The Concert at Nebo Chapel 03.08.1861

Nebo Chapel

Nebo Chapel (Picture courtesy of Hirwaun Historical Society)

On Wednesday evening, the 31st July, a concert on a grand scale was held at Nebo Independent Chapel. Mr. D. E. Williams in the chair We were not able to reach in time for the early part of the proceedings and on entering the edifice, the first thing we heard was a young woman, (Martha Griffiths,) giving advice, we supposed, to young people how to behave towards their mothers. Then came a young lad, (John Owen,) and made his appearance on the platform in a telling but tasteless manner, “Cywydd y Daran.” There was a mistake here in the selection for to recite “Cywydd y Daran” properly, an adult must take to the task. Next came “Yna’r gwyntoedd yn ymosod,” (Stephens’s Oratorio,) by the choir. This piece was well executed, and it strongly reminded us of the grand concert, (of 300,) held at the Temperance If all some two years ago. Now, appeared on the platform, Mr. John Williams, to give us an address,’ which was a sound criticism on sacred music, and the praise of the sanctuary, the object being – as stated by the lecturer – the raising-sacred music to its proper level. We were taken back to the time of Laban and Jacob, his son in law, and brought down, through many revolutions, by the Pagan-philosophers to our present day. We admired the lecturer’s remarks on the uncouth habit of sitting down while giving praise (?) to the Almighty. If everyone present were to take the remarks made on this head with him into practical life, congregational singing would be much nearer its proper standard. The selection of proper tunes for the sanctuary was also the subject of close scrutiny, and received ample justice at, the lecturer’s hands. Our space will not permit of our giving anything like a full report if any portion of the meeting, but by way of making up for it, we would suggest to all the Sunday schools in the Parish of Aberdare to set about collecting names of parties who would buy this lecture, if it were to be printed, and forward the lists to Mr. Williams. We are sure it would be an invaluable treasure in the hands of the young. We are almost tempted to quote a few unpleasant instances which would prove the necessity of such work, but we will refrain from doing so on this occasion.

When the lecture was over, we had a Trio “May no rash Intruder,” well sung; and after recitations, “Shoncyn y gwair,” a “Cheiliog y rhedyn,” (Francis Hughes, —— Rees Rees) “Syr Meurig Grynswth,” (Martha Griffiths,) were gone through, then “Yna’r gwyntoedd gyda brys” was sung. “Y Robin coch a’r Fronfraith,” was recited by Martha Griffiths and then came, what we pronounced the mister-piece of the evening,” Y Daeargryn,” (Owain Alaw.) The words were recited by John Jeremiah, in a very appropriate manner; and then came the execution of the music. We sympathized with the leafier, Mr. David Jones, who was suffering from hoarseness the effects of cold and who apologized to the ‘meeting at the outset, but really there was no room for apology at the end. It is just to say that we have’ heard choral singing by choirs of the chief towns of England and Wales, and some in Germany and France, but never was our inward man – the soul – more aroused than by the singing of “Y Daeargryn” by the Hirwain Choir.

We felt for the moment as if we were standing on the summit of a great precipice, and every movement expecting to he hurled down its rocky teeth, dashed to pieces, and buried in the waves of a flaming lava. We were certainly, for once, transported to the land of earthquake, and had its horror-striking scenes passing before our eyes with the vividness of the lightning. Great praise is due to Mr. David Jones, for the high perfection into which he has tutored the Hirwain singers; and we trust they will not forget his disinterested labours. And now one remark more, never break up this union of choirs, but go on preparing yourselves for another concert, even if you were to give it gratis. You will be amply rewarded. You have given an unquestionable proof of your ability, an ability, we say, not to be surpassed, if cultivated. This was a good meeting.

Everything went off well, excepting the mad clapping of hands, idiotic stamping of feet, and one or two recitations unfit for a place of worship. If the principle of action laid down in the lecture we have alluded to was properly understood, there would be an end to this sort of thing.