choirs

Many choirs were formed in Wales during the 19th and 20th centuries. They performed at Eisteddfodau and public concerts. Although it has been said that some aspects of Welsh music have been dominated by male voice choirs, many consisted of women only who dressed, for at least part of their performance, in a version of Welsh costume.

Welsh Ladies Choir, later the Royal Welsh Ladies Choir, was founded by Madame Clara Novello Davies

The Cardiff Welsh Costume Choir performed in London in 1889
Concert by the ‘Cardiff Welsh costume choir’
Baner ac Amserau Cymru (Denbigh, Wales), Wednesday, April 3, 1889

Cardiff Blue Ribbon choir. 50 choristers of Mr Jacob Davies’ Blue Ribbon Choir [Blue ribbon was also a prize] returned from an 8 month tour of America. They wore Welsh costume when performing
Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), Monday, June 11, 1888; Cardiff Central Library, ms 6.18 scrap book, Cardiff Blue Ribbon Choir 1881-1934

The Cardiff Prize choir in Welsh costume, will give a concert at Hope Hall, Liverpool on the 15th and 16th October
Liverpool Mercury etc (Liverpool, England), Thursday, October 7, 1886

Cardiff National Welsh Choir performed in various concerts in Wales and England between at least 1889 and 1893.

The Maelor Welsh Costume Choir (presumably from the Wrexham area) performed in north Wales and Liverpool between at least 1892 and 1898.

The London Welsh Concert Party performed at concerts in Welsh costume during the mid 1890s.

Cymric London Ladies Choir

Miss Ruth Claxton’s Ladies’ Orchestra who performed in Welsh costume, advertised themselves as being available in 1899.

Glyn Castle Coral Union. This young choir performed at the Eisteddfod at Caerwys last year, intend to perform at the London Eisteddfod. Held a benefit costume at Birkenhead (and elsewhere). The lady members of the choir, numbering about 50 were dressed in the National Costume of Wales. The costumes were the gift of Mrs T H Jackson, Gryn Castle. The linsey for the skirts was ordered direct from the celebrated manufactory of Mr Pryce Jones, Newtown and the material for the bodices etc were purchased at Messrs G.H. Lee and Co., Liverpool.
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, January 29, 1887

The Penrhyn Welsh Ladies’ Choir was formed to raise funds to help the striking quarry workers. In 1902 or early 1903 during a tour of cities in England, the choir visited Bradford.

The following extensive list of adverts and reports of events at which choristers sang in Welsh costume are probably just a small proportion of those which could now be found on Welsh Newspapers on line.

1849
Concert in Queen’s Hotel, St Martin’s le Grand, on Monday. ‘The introduction by the vocalists of the Welsh costume had a novel and pleasing effect.’
The Era (London, England), Sunday, January 21, 1849

1851
Princess’s theatre, [where?] Benefit for Mr Harley ‘Miss Mary Kebley in a pretty Welsh costume sang a song …’
The Morning Chronicle (London, England), Thursday, September 25, 1851

 1865
Madame Williams sang at a concert in Towyn in Welsh costume
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, July 15, 1865

1865
CONCERT IN RUTHIN Miss Williams (singer) was arrayed in her Welsh costume which consisted of a sugar-loaf hat, a home spun gown and shoes of wondrous size. She was employed in knitting her stockings while singing.
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, December 23, 1865

1870
Concert at Tredegar at which a performer will appear in full Welsh costume
Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), Tuesday, February 22, 1870

 1870
GRAND WELSH CONCERT AT THE FINE ART EXHIBITION. Mrs Matthews in Welsh costume had been the signal for a round of applause which was redoubled when that great favourite, Miss Annie Edmunds came onto the platform, also picturesquely attired.
Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), Friday, September 23, 1870

1870
SWANSEA CONSTITUTIONAL ASSOCIATION. Miss Annie Edmonds sang in Welsh costume
Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), Monday, September 26, 1870

1871
Miss Williams of Ruthin sang in Welsh costume at a concert at Ruthin
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, February 4, 1871

1873
THE WELSH CONCERTS AT COVENT GARDEN. The harp player (female) wore, like the singers, the Welsh costume
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, November 1, 1873

1873
WELSHMEN AT SHEERNESS. One of the chief attractions of the evening [concert] was sung … by a genuine Cymraegess [who] presented herself … in the new Jenny Jones style, wearing the Welsh hat, red petticoat and the old fashioned country gown.
Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), Monday, August 18, 1873

1874
Concert by the Bute Docks United Choir at the Congregational Church, Temperance Town, Cardiff, on 4th March, 1874. The choir will appear in full Welsh costume.
Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), Wednesday, February 25, 1874

