The Morriston Orpheus Choir, based in Morriston, Wales, is one of the most famous male voice choirs in the world.
The Choir was formed on April 23, 1935 by Ivor E Sims and, in its early days concentrated primarily on competitions and local concerts. In 1937 the Choir achieved its first success at the Royal National Eisteddfod in Machynlleth, going on to win at the "National" on 6 further occasions. Although many years have passed since the Choir last sang in competitions, its present members do not forget the eminence which their predecessors achieved and they constantly strive for the musical excellence in which audiences at home and overseas delight.
Over the years, successive Musical Directors have developed and broadened the repertoire. Variety is now the hallmark of the Choir's performances which include arrangements by Alwyn Humphreys M.B.E., Musical Director from 1979 to January 2005..
The Choir enjoys an international reputation as a leading exponent of male choral singing. Within the United Kingdom the Choir is in constant demand with around 25 engagements a year, including concerts, TV and after-dinner performances. Although a registered charity and financially self supporting, much of its work is devoted to assisting local and national good causes, at home and overseas, such as Leukaemia Research, NCH Action for Children, RNLI, Royal National Eisteddfod, Urdd Gobaith Cymru and Save the Children Fund.
The Choir regularly undertakes concert tours overseas and in 2004 undertook two ground breaking tours to Taiwan and to Abu Dhabi and Oman.In April 2007 the Choir return to the UAE, performing in Dubai on route to a concert tour of Australia and New Zealand.
Highlights of previous overseas tours have included four appearances at British Military Tattoos and Concerts in the former West Berlin, participating at the International Choral Festivals in Nancy, France, and Toronto, Canada, representing Wales at Expo '92 in Seville, Spain, and becoming in 1996, the first British choir to perform at the International Choral Festival in Bydgoszcz, Poland. The Choir has been received enthusiastically in all the major cities of Australia and New Zealand - including standing ovations at their two appearances at the world famous Sydney Opera House.
In October 2001, the Independent on Sunday reported that the Choir received "five standing ovations" at the world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York.
Closer to home, the Choir has performed in a variety of venues ranging from chapels and village halls to cathedrals and concert halls. Choristers remember with delight performances in great cathedrals and concert venues. They do not, however, forget the smaller venues which can provide a warm and friendly welcome. They also appear regularly in Swansea at the famous Brangwyn Hall in the city centre.
The Choir features regularly on TV. Its recordings (over 50) are in great demand on radio programmes. Successful ventures into the "pop" world have included recordings with chart-topping T'Pau and the Welsh group, The Alarm.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Choir has a long-standing policy of encouraging young Welsh singers through an annual competition organised by the Morriston Orpheus Choir Supporters' Association (MOCSA)
2005 ushered in a new period in the Choir's 70 year history as it appointed its first female Musical Director Sian Pearce to replace Alwyn Humphreys who had decided to retire after serving the Choir since 1979.