr Meibion Y Machlud had travelled up from south Wales and amongst its ranks on stage last night was 1970s Welsh rugby wizard, JPR Williams giving it his all as was his way on the rubgy pitch. However, on this occasion, he and they came last!

In third were Côr Meibion Clwb Rygbi Treforys (Morriston RFC Male Voice Choir) who brought a staggering 60 members all the way up from Swansea to compete.

Côr Meibion Taf from Cardiff came a very respectable second but the clear and straightforward winners last night for me were our very own Côr Ar Ol Tri who were a good distance better than their south Walian rivals. Their win proved very popular in the hall as can be expected but unfortunately however, the overall Festival Choir award was given to the Ladies Choir Côr Merched Canna from Cardiff - never mind, better luck next year Côr Ar Ol Tri!

Mindless Vandalism
The evening certainly perked me up after the great anger and frustration that swept over me the evening before when I received a 'phone call from our CAB Bureau Manager at 10.15pm on Friday evening notifying me that there had been an act of mindless vandalism at the Bureau for the second time this year.

I broke off from watching The Kennedys and made my way down to the Bureau as Trustee Board Co-Chair to find that a brick had been thrown at one of the paines of glass at the front of the building. One of the local residents who always keeps an eye out for us, spotted this damage on his way back from the Gwyl Fawr on that evening and called our Bureau Manager.

We waited for the police to arrive and once they were gone, we cleaned up and made our ways home at about 11.30pm.

What greatly frustrates me is that someone decided to target the CAB - an organisation that exists to help people and to do good in society. Why, of all places in the world, target the Citizens Advice Bureau? I find it incredulous. As I've said, this is the second such incident in recent months - the last time a large plank of wood was forced through re-inforced windows and made a much greater mess than what we witnessed this Friday evening.

But whilst that original act was perpetrated in the early hours of the morning, this most recent mindless act occurred sometime between 6.30pm and 9.30pm - in summer time daylight hours. I just can't fathom and undestand the mentality here in doing what was done and at a time when they could so easily have been seen. Do these people have no shame? Well, they certainly are shameful in their actions.

So over the course of the weekend, I've seen to some degrees both the worst and the best of our area but I'm glad that it was the former that was followed by the latter because it at least means that I move into a new week in better heart than would've been the case had it have been the other way around.

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