History

Persain was formed in the autumn of 2000 by a group of ladies who wanted to create a sound which was different from that of other choirs in the area, gaining an established reputation with the help, especially, of conductors Nancy, Glyn and Catrin and accompanists Andrew, James and David, first meeting for rehearsals at the Village Hall, Tycroes, and later at Gosen Chapel, Llandybie.

Persain has performed at various venues in the South West Wales area, and travelled further afield. In 2007, with growing numbers and a new repertoire of songs, the choir undertook its first overseas tour to Torrevieja in Spain, famous for its production of salt and for its Habaneras Choir Festival; and in October 2010 visited Cornwall, to sing in a concert at St. Austell. The Imerys Male Voice Choir from St. Austell returned the visit to Ammanford the next year. The choir has a varied concert programme throughout the year, singing at a number of concerts, weddings, harvest suppers and St. David's Day events, giving recitals to raise funds for charities and entertaining at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales, the Llandeilo Festival of the Senses and the Cenarth River Festival, as well as its Annual Concert in October and its Carols by Candlelight each Christmas. Choir members also enjoy a number of social occasions, holding craft fayres, dinners and visits to concerts and musical events.

In 2009, following the resignation of conductor Catrin Williams, Persain was very fortunate to gain the services of Anne Wheldon as its new Musical Director. After Anne took over the choir improved steadily and enjoys an excellent reputation. In 2008, David Rees, our accompanist for a number of years, graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Natural Sciences from Girton College, Cambridge, to study medicine at Swansea University. David left the choir in 2010 to concentrate on his medical studies and future career as a General Practitioner, and Persain was pleased to welcome as our new accompanist Catherine Morgan from Rhydyfro. In 2014 we were pleased to acquire the services of Owen Morgan, who accompanied us when we sang in Plymouth, and in 2016 were delighted to welcome Tom Howell, who accompanied us on our visit to Enniscorthy in Ireland.

Over the last few years Persain has had a busy time, with its second visit to Spain's Costa Blanca, giving concerts at La Zenia and Torre Vieja, performing at weddings and at a variety of local concerts as well as visits to St. Fagans, Tenby, Stoke on Trent and Plymouth. Other events included taking part in a First World War Commemoration Service in Carmarthen for Dyfed Powys Police, in memory of the sixteen officers of the Police Force who lost their lives in the Great War, singing on the Glanfa Stage at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff and presenting a concert with Treharris Male Voice Choir, a visit we reciprocated in July. The concert raised £350 for Marie Curie Cancer Care and a cheque was presented to a representative of the charity.

In October 2015 we were pleased to record our first CD, "Sing for Joy". In January 2016 we had the wonderful experience of singing in the Attlee Suite at the Houses of Parliament. In September we sang at St. David's Cathedral - a wonderful and memorable experience - before our visit to Enniscorthy in Ireland at the beginning of October. This year we were very sad to say goodbye to our founder and Chairman, Hilary Thomas, who is moving to live in Cardiff. Our grateful thanks to Hilary for all her hard work with the choir. We wish her well in her new home.

In 2017 we visited Oxford to sing at the beautiful Christ Church Cathedral, a wonderful experience. We held our Annual Concert in June at the recently renovated All Saints' Church in Ammanford, and visited Sheffield, where we sang with the Millhouse Green Male Voice Choir in a concert held at St. John the Baptist Church in Penistone.

In 2018, we enjoyed singing at a wedding and performing at our usual concerts, and especially welcoming Saint Senan's Church Choir from Enniscorthy in Ireland to our Annual Concert in June at All Saints Church in Ammanford. After our Christmas events we began 2019 with our visit to Northen Ireland to take part in the Bangor International Choir Festival - in which we gained Second Prize in the Newcomers section!

In October the choir took part in the Royal British Legion Charity Gala Concert at the Lyric Theatre in Carmarthen led by Dr. Alwyn Humphreys MBE who conducted the hundred male voices of local choirs with Caradog Williams as the guest accompanist.

In November Persain enjoyed a wonderful evening when we participated in a concert with tenor Rhys Meirion at Saron Chapel. Later in the month we returned to Saron to take part in the Service of Remembrance at the Chapel, singing “Y Darlun”, “A Flower Remembered” and “In Flanders Fields”. Our annual Christmas concert was held at All Saints' Church in Ammanford. Our guests for the evening were Ammanford Town Silver Band and we experienced an enjoyable evening of Christmas music. For sale at the concert was our new CD of Christmas music, “What Sweeter Music – the Christmas Album”, recorded at All Saints in December.

We were looking forward to a number of events in 2020. Our main event was to be on June 12th, with a concert at All Saints Church in Ammanford to celebrate our twentieth anniversary. With the arrival of Covid, of course, this was not to be. We eventually began rehearsals in October 2021, starting back permanently in February of this year. We now have a new conductor in Huw and a new venue in the Miners' Theatre and hope to continue from strength to strength!