Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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EVANS-WILLIAMS , LAURA ( 1883 - 1944 ), singer ;

eldest dau. of John and Ellen Evans , b. at Bryn Meirion , Henllan, Denb. , 7 Sept., 1883 . She was educated at Howell's School , Denbigh , and at the Royal Academy of Music , London . She began her career as a contralto , winning prizes at several eisteddfodau ; at the Academy she studied under Edward Iles who developed her voice as a lyric soprano . She became widely known as a concert and oratorio singer ; she was also a pleasing interpreter of operatic arias and particularly of Welsh songs, including folk-songs. During World War I she toured extensively with Clara Butt . At the 1917 national eisteddfod at Birkenhead she had been invited to sing the Chairing Song , and when it was announced that the winner of the chair ( Ellis H. Evans , ‘ Hedd Wyn ’, DWB , 229) , had been killed in battle, she sang ‘ I Blas Gogerddan ’, which was particularly appropriate. Sixteen years later, at the Wrexham national eisteddfod , she sang the Chairing Song again, and received the unusual distinction of an encore. She was the first of all Welsh artists to broadcast from Savoy Hill . She visited the United States of America on a concert tour in 1926 , and returned to Wales from London in 1940 to live at Colwyn Bay , where she taught singing till her death there on 5 October, 1944 . She was buried at Henllan . She had married, in 1905 , R.T. Williams , and she was survived by a daughter and a son.

Sources:

  • Liverpool Post and Mercury , 14 Aug. 1933 ;
  • North Wales Weekly News , 26 Oct. 1937 ;
  • Denbigh Free Press , 14 Oct. 1944 ;
  • information from her daughter, Mrs. Castle, Sutton Coldfield ;
  • personal knowledge.

Author:

Thomas Iorwerth Ellis, M.A., (1899-1970), Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001