Singing For Your Supper

Our Loose Blogging consortium includes Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Gaelikaa, Ginger, Judy, Magpie 11, Maria, Ramana and yours truly.  Each of us when available will contribute a piece for the topic for the week. The call of work, study or family concerns, often prevents some members from taking part on the day or indeed the week in question.  This weeks offering was chosen by Magpie 11.

Voices I recall

Voices I recall are the ones that visited our fireside in the era before we had TV.

– An aunt and uncle who sang all the duets from the Musicals… Numbers such as Indian Love Call from Rose Marie,  I’ll See You Again from Bitter Sweet, This is My Lovely Day from Bless The Bride, Till There Was You from The Music Man and This Is My Beloved from Kismet.

Gus and Nora who sang for Ireland at every opportunity, until the bed went on fire! (Nancy you will need the tissues again!).

But today I want to focus on a voice from outside the family:

Iris Williams spent her earliest years in a children’s home in the Rhondda Valley of  Wales.  She left school at fifteen to work in a glove factory. It was a very simple start in life. . . but she had a love which turned into a passion, which turned into a career…. that love was music.

Iris could sing… and spent many hours in Wales singing in church choirs, and eventually, with the help of several people in the valleys, in particular, Iris Llewellyn, (her music teacher) she was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.  Iris returned to the RWCMD in 1996 to be honoured as a Fellow of the College.

In the New Year’s Honours List 2004, Iris was awarded an O.B.E. for her contributions in the field of music and for her services to charitable institutions around the world.

In 2008 Iris was awarded the highest honour presented by the St. David’s Society of New York ~ the William R Hopkins Award for her contributions in the field of music and charitable institutions around the world.  Also, that year Iris was made an Honorary Member of the Treorchy Male Voice Choir, a rare honour since Iris is the only female Honorary Member of a Male Voice Choir in Wales.

For someone who had such a difficult start in life, Iris has given so much, and delighted so many.  Yes, she’s come a long way, and the concerts and other appearances plus her charity work shows no sign of abating.

Her recording of He Was Beautiful, earned her a gold and platinum disc, and an invitation by HM The Queen to perform at her annual Royal Variety Performance.

Iris Williams – He Was Beautiful (Cavatina) 1979
Iris Williams – I’m Gonna Live ‘Til I Die

9 thoughts on “Singing For Your Supper

  1. Rummuser

    Great minds think alike! I see that both of us have gone down memory lane with music to accompany us. Great post and truly a great singer.

  2. Magpie11

    He was Beautiful was written (words) by Cleo Laine…. she of the 4 octave (minimum) range……. How cold i have missed her voice from my post?

    I’d agree, Iris Williams’ is not a bad voice at all….. Better than most from Wales…dum de dum! There I go again.

    I have to say that I cannot recall ever hearing her before.

    I envy anyone who has Home Made Music in their family.

  3. wisewebwoman

    Oh thanks for this, GM – Many, many musical memory nights pre-TV, what we have lost through that malignant box is unfathomable.
    I would “People will say we’re in love” from Carousel.
    “We’ll gather lilacs in the spring again”, “The Old Rustic Bridge”, I could go on and on.
    And I’d add Kathleen Ferrier to the magnificent female voices of Wales…

  4. Darlene

    Your aunt and uncle sang two of my favorite songs; Till There Was You and This Is My Beloved. I would have loved to hear them harmonizing.

    I am still struggling to hear music since getting my cochlear implant, but I can tell that Iris has a beautiful contralto voice; rich and full.

  5. Grannymar Post author

    Ramana – I always loved to hear people singing, it is a talent I would have loved to carry. Alas that part of my voice is now completely gone.

    Magpie – I am not listening to you tease about your near neighbours! 😉
    Cleo Laine is good, I’ll admit, but I prefer her singing Jazz. Sing-songs round the fire or on long journeys in the car were the norm in my young life.

    WWW – When the Box arrived in the corner it slowly killed the home grown talents. I too remember: The Old Rustic Bridge, Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair, and The Rose of Tralee were all regulars.

    Darlene – My Aunt and Uncle were a pleasure to listen to, in fact I heard Granny say they were often invited to weddings just for their singing!

  6. Baino

    Well I have a Welsh background so you can imagine there was always a lot of singing and piano playing. I don’t know Iris but I’ll have a You Tube search and a listen.

  7. gaelikaa

    Grannymar, I’m sure your voice isn’t gone. Drink warm water and practise your scales morning and evening. You’ll get it back, I’m sure. I’m confident you could sing sing arias.

    Now as to Ms. Williams. I love music, but I’m more a Celine Dion person myself. And I’m not sure that it is such a great honour for a woman to be a member of a Welsh male voice choir. All those baritones for God’s sake, would she not feel initmidated? Well, everyone to their own.

  8. Grannymar Post author

    Baino – Check out the links below and they will lead to others.

    Gaelikaa – I drink warm water by the kettleful, the voice is gone squeaks and croaks at the best of times are all I get. To invite Iris Williams to be an Hon member of the Treorchy was indeed something very special!


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