2019 Festival Report

Once again this year, the Ontario Welsh Festival had a wonderful weekend in London, Ontario at the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton and in First St. Andrews United Church.

Friday began with a tour of the iconic Labatt’s Brewery in London, its original home, established 171 years ago. Attendees were treated to a beer tasting after they toured the brewery, where they saw the whole process including the bottling process. Everyone enjoyed it.

The Friday night Noson Lawen was, as usual, great fun with an abundance of talent on display.  It will go down in the OWF history records as one of our best.  Aled Griffiths, one of the choristers, emceed the evening and in between acts kept us well entertained.  There were many memorable acts but perhaps the funniest had to be the Off-key duet performed by Aled Griffiths and Aled Wyn Davies. It’s not easy to deliberately sing off key!

Saturday is always a busy day, starting in the morning with the AGM, followed by a seminar (Say it in Welsh). Meanwhile OWF Board member, Alison Lawson had arranged two Welsh movies: the first one was a documentary, showing ‘Y Chwarelwr’ (‘The Quarryman’), which was the first ever talkie in Welsh; and the second movie was a Welsh drama, called Y Streic a Fi (The Strike and Me), which portrays a turbulent time in Welsh history, the Miners’ Strike of 1984-85.  The movies attracted quite a crowd and were very well received.

During the pre-concert Banquet, we honoured this year’s winner of the Gold Award, Donna Morris. The Award was presented to her by last year’s winner, Alison Lawson.  Merched Dewi and Friends serenaded Donna with words written by Betty and set to Llwyn Onn.  Thanks to Alan Thomas for being ever ready to accompany us, whatever the request.

After the Banquet, we were off to the concert at First St. Andrews United Church, where our guest choir, Cor Machynlleth, under the excellent leadership of Aled Myrddin, dazzled us with their talent and their beautiful repertoire. Their repertoire was varied and interesting and Aled brought out the best in the choir. A truly wonderful sound, like one voice. Aled Wyn Davies delivered some stunning solos and Aled Myrddin surprised the audience with a solo of his own and showed how multi-talented he is.

The main event of the weekend is the Gymanfa on Sunday and, once again, the singing was excellent. It was Aled Myrddin’s first time conducting a Gymanfa, and he did a super job. He got the best out of the congregation as he does his choir, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

All too soon, we were bidding everyone farewell, until we meet again. Once more we are indebted to many people for their role in the success of the weekend.  An enormous thanks goes to the Board for their tireless work to make this the success that it is.  Also, a great big thank you to our many volunteers.  Without you all there could be no Festival.

Next year, 2020, we will be in Ottawa, at The Lord Elgin Hotel from April 17th to 19th.  Check our website for all the latest info and watch FaceBook for updates, as well. Hope to see you in Ottawa!