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SI CNWW at International Eisteddfod – Llangollen 2022

International Eisteddfod 2022 – Thursday 7th July until Sunday 10th July

Each year Soroptimists from Clubs throughout the Region enjoy running the Friendship and Information Centre at the prestigious Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.

This year is the 75th Anniversary of the Eisteddfod which dates back to 1947, when the first event was held in this little Welsh town.  The concept was the promotion of peace following the second World War.  Today musicians and dancers come to Llangollen from all over the world to participate in the various competitions.

Thursday 7th July 2022 – at the Eisteddfod

The Eisteddfod opens with International Children’s Day, with a theme of birthday celebrations, in honour of the 75th anniversary.  Schools Concerts will be presented by actress and Heart FM presenter Megan Llŷn, with performances from Balkan group Faith I Branko, Eisteddfod competitors and closing with the annual International Message of Peace 2022.

This year’s Peace Message, written by Christine Dukes, was inspired by climate change activist Greta Thunberg. A single child, Leri Roberts, stands on the Pavilion stage and issues a call to arms to children around the world to stand with her in peace.

Soroptimists Cheshire North Wales & Wirral welcome visitors from around the world

 

 

Day One at the Eisteddfod

Written by Pam Cheesley-Hollinshead

Wow what an energetic start to the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod whose tag line is Wales welcomes the World !!

Today was Children’s day when many, many school children are able to take part in various competitions in song and folk dance, or simply enjoy the atmosphere and meet different cultures face to face.

(https://www.wcia.org.uk/global-learning/individuals/young-peacemakers-award/ ) Today saw the WCIA  Young Peace Makers Awards – recognising youngsters who have contributed to global citizenship and peace locally or globally. ****** sadly non of us were able to attend this as it was so full on in the Soroptimist tent!!

We had many youngsters from Primary to Secondary age visit our tent learning about Welsh love spoons and then putting their own designs on to small spoons to take away ;  browsing through the preloved handbags, scarves, jewellery, as presents for Mam, or Nan!! While the young people were occupied their teachers enjoyed a well earned coffee/tea plus biscuits to keep them going, while many also expressed an interest in who we are and what we doing – they went away duly supplied with information about our Soroptimist Organisation. Hopefully that interest will translate into requests to meet local club members.

We were delighted to meet up again with Mary from St Austell club a regular annual visitor to LIME!!

Photos Below

The bike is the Blood bike, a group of bikers who take much needed blood around the country.

The photo of the ‘Sparc’ – the Welsh mascot for Wrexham Fire brigade, these were a great bunch and chatted to us frequently through the day. Small dragon is Idris a visiting dragon from Cader, He and Sparc got on very well,

Eirwen dressed in SI colours, also Ukraine colours, which I have shared with Tetiana Machabeli,  a Ukrainian Soroptimist who ‘ leads the Ukrainian aid organisation Nehemia. The Netherlands is funding the organisation in part through the United Nations and the Dutch Relief Alliance. Usually, Nehemia helps children and young people, but since the outbreak of the war it’s been working to support refugees.’

Since the war started we have been corresponding and have become friends.

All for now – looking forward to “Tomorrow at the Tent

Day Two at the Llangollen Eisteddfod

Report of the Day from Jenny Wilson

The sun came out and we were very fortunate to meet our sponsored choir ‘The Choir of E.Mikeladze Central Music School’ from Georgia. This delightful group, performed a recital in St. Collen’s Church in the centre of Llangollen. Their perfect singing was complimented by the marvellous acoustics of this beautiful church.

We welcomed this modest group of young people, to join us for refreshments in the Soroptimist Tent. With an inspiring philosophy of ‘Singing Makes Perfect’ they went on to give an impromptu performance to the delight of all.

We had a good day at the Eisteddfod overall, but not as many visitors as Day One.  We welcomed a group of disabled children who loved colouring their own Welsh love spoons, and over the two days we had at least 200 children take part in our children’s activities, creating love spoons to take home.

We had a few enquiries about Soroptimist clubs in the Region, and the display boards were greatly admired.

DAY 3 at the Llangollen Eisteddfod

Written by Region President Elect Susan Haywood

There was an air of excitement and buzz in the Soroptimist International tent when the choir, sponsored by the LIME committee, awaited their results of the competition.  And whilst they waited, the E. Mikeladze Central Music School Choir from Georgia, descended on the tent and devoured the drinks and biscuits we had prepared for them, and chose gifts from a selection of bags, scarves and jewellery, with a great deal of delight.

There was an SI Chester presence on Saturday – in the morning Penny Danczac and Debbie Hagan, then in the afternoon Susan Haywood and Wendy Thompson.  Also volunteering in the afternoon was Sandra Evans from Bebington as well as Pam Cheesley-Hollinshead, as the LIME in-charge.

