Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

10 articles on this Page



PRESENTATIONS TO MR. AND MRS. DAN DAVIES. On Monday night the members of the Merthyr Choral Society attended at Bentley's Central Hall, Merthyr, to do hono:ir to their talented conductor and his estiaralile witf, Mr. mid Mrs. Dan Davies. There were pro-Kent a 1<:1'1.; nuu.ber of the ladies and gentlemen of t'c town, whose pleasure it has !> t;a to interest them^-Ive-s in the welfare of the invin- cibles." For a long time past it was felt that the time had come vlna some appreciation should be shown Mr. DA\ i's for the admirable manner in which he had cunduetod t!i>s .«o.n:ty, mid in recognition of the honours he had brought to the town. During the three years the «oci.-ty has been in existence Mr. Davies has led his 11 soldiers to war no less than seven times. Six times the Merthyr Choir has been victorious, and on the last occasion, when at LLmelly, the prize was divided. As the result or their suect-si the choir has won no less a sum than J32,500, besides many gold and silver trophies, and gold and silver- mounted batons. This, surely, is an honour of which any town might be proud, and the inhabitants, upon being appealed to, responded liberally, the subscrip- tion fund reaching the suui of £ 120 15s. Out of this the Choral Society subscribed £ 50, which prove? beyond doubt the groat love they have for their chief. The programme for the evening announced that a soiree would precede the presentation meeting. The soiree took the form of a substantial tea, served in a first-class style by Mr. Thomas Bentley and his able assistants. The room was crowded, as were the tables, and the good things were much enjoyed. The tables were presided over by the following ladies :— Mrs. Jones (Zion), Miss Emma Williams, Miss Lizzie Jones, Mrs. A. T. Johns, Mrs. D. Nicholas, Mir. Williams (Court-street), Mrs. Thomas (Mary-str.-et^, Mrs. David Hughes, Miss Maggie Jones, Miss Lizzia Evans, Miss Tudor, Miss A. Kelly, Miss Gwen Evans, Cefn; Miss Eleanor Evans, Penydarren Miss Louise Lewis, Miss Maggie Williams, Miss Maggie Morgan (Taff Vale House), Miss Minnie Morgan (Plymouth- street) and a number of young ladies from the Central Hotel. Mr. Sandford Jonec was entrusted with the general superintendence of the soiree and subsequent meeting, and carried out the duties in a satisfactory manner. During the evening Mr. and Mrs. Davies were the recipients of hearty congratulations, and on more than one occasion both were quite overcome with the loud praises sung of them. After tea, Mr. William Harris (president of the society), Col. D. Rees Lewis, Mr. William Griffiths (Taff Vale Brewery), and Mr. John Vaughan entered the hall, and were received enthusiastically. The chair was occupied by the president, and among others present were Mr. Beynon (secretary of the society), Mr. Sandford Jones, and other officials. The hall was crowded to overflowing, a large number of those pre- sent being obliged to stand in the doorway. Suspended above the chairman was a beautifully-executed life-size painting of Mrs. Davies, in a heavy gold frame, while upon the table was a beautiful gilt striking clock and f;old ornaments (under glass), a gold-mounted baton presented by Mr. W. Pritchard Morgan, M.P.), a splendid gold watch, and a purse of gold (£4-3 10s.). The first item on the programme was a chorus by the choir, which was rendered in an admirable manner, Mr. Davies conducting. Loud applause followed the rendition, and it was many minutes before the chair- < man could explain the object of the meetinsr. The Chairman said they had met that night to do honour to whom honour was due (applause). Mr. Davies' position as a successful conductor was un- equalled in Wales, and do greater proof of this was needed than the fact that in three years his choir tad won in competitions ro 18"1' a sum than £2,500 (cheers). The choir had eom- Gted seven times under Mr. Davies' baton they d won six prizes and divided the other at Llanelly (loud applause). He was glad to bear testimony to the manner in which the choir united themselves together, and he wished them great success in toe future (cheers). Colonel Lewis, upon rising to present Mr?. Davies with the oil painting of herself, was received with enthusiastic cheering. He said they were met upon a most important occasion. He did not think, although they had come there in such numbers, particularly the ohoir, that it was within their power to do Mr. and Mrs. Davies all the honour they deserved (applause). He had seen Mr. Davies leading his choir so often in such a manner that he could not help thinking that the country had lost the services of a great soldier (applause). A man who had to guide and fight with an army had to possess two or three peculiar qualifi- cations. He had first of all to have an extraordinary knowledge of the subject with which he had to deal. He had to have the skill and genius to apply that knowledge, and lastly to have the will and power to make those who had to obey him do so to the last letter and to the last note. They had in Mr. Davies those three characteristics. Noone had seen him handle his choir who had not said that he had every power over his singers (applause). No one had seen him conduct but who said that he had the genius and skill to make the choir carry out his thoughts and idea-—^applause)—so that in gaining a great choral leader they JurI lust a ureat soldier. It was a wonderful thing that during the Whole of his life and hi>; leadership Mr. Davies had scarcely known defeat. When