Fancy a great Easter Sunday experience? Join 16th Street Baptist Church as they host Côr yr Urdd, a Welsh youth choir, on Easter Sunday during their multi-state tour. Read on to see how this transatlantic partnership makes history and learn more about the history of the iconic Wales Window.
A concert that builds partnerships
Côr yr Urdd shakes up your traditional Easter service with Welsh music and culture from across the Atlantic. They will perform in collaboration with the UAB Gospel Choir in a beautiful melody of languages and cultures. Following the challenges of Covid, this is the first time they will be in person in over two years.
The two musical coordinators, Siân Lewis and Patrick Evans first met in 2019 and have stayed in touch ever since. They had originally planned to reunite the two groups in 2020 when the pandemic swept away their existing plans.
Not to be let down, the two formed a virtual choir, releasing Every Praise’ by Hezekiah Walker, sung in Welsh. Next year the hope is that the UAB Gospel Choir will visit this Welsh Youth Choir in Wales in 2023.
If you wish to attend, the service will be held Easter Sunday, April 17 at 10:45 a.m. and Monday, April 18 at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center, Jemison Concert Hall at 7 p.m.
Welsh and Birmingham resident Jon Eastwood is delighted that a Welsh choir is coming to the city centre.
Well, I’m delighted that a Welsh choir is coming to Birmingham. There’s a famous quote that goes: “Born in Wales, not with a silver spoon in your mouth, but with music in your blood and poetry in your soul”. Music and choral music in Wales is the same as gospel music in the South. It is part of your being. It’s part of your culture.
-Jon Eastwood, Welsh + former Bham Now employee
The Birmingham Welsh Connection
Birmingham’s Welsh connection dates back to before 2022. After the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed 4 girls in 1963, a Welsh villager, John Petts, heard the news from his coastal town of Llansteffan. He offered to manufacture and install a replacement window for the church – thus the iconic Wales window was born.
Petts shared his idea with David Cole, editor of The Western Mail, and a front-page ad was placed asking for donations for the window. Instead of seeking wealthy donors, he capped each donation at half a crown (15 cents in current US dollars) so that the window would collectively belong to the people of Wales.
The Welsh raised money for the window in such a short time, with children bringing their pocket money to contribute. The stained glass window depicts a Black Christ and is known as one of Birmingham’s most iconic civil rights era artworks. The rainbow above represents diversity while the verse below is Matthew 25:40.
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