It was with great sadness that the choir heard of the passing of one its former choristers Dai Rees.

Here, choir historian and fellow top tenor Carl Llewellyn pays tribute:

It was great sadness when I heard of the death of Dai Rees, a former chorister with the Dowlais Male Choir. Those who knew Dai in his younger days will have known him as Victor, probably due to his father’s name being David. He used his middle name to distinguish him from his father. Dave was Penydarren born and bred, his father owned his own painting and decorating business, but Dai didn’t enjoy the profession so he changed his trade to work under ground.
In his later years he worked as a theatre technician and then for the post office, where he was responsible for the upkeep of telephone kiosks.
Dai was a religious man and originally attended Elim Welsh Baptist Chapel, North Street, Penydarren, where his mother and grandmother were members.
In 1919, Pastor Stephen Jeffries was invited to take charge of a non-denominational Christian mission at the bottom of Ivor Street, Dowlais. Pastor Stephen Jeffries had a great impact on Dai Rees’ family so much that they left Elim Penydarren to join the Elim Pentecostal Church, Dowlais. Dai’s mother, grandmother and his sister Winnie died at a young age. In Dai’s latter years he was a member of Hebron Chapel, Dowlais where other members of his family worship.
Dai met and married the love of his life Glenys and they attended Park Chapel. They brought up four children – Arfon, Geraint, Rhian and Meryl. It was Meryl and his grand-daughter Bethan who lived with Dai, giving him love and support as he had given them.
Dai was musical from his younger days when he played the violin and clearly remember him playing the Hayden’s Toy Symphony on one of Cledwyn Price’s excursions to Germany. Dai’s wish was to visit Bergkirche in Eisenstadt, Austria – Hayden’s burial place as a remembrance of his violin playing days.
Throughout Dai’s life music was important and was always involved with a choir. In later life Dai was a member of the Dowlais United Choir, where his sweet tenor voice was an asset as was his good sight reading. The musical director was D.T. Davies and Dai performed Elijah, Messiah, Judas Maccabeus, Creation and many others when the present male choir was formed in 1965. Whilst retaining the conductorship of Dowlais United Choir, D.T. persuaded Dai and few other choristers to join the newly formed Dowlais Male Choir, hence Dai Rees’ association with the present male voice choir.
Dai met Ivor Jones, landlord of the White Horse Inn, Tywnrodyn, eventually becoming very good friends and they sat by each other in the Tenor Section for a number of years. It was no surprise when his son Geraint joined the choir and Geraint became the Choir’s Treasurer for a short period. Although Dai’s membership with Dowlais Male Choir was not continuous his presence was always welcomed.
Dai’s other love was wood turning, an art he certainly perfected, producing some wonderful items, all expertly finished to a high quality. Such was his reputation he was invited to become a judge at the Cefn Coed Allotment & Gardening Society’s annual show, where he gave his expert eye when judging all entries. He was also skilful in the kitchen and could bake a superb Victoria sponge.
Although Dai lost his eye at an early age, it did not deter his sporting activities. He represented Wales in water polo at the Empire Games in Cardiff, leading the team to represent Wales in other countries.
Dai’s mind was as clear as a bell and his memory was phenomenal. He knew a lot of people and was able to associate family connections.
Charismatic is word that comes to mind whilst thinking of Dai Rees. He was always happy and humorous even though his diagnosed remaining eye condition was a worrying circumstance he bared the pain and discomfort with such decorum and dignity.
Farewell dear friend and fellow chorister, you made you mark in our memories!

Our thoughts go out to Dai’s family.

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