the society was first formed, and he heard from their conductor that they were within six weeks of their formation, going tu compete for a first-class prize at a tirst-class eistedd- fod, he thought it was a daring step to take. But when ho heard them sing the Sunday before they went to battle, he was not at all surprised to receive a telegram from Forth stating that the choir had won the j3100 prizo (cheers). It showed the remaikable abihty and skill of Mr. Davies when he led a practi- cally untrained choir to Forth. After that the choir went on winning, and now they were, as had been said, invincible (cheers). And ho believed that if it were not for some few facts the Merthyr Choir would have come from Llanelly victorious, for 11'\ • (the speaker) thought the prize was really and truly theirs (cheers). Therefore, it was fitting that they should meet together that night to present Mr. and Mrs. Davies with testimonials as appreciation of his labours, memorials which he trusted they would live long to enjoy, and which would be handed down to their successors reminding them of Mr. Davies1 good work in this life, and probably spur them on to similar triumphs (applause). The Colonel then presented r Mrs. Davies with the portrait. Mr. Davies, he said, H devoted a good deal of his time to the choir, and was | taken away during that time from the company of his !J- good wife (laughter, and hear, hear). There could be J no doubt that as was the man so was the wife, and K when they saw the extraordinary success which had |> been won through the efforts of Mr. Davies, he thought thay could show, in a great measure, that the I success was due to Mrs. Davies (applause). He trusted they would live long to see the portrait hung g. upon their walls, and after they had passed away it p would be handed down to their children, their e, children's children, and their children, to lie looked < Upon with pleasure and pride—(applause)—and it would bring to their minds that Merthyr thought fit ■to honour one of its best sons and daughters. <• Miss Eliza Jones then presented Mr. Davies with if the gold watch, bearing the following inscription L Presented to Mr. Dan Davies, conductor of the Merthyr Choral Society, by his musical friends in recognition of his valuable services to the cause of music. Merthyr Tydfil, December, 1895." A duet, Sol-fa Lesson," was next rendered by Madame Mary Miles-Beynon and Mr. Sandford Jones. We need hardly say that the item was rendered with H great taste, and was encored. H Mr. William Griffiths then rose to present the clock |. and ornaments to Mrs. Davies. He said he felt sure |b they were all delighted to see that that occasion had | been the means of bringing together such a large num- I ber of friends and admirers of music. They ought to | feel proud that their town could compare with any | Other in the Principality for its renown, not only in f music, but in science and art (applause). They were £ proud to think that Merthyr was the birthplace of 1 many distinguished men, who had added lustre to all "*■ branches of art, science and literature, prose and veree-(applause)-and it had been the birthplace and the home of many eminent and distin- guished vocalists. It was not surprising that they were proud of their distinguished connec- tions, but if they could make a boast of one class of artistes more than another, it was the very many I ohoir conductors who had wielded batons in this town jr for 60 or 60 years (applause). His memory of choral sincing went back to the fifties, when he was a very small boy indeed (laughter) He remembered Rosser I*. Beynon (Zoar), Robert James, and David Francis ? (Zoar), leading choirs into competitions, and he re" collected how those choirs delighted their admirable audiences with their splendid singing (applause). At Oweet 'Berdare was born Griffith Jones, better known as Caradog (cheers). They all knew the in- fluence of Caradog, and the splendid achievements at the Crystal Palace, and the universal 'jjopularity Which he enjoyed. The success gained in those days had been well sustained ever since, and to-day Welsh choral singing was known all over the world. Only recently they gave their Ameiican cousins a treat such as they never enjoyed liefore, and later on thay were privileged to enjoy the proud distinction of appearing before Her Majesty the Queen and the B )fa! lamily at Windsor Castle (cheers). The speaker then paid a high compliment to the con- ductors, who, he said, not only read, marked, learnt, and iuwardly digested the music of the great com- posers, but they trained the choirs to such a state of perfection that they sang the compositions as the great composers wished them to be sung (applause). That night it was his duty to sing the praises of a most able conductor, a conductor who had won great victories. He trusted that both Mr. and Mrs. Davies would live long to enjoy the presents, and the choir would continue to pour into their ears that glorious music which made life worth living for—" Beautiful .Wales, the Land of Song (cheers). [&"■ Mr?. W. Price, on behalf of the choir, then pre- jg, sented Mr. Davies with a pur=e containing £ 43 10s. §f; She extended to the conductor the (>est wishes of the II Choir for a long and prosperous life, and trusted that p* m the future, as in the past, the choir would be suc- il cessful under his baton (applause). |» Miss Beatrice Evans delighted the audience with a f: Song, and she was vociferously encored. If- Mr. John Vaughan, on behalf of Air. Pritchard i|: Morgan (who is m Australia), then