Audio Recordings

A collection of themed contemporary and historical recordings of DWS music making and spoken word

  • Christmas Music
  • Summer Music
  • Spoken Word
  • The Service of Thanksgiving in July 1975
  • The school hymn and psalm

We are grateful to the University of Huddersfield (Music Technology Department) for enabling us to share our music making, now digitised and with the sound enhanced. These recordings are identified by an asterisk in the title. Our thanks to Mr John Peel who made the original tapes of Christmas and summer concerts and parts of the closing Service of Thanksgiving in 1975. Thanks too to BBC Radio Cymru for permitting us to reproduce extracts from programme recordings. These recordings have the BBC logo and are in Welsh and also to Gillian Green MBE, of Live Music Wales, for facilitating the recording by girl choristers from Llandaff Cathedral Choir School of the school hymn and school psalm. And finally, thank you to everyone who has contributed - both in the last and in the 21st century.

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Christmas Music

*'Hodie Christus Natus Est' - Recession - 1965
Length: 1 minute, 31 seconds Date recorded: 16th December 1965 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: The school hall, Dr Williams' School, Dolgellau

'Hodie Christus Natus Est' by Benjamin Britten from 'A Ceremony of Carols' is here sung unaccompanied by a small group of singers as they leave the school hall, by candlelight, at the end of the Christmas Concert. Their voices fade away as they sing down the empty corridors towards the dining room. It was something of a tradition to sing 'The Hodie' at Christmas at the beginning and end of the concert. Here is the final page of the programme from the original concert. Some scraping of chairs by the audience can be heard.

*' 'This Little Babe' from 'Ceremony of Carols' - School Choir 1967 or 1968
Length: 1 minute 37 seconds Date recorded: Christmas 1967 or 1968 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' school hall, Dolgellau

The choir (or perhaps The Madrigal Society) sing 'This Little Babe', with piano accompaniment, from Benjamin Britten's 'Ceremony of Carols' for the annual Christmas concert.

The music department at Dr Williams' school often provided new, exciting and exacting musical challenges. In the 1960s we were introduced to Benjamin Britten and Kodaly.

*Loywaf o'r Sêr - sung by the whole school circa 1966
Length: 2 minutes, 30 seconds Date recorded: Circa 1966 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' school Hall, Dolgellau

Editor's choice: Listen to the chairs scrape and a clearing of throats as everyone stands in the school hall as the organ strikes the introduction to sing this Welsh language carol that, for me, conjures a celebration of Christmas at DWS

*'Torches' - choir, 1967 or 1968
Length: 1 minute, 19 seconds Date recorded: Christmas concert 1967 or 1968 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' school hall, Dolgellau

'Torches', composed by John Joubert and published in 1951, quickly became another stalwart in the DWS Christmas repertoire.  Here it is sung by the choir with piano accompaniment. An unknown soloist sings the second verse .

* 'Deo Gratias' from 'A Ceremony of Carols', choir 1965
Length: 1 minute 15 seconds Date recorded: 16 December 1965 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: The school hall, Dr Wiliams' School, Dolgellau

The school choir is accompanied on the piano in 'Deo Gratias' from 'Ceremony of Carols' by Benjamin Britten. Mrs K.M. Thomas head of Music led the school choir, working alongside Miss Wendy Edwards at this time. See 'Deo Gratias' listed on the Christmas Concert programme for 1965

* 'How Shall I Fitly Meet Thee ?' - J.S Bach ' Christmas Oratorio'- choir 1969
Length: 1 minute, 48 seconds Date recorded: 14 December 1969 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' School hall, Dolgellau

The school choir, singing from J.S. Bach's 'Christmas Oratorio', is accompanied here by the organ. There is some coughing and scraping of chairs at the beginning of the track.

* Recitative from 'Christmas Oratorio'-soloist Eirian Davies 1969
Length: 2 minutes, 48 seconds Date recorded: 14th December 1969 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' School hall, Dolgellau

A Recitative from J.S.Bach's 'Christmas Oratorio', we believe the soloist here is Eirian Davies. Eirian went on to make a career as an opera singer. Here she sings solo, accompanied by the organ. Other singers (unknown) can be heard at the end of the track.

* And the Angel said 'Be not afraid'- Recitative sung by Eirian Davies 1969
Length: 0 minutes, 49 seconds Date recorded: 14th December 1969 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' School hall, Dolgellau

From J.S Bach's 'Christmas Oratorio' . We believe the soloist  is Eirian Davies. There is an organ accompaniment.

