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    Youth Transatlantic partnership consolidated - despite Covid-19


    A ground-breaking partnership to remind young people on both sides of the Atlantic of the lethal perils of racism will press ahead this winter despite the major challenges of lockdown.

    Urdd Gobaith Cymru (youth organisation in Wales, UK  (www.urdd.cymru/en ) and the students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) have come together to create a virtual gospel choir to celebrate their new partnership and both Choirs will sing together in Welsh for the very first time!

    Wales, known as the land of song, has an unequivocal strong and longstanding history with music and that shared passion was an obvious link when Siân Lewis, Chief Executive at Urdd Gobaith Cymru met with Patrick Evans, Chair of the UAB College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Music, on a visit arranged by the Welsh Government to Alabama last autumn.  

    Welsh ties with the African American community in Birmingham, Alabama were formed in the immediate aftermath of the vicious bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church by the Klu Klux Klan more than half a century ago when the people of Wales donated a stained-glass window to the church in solidarity. A formal visit by Sian Lewis, CEO of the Welsh youth Movement, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, and Welsh Minister for Education Kirsty Williams to the University of Alabama last year strengthened these ties. 

    Tour arrangements for the UAB Gospel Choir to visit Wales and the Urdd National Eisteddfod for 2020 were being finalised when Covid-19 swept across the world and plans were put on hold. Keen not to let the challenges scupper the opportunity to bring the young people together, a virtual choir was formed.  

    The are 34 members in the virtual choir and Urdd members between the ages of 18 – 25 years old will form the voices of Wales. Mared Williams, a former Urdd Member and star of “Les Miserables” in the West End in London and UAB Gospel Choir Director Reginald James Jackson take the lead as soloists while Music Director Richard Vaughan brings the voices together.  

    Meanwhile it will be a new experience for members of UAB Gospel Choir too as not only will they be singing virtually with their partners across the Atlantic, but they will also sing in Welsh for the very first time – a translation of ‘Every Praise’ by Hezekiah Walker – “Canwn Glod”     

    Siân Lewis, Urdd CEO said,
       
    “Music, and gospel music, has long been known to provide comfort and hope during troubling and testing times. This year has seen its fair share of challenges thrown our way, not only as individual nations but collectively as world citizens.  

    “We are delighted that despite the pandemic, we have been able to develop our partnership and give our members the opportunity to learn more about gospel singing from our inspirational friends at UAB. Together, we have recorded a truly uplifting performance – a true beacon of hope as we look forward with positivity.” 

    Patrick Evans, UAB Chair of the Department of Music, added 
     
    “The coming together of these young voices marks the beginning of a positive relationship between our students and the young people of Wales. Singing in Welsh for the first time was a challenge for the choir members, however they embraced the challenge and we are looking forward to visiting Wales when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, we hope that our virtual collaboration will spread a little joy during these hard times.” 

    Kirsty Williams, Minster for Education at the Welsh Government said:

    “I am delighted that we continue to strengthen links between Wales and Alabama. This initiative between the Urdd and the University of Alabama at Birmingham ensures that a new generation will take our relationship forward. By uniting students through the power of song, our transatlantic friendship will continue to flourish, despite the distance between us.”

    As the Urdd approaches its centenary in 2022 it has ambitious plans to ensure Wales makes a positive impact, to ensure that more people know about Wales, offer international experiences for young people and celebrate the cultural richness of Wales as well as share good practise with international contacts in the success of increasing confidence use and enjoyment of a minority language. Since its establishment in 1922, the Urdd has nurtured over 4 million young men and women to be proud of their country, open to the world and living embodiments of our language and culture, along with the universal values which we cherish in Wales. 
     
    The video is published to coincide with Thanksgiving in the USA and will be available on the Urdd Youtube Channel here from 0800 GMT 26 November 2020.  

    What is the Urdd?

    Urdd Gobaith Cymru ( www.urdd.cymru) is a National Voluntary Youth Organisation  in Wales, UK with over 55,000 members between the ages of 8 – 25 years. The Urdd provides opportunities through the medium of Welsh for children and young people in Wales to enable them to make positive contributions to their communities. 

