September 4, 2006
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Last night, i attended the annual Gymanfa Ganu (/gI’manfa ‘ganI/ at Salem Presbyterian Church in Venedocia, Ohio with good friend Samuel Sommers. A gymanfa is a Welsh hymn sing; Sam is a fellow Sacred Harp singer with relatives at Salem, and it was great fun talking with him to and from Venedocia. The singing itself was interestingly different from Sacred Harp singing. We sat in parts, but we had a director (Trevor Williams) who would instruct us and even stop us if he wanted to correct or encourage certain things. There was some special music, most of it sung in Welsh, and we sang a few hymns in Welsh (I was glad I had studied up a bit on Welsh pronunciation–it’s not as hard as it looks). We sang a couple of tunes I haven’t sung in a very long time, including “Rachie” and “Huddersfield,” which I remember from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship days as “Who is on the Lord’s Side?” and “Great God of Wonders,” respectively.
Perhaps my father’s father’s mother’s family–the Griffiths, immigrants from Wales, would be glad to know I sang Cym Rhonddha.