* 'Of Virgin born doth lay his head' from the 'Christmas Oratorio' - choir 1969
Length: 1 minute, 13 seconds Date recorded: 14th December 1969 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' School hall, Dolgellau

A choral piece from J.S. Bach's 'Christmas Oratorio'. You can hear everyone stand,  chairs scrape, a few people cough as the organ plays. Then the choir begins to sing.

* 'Holy Night' - Audience and the school - 1965
Length: 3 minutes 45 seconds Date recorded: 16 December 1965 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: School Hall, Dr Williams' School

'Holy Night'- Gruber. We think this recording was made in 1965. The choir sings the second verse. Click here to see the original concert programme . 'Holy Night' is accompanied by the organ. The school hall at Christmas would have been bedecked with greenery, with holly and ivy gathered by the pupils, entwining the library balcony. 

* Unaccompanied voices sing a Welsh language 'Plygain' carol, circa 1969 - Carol y Blwch
Length: 1 minute 55 seconds Date recorded: circa 1969 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' school hall

Unaccompanied voices sing this Welsh 'Plygain' (Matins) carol in Welsh, by an unknown composer.  At the time of writing the singers are unknown.

* Welsh language carol (no title) by Elfed - unaccompanied solo singer, circa 1969
Length: 2 minutes, 47 seconds Date recorded: Circa 1969 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' school hall

 'Joseph hoff, rwyf wedi blino….' is the first line of this carol by Elfed 1860-1953. At the time of writing the identity of the singer is unknown. She starts quietly, sounding increasingly confident and strong as the piece progresses.

* The Zither Carol with voices, piano and tambourine - 1971
Length: 2 minutes, 10 seconds Date recorded: 1971 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' school, Dolgellau

Recorded by the Junior Choir in 1971, the singers are accompanied by piano and  tambourine.  The nonsense words ' Ding Ding' punctuate the piece. Originally  a Czech Folk tune

* 'O Deued Pob Cristion' -sung by the whole school, circa 1968
Length: 1 minute 9 seconds Date recorded: Circa 1968 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: The school hall, Dr Williams' School

This well loved traditional Welsh carol was always a part of our Christmas celebrations. It would have been sung by the whole school both in assemblies and also at our Christmas concerts.

* 'Down in Yon Forest' carol - choir or madrigal society- circa 1967
Length: 1 minute 8 seconds Date recorded: circa 1967 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' school, Dolgellau

A traditional English Carol here arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams and sung by the choir or possibly the Madrigal Society circa 1967

* O Come All Ye Faithful' choir, school and audience circa 1965
Length: 3 minutes 42 seconds Date recorded: December 1965 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' School, Dolgellau

Concluding every annual Christmas concert, 'Oh Come All Ye Faithful'  is sung here by everyone in the hall. There is an organ accompaniment and a soaring descant. Here is a link to the final page of the 1965 Christmas Concert programme

Immediately after singing this traditional English carol,  a dozen girls would process slowly away from the hall singing the Recession, known as the 'Hodie' from Benjamin Britten's 'Ceremony of Carols'. This can also be heard  on our Christmas Audio selection. Then it was Christmas and home!

Summer Music

'Mûn a Bugail' DWS pupils sing with the Merioneth Youth Choir 1949
Length: 1 minute, 11 seconds Date recorded: August 1949 Recorded by: Cwmni Gwyn Place of recording: National Eisteddfod, Dolgellau 1949

Pupils of Dr Williams' School were chosen to be part of the Merioneth Youth Choir. One of the songs sung by the Junior Youth Choir was Mûn a Bugail (Nymphs and Shepherds). Here is a picture of the choir at the event.

'Y Mae Afon' - 12 DWS choir members with the Youth Choir for the National Eisteddfod 1949
Length: 1 minute, 48 seconds Date recorded: August 1949 Recorded by: Cwmni Gwyn Place of recording: National Eisteddfod of Wales in Dolgellau

Members of the school choir took part in the Youth Choir which sang at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 1949. Twelve pupils in the 5th and 6th forms, known as Parti Deuddeg ('Party of Twelve'), won with the entry ‘Y mae Afon’ (There is a River) by Daniel Protheroe. The recording is produced with permission from 'Cwmni Gwyn'.

