Bangor University Songsmith can be found on ‘lonely lane’, a foot-path against the boundary wall of the Bangor University Business School building. It sings a song of memory, memory that stretches back into the birth of the university. It traces the oral history of the slate miners in Bethesda who gave a portion of their small wage every month to build the university so that their children could have a better life than they did.
These were no ordinary men; among them, despite their circumstance, they formed choirs and became poets, musicians and writers. The story is told through a child of the miners, the Welsh actor John Ogwen, university composers and musicians, the Penrhyn Male Voice Choir, and current Music Lecturer Wyn Thomas.
To this day the city’s life pulse is inextricably entwined with the university and in turn with music, poetry and writers; a true testimony to this kind act in a time of hardship. It is also a reminder of the power of how a small gesture, done by a few, can change the course of the future a hundred years later.
Audio Contributors: Penrhyn Male Voice Choir, John Ogwen (narrator), Wyn Thomas (narrator), Mared Emlyn (Harpest), Bangor University Chamber Choir (song), Bethan Parry (research), Ben Agenten (Cornett), Hedd Thomas (Composer Si hei lwli’ mabi).