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Cwrs Cymraeg Arian, 2001

Y Cwrs Arian, the twenty-fifth anniversary of Cwrs Cymraeg, was held on the sprawling lovely campus of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, the week of July 22-29, 2001. With approximately 70 students from all over North America arriving at the Woodruff Residence Hall, anxious and ready to spend an intensive week learning the ancient Welsh language, the Atlanta organizers greeted everyone with the necessities, a big Southern smile; an elegant black Cwrs Arian t-shirt (if ordered); and a treasure bag of information and local gifts of water bottles, frisbees, and key-chains-all useful in the Southern clime.

The welcoming reception, graciously hosted by the local St. David’s Society and Glyn Davies, was a fine time to see old friends and meet new people, enjoy the refreshments, and hear that Roy Barnes, the Governor of Georgia, had designated July 22-29 Welsh Language Week in Georgia. This event was the first taste of how the hard work the Atlanta organizers paid off throughout the entire week. Thanks go to the committee, which consisted of Jenny Hubbard Young and Karl Welsher, who took the lead, Glyn Davies, Ellen Furney and Bobbie Johns, with ad hoc assistance from family, Society members and friends.

Every detail of the week’s activities had been thoughtfully designed to make the group’s time fulfilling. The board too worked during the lunch break throughout the week, hearing reports and making plans for improving the course in the future. Wayne Harbert retired from the presidency and the board, and everyone thanked him for his dedication. Ada Mae Lewis from Ames, Iowa, was elected as the new president. Two new board members were also elected: Wayne Morrissey from Washington, D.C., for a three-year term, and Sarah Campbell from Somerville, Massachusetts, for a two-year term.>

The Classes

There were seven levels of instruction: Level 5+ was a new addition meant to provide those advanced learners a fresh set of course material instead of simply repeating from the year before. The curriculum was a revised version of Dr. Emyr Davies’s newly developed program, offering a more coherent and challenging course of study for everyone. Classes each morning and most afternoons kept students immersed in learning to speak and understand the Welsh language. On the last day of the course this year, all the students received a handsome certificate signed by their tutor describing in Welsh their academic accomplishments for the term.

The Tutors

All the tutors were, as usual, patient and enthusiastic. With his wry humor and disarming wit, lead tutor Emyr Davies kept everyone duly informed of events and schedules (a word, by the way, that he consistently mispronounced) during the plenary sessions. Three tutors made the trip from Wales, Emyr (the lead tutor), and veterans Steve Morris and Eleri Hughes. One of their highlights was experiencing the ferocity of an All-American thunderstorm, cracking clouds and blistering lightning during banquet speeches. The rest of the team came from North America, Hefina Phillips brought her undying enthusiasm, Meredith Roberts, Kara Lewis, and Marta Diaz. Marta actually began learning Welsh at an early Cwrs Cymraeg in Minnesota, and this year she returned as teacher!

Other Activities

Once again, the variety of afternoon workshops gave each student an opportunity to explore different aspects of the Welsh language and culture while the evening activities offered somewhat more relaxation than learning. The Wednesday trip to Stone Mountain gave visitors a view of scenic Georgia and patriotic Georgia with the evening laser show. The Cwrs Eisteddfodd was especially fine, opening with bagpipes and closing with the Cwrs Cor directed by Emyr Davies. Class skits were all skillfully rendered or, at least, highly amusing. The individual performers shared their gifts-Ginny Grove’s story of the youthful bard Geraint on his quest to play in the first Eisteddfod was a wonderful riddle. The winners of the Eisteddfod competition this year were for levels 1-2, a first-timer at Cwrs Cymraeg, Angela Evans; Atlanta’s own Karl Welsher, levels 3-4; won for his diary on the topic of “Gone with the Wind.” Both Angela and Karl are member’s of The Saint David’s Society of Georgia. The grand winner of the chair this year was Cheryl Mitchell who wrote on the topic of Rhyddid, Freedom.. Llongyfarchiadau to all of them!

The Facilities

We all stayed at the Woodruff Residence Hall where the rooms were comfortable (air-conditioned), and the conference elves very helpful. It was a bit of a hike to the dining area, Dobbs University Center, affectionately known as the DUC[K], but once the shuttle schedule was sorted out, those who preferred to ride could. The food was varied and sufficient with a touch of Southern cooking--morning grits and, one special day to the delight of many, biscuits with sausage and onion gravy!

Remembering Twenty-Five Years of Cwrs Cymraeg

Y Cwrs Arian, the Silver Course, celebrated twenty-five years of Welsh Language in North America. Wayne Harbert, with much help from Ruth and John Kudlaty, set up an exhibit to bring back memories of times past. With plenty of pictures (of John Otley when he had a full head of hair, for example, and groups coracling on the Charles River in Boston), a (nearly) complete set of course t-shirts, and two wooden chairs from earlier eisteddfodau. From Y Canolbarth in Pella, Iowa, to Y Mynydd Glas in Poultney, Vermont, and Cwrs Y Mileniwm last year in Carmarthen (in Hen Wlad), the course has evolved while remaining true to its mission. May the next twenty-five years inspire even more people to learn and love the language of heaven!

Nodir/Note: This article appeared in a slightly different form in the September 2001 issue of Y Drych.