Home » Bangor choir go top of the world at Llangollen International Eisteddfod’s grand finale concert 
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Bangor choir go top of the world at Llangollen International Eisteddfod’s grand finale concert 

Cor Glanaethwy Choir of World winners

A TALENTED performing arts group who have competed at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod for the past 32 years are celebrating after landing the coveted title of 2024 Choir of the World during the festival’s grand finale Core Week concert on Saturday evening.

Winners Côr Glanaethwy was established by joint owners Rhian and Kevin Douglas in Bangor over 30 years ago. 

After their stunning victory, a jubilant Rhian said: “The group has been performing and competing at Llangollen since 1992 and, with different line-ups, has taken part in over 100 competitions over the years.

“We’re excited, thrilled and surprised to have won the title. We think Llangollen is the best place of all to compete and we just love coming here.” 

This year’s packed programme of competitions at the Eisteddfod, which has been celebrating peace and international understanding through the medium of music and dance since 1947, reached its thrilling climax at the finale concert which also saw the final of the Pendine International Voice of the Future competition and the crowning of the Dance Champions contest winners.

Since its introduction in 1987 Choir of the World has become established as the pinnacle of the Eisteddfod’s competitive sessions, attracting singers from across the globe to compete for the Pavarotti Trophy.

The trophy was donated to the Eisteddfod in 2005 by the great Pavarotti in memory of his late father Fernando Pavarotti who first sang at Llangollen with his choir from Modena in Italy in 1955. His son, who went on to bestride the world of opera, was also part of that choir. 

Along with the prize money of £3,000, taking the glittering trophy back to Ysgol Glanaethwy in Bangor where they have been based since the early 1990s, were the Côr Glanaethwy choir who, kitted out in their striking woodland costumes, sang a hauntingly beautiful selection of four Welsh folk songs taken from the Mabinogion, the ancient book of Celtic mythology. 

Choir of the World winners on stage

The outright winners of the Choir of the World title were chosen from the winners of the Eisteddfod’s five chief choral categories of Chamber, Mixed, Female, Male and Open.

Coming through from the Open category, Côr Glanaethwy fought off formidable competition from Cantamus Camerata from Oklahoma State University in the USA (Chamber), Tegalaw from Bala in Gwynedd, north Wales (Female). Meantime Chorus from London (Male) and GC Ensemble from the Phillippines (Mixed).   

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Also during Saturday’s concert the Most Outstanding Conductor, chosen from choirs in the final, was awarded the Jane Davies Conductor’s Prize, a trophy donated in memory of Jayne Davies the former Vice President of the Eisteddfod, who won three international trophies with her own Hafren Ladies’ Choir in the 1970s. It was presented by her daughter, Dr Rhian Davies to the conductor of Cantamus Camerata, Dr Christopher Haygood. 

Dr Christopher Haygood Conductor Prize

On the night, young opera singers also competed in the Pendine International Voice of the Future competition, which has become a stepping stone to a professional career for numerous winners in the past.

The solid silver salver plus a cheque for £3,000 was donated by its sponsor Mario Kreft, proprietor of the evening’s arts-loving sponsor, the Pendine Park care organisation, through the Pendine Arts and Community Trust (PACT), founded by Mario and his wife Gill. Runner-up, who received £1,000, was soprano Manon Ogwen Parry from Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan.   

Pendine International Voice of the Future winners, from left, sponsor Mario Kreft, winner Shimona Rose, runner-up Manon Ogwen Parry and finale concert presenter Sian Thomas.

Winner this year was superb soprano Shimona Rose from Singapore who has a dual career as an opera singer and music therapist.

The finale concert also saw the crowning the 2024 Dance Champions, with the winners of the festival’s various folk dancing categories, providing a dazzling spectacle on the Pavilion stage.

The Soul Oasis Cultural Ambassadors from Trinidad and Tobago captured the top prize with a dazzling routine, including a limbo sequence, to take the Lucille Armstrong Trophy and a cheque for £1,000 supported by the Society for International Folk Dancing in memory of Lucille Armstrong. Making the presentation to them was the Eisteddfod’s Deputy Chair John Gambles. 

Soul Oasis Cultural Ambassadors Dance Winners

The concert opened with a performance from The Kaleidoscope Project  – formally known as the Inclusion Project – which showcases the many under-represented and non-competitive groups whose talented members contribute a great deal to their communities, as well as to the world of the performing arts.

The Eisteddfod’s Artistic Director Dave Danford said: “The concert, which came as the perfect conclusion to a highly successful Core Week for our festival, showcased and rewarded the stunning range of talent, across a number of disciplines, which we have been privileged to host during the 2024 Eisteddfod.

“We send our heartiest congratulations to everyone – not just these very worthy winners – who has travelled, some great distances – to take part in our competitions and wish them the very best in the future. We also hope to welcome them back to Llangollen in the very near future.”   

Dance Champions Soul Oasis Cultural Ambassadors on stage.