It is a little surprising to find Welsh Culture alive and well amongst the dreaming spires of Oxford. Many Welshmen came to Oxford in the dark days of the 1920’s depression looking for work. They were attracted by the offer of jobs in the rapidly expanding car factory. The choir is their legacy as well as being a fun way for a group of blokes to meet, sing, help charity and have a real sense of achievement… and fun.
It was from these inauspicious beginnings that enthusiastic and talented Welshmen came together to form what is now the Oxford Welsh Male Voice Choir. There are many choirs and musical societies in Oxford, fiercely competing for new members, and it is against this background that the choir has grown to a membership in the mid 50s. Having celebrated 90 years of singing in 2018, and still with many members with strong Welsh ties, the choir prides itself in following the Welsh traditions and it is only on one day a year when there is any real dispute amongst the ranks – the annual Wales vs. England rugby match!
Equally at home in village halls or Cathedrals, the choir has a loyal following across Oxfordshire and beyond. The Oxford Welsh aim to perform, on average, one concert a month for charitable causes, as well as singing at weddings and other private functions. Beyond Oxfordshire, the choir has performed in many prestigious venues including St David’s Hall, The Millennium Centre and The Principality Stadium, all in Cardiff, Birmingham Town Hall, Manchester Arena, Westminster Abbey, The National Maritime Museum and many more. In 2003 the choir celebrated it’s 75th anniversary. To mark the event, Morriston Orpheus joined us at a very special concert in the Oxford Town Hall, the venue of some of our earliest concerts (As you will see from our “History” page). Also, since many founder members of the choir actually walked to Oxford from Wales, a few of the more brave choir members walked back – to Risca, where many connections with Oxford can be found. In all, we raised over £4000 by singing at hostelries on the way and from personal sponsorship.
2018 was our 90th year. To celebrate, members cycled to Wales, singing along the way and culminating in a splendid concert with Risca MVC in Penarth. We published an updated history, ‘From the Valleys to the Spires‘, and finished the year with a joint concert with Côr Meibion De Cymru (South Wales Male Voice Choir). The Choir is always looking for new members and men of all backgrounds are very welcome – you don’t need to be able to speak Welsh or read music – you do need to want to sing. Visit our “Join” page for more details, do give us a try.
Thank you very much – Diolch yn fawr