This time last year Côr Meibion Taf (CMT) received an invitation to sing at Pentyrch Rugby Club on the Friday night before the Wales v Scotland match in the 6 Nations. Members of the Isle of Bute Rugby Club have been visiting Pentyrch on this occasion for forty years and this was a special celebration to mark that notable milestone. In addition to this, however, that night it was suggested that, perhaps, CMT could travel to the island one day. A year later the dream came true and early on the morning of Thursday 9 February forty singers, their conductor and accompanist along with a few friends departed on the long journey to the Isle of Bute and Edinburgh.

Awaiting the ferry crossing

Before long we had crossed the borders of England and Wales and reached Scotland. It was a very smooth journey towards Glasgow and beyond along the banks of the River Clyde to the port of Wemyss Bay. There was about an hour to kill before we caught the ferry and we came across a very welcoming establishment at the railway station that serves the port. This was the first opportunity of the trip to practice some of the weekend’s songs and entertain the local residents at the same time.

And so to the main aim of this visit to the Isle of Bute, which was the grand concert at Mount Stuart House on the Friday evening. The afternoon was spent being guided around this wonderful palace and being reminded by the names, the architecture and the history of the very close links that exist between the island and Cardiff and South Wales.

CMT had the privilege of sharing the stage in an evening of music with the Ballianlay Choir and the Bute Community Band. The Marble Hall was full and the very appreciative local audience were very generous in their praise. The wonderful acoustic resounded when the two choirs and the band joined together in thrilling performances of the anthems of the Celtic cousins: Hen Wlad fy Nhadau and Highland Cathedral.

After the great success of the concert at Mount Stuart House and the well-deserved celebration back in Rothesay, we continued on Saturday morning to Edinburgh. We were to give a second performance at lunchtime at Stewart’s Melville rugby club before heading to Murrayfield and Wales’ second match in the 6 Nations this year.

The invitation to sing at Stewart’s Melville club was a special opportunity to establish more links in Scotland. We received a warm welcome once again, the club was packed and we had the privilege of performing to an audience including, among others, members of the Edinburgh Welsh Association.

Alas! Scotland 35 Wales 7

Despite the disappointment of the result the journey home proved to be as smooth as the one up to Scotland three days earlier. Our thanks as members of CMT go to everyone who contributed to the success of a memorable trip but especially to our conductor Steff, our accompanist Lowri, Dave our cheerful and highly skilled coach driver and of course our secretary and tour organiser Colin. Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi i gyd.