An operatic society was formed in 1963 at St Jude's Church in Mount Pleasant, Swansea, to perform the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. In 1965, the church held its 50th anniversary and the male members of the society learned a few items to sing during a week of celebrations. These included songs such as Myfanwy by Joseph Parry and All in the April Evening. The operatic society folded shortly afterwards, but 14 members attempted to reform with a view to rehearsing in the church hall of the catholic church on Sketty Road in Swansea. This never really took off. Undaunted however, the 14 stalwarts met at The Mountain Dew, a pub in Mount Pleasant, and decided to learn a few more items and become a permanent choir. A constitution was drawn up and thus was born The Gwalia Singers.
Rehearsals began at the home of one of the members. The Musical Director was Bryan Myles and the accompanist was Mrs. Elizabeth Davies.
The first performance given by the Gwalia Singers was done for free as, at such an early stage, it would have been difficult to attract a large audience. Islwyn Bennett persuaded the Village Hall Committee to allow the choir to perform at Horton Hall.
The first Annual Concert was held at a chapel in Waunarlwydd.
In October 1987, Bryan Myles recalled the following in part 2 of his choir history:
“The choir was now becoming busier all the time although we were still only 18 in total. May saw us take part in a concert in Gowerton to celebrate Croeso ’69. I had been asked earlier to conduct a mixed choir which had been formed especially for the investiture year of the Prince of Wales and we performed in a combined concert as part of the celebrations.
June saw the choir go into a completely new venture. We entered, with much trepidation, a talent competition in the Townsman Club, Swansea. We were to prove extremely popular and in 3 months we had won 3 of these competitions and had amassed £100 in prize money. This was a fortune in those days and provided us with the lion’s share of the large amount of money we were about to spend on our 1st uniform.
On 29th July we did our first “conference” type concert in College House. This was the start of a long and continuing association with conference organisers. As most of you will know, this type of engagement has been both financially fruitful and immensely enjoyable over the years.
In October the choir was in a position to buy its first full uniform. Blue Barathea blazers and grey trousers were purchased for 18 people at a cost of just over £200. The blazers, of superb quality, were bought from the old firm of J.H. Dean, Swansea, at a cost of £8-7-6d each. It was a proud moment for the choir appearing at the next concert wearing “proper choir clothes”. I find it ironic whilst writing this that we are about to replace these blazers this year after all this time.
December heralded the first “carol” type concert for the OAPs at Caereithin. They received such enjoyment and this sort of event certainly made all the hard work very worthwhile. This type of concert was again to become a feature of the choir’s annual diary. On 20th December we did our first concert of this type at the Civil Service Club and to date we have performed 18 such concerts.