Loving Shepherd of Thy Sheep

Two Hymns: Aberfan Funeral 27th. October 1966.

“What hymns were played during the funeral services following the Aberfan disaster of October 21, 1966?”  I posted this question at Old Merthyr Tydfil Forum when first researching for my composition Aberfan, a work in progress.

Gratefully, here is one of the first responses that I received:

“My name is Jeff Adams. I used to live in Aberfan (left in 1966 to join the Royal Navy). I used to attend both Pantglas schools and used to, as a boy, play on those tips!  You are lucky. I have been reading as much as I can get my hands on over the past few months regarding the disaster.  Although the local mines had safety inspector engineers the tips did not…unbelievable.

The service itself lasted just 15 minutes (perhaps to spare more grief among the families?).  The first hymn on the sheet was:

‘Loving Shepherd of thy sheep,
Keep thy lambs in safety keep;
Nothing can thy power withstand,
None can pluck them from thy hand.’

The Salvation Army played the music.  It continued:
‘…Loving Saviour thou didst give,
Thine own life that we might live…’

The Bishop of Llandaff read from the Bible. (Among others) The Lord’s prayer was said.  Second hymn was, ‘Jesu Lover of My Soul,’ to the tune of ‘Aberystwyth,’ composed by Joseph Parry (19th. century Merthyr composer) :

…’That of life the fountain art,
Freely let me take of thee;
Spring through up within my heart-
Rise to all eternity.’

5000 silent people on a Welsh hillside, the bitter cold unnoticed.  Fifteen mintues later it was all over.

Taken from the book Aberfan : The Story of a Disaster by Tony Austin Pages 143-144. I suggest you get it from your local library-you’ll be upset throughout it and angry at the National Coal Board for its outright arrogance.”

Of these two hymns, I chose to arrange “Loving Shepherd of Thy Sheep” for Aberfan, calling this section of the music “Final Hymn”.

Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue) is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization. Contributions on behalf of Aberfan must be made payable to NYFA, and are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.  I am currently seeking funds to complete the studio recording.

Photo courtesy of AP Archives Aberfan, October 1966

Aberfan Disaster: Final Tribute

aberfan final tribute no sound THUMBNAIL_3Here is one frame of the footage that I discovered at the AP Archives that had no sound — 5 minutes of film taken at the mass burial of 81 children and one adult on October 27, 1966.

“Loving Shepherd of Thy Sheep” was sung at the service on the hillside.  Here is a short demo excerpt from Aberfan, Final Hymn:

 

 

Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue) is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Your contribution helps ensure that we can continue to create the studio recording of Aberfan.

 

 

 

“Aberfan”, Final Hymn

aberfan final tribute no sound THUMBNAIL_3

I discovered footage from the AP Archives that had no sound.  Here is a shot from that 5 minutes of film taken at the mass funeral of victims of the Aberfan Disaster on 27th October 1966.

Here is a demo excerpt from Aberfan, Final Hymn, “Loving Shepherd of Thy Sheep”, one of two hymns sung at the service on the hillside.

 

Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue) is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Make your contribution here.  I am currently seeking funds to complete the studio recording.