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Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School

School Carol Services

Old School

Carol Service 1960
Aberdare Leader Press Report & Wynford Bowen’s Carol

THIS year, for the first time ever a pupil at the Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School, wrote a carol for the school’s annual carol service. He is 18-year-old Wynford Bowen1, head-boy, whose composition “O Cymer,” was sung by the senior choir, of which he is a member.

Wynford, a miner’s son from 23, Cynon Terrace, Hirwaun, has never before composed a hymn to be sung in public.

His music teacher, Mr. Gethin Evans, told a “Leader” reporter at the carol service, “I encourage boys to write original songs, however short or immature, as practice for the G.C.E. Advanced Level.”

Wynford has other credits—he has won 3rd prize in the Aberdare Juvenile Eisteddfod for a competition in Welsh, and was one of quartet who won first prize in an open string-quartet competition in Reading. He also plays the trumpet!

Besides music, Wynford is a very keen sportsman. He is captain of the school rugby team.

This carol service is certainly not a haphazard affair—the school choirs had been practising for it since the beginning of the Christmas term. The high standard which resulted from this preparation was greatly appreciated by the large congregation at Bethel Chapel, Trecynon on Tuesday week.

The Aberdare Grammar School choirs are unique in that they are the only all-male choirs in South Wales to be divided into a soprano, alto, tenor and bass sections. Other school choirs of this kind have girls as well as boys. The choirmaster, Mr. Gethin Evans, is to be congratulated on training the boys to this very successful standard. It may be remembered that he has been ill for many months, and had returned to the school as music teacher only a few months ago. The service commenced with the hymn, “O come all ye faithful,” followed by a prayer rendered by Mr. J. Warren, B.A., M.Sc., headmaster.

Despite the absence of several boys, and the fact that quite a number them had contracted colds, the junior choirs (Forms 1 and 2), and senior choirs (Forms 5 and 6), sang with extreme enthusiasm. The junior choir has nearly 70 boys—divided into sopranos and altos and the seniors number nearly forty.

HIGHEST STANDARD

Mr. G. Evans said that the juniors had sung hymns and carols in a higher standard than is usual in their carol services. Worthy of mention is the singing of a very difficult piece of music, “If with all your Hearts,” (Mendelssohn, “Elijah,” by the Form 1 section of the junior choir.

Scripture was read in English and Welsh by Wynford Bowen, Dylan Morgan, Richard Jones, Roger Humphreys, Byron Pugh and Fifth formers Gabe Treharne and Gareth Prince. In addition, there were group Scripture readings by Form 1 and 2.

In his address, the headmaster, Mr. J. Warren said he was happy to see so many friends of the school at the annual carol service. He said that he was always pleased to see parents of past and present pupils, the school governors and other friends. He particularly welcomed former members of the staff and the wives of former members of the staff.

“This is an occasion when all generations of the school are brought together, and it is particularly fitting that this should happen at this season of the year. We all treasure this annual gathering of those associated with the school in the past and present, he said.

Mr. Warren thanked the officers of Bethel for making available their beautiful chapel as they so readily did on all occasions. He also thanked Mr. Sheridan George, a university student for helping the school at a very busy time.

Mr. Warren went on, “Although it is not usual for us to name our own people on such occasions, I feel that I cannot let the moment pass without expressing on behalf of all of us our great joy at seeing our music master, Mr. Gethin Evans, so fully restored to health as to be able to conduct the service to-day.”

CHRISTMAS APPEAL

It was customary at this service, said Mr. Warren to make an appeal on behalf of the Chairman of the Council’s Christmas Fund.

“This year,” he added, “there is a very pressing demand on our generosity arising out of the catastrophe that affected so many hundreds of people in South Wales a fortnight ago. We in Aberdare were not as gravely afflicted as some other areas, although those Aberdare people who did suffer, were very seriously affected. At least one pupil lost practically all his possessions. I am asking you, therefore to be especially generous on this occasion.”

The proceeds of the collection (£10 16s.), were sent to the Aberdare District Council chairman, for the Lord Mayor of Cardiff ’s Flood Relief Fund.
 



1 Wynford Bowen was Head Prefect 1960–61, as well as Rugby Captain 1959–60 and 1960–61