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JOHN PRICE ‘BEULAH’

Between heaven and earth

John Price, there, was a blackbird before rain,

a song thrush in the evening.

He kept to small lanes

and taught others his delight

at the end of a hard day.

Carpenter, son of a carpenter,

between the rolling roads and rising views,

between Llangammarch and Beulah,

he measured with a clear eye

the mortice and tenon of his rhymes,

turning the tune, tapping home the notes.

His voice heard mellifluous

by the hills and rivers,

by the gathered singing poor,

by maid and shepherd,

by schoolchildren and labourers.

To sing in chains

is to watch the chains

dissolve.

John Price ‘Beulah’ was born in Llangammarch. He learned his music from a couple of skilled local music teachers, particularly the ‘sol fa’ systems of notating music. Apart from a couple of years in America, where quite a lot of his music was published, he spent his life as an estate carpenter, teaching music and local choirs around the Irfon valley in his spare time. He was a prolific and influential hymn writer in the early 20th century, and also wrote many popular songs. His work did much to promote local choirs, so central to the characher of Welsh rural life.

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