1879
PENMAENMAWR CONCERT. Mrs Edwards performed in Welsh costume by request.
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, February 8, 1879

1879
GRAND BAZAAR AT GLODDAETH, LLANDUDNO (MOSTYN SEAT). Concert in early September at which Welsh singers in native costume will appear.
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, August 23, 1879

1884
Entertainment at Llanrug. Miss Bessie Edwards walked across the stage in old Welsh costume busily knitting a woollen stocking, with glasses on, in the real Welsh character of 50 years ago.
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, February 16, 1884

1887
Caernarfon working men’s Conservative club entertainment included Miss Lizzie Jones who sang ‘Did you ever see’ in Welsh costume which caused much laughter.
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, March 26, 1887

1888
Mount House school entertainment. A ten year old girl sang a song in Welsh costume.
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, December 22, 1888

1889
St David’s Festival at the Albert Hall, LONDON. … The chief feature of the evening, however, was the appearance of the professional Welsh choir [which one?] consisting of 16 ladies and gentlemen in the Welsh costume – the ladies in short woollen skirts, aprons, coloured shawls across their shoulders, and high black hats à la witch. Two of the gentlemen wore long white robes while the rest were arrayed in the splendour of top-boots, cut away coats and country poses.
The Pall Mall Gazette (London, England), Saturday, March 2, 1889

1889
St. David’s Day – LONDON. A special feature of the concert was the appearance in native costume of the Welsh professional choir, 17 voices under Mr Eos Dyffryn
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, March 9, 1889

1889
CONCERT AT LLANGEFNI. Welsh concert, Choir sang in ‘dillad Cymreig’ [Welsh costume]
Y Genedl Cymreig (Caernarvon, Wales), Wednesday, March 27, 1889
The songs were all sung in Welsh and those who took part were attired in Welsh costume.
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, March 30, 1889

 1889
LLANRHAIADR CONCERT Song sung in Welsh costume
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, June 15, 1889

 1889
LLANDUDNO, MR RIVIERE’S CONCERT Song by Miss Maggie Jones in Welsh costume; harp solo by Miss A.M. Hughes, Telynores Menai, in Welsh Costume.
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, July 20, 1889

 1889
LLANDUDNO, MR RIVIERE’S CONCERT Song performed in Welsh costume; harp solo by Miss A.M. Hughes, Telynores Menai, (age 12), in Welsh Costume.
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, September 28, 1889

1889
LLANDUDNO, MR RIVIERE’S 3rd CONCERT, WELSH FESTIVAL Song by Miss Maggie Jones in Welsh costume; another soloist in Welsh costume.
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, October 19, 1889

 1890
GRAND HARP AND VOCAL CONCERT AT BANGOR. Miss Mary Hughes, Telynores Menai, performed in Welsh costume; Mr Owen Jones, Telynor Seiriol, also in Welsh costume.
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, May 3

 1890
CONCERT AT HOLYHEAD. The Welsh costume items were very good
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, October 25, 1890

 1890
CONCERT AT TREFDRAETH (Anglesey) Penillion singing in costume, Welsh party
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, December 20, 1890

 1893
St DAVID’S DAY. A choir in Welsh costume performed at the St David’s day celebrations in High Holborne, London.
Daily News (London, England), Wednesday, March 1, 1893

1893
BRISTOL INDUSTRIAL EXHIBITION. Mr C Emlyn Jones’ London Welsh Concert Party in full Welsh costume will perform.
The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post (Bristol, England), Thursday, November 16, 1893

1894
WELSH IN LONDON. Mr Emlyn Jones concert in St Martins Town Hall, Trafalgar Square, included the London Welsh concert party in Welsh costume.
Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), Monday, February 19, 1894

 1895
AMUSEMENTS IN THE EMPIRE, SWANSEA. Misses Maggie Ward and Edna Penville sing in Welsh costume
The Era (London, England), Saturday, July 20, 1895

 1895
TEMPERANCE IN CARDIFF. Band of Hope demonstration included a band in which the girls were clad in Welsh costume.
Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), Thursday, July 25, 1895

1898
DUCHESS OF SOTHERLAND’S CONCERT, STAFFORD HOUSE. During the concert, Mrs Richards, in Welsh costume, played the harp.
Daily News (London, England), Wednesday, January 12, 1898

1899
Performance of a Welsh Cantata at Bangor by Seion Juvenile choir in Welsh costume.
North Wales Chronicle (Bangor, Wales), Saturday, June 3, 1899

1899
Miss Ruth Claxton, Ladies’ Orchestra (in Welsh costume), at liberty, end of September, offers invited. Music Depot, Mostyn Street, Llandudno
The Era (London, England), Saturday, September 9 to November 4, 1899

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