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GACA Collection 428. St. David’s Day Welsh Hymn Sing (Gymanfu Ganu), 1972-2012: Overview

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Collection Description

St. David’s Day Welsh Hymn Sing (Gymanfu Ganu), 1972-2012.  GACA Collection 428.  2 Hollinger boxes and digital media.

The St. David’s Day Welsh Hymn Sing collection contains programs, planning materials, and recordings for the St. David’s Day chapel service and luncheon at Gustavus Adolphus College.  Materials include programs, news releases, flyers, and transcripts of the chapel service and luncheon talks.  St. David is the patron saint of Wales, and he is often celebrated by having a service of song, in which all members join in a singing celebration.  St. David’s Day was celebrated with a chapel service hymn sing at Gustavus beginning in 1973.

Historical Note

“Around the world each year, March 1 is celebrated by people of Wales and elsewhere of Welsh descent as St. David’s Day.  St. David, the patron saint of Wales, was born and raised in Wales and was noted in the 6th century for founding many monasteries and Christian churches throughout Wales.  He was canonized in 1120 and the date of his death, March 1, became identified as St. David’s Day.

One of the many ways in which people of Wales and of Welsh descent mark St. David’s Day is to gather for a Gymanfa Ganu (pronounced Guh-mahn-vuh Gah-nee) or Festival of Sacred Song.  As a person of Welsh descent, Ellis Jones continuously worked behind the scenes to help students, faculty, administrators, and staff become aware of this strong ethnic non-Swedish tradition.”*

Ellis Jones, professor in Economics and Management and of Welsh descent was a stalwart proponent of celebrating St. David’s Day on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College.  In 1972, the chapel service included some Welsh hymns to celebrate St. David, which grew into the St. David’s Day Welsh Hymn Sing.  For the 1975 service, three of the student choirs were invited to participate, and that is when the services became much more successful.  In time, with invitations extended to the Minnesota Welsh community, the number of attendees would grow to over 500.

*Taken from history in collection.

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