ambience: Welsh choral singing, Welsh choral singing with drum kit, guitar and western flute trio
There is a venerable Welsh tradition that dates back to the 12th century and continues as a popular worldwide event today. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. The Eisteddfod is a series of talent competitions which take place throughout Wales, and even draws performers from all over the world. Originally a meeting of poets, today it encompasses theater, music and dance as well. Thereâ€™s a local version of the Eisteddfod held in southern Ohio, one of the worldâ€™s largest Welsh immigrant communities. Kids from elementary to high school age in the Jackson and Gallia counties practice throughout the year for this talent contest, which is the one areaâ€™s most important cultural events. The competition is fierce. Merrill Davis, a former music teacher who ran the Eisteddfod, reflects on preparing youngsters for the event.
ambience: high school flute ensemble
“I would start as soon as school was out, 3:30. I had the kids come into the music room. Iâ€™d have somebody at the piano when the bell rang, practically soon as they could get there. And I would work with these high school people until 5:30-6 oâ€™clock, go home, get a bite to eat and come back. Weâ€™d do it again maybe from 7 to 8 oâ€™clock.”
Davis feels that the studentsâ€™ hard work pays off later in life.
“They practiced it, and practiced it, until they could do it in their sleep. Theyâ€™d stand up and do it. Theyâ€™d get a lot of applause. Theyâ€™d get a ribbon when they sat down. And theyâ€™ve said to me so many times, I can stand up against the people in my corporation, or the people I work with, because I did it once. I was afraid, but I did it anyway.”
Like earlier Eisteddfods, this event gives the stage to budding performers, while also celebrating the communityâ€™s Welsh roots.
Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.