Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir leaders have been talking about their pride at performing in front of USA Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
The Llanelli choristers were picked to perform at the closing event for Mrs Clinton’s visit to Swansea University.
Mrs Clinton was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws in recognition of her commitment to promoting the rights of families and children around the world.
Côr Meibion Llanelli secretary Fred Elias said: “We knew about Mrs Clinton’s visit a couple of months ago, but it was all hush-hush for security reasons.
“But we sort of put two and to together when we were asked to rehearse The Star Spangled Banner, the American anthem we were already very familiar with from our tours to North Amercia.
“Then, when Mrs Clinton’s visit was officially announced, we had to go through stringent security protocols, including getting our own special photographic ID tags for the occasion.
“Most of the events for Mrs Clinton’s visit were held at the university’s Great Hall on the SA1 campus by the seafront in Swansea. It is fair to say it was a wonderful occasion and one where every member of the choir felt very proud to be wearing the Côr Meibion Llanelli blazer.
“People came up to us afterwards and said how much they had enjoyed our performance. In particular, they said the two national anthems – Welsh and American – were spine-tingling.”
Côr Meibion Llanelli musical director Mr D Eifion Thomas said: “The outstanding acoustic environment of the Great Hall at the university was nothing less than inspirational.
“True to form, Côr Meibion Llanelli rose to the occasion with a dynamic and highly professional performance.
“We had been asked to sing three songs at the closing reception for Mrs Clinton’s visit - Calon Lan, Anfonaf Angel (featuring soloist Anthony Bowen) and This Land is Your Land, the famous Woodie Guthrie song, which we adapted with a verse in Welsh.
“Such was the wonderful reception the choir received that more items were hastily added to the repertoire for the performance - Myfanwy, May it be, You'll never walk alone and Gwahoddiad.
“I performed the solo on Myfanwy and it’s fair to say that (together with our other soloist Anthony Bowen) I was in dreamland as the Great Hall acoustic quality meant that you could sing without the need of any microphone or intrusive sound system.
“The choir's performance included rousing renditions of The Star Spangled Banner and Hen wlad fy nhadau - both anthems again generating enthusiastic applause from the audience and wide, beaming smiles from Mrs Clinton.
“It was, truly, an occasion to cherish and remember as another landmark in the continuing history of Côr Meibion Llanelli. We were, of course accompanied on the piano by our very own Aled Maddock.”
During her visit to the university campus Mrs Clinton spoke about how Wales is close to her heart due to her family connections to it, and joked how she could neither confirm nor deny that her presidential campaign slogan, Stronger Together, was inspired by the Welsh football team’s Together Stronger slogan.
Mrs Clinton delivered a speech entitled Children’s Rights Are Human Rights, and spoke of how she feels a special connection to the work of Swansea’s Observatory on Children’s Rights, and that it means the world to her to have the University's Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law named after her.
Mrs Clinton later stated that she would return to Swansea’s Bay Campus in the future, and would drive the mission of the Law School for generations to come; that children’s rights are human rights.
Following her investiture, Mrs Clinton unveiled a commemorative stone to mark the renaming of Swansea University’s College of Law and Criminology to the Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law.
Vice-chancellor of Swansea University, Professor Richard B. Davies, said: “Mrs Clinton is, without doubt, one of the most powerful and important women of the age. Her influence on recent and current US domestic policy and on global affairs has been colossal.
“It is particularly significant that Mrs Clinton chose Swansea University for a major announcement on how she will be channelling her undoubted energy for public service into international work on human rights.”