Christmas carols with the male voice choir

Tonight we sing at the service of nine lessons in our local church.  So it is tights under black trousers, thick socks, thermal vest under white shirt and a few deep breaths.

I am not sure I would ever have sung with a choir if we had not come to Wales.  I am not particularly musical and have a voice which only works at all if there are other people around who can hold the tune.   I sing soprano because I find it easier to keep to the familiar tune but the very high notes are really beyond me and from time to time I am just opening my mouth.  But I absolutely love it, surrounded by the music, riding a wave of sound.

The choir is a male voice choir, with rich bass voices that make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.  Once a year for Christmas they invite the women from the village to join them for the Carol Service and I got swept along on the very Welsh assumption that every one can sing really, despite my protests.  For six weeks we have rehearsed on a Monday evening, the old favourites like The Holly and the Ivy and We Three Kings sounding fresh and true with the harmony of the different voices.  But my favourites are the carols in Welsh.  Who would have believed a few years ago that I could ever sing at all, never mind in Welsh, but I find that I can, with friends around and a following wind.

This is not our choir but I wanted to share the extraordinary beauty of the sound.    Just ordinary people, firemen, policemen, nurses, housewives, farmers and their wives, ordinary people making an extraordinary sound. Is it just me or does it make your nerves tingle too?


  1. That was lovely singing on that clip..I wish we could come and hear you all singing, I know it will be wonderful, and magical for those who come to hear you. There is something to choral singing, the Wave of Sound, it's so true.
    Stay warm!

  2. How lovely - we're opening one or two presents tonight in an early mini Christmas celebration and that's set the mood perfectly.

  3. Hi there, on the hill.

    Sing your heart out tonight!
    Of course you can sing, you live in Wales!
    I like your little choir and I am looking forward to doing the same here at Valley's End. Church is not very important in my life but round about this time of year the old traditions are close to my heart.

  4. You sing in Welsh, and I find myself singing in an Afrikaans choir. Carried along on the wave of sound!

  5. How encouraging to read that you can sing in a choir even if you can't sing too well and have to fake the high notes! I've always thought I couldn't even try.... Thank you for the video link - so uplifting!

  6. Thanks for that link, Elizabeth. It gave me the shivers to hear those pure voices. Alas, there will be no choir in our church - the Canadian church long ago embraced congregational singing. At best it's loud and at worst it's a horror. Sometimes I go to another church just to hear the beautiful choir - especially at this time of year.

  7. It takes me back to my performing days. Our theatre would always thank the community with a free Christmas concert, mostly old madrigal songs sung acapella. There is nothing like singing in a choir where all the voices blending together to make a beautiful sound

  8. Very beautiful singing, - I am glad to hear there are others like me who require strong support from those singing close by. Charles, on the other hand, has a pure sweet voice that only improves with age! I have always loved standing next to him when he sings.

  9. How did it go??
    Sadly, this year I'm not singing in our multilingual choir here. I'm not the only Welsh voice in it. I totally agree, it sets my nerves ajingling, the hair on the back of my neck stands on end and I've often been seen with tears pouring down my cheeks.

  10. Shw mai. I thought was against the law in Wales not to be able to sing (or perform a reasonable facsimile of the same). Perhaps you fall in the later category, but you heart's right in it, so we say "Well done."

    The music really was beautiful, and thought I don't understand the Welsh, I thoroughly enjoyed what I heard. Would have loved to be there in person!

  11. I feel I should teach you (if you don't know it already) the dwarves song from Snow White, in Welsh.

    Hi Ho, Hi He,
    Y fforth y'r gwaith ar ni
    Gyda chaib a rhau, a ffon gerlaw
    Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Hi He,
    Yn nol y'r gwaith ar ni
    Gyda chaib etc....

    I learned to sing that with my Welsh class. Like you I love singing (and the service with the nine lessons and carols) so this was a most evocative post for me - but unlike you people don't like me to sing near them because I never quite sing the same notes. On my own, however, and when no-one is listening, I am quite good - or so I tell myself!

  12. Oh, how I wish I could hear this! I like your description, "riding a wave of sound". It will be beautiful.

  13. Beautiful, Elizabeth. I feel the same about male voice choirs, in fact any unaccompanied choir - there's something wonderful about the sound of the human voice in harmony. (I too do more opening my mouth than singing, although I wish I could.)

  14. FK - thanks. nice and warm by the woodburner!
    Dawn - opening presents early? I thought that was against the law. I'm sure that's what my mum told me.
    Friko - me too, I like the old ways round here and want them to be kept alive.
    EE - hi and welcome. Not sure I could do the Afrikaans. Can you speak it?
    Rachel - if I can do it there is definitely no barrier to those without a great voice!
    Pondside - funny, I wondered last night if the congregation would have preferred to sing more and listen less although there was a bit of both.
    Jill - I love acapella although that is definitely beyond me!
    H&C - would love the pure sweet voice, but suspect it is not to be. You don't suddenly develop one out of nowhere I suppose?
    Jude - it went very well thank you. Of course you would know this music! I had never heard that one until we started practising it this year but I think it is absolutely beautiful.
    Rob - definitely doing the reasonable facsimile but that is one of the great things about Wales, there is an assumption that singing is just normal, just what you do, no embarrassment or shouting, just ordinary behaviour!

  15. Shw mae, again.

    In Wales "singing is just normal, just what you do, no embarrassment or shouting, just ordinary behaviour!"


    I do it around the house much the time. Even invent my own songs. If I did it outside (here in Canada), people would call for the chaps in white jackets, who would be "coming to take me away, ha haa." It's all a matteer of cultural context.

  16. I love choral music too, especially ecclesiastical choirs, despite being fairly irreligious. The sound is incomparable.

  17. Interesting comment, Mark.

    A.E. Houseman was of the same opinion, and he was, by his own admission, an atheist.

  18. Thank you for the imagery of village choirs and the beautiful sound of the choral music. I turned it way up and listened, especially to the basses.

  19. oh, how i would love to do this. i used to carol when i was a child. but i don't know anyone who carols anymore.... and i cannot carry a tune to save my life.

  20. Well done you singing in the male voice choir. So good for the soul is singing - I do it when alone, in the car etc.......

  21. It does make you tingle doesn't it. Still cannot believe my Mum wouldn't let me or my sister learn welsh when we were little - I think she liked to have a language we didn't understand to help her let off steam!

  22. How lovely - we're opening one or two presents tonight in an early mini Christmas celebration and that's set the mood perfectly.

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