John Abraham has truly, since the eighties, “taken music to the people” in South Wales.
An amateur musician, who studied conducting at Cranford Summer School of Music in the early 1980s, John’s love of music alongside his social conscience inspired him to lead Côr Cochion, following impromptu singing on the train returning to Cardiff from a demonstration in London. He led the choir until the early 1990s and produced many musical arrangements, which are still widely used.
Côr Cochion, rehearsing in Cardiff and Bedwas, developed a repertoire of a cappella songs for mixed voices; performing locally, nationally and abroad, they were a familiar sight on the streets of Cardiff, on picket lines and at demonstrations. Thousands of pounds were raised by the choir in support of peace and justice and, during the Miners’ Strike of 1984-5, they actively supported the communities of the South Wales Valleys.
In 1990 John pursued his classical choral music interest and formed Canton Chorus which rehearses and performs in Canton, Cardiff. The choir adopts John’s principles; it is welcoming, inclusive, enabling and makes classical music accessible to all. No audition or experience is required.
In 2008 John also formed Côr Elen in Abergavenny which sings a cappella, often socialist, songs.
Through John, people with no other opportunity to sing in a choir have blossomed, including successful performances of major choral works with a full orchestra. Some singers have subsequently taken formal lessons, attended music courses at CCLL, sing with Opera Mint and WNO’s MAX Community Choir.
These principles and his enthusiasm led the choir to nominate him for the Leonard and Marian Jones Music in the Community Award From Cardiff University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning. We were delighted when he was awarded the prize of £250.