At 1.17pm the choir took to the main stage to perform.  Pam went to watch them and reported how beautifully they sang.  After the competition the choir made their way to the tent and were presented with a certificate and £500.00.

They were extremely pleased with the donation which will help with their formidable expenses.  We were delighted when they sang for us outside the tent to rapturous applause by all those around.  The song was melancholic with beautiful harmonies that hushed the crowd.

An inspirational moment.

Pam was later presented with a bottle of wine and gift from Georgia.

It was a sunny day with some welcome breeze.  Whilst it seemed on a smaller scale than previous pre-Covid years, there was still a charming atmosphere of happy people.  Colour drifted past the tent in the form of choirs dressed elegantly in crimson lace, children in their country’s costumes with flower haloes and the odd dinosaur and red dragon.  A lovely way to spend an afternoon in this prestigious event

Final Report from the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

Written by Chair of LIME Committee Pam Cheesley-Hollinshea

Day 3 Saturday  

Early start to ensure all is ready for another day of fun and visitors!

It was lovely to meet more visiting Soroptimists from other Clubs as well as two daughters of a member of SI Llangollen club which sadly is now closed. We spent an informative  time learning more of that club’s involvement with the Llangollen Eisteddfod from the 1960s onwards.

It was due to the commitment and encouragement of those members that we now have the privilege of hosting our hospitality tent where we can share information about the work of Soroptimist international.

Watching our choir perform in the Royal Pavilion was a wonderful experience. The auditorium was filled with expectation and exhilaration as each choir arranged themselves ready to sing followed by the loud applause at the finish of each piece.

Returning to SI Tent HQ  we were able to spend a short amount of time with choir members before going back to the Royal Pavilion to await the results of the Open Choir Competition.  The adjudicator was fulsome and fair  in his remarks to each choir; as the results were announced at one point our choir was in the lead! However, they came 3rd, one point separating each of the top three places

A jubilant Director Padri ran from our seats to receive their monetary prize. The youngsters were delighted.

Back at SI Tent HQ we celebrated with them enjoying their excitement in success.

 Day 4 Sunday

Wow what a difference a day makes!

The Eisteddfod field was so quiet, the calm before a very different musical extravaganza began at midday first up were  Chester Big Band Rocking us round the Clock. LlanFest was the culmination of the Eisteddfod, a celebration of 75 years of the Eisteddfod plus 25 years of the ‘fringe events’- with an eclectic mix of music which was played across the venue, in the stage, the Pavilion and the Geodome. All very well stage managed.

The hot day brought folk in to sit and enjoy the sounds, to investigate  the retail experiences – yes we were still selling pre loved scarves, handbags and jewellery. Time to spend quality time with members of the choir who ranged in age from 10 to 27. Some had a good command of English others not, but then we couldn’t speak Georgian or read their written word – Cyrillic script.

Opportunity to mix with other stall holders and spread the word about Soroptimist International.

 Day 5 Monday

A tired  but fulfilled group of LIME committee members plus supporting folks packed up the tent as quickly as possible as the temperature rose steadily to 25+ during the morning.

The general feeling around the site and within our committee has been positive, great to be back , let’s reflect on what we have done and make plans for 2023!

Many many thanks to all who worked so hard to make our small part of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod  fun and successful. See you next year 4-9 July!

Diolch yn fawr

LIME committee

 

 

A Day at the Soroptimist Tent

Written by Janet Murfin
On arrival in the morning, the weather was misty and chilly.  Myself (Janet Murfin) and Eirwen Kenrick were the first to arrive and we began to set up (and get the kettle on)!  Reinforcements soon arrived and we were all busy making sure everything was ready for the day.
The first day was children`s day and they soon began arriving and were drawn immediately to our activity table. Here they could colour wooden spoons like the Welsh love spoons or colour the paper template love spoons which had the Soroptimist logo on them. This activity was very popular and they took their spoons home to give to their families. The teachers liked this activity as they had a cup of coffee while the children were busy.
We had many visitors to the tent for tea, coffee and a chat and some even came twice!  The Blood Bikes tent was opposite and they came over regularly for tea supplies.  We went over to visit them and some of us even sat on the motor bikes.  They do excellent work and some clubs have had them as speakers.
The fire service were going round the tents with one of their members in a dragon costume.  We had photographs taken with them and they wanted to know what our organization did too.  All part of networking and information sharing.

There were a lot of enquiries as to “what is a Soroptimist”?  A good opportunity to give out a leaflet and have a conversation.
There was a lot of interest in the handbags and jewellery as well and we seemed to sell a good number of bags.
The weather improved during the day and it became very hot which was lovely.
There was a very festive atmosphere even though the event was not as big as usual and the air was filled with the sound of the children laughing and singing.  Everyone on the field seemed happy and were smiling and just glad to be back again.  And it was lovely meeting and working with members from other clubs as well as my own club.
A really enjoyable day.