Cambrensis (which is the Latin for Welsh) Choir was formed in 1982 by Kelvin Thomas, a freelance professional Bass-Baritone involved also in music ministry and leading choirs. He had a desire to form a Christian choir of singers who were capable of singing classical, gospel and contemporary music. He joined forces with some Baptist ministers who had been dismayed to find no Baptist choir from Wales, ‘The Land of Song’, singing in the Baptist World Alliance Congress in Toronto in 1980.
Through invitations and auditions the choir was formed and subsequently sang in the Baptist World Convention in Los Angeles in 1985 after which it continued to go from strength to strength. It began as The South Wales Baptist Youth Choir but over time lost the words ‘youth’ and ‘Baptist’ and is now a choir of singers of mixed ages and many denominations from about a 30 mile radius of Cardiff.
In 2011 Kelvin handed over the baton to Jeffrey Howard, who, as a young teenager, was a founder member of the choir and a well known and respected musician, recently receiving an ARAM for his services to choral conducting and the BEM for services to music. In July 2022 Jeff stepped down from his role as MD due to personal reasons and in May 2023 we appointed Glenda Pasley as our MD and Laura Dunn as Assistant MD.
Over the years the choir’s ministry has developed, new groups added and we now have a wide ranging organisation whose aims of presenting quality music in a variety of styles and genres remain the same as when initially founded.
The Cambrats were formed when the choir went by invitation to the USA in 1993 and seven children of choir members accompanied them. Anne Brown formed them into a singing group and their debut performance was in First Baptist Church, San Antonio, Texas, to an audience of thousands!
Although they had a formal name ‘The Cambrensis Junior Singers’, the name Cambrats was coined on that trip and has been used ever since.
Anne Brown as well as Lynda Rose, who helped lead and accompanied the Cambrats and Promise of Christmas Youth Choir from their beginnings, retired after the Promise of Christmas in December 2018, handing over the baton to Emily Porter and Lorraine Vernon. You can read more about that event under What a Day in Latest News.
Since 2001, the Cambrats were joined every year at Christmas by a larger group of children and young people who formed The Promise of Christmas Youth Choir, singing in St David’s Hall along with Cambrensis and the St David’s Praise Choir.
Do look at the video on our Showcase Page celebrating 25 years since Cambrats was formed and enjoy seeing and hearing the Cambrats old and new.
As of 2023 Cambrats have had to disband – please see our Latest News page for further info and for the exciting new developments now planned.