Cynonfardd Eisteddfod

Cynonfardd Eisteddfod

Last Saturday in April
When the Welsh began to emigrate to the United States during the latter part of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th, many were drawn to the coal-mining areas of northeastern Pennsylvania. Among them was a minister, Dr. Thomas C. Edwards, who emigrated in 1870 and established a church society designed to teach English to Welsh children by having them read and memorize music, hymns, songs, poetry, and other literary selections in the tradition of the Welsh Eisteddfod. This group became known as the Cynonfardd Literary Society—the Cynon being a stream in South Wales where Edwards had lived as a child. Edwards patterned the society's activities after the Welsh National Eisteddfod, and by 1889 the Cynonfardd Eisteddfod was well established.
Believed to be the oldest continuous Eisteddfod outside of Wales and the only one of its kind in the United States today, the Cynonfardd Eisteddfod was originally held on March 17, St. Patrick's Day, probably because the coal mines were closed on that day so the Irish miners could celebrate.
Now it is held at the end of April, and the competition is limited to recitations and vocal and instrumental selections. Competitors range in age from under five years old to adults, and the prizes are generally modest—two dollars, for example, for the child under five years who sings the best "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," or $50 for the prize-winning senior citizen who sings a Welsh hymn. Literary recitations include selections from the Bible, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and other well-known American authors. All performers in both the poetry and music competitions must memorize their selections.
CONTACTS:
Dr. Edwards Memorial Congregational Church
668 Main St.
Edwardsville, PA 18704
570-287-4581
References in periodicals archive ?
The 114th Cynonfardd Eisteddfod, the longest continuous Eisteddfod in the USA, was held on a Saturday in April,at the Dr Edwards Memorial Congregational Church,Edwardsville.
The Edwardsville Cynonfardd Eisteddfod was started by Dr T C Edwards in 1889 as a way to teach children English through song and poetry.