1930 proved to be the choir’s most successful year since 1920.
They gained six 1st prizes; the first at Treharris in March singing “The Crusaders”, April at Pontypridd where they triumphed against eight choirs. Singing “Nidaros” they were awarded a staggering 89 point out of a possible 90. August, September and October they won again singing “Nidaros” at Hollybush, Abertysswg and Blackwood. At the latter, the adjudicator remarked on the “brilliant tone of the choir”; He had fully expected a high standard and was not disappointed.
In April at the Olympia Hall, the choir, who now numbered 98, gave their “Coming of Age” concert to a capacity audience. During the 21 years of its existence it had raised over £8,000 for charitable organisations, and won over £1,000 in prize money.
The choir gave a concert at the Workmen’s Hall in November where they performed, amongst other pieces, “The King of the World”. This was to be the test piece at the Semi National Eisteddfod held in London the following Thursday. The task was made even more difficult as it was to be sung unaccompanied. The choir came 4th in the competition and the adjudicators remarked it was a “highly commendable performance”. At this event they competed against some of the leading choirs of the day from both England and Wales.
At the annual meeting held in October, Mr John D Evans confirmed that he was satisfied with the progress made by the choir over the last six months. The main difficulty during the year was the frequent changes in the membership. But during his 21 years with the choir, he had never before experienced a more loyal influx of new members. Their attendance was a lesson to older members.
The allegation of “Pot Hunting” had been made from certain quarters, but he was adamant that this accusation could not be made against the Orpheus as, during the last twelve months, they had won £67-10s yet the expenditure had been £75 and, therefore, the prize money did not cover their costs.In April 1931, the choir gave a successful annual concert at the Olympia Hall, and their membership had now increased to 109.The choir achieved their only success of the year with a win at Blackwood in October singing “The Tyrol”.
Also in October they auditioned for the BBC for their suitability to broadcast the following year.In November the choir gave a concert at the Olympia Hall to raise funds for the competition in London. Though unsuccessful in the Eisteddfod at London, they were said by many to have given a magnificent rendering of the test piece “The Tyrol”.
In the December annual meeting held at the Mizpah Church Schoolroom, Mr Evans remarked that the harmony and enthusiasm existing amongst the members was the best for many years. Membership had increased by 20 during the last 5 months and they were now 120 in number. Sadly, in his experience many of the new members were like “ships that pass in the night” and did not stay loyal for long. This made it difficult to maintain the high standard and continuity required at this level.
The 1932 annual concert held on the 23rd March at the Olympia Hall was a landmark in the history of the choir as part of the concert was broadcast on BBC Radio for the first time. The concert was a great success with congratulations being received from many parts including America and South Africa. The choir now had 116 members.During the year, there were only two successes in competition; at Abergavenny singing “Jesus of Nazareth” and at Ebbw Vale with “The Tyrol”. The choir also competed at the National Eisteddfod held at Aberavon but was unsuccessful.
A letter from Mr J D Evans who was unable to attend the annual meeting held in October, was read out by the Secretary. It stated that it had been a difficult year with a high standard being achieved at the annual concert, but several disappointments in the results at competitions. He also remarked on the need for members to remain loyal and to avoid any dissension. Mr Joseph Nicholls, the Chairman, said the year had been one of the most unlucky in the history of the choir and they had experienced many misfortunes in the results from the competitive arena. The choir numbers had fluctuated considerably throughout, but it was now up to strength. Due to the poor financial situation of the choir, Mr J H Smallwood (Secretary) and Mr W C Holly (Treasurer) both declined their honoraria.
1933 was a far more successful year in competition with a total of 9 victories, their best year since 1920. They won singing “Homeward Bound” at Blackwood, Beaufort, Llangynidr, Brynmawr, Rhymney and Markham. At the Semi National Eisteddfod held at Pontlottyn they secured maximum points for their rendering of “The Tyrol”. Sir Granville Bantock, the adjudicator remarked:“We had from this party the proper clang of the bell. The phrases all through were beautifully done, with a splendid flow. It was a most vivid description of the piece all through. They gave us a most lovely and musical resonant tone, particularly the bass sound. They sang as if they enjoyed singing it, and I also enjoyed listening to it. I have no fault to find with their rendering.”There were also wins at Blaenavon and Pengam singing “Crossing the Plain”. Total prize money for the year was £139.
The victory at Pengam was to be the 70th and last under Mr John D Evans.The annual concert in 1933, held at the Olympia Hall on the 12th April, was completely sold out. The artistes engaged by the choir, Miss Nora Gruhn, Miss Dorothy Helmrich and Mr Arthur Fear were world famous. The first half of the concert was again broadcast by BBC Radio. The choir at this time had a membership of 122.
The annual meeting held in October was presided over for the 17th year by the Chairman Mr Joseph Nicholls. Mr J D Evans stated that he was delighted that the “God of volume” in male voice singing which had been worshipped for so long was being dethroned and replaced by more artistic singing.
Sir Walford Davies had written to Mr Evans after the former’s attention was drawn to the article in the local press.However, 1934 was to prove an extremely eventful year for the Orpheus.
A successful annual concert on 21st March was followed by Mr John D Evans tendering his resignation as conductor of the choir on 29 March. For several months, there had been friction between the conductor and the committee over the conductor’s choice of music.