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cartref > Transactions > Volume 26 - 2020 > ABERTILLERY ORPHEUS MALE CHOIR, 1908–2020: A STUDY IN CULTURAL RESILIENCE


This history has been requested by the Abertillery Orpheus Male Choir who perceive it as a fundamental contribution to their resilience against the ravages of the industrial decline which has all but destroyed the culture of their town. Members of the Choir have researched much of the content themselves.1 Their intention is to follow up with a book for local distribution so as to reinforce the pride in Abertillery and to help in the recruitment of new members.
This article is introduced by a brief industrial context and then divided into four approximate and overlapping periods: the origins, 1850 to 1909; war strikes and lockouts, 1908 to 1937; an interregnum period, 1937 to 1975; and the finality of industrial decline, 1976 to 2020. Each period is marked by significant industrial change and, in the first and last periods, by long term and catastrophic change. It is a story of how the choir successfully managed these changes and, in so doing, nourished its enduring history of resilience, a history coloured with joy, some sadness, and the occasional remarkable episode, such as those involving industrial relations, the Pope, and the Catholic Church in Rome. Above all, running through their story is the delight of the wonderful sound of a Welsh male voice choir.
The industrial


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