 Click on this link to see the twelve choir members and here to read a story about the day by Bidi Davies, one of the Parti Deuddeg.

* 'Linden Lea' - Vaughan Williams- Senior Choir, July 1974
Length: 2 minutes, 18 seconds Date recorded: July 1974 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' school hall

The Senior Choir sing the final item on the programme for 'A Summer Serenade' 1974 to a piano accompaniment by Christine Ellis

* 'Breadbaking'- Bartok- Senior Madrigal Choir 1974
Length: 2 minutes, 18 seconds Date recorded: July 1974 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' school hall

Accompanied by piano, the Senior Madrigal Choir sing 'Breadbaking' for the 'Summer Serenade' concert.

*' As Torrents in Summer' - Elgar- Senior Choir 1974
Length: 2 minutes, 26 seconds Date recorded: July 1974 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' school hall

The Senior Choir sing 'As Torrents in Summer' with piano accompaniment by Christine Ellis for the 'Summer Serenade' concert in 1974.

* 'El Grillo' (The Cricket) Josquin des Prez - Senior Madrigal choir, July 1974
Length: 1 minute, 53 seconds Date recorded: July 1974 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' school hall

The Senior Madrigal Choir, accompanied by the piano, sing for the 'Summer Serenade' concert 1974

* 'Serenade' - Bizet (The Fair Maid of Perth) - Senior Choir 1974
Length: 2 minutes, 31 seconds Date recorded: July 1974 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' school hall

The senior choir, accompanied by Christine Ellis at the piano, sing Bizet for the 'Summer Serenade' concert July 1974.

* 'Santa Lucia' - Junior Madrigal Choir, 1974
Length: 1 minute, 42 seconds Date recorded: July 1974 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' school hall

The Junior Madrigal Choir sing this Neopolitan song for the 'Summer Serenade' concert in July 1974, piano accompaniment.

* 'Old Mother Hubbard' - Senior Choir - July 1974
Length: 2 minutes, 3 seconds Date recorded: July 1974 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' school hall

Set in the style of Handel by V. Hely-Hutchinson and sung by the Senior Choir, with piano accompaniment by Christine Ellis, for the 'Summer Serenade' concert. 

* 'I will give my love an apple' arranged V. Williams- Hannah Lovegrove 1974
Length: 1 minute, 52 seconds Date recorded: July 1974 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' school hall

This arrangement by V. Williams of a traditional English Folk song is sung by Hannah Lovegrove with a guitar accompaniment. Part of the programme for 'A Summer Serenade' in 1974.

* 'I Would that my Love' - Mendelssohn -sung by 'The Troubadours' (Upper Fourth) 1974
Length: 1 minute, 52 seconds Date recorded: July 1974 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: Dr Williams' school hall

'The Troubadours', from the Upper Fourth, sing 'I would that my Love' by Mendelssohn to a piano accompaniment for 'A Summer Serenade' in 1974. At the time of writing the identity of the singers and the pianist is unknown.

Spoken Word

The DWS Experience - Part 1 - Pupil Experience
Length: 7 minutes, 42 seconds Date recorded: 2008 Recorded by: Medwen Roberts for BBC Radio Cymru Place of recording: Dolgellau

images/BBC_logo_small.jpg

An extract from the programme recorded in 2008 which interviewed ex pupils to talk about their experiences at school. This extract includes pupils talking about their daily experiences and impressions of the school.

The DWS Experience - Part 2 - Teaching & Learning
Length: 6 minutes, 34 seconds Date recorded: 2008 Recorded by: Medwen Roberts for BBC Radio Cymru Place of recording: Dolgellau

images/BBC_logo_small.jpgAn extract from the programme recorded in 2008 which interviewed ex pupils to talk about their experiences at school. This extract includes pupils talking about teaching & learning at the school

The DWS Experience - Part 3 - Music & Drama
Length: 4 minutes, 14 seconds Date recorded: 2008 Recorded by: Medwen Roberts for BBC Radio Cymru Place of recording: Dolgellau

BBC Radio Cymru logoAn extract from the programme recorded in 2008 which interviewed ex pupils to talk about their experiences at school. This extract includes pupils talking about the school musical tradition. 
The recording is in Welsh.

