The musical inspiration of four mixed choirs made up of supporters of the Welsh rugby regions set Wales on its way to victory over England in the final Six Nations Championship match on Saturday.
The choirs performed a range of famous rugby songs at the Millennium Stadium before the game, with the 80 members of the Dragons choir beating the Ospreys, Scarlets and Blues to win the honour of performing Wales and England’s national anthems before kick-off.
The choirs were taking part in the hit reality TV show Codi Canu, and the drama and tension of their high-profile challenge can be seen on S4C on Sunday, 18 March at 7.30pm, with English subtitles. (S4C is available outside Wales on Sky 135).
Conductor Owain Arwel Hughes had the task of choosing the winning choir, following months of rehearsals that saw singers transformed from off-key amateurs to polished performers capable of singing hymns and arias in four-part harmony.
Owain Arwel Hughes said: “All the choirs have been fantastic and the improvement in the singing from the early days has been astounding. Many congratulations to the Dragons choir, they’ve done very well and their musical abilities certainly seem to have spurred Wales on to success. It’s to be hoped this competition will help stimulate a revival of the singing tradition in our rugby grounds.”
Codi Canu has followed the progress of four mixed voice choirs representing Wales’ rugby regions, the Llanelli Scarlets, Cardiff Blues, Ospreys and Newport Gwent Dragons, as they’ve undertaken different challenges, culminating in the Millennium Stadium final. Teams of well-known conductors have taken on the task of training the choirs: Cefin and Rhian Roberts and Tim Rhys Evans (Dragons), Eilir Owen Griffiths and Delyth Medi Lloyd (Blues), Alwyn Humphreys and Sioned James (Ospreys) and Islwyn Evans and Catrin Hughes (Scarlets). Each choir has had an ex rugby-playing captain to spur them on to success: The Dragons, Brynmor Williams; the Blues, Gareth Edwards; the Ospreys, Rowland Phillips and the Scarlets, Ray Gravell. The series has been produced for S4C by Alfresco.