In 1893, the Penrhyn Male Voice Choir made the long journey from its native Wales to Chicago for the Columbian Exposition and returned to perform a century later in 1993, even releasing an album, “Dychwelyd,” for the occasion. Penrhyn is a quarry in Northern Wales, where thousands of men would sing while quarrying for roofing slates, the major import of the country. Automation has reduced the workers to a few hundred, but the choir remains although today it is draws from all professions, though is still steeped in Welsh tradition, singing primarily in Welsh, the most widely spoken Celtic language with a history that predates the Christian era and which lends itself so perfectly for singing that it is rare to find a Welshman who does not sing. One concession to modern times is that in addition to Welsh folksongs, spirituals, hymns and opera choruses, the Choir also will now sing adaptations of pop songs in Welsh and English in this rare and special appearance on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert series. (Dennis Polkow)
August 25 at Chicago Cultural Center.