This week, the choir lost one of its finest choristers and former officers. Perry touched a lot of people’s hearts, and will be sorely missed.

Here, choir historian Carl Llewellyn remembers Perry with this wonderful tribute:

A tribute to the memory of Perry Williams, one of life’s gentlemen

Perry Williams will be remembered as being one of the giants in the lifespan of the Dowlais Male Choir. Perry’s family ties have been linked with the choir over the years, with his former brother-in-law Len Hargreaves and more recently his nephew Ian Hargreaves being fellow choristers. Along with Perry’s wife Alison, sister Val and mother Beryl they have all been loyal supporters and members of the Dowlais Male Choir Ladies section over the years.

Perry took on many roles within the choir, his most challenging being his election to vice chairman, and shortly afterwards his sudden appointment as Chairman when former Chairman Wyndham Carey resigned.

Perry had connections with the Welsh Office due to his profession, and would arrange for delegates and visiting Common Wealth Parliamentarians on their visits to Cardiff to attend choir rehearsals to hear some of Wales’ musical heritage. Afterward, the arrangements were made for choir and their guests to partake of comestibles at the Guest Keen Club, Dowlais.

I recall Perry’s organisation skills were excellent when he organised various rugby excursions to Scotland, Ireland, France and England. In Scotland, Perry arranged for choristers and their friends to stay at the Cairn Hotel Edinburgh, a 10 minute work from Princes Street. The choir would attract other rugby supporters who enjoyed the choir’s after concert repertoire, with trips offered to Loch Loman and the trip to the Whiskey distillery where Auchentoshan whiskey was distilled. While in England Perry arranged to stay at the Richmond Hill Hotel, Richmond, and I remember on my last excursion to the Richmond Hill Hotel, the Hotel manager made a room available with piano for a choir rehearsal, little realising there were about less than a third of the choir as they were on the trip to Ireland!

My memory recalls visiting Ireland and we stayed in Dublin and Bray. Again Perry organised the rugby excursions, and it was on one of these trips we were at Lansdowne Road when Wales won the Triple, Triple Crown. Perry also organised rugby trips to France.

I first meet Perry when he was a lay preacher, and preached at a number of local chapels. I recall Perry preaching at Horeb Chapel schoolroom, Penydarren before the chapel was rebuilt (it was destroyed by fire). I believe Perry was a Baptist who attended Caersalem Welsh Baptist Chapel, Dowlais when it was located in Wells Street.

Perry always had a passion for singing so it was no surprise he joined the Dowlais Male Choir soon after it was re-formed. Perry became a member of the Top tenor section, but as the years took its toll he voluntarily transferred to the Second Tenor section. Perry always, and I stress, always took an active part in committee matters, where he gave his invaluable advice.

Perry was always well dressed, no matter the distance the choir travelled. His appearance was immaculate and I remember Perry always had a natural smile. Perry’s oratory skills were impeccable, being able to deliver his addresses with such ease, giving clarity and flow in his diction.

Perry was a loyal friend to many choristers past and present, his legacy will be: “he was a good and faithful servant to the choir with a professional manner in the way he dealt with choir business”.

The choir’s thoughts go out to Alison and all the family, as we reflect on wonderful memories shared. Heaven has gained a new chorister and loyal gentleman. Rest in peace Perry!

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