A City Within a City Songs of Praise


A City Within a City

Huw Edwards looks forward to St David's Day with the people of Llandaff, meeting Wales rugby forward Toby Faletau and opera singer Kate Woolveridge.


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Transcript


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Nestled on the banks of the River Taff in a leafy

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suburb of Wales's capital city Cardiff lies a small but

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significant place in the cultural and historical landscape of Wales.

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Llandaff feels like a village, but it is in fact a city,

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with its cathedral, its shops, its restaurants and beautiful

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architecture, just a stone's throw away from the Welsh capital.

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Today we'll be exploring a city within a city.

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Llandaff, with its majestic cathedral and close-knit community.

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For many thousands of Welsh people around the world, this is

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an important week as we all prepare to celebrate St David's Day.

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Welcome to Songs of Praise.

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Today we see how music is unexpectedly transforming

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people's lives. We'll hear a Lion roar. We'll meet a singing gardener.

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And get to hear the Rolls-Royce of church organs.

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We have hymns from Llandaff Cathedral,

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music from the cathedral choir, and Welsh brothers Richard and Adam.

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-What is this place? Where am I?

-Leadworth.

-Where's the rest of it?

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If you're a Doctor Who fan, you may recognise this

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as the village green of Leadworth, the home of Amy Pond.

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This is in fact the cathedral green, right in the heart of Llandaff,

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a place steeped in history and religious significance.

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It's the home of the largest cathedral in Wales.

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It had its share of famous residents,

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and its high street is the location of Mrs Pratchett's sweet shop

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in one of Roald Dahl's best-known works.

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But before we meet some of the real residents,

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let's celebrate the spirit of St David,

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the patron saint of Wales, with a hymn tune that's become

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a powerful expression of Welsh culture, Blaenwern.

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Kate Woolveridge is one of Wales's most popular mezzo-sopranos.

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She's performed over the years in some of the world's biggest

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concert venues, including the Kennedy Centre in Washington

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and the Royal Festival Hall in London.

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But recently, Kate has gained recognition for another achievement,

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which led to the award of Inspirational Woman of the Year,

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using her gift for music to transform people's lives.

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So, will you offer this room your peace, and ask God for peace.

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Here we go. Twice through.

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Three, four.

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# Da Pacem, Domine... #

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The Forget-me-Not Chorus is a choir for people with dementia

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and their carers.

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And I've been involved in forming that choir,

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setting up the charity, for the last two years. We have fun.

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We cry a bit and we laugh a bit

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and we sing all the time for two hours,

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and we put on regular concerts and invite the general public to come

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and share our joy in singing,

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to understand that dementia is

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not the end of the world, actually, for the person with dementia

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and their carers.

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# This little light of mine... #

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Three of the choir's regular members are Jackie and George Askey

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and daughter Lynne.

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George was diagnosed with dementia six years ago.

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When George had his last stroke,

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we found it very difficult to do a lot of the things that we'd done

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together because we both loved doing amateur dramatics,

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and someone said, have you heard about the choir?

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So we joined it, and wow!

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It just... Suddenly there was a focus to the week.

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There was a great feeling of warmth between us all.

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And we were doing something we loved very, very much.

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It is quite incredible to see how music can bring couples together,

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and when you sing a love song with somebody who you've been

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married to for 40 years, but you don't know them any more,

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and then as you sing a song,

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the person with dementia reaches out and holds his wife's hand.

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Even though he doesn't know her name, and he doesn't actually know

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that he's married to her, but he holds her hand.

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And I've witnessed over the time, people who can't speak will

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sing a verse of a song with me, and the minute the song finishes,

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then that communication door, window disappears again.

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# Someone's singing, Lord

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# Kumbaya... #

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Caring for those with dementia can often be challenging, but does

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seeing a loved one suffering with the condition challenge one's faith?

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I've always had a faith, but it's...

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I wouldn't say with Dad's dementia I've been challenged.

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If anything, it's probably deepened my faith.

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You don't know what life is going to throw at you, it is

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filled with ups and downs and many blessings as well.

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And I think if Dad hadn't had his dementia,

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I wouldn't have had the joy of being in the choir.

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So life has got many blessings, really.

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So I'm just grateful for those.

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Working with the Forget-me-Not Chorus for the last two years has had

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a profound effect on the way I view life, and I think that we always

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strive, it's easy to strive for financial security and success,

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and actually, the only thing that really matters is that the

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people around you care for you, that you have love.

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I see the most phenomenal love between the people in the choir,

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and that's what matters, more than anything else,

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and the way you deal with the rubbish that life can throw you.

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# Ave Maria

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# Vergin del ciel

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# Sovrana di grazie e madre pia

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# Accogli ognor la fervente preghiera

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# Non negar

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# A questo straziato mio cor

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# Tregua nel suo dolor!

