A Brief History

1946 - The Early Days

Our choir has a long and interesting history dating back to the dark days of the Second World War, when a group of Air Raid Wardens discussed the possibility of forming a male choir. As a result of that conversation a meeting was held on a November evening in 1946 in the vestry of Manselton Congregational Chapel and the Manselton and District Male Choir was born.  T Emrys Jones, chapel organist, choir master and famed composer of the hymn tune Morte Criste, became our choir’s first Musical Director.

In its earliest days we followed the traditional path of male choirs and made the rounds of the various Eisteddfodau. By the early 1950’s the choir had established itself with the best in Wales, having taken first prize at the National Eisteddfod at Caerphilly and Llanrwst in consecutive years.
Expanding Horizons

By the 1960’s a new generation of young men had joined the choir and boosted by its reputation as a result of success in competition the choir was soon in demand for engagements all over Britain and Ireland.

Mannheim, Swansea’s twin city in Germany, was the venue for the choir’s very first venture outside the UK and strong links with the Mannheim Liederhalle Choir were forged. Following that trip to Mannheim, the choir undertook a tour of East Germany and became the first Welsh male choir to entertain behind the “Iron Curtain”. Many more visits to Europe followed, amongst them memorable tours to France, Holland, Spain and Czechoslovakia.

World Wide Ambassadors for Wales

The choir’s horizons have continued to expand. We closed the twentieth century by accepting invitations to sing in Cairo in Egypt and in America where we gave performances at Swansea Illinois and Chicago. We opened the twenty-first century with a spectacular singing engagement in Beijing, China. It is fortunate that Swansea Male Choir has admirers all over the World and many make a point to call in to see us practice when they visit Wales.

Progressive Evolution

Since the choirs formation in 1946, there has been constant, quite, progressive evolution. Our name has changed from the Manselton and District Male Choir to the Swansea Male Choir. Our new name appropriately reflects the greater Swansea area from which we now draw our members from.

Just as our choristers are drawn from a wider area, and our performances now take place all over the World, our musical repertoire has also expanded. Successive Musical Directors have added to, diversified and broadened our portfolio of choral offerings. We still sing the best of many of the traditional tunes in Welsh and in English, but you are just as likely to hear from us popular contemporary music, from the shows, from films or from the hit parade.

Though much has changed the ethos and aims of the choir remain the same as it was in 1946, to “further the art of music and support charities”. To this end the choir can be proud to have fulfilled that commitment and hopefully will continue to do so for many years to come.