News from NAFOW

Susan Jennkins Meers in a traditional Welsh dress and hat.
Susan Jennkins Meers in a traditional Welsh dress and hat.

An account from Susan Jenkins Meers about her time at the North American Festival of Wales.

Toronto is a beautiful city and a wonderful venue in which to once again appreciate my Welshness.  And it was especially meaningful to share the experience with my son, Jason.  We had much fun trying to speak Welsh in the beginning Welsh class; we were very intrigued with the “Pulpit to Parliament” seminar where Lord Roberts made the connection between education and moral fiber taught in Welsh Chapel and past leaders in government.  Jason was very interested to learn about ancient instruments and  music in “Welsh Traditional Music Today” and we were wonderfully informed and entertained in “We’ll Gather Lilacs”, a seminar about Ivor Novello.  The Welsh Cinema offering of “Roots in Wales” was very thought provoking.  And this was just the beginning!

As expected, we were well entertained and blessed with music. The Three Welsh Tenors sang beautifully and quipped delightfully.  The Pontarddulais Male Choir brought tears to our eyes as they made our Welshness palpable and the “Pub Singing” was fantastic! I know of nothing else that sounds so wonderful as several hundred Welsh voices raised in song.

All in all, a wonderful four-day experience.  Thank you to all those who were involved in making the 2013 North American Festival of Wales happen.  And special thank yous to D&SS.

The following is from our president, Susan Davies Sit, about her perspective at NAFOW.

I had been to the North American Festival of Wales in Scranton, PA last year, but this was my first as President of our Society. A highlight this year, in Toronto, Canada, was to connect with as many people as I could to further and promote our own WSWNE. One interesting person I met was Catrin Brace of the Welsh Government, she is based in New York City and may well be a good contact to support events we may hold in the future!

Another wonderful hour was when I attended the Affiliated Welsh Organizationsʼ meeting. These are Welsh Societies affiliated with, and listed on, the Welsh North American Association (WNAA)ʼs website. We shared our successes, advised on othersʼ difficulties (which often were the same for everyone: how to increase membership, encourage younger members and advertising/promoting the Society). We shared emails and will create an email list so we can ask each other questions, get advice, share future plans etc. We will also “Like” each other Facebook pages, link to each otherʼs Society websites on our own websites and email each other our newsletters.

Susan Davies Sit in traditional Welsh dress.
Susan Davies Sit in traditional Welsh dress.

Other interesting contacts were: Bob Roser of the band Moch Pryderi; Gareth Howell of St Davidʼs Society of Washington DC; Robert Jones of the Albany Area Welsh Society who was our Welsh language teacher in June 2013; Lord Rodger Roberts of Llandudno, active in Welsh Government and a former Minister; and Bryan Jones of ENFYS, secretary of the Journal of Wales International. I am hoping these wonderful contacts I made will further our WSWNE Society on to bigger and exciting events and expand our membership.

The 2014 NAFOW Festival will be held in Minneapolis, MN August 28-31 and we heard whisperings that it may be in the Northeast in 2015!

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