    The Urdd has nurtured generations of young men and women to be proud of their country, open to the world and living embodiments of our language and culture, along with the universal values which we cherish in Wales. Over 4 million children and young people have been members of the Urdd since its beginning back in 1922. The significance of the institution in Wales cannot be over-emphasised. Its contribution to generations in Wales, to the lives and confidence, and mental health of our young people over the years has been immense. 


    Atgyfnerthu partneriaeth ieuenctid Drawsatlantig – er gwaethaf Covid-19



    Bydd partneriaeth arloesol i atgoffa pobl ifanc o ddwy ochr Môr yr Iwerydd o beryglon dinistriol hiliaeth yn bwrw ymlaen y gaeaf hwn er gwaethaf heriau sylweddol y cyfnod clo. 

    Mae Urdd Gobaith Cymru a’r myfyrwyr ym Mhrifysgol Alabama ym Mirmingham ((University of Alanama – Birmingham - UAB) wedi dod at ei gilydd i ffurfio côr rhithiol i ddathlu eu partneriaeth newydd a bydd y ddau gôr yn canu gyda’i gilydd yn y Gymraeg am y tro cyntaf erioed!

    Mae gan Gymru, gwlad y gân, hanes hir a chref gyda cherddoriaeth ac felly roedd yn gyswllt amlwg pan gyfarfu Siân Lewis, Prif Weithredwr Urdd Gobaith Cymru, â Patrick Evans, Cadeirydd Adran Gerddoriaeth Coleg Celfyddydau a Gwyddorau UAB, ar ymweliad a drefnwyd gan Lywodraeth Cymru i Alabama y llynedd. 

    Ffurfiwyd perthynas rhwng y Cymry a’r gymuned Affro Americanaidd ym Mirmingham, Alabama dros hanner canrif yn ôl yn dilyn ymosodiad terfysgol gan y Klu Klux Klan ar Eglwys y Bedyddwyr, 16th Street. Fel arwydd o gefnogaeth ac undod rhoddwyd ffenestr lliw i’r eglwys gan bobl Cymru. Bu i ymweliad swyddogol Siân Lewis, Prif Weithredwr yr Urdd, a Gweinidog Addysg Cymru, Kirsty Williams â Phrifysgol Alabama y llynedd gryfhau’r berthynas hon.  

    Roedd trefniadau taith Côr Gospel UAB i ymweld â Chymru ac Eisteddfod Genedlaethol yr Urdd Sir Ddinbych 2020 yn cael eu cwblhau pan fu’n rhaid gohirio’r cyfan wrth i Covid-19 ledaenu ar draws y byd. Yn awyddus i beidio â gadael i’r sefyllfa atal y cyfle i ddod â’r bobl ifanc at ei gilydd, ffurfiwyd côr rhithiol ar cyd rhwng Côr Gospel UAB ac aelodau o nifer o aelwydydd yr Urdd ar draws Cymru. 

    Bydd 34 o leisiau yn dod at ei gilydd i greu’r côr rhithiol yn gynrychiolwyr o Gôr Gospel yr UAB a thua hanner ohonynt yn aelodau o rai o gorau aelwydydd yr Urdd o Hafodwenog, Penllys, JMJ, Pantycelyn a’r Waun Ddyfal. Cyn aelod o’r Urdd a seren “Les Miserables” yn y West End, Mared Williams a Chyfarwyddwr Côr Gospel UAB Reginald James Jackson fydd yn canu rhan yr unawdwyr tra bod y Cyfarwyddwr Cerdd Richard Vaughan yn gyfrifol am ddod â’r lleisiau at ei gilydd. 

    Bydd yn brofiad newydd i aelodau Côr Gospel UAB hefyd, nid yn unig y profiad o uno i greu rhith gôr ond dyma fydd y tro cyntaf iddynt ganu yn y Gymraeg – addasiad o ‘Every Praise’ gan Hezekiah Walker, ‘Canwn Glod’. 

