Nov 9, 2009

Ten Questions With Caroline Roper-Deyo of The Cor Cymraeg de California

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Americymru: When was the choir founded and how would you describe its mission?

Caroline: The Welsh Choir of Southern California ( Cor Cymraeg De Califfornia), was founded in the Fall of 1997 by Michael J. Lewis, who was it’s first music conductor and director. The mission of the Welsh Choir of Southern California (Cor Cymraeg De Califfornia) is to bring the glories of Welsh music and culture to audiences worldwide through performance and recordings.

Americymru: How many members do you have and how often do you all get together for rehearsals?

Caroline: Currently there are about 30 members in the mixed-voice choir. We generally rehearse weekly on Sunday afternoons in West Los Angeles near LAX.

Americymru: What is your typical repertoire? Do you perform in both Welsh and English?

Caroline: We sing in both Welsh and English and our typical repertoire includes new music featuring contemporary Welsh poets and composers, as well as traditional hymns and folk songs. Our performances often include the contributions of of distinguished local musicians as well as guest artists from Wales.

Americymru: What are the minimum qualifications for persons wishing to join the choir?

Caroline: The minimum qualification for any person wishing to sing with the Welsh Choir of Southern California (Cor Cymraeg De Califfornia) is that they must love to sing.Loving Welsh music is also a plus. Knowing Welsh is not a requirement as language coaching is provided.

Americymru: Would you say that the choral singing tradition is alive and vibrant in the U.S.A. today?

Caroline: Yes the choral singing tradition is not only alive and well it is growing. As evidenced by the development of choirs and festivals and competitions.

Americymru: Is there anywhere online where people can go to hear the choir? Do you have any CD’s available or planned?

Caroline: I’m not certain if there are places on-line where you can currently hear us sing. It is my understanding that a couple of our performances have been put on YouTube but I haven’t checked recently. Also the performance at the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C was archived but I don’t know if it is still accessible. We have one CD that we released in 2002: Hearts Afire * Calonnau ar Dan We are currently working on a second CD. Grants for funding will be greatly appreciated.

Americymru: What would you say was your most notable performance or experience with the choir?

Caroline: It is very difficult to say which would be our most notable performance.I suspect every person in the choir would choose different ones for different reasons:

Singing at the National Cathedral, May 2007 for California Day (we were chosen from over 60 choirs in the state who were considered).

Singing at Saint James Episcopal Church, March 2004 where the lines were so long we were almost an hour late starting and people had to be seated in the chapel; or,

Singing at Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff, Wales, July 3rd, 2003 for a packed crowded including rows of dignitaries and church officials.

Americymru: Do you have any plans to perform outside California in the near future?

Caroline: Yes we hope to return to Wales to tour – possibly in 2011.In the summer of 2008 we sang in Vancouver and Victoria and have been invited to return. All possibilities.

Americymru: Can you tell us anything about your recent concert with Julia Bentham?

Caroline: Unfortunately Julia Bentham was not able to sing with us.She became ill the day before our concert and spent the week in a hotel room in Santa Monica. It was a great disappointment but we were gratified that she was able to return to London with her daughter and is now doing well.

Americymru: Any other message for the members and readers of AmerCymru?

Caroline: We would like to encourage you to experience the joys of Welsh music whether you participate by singing, playing or listening. Once you do you will never again know depression without hope, darkness without light, and you will understand why Welsh music is and has been the hallmark of Wales for 100’s of years.

Pob Bendith.

Cariad Caroline, Chorister and Publicist

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