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# Sperduta l'alma mia si prostra a te

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# E pien di speme si prostra ai tuoi pie

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# T'invoca e attende che tu dedia

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# La pace

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# Che solo tu puoi donar

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# Ave Maria

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# Gratia plena

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# Maria

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# Gratia plena

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# Maria

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# Gratia plena

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# Ave

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# Ave Dominus

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# Dominus tecum

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# Sperduta l'alma mia si prostra a te

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# E pien di speme si prostra ai tuoi pie

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# T'invoca e attende che tu dedia

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# La pace

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# Che solo tu puoi donar

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# Ave Maria

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# Gratia plena

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# Ave Dominus

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# Ave Maria. #

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Now, celebrating St David's Day without music would be

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unthinkable, and in Wales we have more

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than our share of accomplished singers and choirs.

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One of our most popular is Only Men Aloud.

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They've built up a global reputation,

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and they've performed with some of the biggest names.

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THEY SING "O VERONA"

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Steve Hamnett is one of the members of the choir.

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He lives here in Llandaff

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and his deep bass voice is to be heard

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resounding in the city's gardens and churchyards.

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# ..in darkness That war... #

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'I've been living in Llandaff for about 28 years now.'

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Most of my daily life in the growing season is, I'm a gardener.

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I cut grass, I tend gardens.

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But singing is a very large part of my life.

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Singing in church, singing on stage.

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A lot of my faith is expressed through music.

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I first started gardening for my local church,

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tending the grounds around the church.

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And a few of the parishioners said, "Would you do my garden as well?"

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And so I started to look after their garden

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and the gardening business, as it were,

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grew from those first few seeds.

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I've got to say, I absolutely love it.

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This time of year, especially when the...

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the trees, the flowers,

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they all seem dead, they're still slumbering in winter.

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And then you start to see these

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first few little shoots coming through.

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And it's very appropriate, of course,

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at Easter time that what seems to be dead actually comes to life again.

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There's a great correlation between what I see in nature

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and what our faith tells us from the Bible.

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THEY SING "CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO"

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I started with Only Men Aloud, oh, about 11 years ago.

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I was at a particularly low point in my life and a friend of mine

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who was singing with the choir at the time said, "Come along,

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"it's a great bunch of guys, have a sing, have a laugh."

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And I found that to be the case.

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There's a wonderful comradeship in the choir.

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We've sung in so many wonderful and varied and interesting places.

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And great to feel that connection with the audience.

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It's a wonderful thing.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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As a lot of people do, in my teens and my20s, I questioned my faith.

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I wandered from my faith.

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But I did find that I had that deep yearning within me,

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and I came back to the church and I've remained there ever since.

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And even though, in difficult times,

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the last few years have been particularly difficult for us,

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I found that my faith has upheld me.

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In fact, last December, my father died

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and on the day that he died, I went up to see him.

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I felt there was nothing I could give him,

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I wanted to give back to him

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everything that he'd given to me over the years.

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All I could do was mop his brow.

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But then, I thought, I can give to him what God has given to me.

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So I sang his favourite hymn to him, quietly.

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Um...

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A few verses of How Great Thou Art. And...

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I left him in peace there, came back to Cardiff,

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and he died a couple of hours later.

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And I thought, what better way to end a life

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but with your favourite hymn in your ears,

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with your family having said their goodbyes, and...

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He's up with the angels there somewhere now.

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Parts of the original cathedral buildings here in Llandaff

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date back to the 12th century.

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It is one of the oldest Christian sites in the country

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and it's dedicated to no fewer than five saints.

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Peter, Paul, Dyfrig, Teilo and Euddogwy.

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On the night of 2nd January 1941,

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the Cathedral was severely damaged by a German bomb during the Blitz.

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But the Cathedral has known more recent turmoil.

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In 2007, it was struck by lightning

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and the damage to the organ was substantial.

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Since then, after an impressive fundraising effort,

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a new organ has been installed.

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It's one of the best in the world.

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It's certainly one of the biggest organ installations in the UK

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of the past half century.

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And if I play my cards right, I might be allowed to try it out.

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David, I know there will be organists looking in total envy

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at what you have here.

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Tell us about it.

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Well, it really is a fantastic organ and it came about almost,

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you could say, by act of God,

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because in 2007 we had a terrific lightning strike which struck

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the Cathedral directly and rendered the old organ totally unusable.

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So we went about raising the money and, in fact, it cost £1.5 million

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and we have a fabulous Nicholson Organ here in Llandaff Cathedral.

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Raising money in today's financial climate is not an easy thing to do.

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How did you go about convincing people this was a good investment?

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That was a difficult task.

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It's difficult to convince people in the pew, if you like, that we

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need a new organ despite the fact that they could hear the old organ.

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In fact, when this one was being built,

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we had an electronic organ and they thought,

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"That's a nice sounding instrument at a fraction of the cost."

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But this is the legacy that we are passing on to future generations

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and it will be here for a very long time indeed.

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ORGAN PLAYS

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Wow!

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-That was quite something.

-It's a fantastic sound, isn't it?

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Well, it's so powerful.

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-It's a bit scary really.

-It is.

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-Is this more scary than reading the news?

-Um, much more scary(!)

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I respect what you do.

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What is it like as an experience for you when you're at the helm of this?