The DWS Experience - Part 4 - Diet & Decorum
Length: 7 minutes, 48 seconds Date recorded: 2008 Recorded by: Medwen Roberts for BBC Radio Cymru Place of recording: Dolgellau

BBC Radio Cymru logoAn extract from the programme recorded in 2008 which interviewed ex pupils to talk about their experiences at school.  This extract includes pupils talking about manners at mealtimes, staff experiences with pupils and attitudes to the talking of Welsh in the staffroom.
The recording is in Welsh

The DWS Experience - Part 5 - Sport & Recreation
Length: 3 minutes, 4 seconds Date recorded: 2008 Recorded by: Medwen Roberts for BBC Radio Cymru Place of recording: Dolgellau

images/BBC_logo_small.jpgAn extract from the programme recorded in 2008 which interviewed ex pupils to talk about their experiences at school. This extract includes pupils talking about sports and climbing Cader Idris at the school. It also includes a member of staff talking about the closing of the school in 1975 and her relationship to the older staff at the school.

Elinor Owen recalls DWS from 1936 to 1944
Length: 8 minutes, 24 seconds Date recorded: 11th October 2014 Recorded by: Jennifer Hutcheson Place of recording: Elinor's home in Northumberland

Born in 1926, the daughter of a local schoolmaster, Elinor describes being sent to DWS as a day girl aged 9 in 1936. At this time day girls were segregated from the boarders . She remembers her inspiring English teacher, Dorothy 'Do' Davies, Miss Nightingale the Quaker Headmistress , a visit by Dame Sybil Thorndike and Lewis Casson (with The Old Vic Theatre Company) during the war, bloomers, liberty bodices, gymslips, suspenders, velour and panama hats, chemistry and cookery, singing the National Anthems of the allies on Peace Day, the 'new' hall, library and orchestra pit and being called Dr Williams' 'Pink Pills'. Elinor defines 'grannie's luggage' and 'smiles'.

Sybil Thorndike plays Lady 'Macbeth' at DWS - 1941
Length: 2 minutes, 34 seconds Date recorded: 2nd April 1941 Recorded by: Jennifer Hutcheson in September 2015 - author unknown Place of recording: West Yorkshire

This recording of an article found in a DWS school magazine tells the story of a performance in the school hall of 'Macbeth' in 1941. Sybil Thorndike played Lady Macbeth. Her husband, Lewis Casson, played 'Macbeth'.

Touring with the Old Vic Theatre Company, which had relocated from London to Burnley during the War, Sybil Thorndike and Lewis Casson performed right across the North of England and Wales. They played  community and school halls - a far cry from the glamour of the London Theatre. On April 2nd 1941 they played DWS, much to the excitement of the school. A page from an autograph book records the signatures of the leading actors of their day and this story written for the site also recalls the occasion 'DWS Changes from 1939-45'



* Reminiscences of Vera Gibbon, a pupil at DWS from 1933 -1935
Length: 6 minutes, 21 seconds Date recorded: December 2008 Recorded by: Margaret Hewitt and Nesta Wynn Jones Place of recording: Yorkshire

A conversation with Vera Gibbon about her school life, she mentions her English teacher 'Do' Davies, music teaching, sport. There are also contributions from Nesta Wynn Jones who was a pupil in the 1950s and 60s about her memories of 'Do', fundraising for the school swimming pool, elocution lessons and not being able to speak English until she was eight. Vera describes participating in  school concerts and the 'calming' influence of Miss Nightingale, the Quaker headmistress, who did not believe in punishments and for whom  'owning up' and 'saying sorry' was all important.

Vera Gibbon has also written her memories which are on the site

The DWS Experience - a Teacher's View 1965-67
Length: 4 minutes, 16 seconds Date recorded: 29th July 2015 Recorded by: Nesta Wynn Jones Place of recording: Shrewsbury

 An interview between Nesta Wynn Jones (ex pupil) and Margaret Hewitt, who taught English at DWS from 1965-67 (her first teaching post).  Miss Hewitt talks about her experiences in a rather regimented environment, and her teaching responsibilities.  She also reflects on her impressions of life for boarders at school, and Miss Lickes's (headmistress 1947-69) influence on the school.

Dr Lyn Davies in conversation with Dilys Elwyn Edwards in 1984
Length: 3 minutes, 36 seconds Date recorded: 11th April, 2015 Recorded by: BBC Radio Cymru 'Cofio' Place of recording: Unknown

Radio Cymru’s ‘Cofio’ programme presented by John Hardy, 11 April 2015.

