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Venedocia church sets Welsh Festival of Song PDF Print E-mail
Friday, August 30, 2013 12:00 AM

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VENENDOCIA — The annual Gymanfa Ganu, or Welsh Festival of Song, will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday at Salem Presbyterian Church in Venedocia.

A light supper will be served from 4-6 p.m. with a free-will donation accepted.

The Welsh tradition can be traced back to the 13th century in Wales, where the singing of hymns in four-part harmony began. It has been an important part of the Venedocia church’s life since approximately 1915. Visitors return every year from many states to renew friendships and to hear the thrilling sound of the grand old hymns being sung in four-part harmony by several hundred people.

Gomer native Dr. Patricia Bowers-Schultz will be this year’s conductor. She recently retired as professor of music at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo., where she taught voice, musical theatre and choir. Previously, she taught French as well as music at Dickinson State University in North Dakota and voice at Central State University in Ohio. She also taught French at Bowling Green State University and in the public schools.

Bowers-Schultz earned her doctor of musical arts degree in vocal performance from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas city, the master’s from the University of Illinois and the bachelor’s from Miami University in Oxford. Her doctoral dissertation, a comparison of singing traditions at the Gymanfa Ganu, led to invitations to conduct and solo are various festivals around the country, as well as to lecture as the Prestigious College Music Society’s national conference.

A coloratura soprano, Dr. Schultz had concertized all over the United States in recital, as a guest artist with symphony orchestras and from 1986 to 2002 was featured in her own original music drama “Encore For Jenny Lind,” about the famous 19th-century “Swedish Nightingale.”

She credits her continuing interest and knowledge of Welsh singing traditions to being raised in the Welsh community of Gomer. Now residing in Kansas City, she continues to solo and guest conduct and also act in commercials and voice-overs. Some may have seen her on a zip line for Missouri Tourism.

She and her theatre professor husband, Charles, have team-taught in London three times and traveled there and through Wales several more times. They just returned from a tour of Germany, Austria and Prague.

Special music will be provided by the Letitia Quintet. This group of young men — Eric Fancher, Brian Fancer, Jon Fancher and Kevin Fancher and Todd Case — can trace their history to Venedocia and back to Wales. The name Letitia has been passed down from Letitia Jones Morris, who was born in 1945 in Llabadarn Odwyn, Cardingshire, Wales, and who died in 1925 in Venedocia to her granddaughter, Jane Letitia Morris Bates; and from Jane to her daughter, Mary Letitia Bates Fancher, who is the mother of three of the singing group members. all members are the grandchildren of Jane Letitia Morris Bates. Kevin and Brian are music teachers in the Cleveland area; Eric is an actor in Cleveland; Todd is a freshmen majoring in biology at the University of Toledo; and Jon is the pastor of the Rocky River Presbyterian Church in suburban Cleveland.

They will be accompanied by Mary Fancher, who is a vocal music teacher in Rocky River and the director of music ministry at Avon Lake United Church of Christ.

Organist for the Gymanfa Ganu will be Ladonna Allenbaugh and the pianist will be Connie O’Neill.

For more information, contact Jan Owens at 419-667-3523 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


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