How we got started
Cambrensis (which is the Latin for “Welsh”) Choir was formed in 1982 by Kelvin Thomas, who was then starting a career as a Bass-Baritone and was very much involved in music ministry and leading choirs. He had a desire to form a Christian Choir of singers who could read music and were capable of singing classical, gospel and contemporary music. He joined forces with some Baptist ministers who, in 1980, had been dismayed to find no Baptist choir from Wales, ‘The Land of Song’, singing in the Baptist World Alliance Congress in Toronto. Through invitations and auditions the choir was formed, aiming to sing in the Baptist World Convention in Los Angeles in 1985 (which it did), and then continued going 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 is now a well known and respected musician, recently receiving an ARAM for his services to choral conducting and the BEM for services to music. 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! At that point they had no name but one of the youngsters on the concert night coined the term Cambrats and that name has stuck although they do have a formal name ‘The Cambrensis Junior Singers’! Since 2001, the Cambrats have been joined every year at Christmas by a larger group of children and young people who form The Promise of Christmas Youth Choir, singing in St David’s Hall along with Cambrensis and the St David’s Praise Choir.