Sunday, June 25, 3 p.m.—CASTLETON—A Gymanfa Ganu (a traditional non-denominational Welsh hymn sing) and Te Bach (tea social) will be held in the Vermont/New York Slate Valley community of Castleton Sunday, June 25 at 3 p.m. Sponsored by Poultney Area St. David’s Society, this non-denominational event will be hosted by the historic (1833) Federated Church at its handicapped accessible structure, located at 504 Main St. Te Bach will follow the sing in the fellowship hall. A charity event, free will offering is designated for the building restoration fund of Federated Church. All are welcome.
Jay G. Williams, III, conductor of cymanfoedd across the country, will return to the Slate Valley for a third time since the 1990s to be conductor for this gymanfa event. A past president of the St. David’s Society of Utica, Williams has served as a member of that society’s National Gymanfa Ganu steering committee. A past director of the National Welsh American Foundation, he has written two books on Welsh-Americans, one of which includes history about the Welsh in the Vermont/New York Slate Valley region.
The Reverend Robert A. Noble, III, senior minister of Federated Church of Castleton, will be Gymanfa accompanist. A graduate from Hamilton College, he received his masters of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary where he met his wife, Holly. She is pastor of United Church of Benson. The couple served as co-pastors with Presbyterian churches in New York state; and in Vermont and New Hampshire. He also serves as organist and accompanist for the Tinmouth, Vt. Community Church.
Angela Champine, Gymanfa soloist and director of the junior choir and handbell choir for the Federated Church Castleton, graduated magna cum laude from Castleton University receiving her B.A. of music education and theater arts.She sings professionally for Tinmouth Community and Castleton Federated churches. A lifetime resident of the Rutland area where she graduated from Mount Saint Joseph Academy in 2005, early music endeavors include percussion in concert band, guitar, jazz band, rock band, talent shows, voice at St. Dominic Parish and school chorus.
Meredith Rehbach will be Welsh language reader at the cymanfa. The great-granddaughter of a slate quarryman from Bethesda, North Wales, her late father, Gwilym R. Roberts, authored “New Lives in the Valley: Slate Quarries and Quarry Villages in North Wales, New York, and Vermont, 1850- 1920.” Rehbach has been Welsh language speaker at many cymanfa events and has taught Welsh language classes for Cymdeithas Madog (a week-long intensive Welsh course), the National Festival of Wales, and in Vermont.
Hymn verses will be sung in both the Welsh and English languages. Rehbach will provide pronunciation assistance for the verses to be sung in the Welsh language. A limited number of gymanfa hymnals will be available. Guests that have their own cymanfa hymnal copy are asked to bring it.
Photo courtesy of Janice Edwards