In recently established and undeveloped places like Fochriw, commercial entertainment was not readily available and, if it was, the cost of it would have probably been prohibitive for the majority of families living in the village.
As such, the majority of the entertainment that existed was of the home-made variety, and, initially, the venues for same were the church halls, chapel vestries and later the Welfare halls, libraries and reading rooms.
From the reports in the Merthyr Express, the first venue was the St Andrew’s Church annex cum schoolroom and the activities there are well documented.
As the population grew other organisations were established such as drama societies, choirs and bands and this section provides an insight into their history.
Fochriw Male Voice Party/Choir/Glee Party
The first newspaper report that I have seen is in the Merthyr Express dated 2 September 1899 of their success in coming second at Machen Eisteddfod and in February 1900, a presentation of a silver Albert with medal attached and a Meerschaum pipe, was made to its retiring conductor Mr W Walters, A.C..
The next report, dated 11 July 1925 is of a concert held at Carmel chapel. The choir conductor being W.J. Angell and this was followed by a report dated 18 July 1925 for a fine impression made by the “young Male Voice Party” at the Pontlottyn Eisteddfod. Another concert was held at Carmel Chapel during August 1925.
Success was achieved as reported in the 31 October 1925 edition of the Merthyr Express.
Male Voice Success Great enthusiasm prevailed at the village on Saturday evening, when it became known that the Fochriw Male Voice Party, under the able conductorship of Mr. W.J. Angell, had won the premier prize at the Fleur-de-Lis Eisteddfod on Saturday. On the arrival of the party, a large concourse of people had assembled at the station, and the choir gave a rendering of the successful test piece, after which the conductor was carried shoulder high in the chair they had been successful in winning, amidst the cheers of the villagers. The choir is composed of young voices, and a brilliant future is predicted for them.
Further success was reported in the 10 April 1926 edition of the Merthyr Express
Male Voice Party Congratulations to the Male Voice Party, under the conductorship of Mr. W. J. Angell, who created such a fine impression at the