    Meddai Siân Lewis,
       
    “Mae gan gerddoriaeth, a cherddoriaeth gospel yn enwedig, y gallu arbennig i gynnig cysur a gobaith mewn cyfnodau anodd a chythryblus. Mae eleni wedi bod yn flwyddyn heriol a dweud y lleiaf, nid yn unig i genhedloedd unigol ond i ni gyd fel dinasyddion y byd. 

    “Rydym mor falch ein bod wedi llwyddo i ddatblygu ein partneriaeth a rhoi’r cyfle i’n haelodau ddysgu mwy am ganu gospel oddi wrth ein ffrindiau ysbrydoledig yn UAB, er gwaetha’r pandemig. Gyda’n gilydd, rydym wedi creu perfformiad sydd wirioneddol yn codi calon – gwir esiampl o obaith wrth i ni edrych ymlaen yn bositif i’r dyfodol.” 

    Ychwanegodd Patrick Evans, Cadeirydd Adran Gerdd UAB, 

    “Wrth ddod â’r lleisiau ifanc yma ynghyd rydym yn nodi cychwyn ar berthynas gadarn rhwng ein myfyrwyr a phobl ifanc Cymru. Roedd canu yn y Gymraeg am y tro cyntaf yn her i aelodau’r côr ond fe wnaethon nhw groesawu’r sialens ac rydym yn edrych ymlaen at ymweld â Chymru pan fydd hi’n ddiogel i ni wneud. Yn y cyfamser, gobeithio bydd ein rhith gôr yn creu tipyn o lawenydd yn ystod y cyfnod anodd hwn.”

    Meddai Kirsty Williams:

    “Rydw i wrth fy modd ein bod yn parhau i gryfhau cysylltiadau rhwng Cymru ac Alabama. Mae’r fenter hon rhwng yr Urdd a Phrifysgol Alabama ym Mirmingham yn sicrhau fod cenhedlaeth newydd yn bwrw ymlaen â’r berthynas. Wrth uno myfyrwyr drwy rym cerddoriaeth, bydd ein cyfeillgarwch trawsatlantig yn parhau i ffynnu, er gwaethaf y pellter rhyngom.”

    Wrth i’r Urdd agosáu at ei ganmlwyddiant yn 2022 mae gan y mudiad strategaeth ryngwladol uchelgeisiol i sicrhau fod mwy o bobl yn gwybod am Gymru, yn cynnig profiadau rhyngwladol i bobl ifanc yr Urdd ac yn dathlu cyfoeth diwylliannol Cymru yn ogystal â rhannu arfer da gan gynyddu hyder a mwynhad yn yr iaith Gymraeg. Ers ei sefydlu yn 1922 mae'r Urdd wedi meithrin 4 miliwn o ddynion a menywod ifanc i fod yn falch o'u gwlad, yn agored i'r byd ac yn ymgorfforiadau byw o'u hiaith a'u diwylliant, ynghyd â'r gwerthoedd cyffredinol yr ydym yn eu gwerthfawrogi yng Nghymru.

    Mae’r fideo yn cael ei rannu ar y cyfryngau cymdeithasol i gydfynd â dathliadau diwrnod Diolchgarwch (Thanksgiving) yn yr UDA. 

    Bydd y fideo ar gael yma i chi lawr lwytho am 15:00 dydd Mercher 25ain o Dachwedd mewn pryd i’w gyhoeddi i’r cyhoedd am 08:00 dydd Iau 26 Tachwedd. Mae modd gwrando ar ddarn bychan o’r gan o flaen llaw yma (dim i’w rannu/ gyhoeddi). 

    Am ragor o wybodaeth neu i drefnu cyfweliadau, cysylltwch â Sioned Wyn, Swyddog Marchnata a Chyfathrebu yr Urdd sionedwyn@urdd.org neu Shannon Thomason, UAB Office of Public Relations, thomason@uab.edu