Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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DEVONALD , JOHN ( 1863 - 1936 ), musician ;

b. at Aberdare , 13 May 1863 . He belonged to a musical family and possessed a good voice . He was admitted a member of the Aberdare United Choir when he was 11 years of age. In the Cardiff eisteddfod , 1883 , he won the prize for singing Handel 's ‘ Is not his word like a fire? ’ He was elected a member of the United Welsh Choir formed in 1880 to sing Joseph Parry 's ‘ Emanuel ’ at Cambridge and in London after the composer had taken the degree of Mus.D . In 1885 he was appointed precentor of the Calvinistic Methodist chapel at Abercarn and, in 1887 , was appointed to the same position at the Broadmead Welsh chapel , Bristol , where he also conducted the Welsh choir of the town. He won prizes for penillion singing at the national eisteddfodau held in 1895 and 1897 , and in the Barry and Port Talbot eisteddfodau was the adjudicator in the competitions for singing to the accompaniment of the harp . In 1890 he returned to Aberdare where, in 1894 , he formed the ‘ Welsh Quartette ’ and where, for fifteen years, he conducted the ‘ Cymric Oriana ’ founded by him to encourage the singing of part-songs and madrigals . Between 1930 and 1936 he wrote eighty articles for the Cerddor under the title ‘ Notes from Merthyr .’ He d. 25 Sept. 1936 and was buried in Aber-fan cemetery.


  • Y Cerddor , 1918 (62), 1936 (256).


Robert David Griffith, M.A., (1877-1958), Old Colwyn

Published date: 1959