Tŷ Cerdd’s National Youth Choir of Wales are joining in with the Patagonia 150 celebrations by giving a series of concerts across Argentina.
The National Youth Choir of Wales is made up of members aged 16-21 from all over Wales , their tour will be conducted by Nia Llewelyn Jones of Gloucester Cathederal and Argentine conductor Camilo Santostefano. The youth choir travelled to Argentina on 23 October and gave their first performance at the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires on the 26 October, where they also met with pupils of the prestigious Argentinian secondary school. The following day they attended a reception and participated in an informal concert hosted by the British Embassy. On 28 October they performed at the Teatro Gran Rex, also in Buenos Aires, which was part of an international series promoted by the Mozarteum Argentino non-profit musical institution.
Featuring pieces by both Welsh and South American composers, each concert will be what conductor Camilo Santostefano describes as “the adventure of building one more bridge between Wales and Latin America, through music”, and that “we’ll be sharing, through music, the spirit of those immigrants that one day decided to cross the ocean to discover a new life… Welsh people are very close to us, and we are very thankful for what they have done in Patagonia. There was almost nothing there but they founded cities, and they shared their culture with the indigenous people, learning from each other, making a peaceful mix of cultures”.
On 29 October the choir will arrive in Patagonia to perform at the Teatro Verdi in Trelew, Patagonia, before joining up with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales on 30 October for two shows at the Predio Ferial concert hall; which was regenerated from an old wool warehouse especially for this event and will go on to be a centre for music and the arts for the region for years to come. The final performance will be on 31 October, when the youth choir will perform at Capel Bethel in Patagonian town Gaiman.
Fellow conductor Nia Llewelyn Jones says that “the musical challenges we face are varied… but perhaps our greatest test is simply conveying and communicating the beautiful sounds of our language to our audience… [the programme] will result in an exciting musical experience for the choir, both at home and in South America; a true celebration of both our musical identity, and our links with Y Wladfa”.
The choir are chronicling their adventures via video blogs and updates on their website.