presented Mr. | Davies with an ivory baton, mounted with gold from t Mr. Morgan's Welsh gold mines. He said that pre- vious speakers had quoted ancient history (laughter), p Colonel Lewis had referred to the time of Adam and Eve; Mr. W. Griffiths had referred to the time of ;v JuliusCa\sar—(loud laughter)—and he (Mr. Vaughan) fe would come down to modern times (laughter). He pedieved that Mr. Lewis Morgan and himself were the s-only two surviving members of the "Old Court Llewelyn." Mr. Pritchard Morgan, though 12,000 miles away, was present that evening in tho spirit— (applause)—and he would continue to take an interest in the society. Mr. Griffiths had referred to musical notabilities, but he had not said a word about Dick y Crydd (applause). He was one of the best bassos that Merthyr ever possessed (with the exception perhaps, of John Thomas), and he applied the same remark toHopkins Bach (applause). ThenPhillip Jones, Ynysgau, was one of the finest altos that ever God created (applause). David Rosser, if he had made the stage his profession, would have made a second 8ima Reeves, and Mrs. Watts-Hughes, of Dowlaia, would have made a second Madame Patti (applausel Then, as regards conductor;, David Lloyd—(applause) —had the houour of conducting a choir in Australia before the Princr of Wales. The speaker went on to refer to the old Cyfarthfa Band, which won the prize Ut the Crystal Palace for tho best brass bund I i!= (applause). But the old members of the band had fone, and other bands were rising up equal to them, n handing the bat6n to the recipient, he said he hoped Mr. Davies would long be spared to wield it in per- forming the glorious works of Haydn, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Brinley Richards, John Thomas, Dr. Parry, the late lamented Haydn Parry, and last, but not least, Tom Price (applause). Mr. Johns read several Welsh verses apropos to the occasion, after which Madame Miles-Beynon and Gwyn Alaw sang Sir Howell and Blodwen very admirably. They were loudly encored, and repeated the duet. Mr. Dan Davies, on rising to respond on his own behalf and that of his good wife, was visibly moved to tears. He said he did not know what to say in resjionse to the great honour they had conferred upon himself and Mrs. Davies. His feelings would not allow him to make a speech. He felt tliankful to the choir and his many other friends for the handsome manner in which they had treated him. He might say that since he had lived in Merthyr he had received every encouragement from the townspeople (applause). If ever he gave up the conductorship it would not be for the want of encouragement. The three gentlemen on the platform (Mr. Harris, Col. Lewis, and Mr. Griffiths) had always stood by him-(cheers) -and had encouraged him to lead the choir to what proved to be victory in almost every competition. He was sure the townspeople must be proud of the fact that they had in the town such an excellent body of singers (applause). A good many people all over the country had an idea that the Merthyr Choral Society was dead (a smile). They found that night that it was not quite dead (laughter and loud cheers). There was as much life in the Society now as ever there had been. They had a big programme before them for this year—(applmse)—and they were giving concerts in various parts of South Wales. They had received pressing and encouraging invitations to go to Cardiff, Newport, Bristol, and London, but not having mEt till the previous week they had not been able to accept the invitations. He was proud to announce that evening that one or two invitations had been accepted within the la-it few days (applause). The choir had also thought of entering into competition this year, and if the choir e.itered lie had every belief. if the members remained faithful, that they would be successful. He might say that he had never experi- enced any trouble with his soldiers on the battlefield (cheers). He had always found them ready to fight for the glory of their town,and he was sure they would act similarly in the future. He assured the subscribers that he would never forget their great kindness. He was pleased to see Mr. W. P. Thomas there that night, and also his old friend, Mr. Edwaid Williams, who was one of his old soldiers in Dowlais. He was also pleased to see his old friend, Gwyn Alaw, present (applause). Mr. Lewis Morgan proposed, and Mr. Ballard seconded, a hearty \"ot" of thanks to Colonel Lewis and Mr. Griffiths for the manner in which they had supported the choir from the time of its establish- ment. Colonel Lewis, in responding, referred to the pride it gave him to know that the choir h-Id won so many victories. He would always do all in his power to support them (cheers).—Mr. Griffiths also responded. Mr. Sandford Jones proposed a vote of thanks to Mr. William Harris, the president, for presiding. He referred to the part the president had taken in the woik and success of the choir. I he subscript ions for the testimonial amounted to JE120 15s., of which the society subscribed JB50 (applause).—Mr. Evan Evans seconded, and the proposition was carried with acclamation. The President responded. A hearty vote of thanks was then given for Mr. Pritchard Morgan for his generous gift, after which Gwyn Alaw sang a song in capital style. The choir then rendered a chorus very admirably, Mr. Davies conducting with the new baton, and the singing of the National Anthem, Madam Beynon taking the solo, concluded a pleasing gathering. Mr. D. C. Williams accompanied on the pianoforte with much taste.