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I get a terrific buzz from playing this organ.

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It really is a fantastic instrument.

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You can go right down to a whisper

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with pipes that are as small as a pencil,

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or huge, enormous pipes that are 32-foot in length.

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So let's get a sense of the sensitivity of it.

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-So very quietly, what am I going to do?

-We can start with a whisper.

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Keep the swell box shut.

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Then if you wanted to add a bit of flute solo above that,

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you can do that.

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Then you carry on as you are and I'll...

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PLAYS HIGH PITCH NOTES

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So delicate. It's a lovely sound, isn't it?

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David, thank you very much. I can't tell you what a thrill it's been.

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-Well, would you like to stay all day?

-I'd like to stay all month.

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# Make a joyful noise unto the Lord

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# All ye lands

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# Serve the Lord with gladness

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# Serve the Lord with gladness

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# Come before his presence to sing

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# Know ye that the Lord, he is God

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# Know ye that the Lord, he is God

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# It is he that hath made us

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# And not we ourselves

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# It is he that hath made us

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# And not we ourselves

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# We are his people

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# And the sheep of his pasture.

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# Enter into his gates with thanksgiving

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# And into his courts with praise

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# Be thankful unto him

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# And bless, bless his name

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# For the Lord, the Lord, he is good

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# His mercy is everlasting

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# And his truth, his truth endureth

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# Endureth to all generations

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# Amen, Amen, Amen. #

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Well, for many Welsh people, it has to be said, this is a cathedral.

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A cathedral of rugby. It's the Millennium Stadium.

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And one of its modern heroes is Toby Faletau,

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one of the world's leading rugby forwards.

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He plays for Wales and the British Lions and Toby's strength

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on the field of play is matched by the strength of his Christian faith.

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A fast, dynamic and skilful player, Toby's physical power

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on the pitch is in sharp contrast to his quiet and humble character.

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I guess I just enjoy playing

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and for it to bring me to where I am now has just been a plus, I guess.

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And where he is now is at the top of the international game.

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He's cemented his place in the Welsh side

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since his debut three years ago.

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It was June 4th 2011 and it was against the Barbarians

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and it was a great day, great occasion for me and my family.

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The result wasn't great but it was a great occasion.

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At the young age of 23, he's already reached the pinnacle of the game,

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but the journey to the top began

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a long way from the Millennium Stadium.

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Toby was born on the small Pacific island of Tonga

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before his father, Kuli, was invited to play for a rugby club

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in the South Wales valleys.

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We grew up in Ebbw Vale where my dad played.

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So he came over in '97.

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In '98, he came home and brought the rest of the family over.

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I just remember going to school, the first couple of months,

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couldn't speak English so we just had to go there

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and just pick out what we could from the other kids.

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As well as his two brothers and two sisters,

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Toby grew up in the Welsh valleys alongside his cousins,

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current England internationals Mako and Billy Vunipola,

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and it was here that his love for rugby began to take hold.

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We first started playing kind of competitive against each other

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in Mako and Billy's parents' back garden in Pontypool.

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We were there just going flat out at each other.

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We've had a few fights there with Billy and Mako

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but it's all for the good.

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For Toby and his family,

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the Christian faith has been a key part of their lives, and

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throughout his career, his faith has had an impact on his rugby as well.

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I say a little quiet prayer before I run out on the pitch

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just to ask him for a bit of help out there.

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After a game then, it'll be just thanking him for getting me

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through the game, no major injuries, things like that.

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I have a lot of faith in what he does

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and I believe things happen for a reason.

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And, with the Six Nations in full flow,

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Wales face an eagerly-awaited clash away to England in two weeks' time.

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And Toby may come face to face with his two cousins,

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Mako and Billy Vunipola.

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Not in the garden this time,

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but in front of many thousands at Twickenham.

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We've pretty much been in the UK for the same amount of time

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and we've kind of done the same thing.

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I've just been so close to somehow end up them playing for England

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and me for Wales, and the possibility of playing against them will be

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a great day for both families.

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Lord, we thank you for the song that you put in our hearts.

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Make us grateful for this land of song,

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its people and its heritage.

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And help us look to you as we face the challenges of life.

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Well, our visit to Cardiff and the city of Llandaff is at an end

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and what a fitting place to celebrate St David,

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the Patron Saint of Wales, in this,

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one of the oldest Christian sites in the United Kingdom.

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And we end with the uplifting words of Daniel James

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and the popular Welsh hymn, Calon Lan.

0:31:240:31:27

Only a pure heart can sing throughout the day

0:31:270:31:30

and throughout the night.

0:31:300:31:32

Next week, as Lent approaches, Pam is in Bradford to meet

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people for whom the season has special significance.

0:33:270:33:31

She introduces hymns from choir and congregation at the city's cathedral

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and the American star, Beth Nielsen Chapman.

0:33:360:33:39

Huw Edwards looks forward to St David's Day with the people of Llandaff, meets Wales rugby forward Toby Faletau, opera singer Kate Woolveridge and introduces congregational singing from Llandaff Cathedral.


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