The Urdd’s National Choir, Côr yr Urdd, have hopped across the pond as a part of a new ground-breaking transatlantic partnership which brings together young people in Wales, Birmingham (Alabama), and Atlanta.
The newly formed choir, Côr yr Urdd (Urdd National Choir), were a part of the Easter Service at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and on Monday evening performed again in partnership with the UAB Department of Music Gospel Choir at the Alys Stephens Center, Jemison Concert Hall in Birmingham.
The union comes after set backs due to COVID, with the members of the UAB Gospel Choir and Urdd Gobaith Cymru able to come together and perform, honouring a tie which has existed historically between the regions for over half a century. This connection dates back to the Wales window at 16th Street Baptist Church which was donated following the 1963 church bombing which tragically killed four girls. A community response from Wales saw funds raised to replace the stained-glass window after the original was destroyed in the bombing on 15th September, ’63. A touching show of solidarity offered across the Atlantic, the window was designed by renowned Welsh artist John Petts.
A visit arranged by the Welsh Government in Alabama in 2019, saw Urdd Gobaith Cymru’s CEO, Siân Lewis, meet with chairman of the UAB College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Music, Patrick Evans, strengthening connections between the two organisations. Tour arrangements were made but were ultimately held back by the arrival of the pandemic in 2020. Still, undaunted by a challenge, a virtual choir was formed instead, and a music video was launched to coincide with Thanksgiving in 2020 with UAB Gospel Choir members singing in Welsh for the first time.
With plans for members of UAB Gospel Choir to visit Wales in 2023, the partnership continues to blossom and the Urdd benefit from the knowledge of gospel singing lent by their friends at UAB.
More information on the National Youth Choir of Wales is available here.