Please select your page

Cwrs Cymraeg Baltimore, 1994

Cwrs Cymraeg Baltimore a'r Fro at Towson State College was another hit. Participants of this year's cwrs were again treated to the varied teaching styles of the instructors from Wales.

Alun Ifans of Dyfed and headmaster of a primary school brought his enthusiasm as well as his special sense of style. Those who were in his class were treated to his version of "Welsh Aerobics."

Ken Kane, an architect from Cardiff, brought with him his unique sense of humor and his ability to teach through the medium of sarcasm, certainly a new approach to learning a langauge, but a successful one.

Lead teacher Clive Rowlands, also from Cardiff, teaches Welsh to adults. Clive, who was with us for an unprecedented five consecutive years, was the calming force in the sea of unexpected occurrences.

The teaching team also included a North American contingency. From Ottawa, Ontario, we had Paul Birt; from Bloomington, Indiana, we had Marta Weingartner; and from Atlanta, Georgia, we had Hefina Phillips.

The teachers, as usual, worked very hard to accommodate the learning styles of a varied group of students. The formal language classes filled the morning and early afternoon hours, and the informal programs were offered in the late afternoons and evenings. The informal events included music, dance, and videos from Wales, as well as a panel discussion on the status of the Welsh language.

Along with the week-long language classes came two tours of the local area. There was a trip through Towson and part of Baltimore to the Inner Harbor. Dr. Eugene Owen of Baltimore gave a guided tour. His expansive knowledge of the area made the trip very educational and extremely interesting. After visiting the Inner Harbor, the tour continued to Fort McHenry where a short film showed the history of the fort and the writing of The Star Spangled Banner offshore during the naval battle there. It was pointed out specially that the original 15-strip flag was woven of Welsh wool. After touring the fort, a picnic in the rain preceded the return to the college in song led by Danny Proud of Minnesota.

The second trip led through the countryside to Delta, Pennsylvania, with a brief stop at the Mason-Dixon line, and the Old Line Museum with its six-foot hand-carved slate clock. The Museum in Delta chronicles the history of the area, with its close Welsh associations with clothing, documents, and tools. The tour also included Delta's old slate jail, and the churchyard where many Welsh immigrants are buried underneath grave-stones carved in slate. Rehoboth Chapel in Delta treated the cwrs tourees to a delightful dinner made by the Ladies Aid Society. After dinner, there was a gymanfa ganu with inspired singing that was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone there.

Back at Towson State College, Saturday evening everyone retired to Auburn House for a wonderful dinner. Afterwards, students participated in a noson lawen unlike anything seen in Wales, or anywhere else. It was definitely a unique mixture of the sublime and the ridiculous. Included was a tribute to Gone with the Wind in honor of the 1995 Cwrs in Atlanta. The noson lawen led into the adjudications of the cwrs eisteddfod, and the chairing of this year's bard. Bob Roser's winning prose was written on the theme Pe bawn i... (If I were...).

The week ended with Sunday morning worship, the service given in memory of Larry Williams, a Baltimore resident and past cwrs participant, who had died during the year. After the service, very emotional good-byes were said with promises to see everyone again at next year's cwrs in Atlanta.