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UK News

Rowan Williams features on anthem composed for 100 year anniversary of Welsh diocese

by Sophie Drew

To mark 100 years of the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, the Church in Wales has launched a new centenary anthem with a former Archbishop of Canterbury set to feature on it.

Composed by musician and broadcaster Mal Pope, For This Reason will be performed at the Royal Welsh Showground next month, as part of a festival to mark the centenary.

Previously, Pope was the brains behind an anthem to mark the 50th anniversary of Swansea’s city status, as well as a Platinum Jubilee anthem featuring voices from across the Commonwealth.

The song is inspired by a message Mal once listened to from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as the same showground upon which the centenary festival will be held.

The text for Bishop Tutu’s message that day was Ephesians 3:14-21: "For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!"

In keeping with the Bishop of Swansea’s message at the start of the year, Mal wanted the anthem to focus on thankfulness.

“There it all was - family and generations and thankfulness,” Pope said

“Steve Balsamo, Kev Johns, Lorraine King, Camille Meskill and Lisa Marie Williams all popped around and sounded wonderful blended together,” he said.

“I’ve always loved Brecon Cathedral, which also celebrates its centenary this year, so I really wanted the choir and cathedral organ to be central to the recording. With the help of Andrew and David Griffiths we turned up with some equipment and captured their glorious sound in that wonderful building.

“We next visited the Swansea U3A Ukulele Big Band under the direction of Andy Skilling who added their harp-like sound to the mix, before finally travelling to Cardiff to the home of the former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams. It had always been our intention to add a version of the diocesan prayer to the anthem and we could think of no one better fitted to sharing that prayer on our recording than Rowan.”

The lyrics and background track have been made available for school, choirs and individuals across the diocese to take part and there will be a special performance at the centenary celebration festival, which takes place on the 9th September.

The festival, which will be hosted by Kev Johns, will also feature performances by Only Men Aloud, Guvna B, Steve Balsamo, Who’s Molly, Ify Iwobi, and Builth Wells Male Voice Choir.

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