An interview by Dr Lyn Davies in 1984 of Dilys Elwyn Edwards talking about the influence Dr Williams’ School had on the development of her musical career.

Read more about Dilys Elwyn Edwards on our 'Women in History' page.

Closing Service

*Address by the Archbishop of Wales, Dr. G.O. Williams July 1975
Length: 7 minutes, 24 seconds Date recorded: July 1975 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: St Mary's Church, Dolgellau

This recording is an extract from the Address made by the Archbishop of Wales, the Very Reverend G.O.Williams D.D. at the closing service of Dr Williams' School at St Mary's Parish Church, Dolgellau. The Archbishop praises the excellence of the singing and the demeanour of the girls, brought to him for confirmation, over the 18 years he has known the school. He notes that very few pupils (in his experience) were 'affluent, powerful or nobly connected' and laments the 'runaway inflation' and 'the tragic consequences it has on such charitable institutions'. 'Great harm will be done' he says (referring to the Government intentions of the day) 'unless other ways are found of providing boarding education for those, who for any reason, stand in need'. The influence of the former members of DWS can 'Go on speaking in hidden ways for generations to come.'  A news cutting about the service is available in the gallery on this site. 

This recording is reproduced here by kind permission of The Church in Wales.

Note: There is a background hum throughout the recording which we have not been able to edit out from the original cassette recording.

* Welsh Hymn 'Am brydferthwch daear lawr'- the congregation, July 1975
Length: 2 minutes, 53 seconds Date recorded: July 1975 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: St Mary's Church, Dolgellau

Accompanied by Mrs K. M Thomas at the organ, the congregation sings 'Am brydferthwch daear lawr'. There is a descant on the second and last verse.

* 'We love the place where Thine honour dwells' from Brahms 'Requiem'-The choir, July 1975
Length: 5 minutes, 28 seconds Date recorded: July 1975 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: St Mary's Church, Dolgellau

Accompanied by Mrs K M Thomas at the organ, the choir sings the Anthem 'We Love the Place Where Thine Honour Dwells' a paraphrase of psalm 84 from Brahms 'Requiem'.

* 'Psalm 105' from 'The Magnificat' by Palestrina -The Choir, July 1975
Length: 1 minute, 57 seconds Date recorded: July 1975 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: St Mary's Church, Dolgellau

This was the processional hymn at the Service of Thanksgiving. It was sung by the choir and an unnamed soloist .

There is a slight background hum to this recording.

* The School Psalm 'I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills'- the congregation July 1975
Length: 2 minutes, 24 seconds Date recorded: July 1975 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: St Mary's Church, Dolgellau

The congregation sings Psalm 121, known to the school as 'The School Psalm'. Mrs K M Thomas plays the organ. 

Recorded originally on a cassette tape recorder the sound is occasionally a little 'wobbly' and there is a faint background hum.

* The School Hymn - the congregation - July 1975
Length: 2 minutes, 54 seconds Date recorded: July 1975 Recorded by: John Peel Place of recording: St Mary's Church, Dolgellau

The School hymn  is sung  for the last time. 

School hymn and school psalm

Dr Williams' School Hymn - Llandaff Cathedral School Choir - 2010
Length: Date recorded: 2010 Recorded by: Live Music Now Wales Place of recording: Llandaff Cathedral School, Cardiff

The DWS School Hymn has been recorded by Girl Choristers of Llandaff Cathedral School, conducted by Simon Lovell-Jones. The recording is dedicated to a  former DWS pupil and  one time member of the music staff, the composer Dilys Elwyn Edwards (1918 – 2012). We would like to thank another former pupil, Gillian Green MBE of ‘Live Music Now Wales’ , for facilitating the recording.

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The School Psalm 'I will lift up mine eyes unto the Hills' - Llandaff Cathedral School choir - 2010
Length: Date recorded: 2010 Recorded by: Live Music Now Wales Place of recording: Llandaff Cathedral School, Cardiff

Girl choristers from Llandaff Cathedral School choir sing Psalm 121 conductor Simon Lovell- Jones. This was known as the  'The School Psalm'. 

This recording is dedicated to Old Girl and a member of the music staff, the composer Dilys Elwyn Edwards 1918 – 2012. We would like to thank ex-pupil Gillian Green  MBE  of ‘Live Music Now Wales’ for facilitating the recording.