Cywair, a mixed choir, from Newcastle Emlyn, thrilled the audience and the judges at Aberystwyth’s Arts Centre last night (Sunday 29 April) as they triumphed in S4C’s prestigious choral competition, Côr Cymru 2007.
In the final of the competition broadcast live on S4C and S4C digidol and presented by Nia Roberts and Gareth Owen, Cywair won the title receiving a trophy and a cheque for £5,000 from S4C Chair, John Walter Jones. They had already received a cheque for £2,000 for reaching the final.
The other choirs in the final were Côr y Drindod from Carmarthen (Youth Choir), Côr Meibion Fflint (Male Choir) and Côr Iau Glanaethwy from Anglesey and Gwynedd (Children’s Choir).
Cywair was formed five years ago by Islwyn Evans who won Côr Cymru with Côr Ysgol Gerdd Ceredigion (Ceredigion Music School Choir) in the first year of the competition in 2003. Cywair have won competitions abroad and won Côr y Byd (Choir of the World) at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod in 2005.
In last night’s competition, the young 30-strong choir performed a challenging programme of items by composers from Germany, France and Slovakia as well as choir member, Emyr Davies’s translation of the Mike Brewer composition, ‘Ti yw’r Haul’. They performed works by Mendelssohn, Poulenc, Eric Whitacre, Brewer and Hrusovsky.
They pleased the international panel of judges who were looking for emotional intensity, technical correctness and musicality in each choir’s performance. On behalf of his fellow adjudicators, André Van der Merwe from South Africa and Vasily Petrenko from Russia, Huw Williams, deputy organist and Assistant Director of Music at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, said they had listened to four excellent and very special choirs but two had excelled.
Islwyn Evans, Cywair’s conductor, was delighted with his choir’s performance. “It was a challenging programme and each member of the choir was stretched,” he said. “It was a dynamic competition and the experience of winning matched the pleasure we had winning Choir of the World at Llangollen.”
Mari Pritchard, conductor of Côr Ieuenctid Môn (Anglesey Youth Choir) won in the new category of Best Conductor receiving a cheque for £1,000.