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Choir History

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Hawarden Singers was founded in 1954 by Dr.Emlyn Roberts PhD. M.A. F.R.C.O. A.R.C.M who was a lecturer at Chester College and Examiner for the Trinity College of Music in London. The choir’s first concert was performed at the Hawarden Institute, in village of Hawarden, in October of that year. The reputation of the choir grew very quickly and In June 1955, the singers were invited to represent Great Britain as a guest choir at the Nordic Music Festival in Malmo,Sweden.During the 1950s, many broadcasts were made on the BBC Welsh Home Service, including 'Let the People Sing' Competitions. Hawarden Singers were very successful during that period by winning Welsh Region competition four times. 1958 saw the choir win the International Trophy in the Cork International Festival. In the 1960’s the choir won six times during a period of eight years at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 1961, 1964, 1965, 1969.Perhaps, the highlight of their success came in 1973 when Hawarden Singers landed first place in the Mixed Choirs Competition at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod - the first Welsh choir to win a major award there since 1946.

In 1977, Hawarden Singers gave a concert at St Nikolai Church in Spandau in Berlin. Visiting and giving concerts in Europe continued in 1981 when they were then invited to visit Malta, by the Maltese Ministry of Culture, and gave two concerts in Valletta.

In later years, the choristers toured North Wales and also other venues around Britain, including Grizedale Theatre in Cumbria, Poulton-le-Fylde and Olverston, near Bath.

Reluctantly in 1988, the choir accepted the resignation of Dr Emlyn Roberts after 34 years as founder and conductor. He handed the baton over to local Headteacher and former choir member Hywel John, a long serving member of the bass section. The last concert conducted by Dr Roberts was in the Long Room, Eaton Hall, Chester, raising over £350 for Cancer Research.Hywel John expertise and commitment to Hawarden Singers meant that the high standards set by Dr.Roberts were continued. As a result Hawarden Singers were invited by the Broughton & Bretton Twinning Association to visit their twin town of Auzeville-Tolosanenear Toulouse. This culminated in June 2000 with a memorable week of concerts as guests of Chorale Auzeville. This venture was backed by BAE Systems, AirbusSadly in 2001, the choir reluctantly accepted the resignation of Hywel John and agreed to the appointment of Mr Malcolm Williams, an accomplished tenor, who was a member of the tenor section in the past and travelled as the tenor soloist with the choir in 2000 to Auzeville-Tolosanenear, Toulouse. Malcolm began his musical career under the baton of Sir Benjamin Britten, singing treble at the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester. The 50th Anniversary of Hawarden Singers was celebrated with a concert on the 22 May 2004 and with a memorabilia and photographic exhibition being staged at the Hawarden Library between May 10 and June 4, 2004.With Malcolm, as the new Musical Director at the helm, Hawarden Singers entered a new and exciting phase in their long and successful history. In 2006, Hawarden Singers were invited to tour the Isle of Man and held a joint concert in Douglas with the Glenfaba Chorale. Such was the success of this tour Hawarden Singers were very honoured to be invited back by Glenfaba Choral in 2009 to take part in their 50th Anniversary celebrations concert.

Copyright: Chris Hawes 2016