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Thursday, 7 February, 2002, 15:30 GMT
Choir's disharmony over anthem
choir graphics
Four members of a west Wales male voice choir have resigned after being told they had to sing God Save the Queen at a jubilee concert.

Gordon Morris, Brian Wilcox, Peter Rees and Brian Jones have been choristers with Haverfordwest Male Voice Choir for more than 30 years.

Previously, they left the stage whenever the anthem was sung.


My father and his friends are not royalists and do not want to sing the English national anthem in these circumstances

Jonathan Morris, son of resigned chorister
But when all 70 members of the choir were asked to sign an agreement saying they would sing the anthem in future, the four objected and left the choir in protest.

Brian Jones told News Online Wales: "The four of us feel very strongly about the matter we feel that the choir's committee should have given us the opportunity to meet and discuss the issue.

"We have written to them to explain our actions, but have not received a reply.

"We have been accused of making a political point, but we believe that they are the ones who are being political."

Gordon Morris's son, Jonathan, added: "In the past God Save the Queen has been sung at two concerts each year - the choir's own annual concert and the Remembrance concert.

"Members who objected were allowed to sit out those concerts to avoid embarrassment on all sides.

'Vindictive act'

"The choir was asked to sing at a Jubilee celebration concert and suddenly a new contract emerged.

"Choristers had to sign it in order to remain members but one requirement was they must sing God Save the Queen when required.

"This is just a vindictive act of bullying and discrimination against those who hold different beliefs.

"My father and his friends are not royalists and do not want to sing the English national anthem in these circumstances."

Disharmony

But choir conductor Gwyn Griffiths said a little disharmony in the choir had been "blown up out of all proportion".

"Perhaps all the facts of the case are not known and if they were things would be seen differently," he said.

"But as far as I am concerned this has been dealt with by the choir committee in the form of a letter and the matter is over now."

The four will continue to sing as members of the St David's National Eisteddfod choir.

See also:

01 Feb 01 | Wales
Choir born out of steel
30 Dec 00 | Wales
Double honour for Welsh choir
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