The Treorchy Male Voice Choir, based in the Rhondda Valley of South Wales, is a renowned and historic musical ensemble with a rich tradition dating back to its formation in 1883. They are one of the most famous choirs to come from Wales, and an institution in the town of Treorchy, regularly performing at events like the Treorchy Christmas parade.
This choir, often referred to as the “Treorchy Male Choir,” has gained international acclaim for its powerful and harmonious performances, showcasing the deep cultural roots of Welsh choral music. Many celebrities and musicians have heaped praise upon the group, including Sir Tom Jones, Dame Shirley Bassey and Sir Anthony Hopkins, to name but a few.
Founded in the town of Treorchy by John Hughes and a group of local miners in 1883, the choir has evolved over the decades, becoming a symbol of resilience and community spirit. Initially established to provide an artistic outlet for the working-class men of the region, the choir quickly gained recognition for its exceptional vocal talents, and is considered one of the top choirs across the globe.
The group’s first performance came during an impromptu Eisteddfod in “The Red Cow” pub in Treorchy, conducted by 18-year-old George Thomas, also known as “Bach” (“Small” in Welsh, so likely he shared the same name as his father). They sang the song “Myfanwy”, which was reported as being “haunting”, and won them the princely sum of £1 in prize money (worth around £150 in 2023 money).
The Treorchy Male Voice Choir has a storied history of participating in prestigious events and competitions, both nationally and internationally. They have travelled all over the world to compete in competitions and spread the culture of Wales far and wide.
Their repertoire includes a wide range of musical genres, but they are particularly celebrated for their renditions of traditional Welsh hymns and folk songs, which resonate with the heritage and identity of Wales. Songs like Myfanwy, Cwm Rhonnda and Calon Lan are a key part of their canon of songs.
Over the years, the choir has contributed significantly to the promotion and preservation of Welsh musical traditions, earning a reputation as ambassadors of Welsh culture on the global stage. Their performances have taken them to various countries, fostering cultural exchange and leaving a lasting impression on audiences worldwide.
Through times of social and economic change, the Treorchy Male Voice Choir has remained a steadfast symbol of community cohesion, using the power of music to bring people together. The choir’s legacy is not only a testament to its musical prowess but also to the enduring spirit of the Welsh people and their commitment to preserving their cultural heritage.
The group have toured all over the world since the 1960s. From their 1963 tour of Switzerland, they have visited countless countries and sang thousands of songs to much critical acclaim. Going as far as America, Australia, New Zealand and even Mametz Wood, there are very few places the Treorchy Male Voice Choir does not reach.
The Treorchy Male Choir still performs to this day, with nearly 100 choristers singing for the group. In 1989, they sang alongside the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra on Saint David’s Day, which you can watch down below.