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Winner of Dechrau Canu Dechrau Canmol hymn composing competition

27/09/2011

Enid Griffiths, former head of music at Ysgol David Hughes, Menai Bridge, has won a Hymn Tune composing competition held to celebrate 50 years of the S4C series Dechrau Canu Dechrau Canmol.

This is not the first time for Enid to win a competition held by the religious and music series. In 2000 she won a competition to compose a new hymn to celebrate the new millennium. She provided the hymn tune – called ‘Llanddwyn’ – and it accompanied words by the late Dafydd Whittall. The hymn is included in the ‘Caneuon Fydd’ hymn collection.

“It’s strange that the theme of the hymn in this competition is very similar to the one Dafydd composed in 2000. They both can be considered as modern since they talk about space and the galaxies,” says Enid.

The competition was held to find a tune to accompany words by the poet Siôn Aled, for a new hymn to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the series. The new hymn will be sung for the first time at a celebratory Cymanfa by Cantorion Menai, the choir that Enid has conducted since 2002.

"I shared the news with choir during practice on the night I found out I had won, and we started practising at once," says Enid.

Everyone is welcome to come to the Cymanfa at Seion Chapel, Baker Street, Aberystwyth at 14:00 on Sunday 2 October. Contact Ffion Davies Avanti on 02920 838 137 or by e-mail f.davies@avantimedia.tv to secure your place in the Chapel.

The Cymanfa will be filmed for a special programme to celebrate the birthday which will be broadcast on S4C on Sunday 6 November.

Enid retired from teaching in 1998, and has since been very busy as a piano accompanist and holding recitals, and playing the organ at the Capel Penuel chapel, Bangor, in addition to her work with the choir.

"Music is my life and I have been immersed in the hymn," says Enid, "Singing was an important part of chapel life when I was a child and my father won the Blue Riband at the Ebbw Vale Eisteddfod in 1958.”

Enid turned to composing for the competition following the death of her husband who died just over five weeks ago after a long period of illness.

"I saw the competition in the local paper Papur Menai two weeks before the deadline, and decided it was time I started composing again," explains Enid who named the winning tune after her granddaughter Emma Leah.

"I thought that ‘Leah’ was a good name for a hymn tune," explains Enid. "I actually composed two pieces for the competition because I didn’t know what the judges were expecting. Leah is a fairly traditional tune, while the other is more modern and off beat. I named that tune after my grandson Daniel."

One of the competition judges, and presenter of Dechrau Canu Dechrau Canmol, Alwyn Humphreys says, "A total of 39 entries were received and each one was of a very high standard. Many of them deserve to see the light of day and I hope some will be heard, along with different words.

“Leah stood out because is seems as if the words were designed for the composition. It’s very singable and I hope it becomes a classic.”

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