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Saturday, July 8, 2023

Thunderstorm brings Eisteddfod choir competition unexpectedly large audience


* Competitors with umbrellas dash for cover in the Pavilion as rain sweeps the maes.

A choir competition at this afternoon’s Eisteddfod ended up with a much larger audience than it might usually expect.

The reason was a flash thunderstorm over the valley which brought torrential rain to the maes which was packed with hundreds of competitors, entertainers, visitors and volunteers enjoying what had been a warm, sunny afternoon.

That was until around 1.30pm when the threatened storm broke overhead, triggering loud claps of thunder, brilliant flashes of lightning and driving rain.

Immediately, scores of them began dashing for the shelter of the Pavilion, which was hosting the Open Choirs Competition involving a dozen top choral groups from across the world.

* The Southern Spirit Singers keep singing as the storm breaks outside.

A momentary halt was called to the proceedings by compere Iwan Griffiths to allow hordes of soggy refugees from the downpour into the auditorium and be shepherded to seats by stewards.

London-based Southern Spirit Singers had just finished their first number, appropriately entitled O Praise the Lord, as the almost Biblical scene developed outside the “big tent”.

And, rather than compete with the thunder the choir conductor Andy King halted briefly before starting their second song, Morning Star.

When they did finish their performance was rewarded with huge applause and cheers from the unexpectedly enormous audience which had gathered in front of them.

* The Pavilion's auditorium fills up with some unexpected spectators.

By the time they had finished their final number, Canticum Novum, the storm had temporarily eased and people began to file out of the Pavilion.

It was a masterful operation by all involved from the Eisteddfod team and the choir.

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