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Wales: new tune for lost hymn to mark 100 years since Universal Colliery Disaster

A lost Welsh hymn is to be reborn to mark the 100th anniversary of the UK's worst ever mining disaster ...

A lost Welsh hymn is to be reborn to mark the 100th anniversary of the UK's worst ever mining disaster.

Monday 14 October 2013 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Universal Colliery Disaster in Senghenydd that killed 440 people.
 
Among the hymns sang during the original memorial service in 1913 was one composed by Sarah Ann Thorne of Abertridwr. The hymn, Prepare To Meet Thy God’ was composed after the disaster and was printed and sold on penny sheets, with the proceeds of the sales going towards erecting a Memorial Plate at St Peters Church. The Memorial Plate is still there today and stands in memory of those who lost their lives in the explosion,
 
The music that accompanied the hymn has not been found, despite a rigorous search through the National Archives. It has fallen to composers Dan and Laura Curtis, who have been tasked with writing new music for the hymn, thus bringing it back to life for future generations to enjoy.

Dan and Laura earlier this year composed A Miner’s Song, to raise money for the National Mining Memorial. The song featured over 300 performers including; Michael Sheen, Ioan Gruffudd, Matthew Rhys, Paul Potts, Joe Calzaghe, Jonathan Pryce and John Owen Jones. The National Mining Memorial will be unveiled in Senghenydd on the 100th anniversary of the Senghenydd disaster.
 
Dan Curtis said "It is a great honour for us to be able to write new music for Sarah’s beautiful and heartfelt words. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to collaborate with someone who witnessed the tragic events unfold, long after their words were written. We have given the music a lot of consideration and believe we have come up with something very fitting. We look forward to people hearing it later this year."
 
The hymn will be performed at the Senghenydd Memorial Concert at Blackwood Miner’s Institute on 5 October and the Cymanfa Ganu in Senghenydd on 13 October.

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