Newtown Art Lecturer Carys Jones is notably proud of her Welsh roots, and whilst known at NPTC Group of Colleges for celebrating her passion through the creative arts she is also a regular performer.
Carys has been singing and competing in the Urdd Eisteddfod with Aelwyd Penllys for 14 years. Through this connection, she recently took part in an exciting online venture involving other members of the Urdd from all over Wales and a choir from Alabama.
On Thanksgiving day in America, a special partnership between Urdd members and the Gospel Choir at the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB) came together to produce a Gospel song in Welsh. This was not only a fantastic collaborative piece but involved a huge effort from the UAB Gospel choir to learn the Welsh language.
The group wanted to take the opportunity to extend a hand of friendship to young people across the world in a challenging period to share comfort and hope.
The UAB Gospel Choir were due to visit Wales and the Urdd National Eisteddfod but the trip had to be postponed due to COVID 19. Virtual meetings began and a virtual choir was established to keep the international connection. Giving young people in Wales the opportunity to connect with young people in North America and take Wales and the Welsh language to the world.
The connection between Wales and Alabama began in 1960 when Welsh ties with the African American community began following a vicious bombing of a church in Alabama by the Ku Klux Klan. The people of Wales donated a stained glass window to the church in solidarity know to this day as the Wales window.
Speaking about her involvement in the collaboration Carys said: ‘The experience of singing in a digital choir was quite different but just as special. Singing gospel for the first time was a lot of fun, and I have so much respect for the members of UAB Choir, Alabama for learning this song in Welsh.’