Obituary 6 July 2007
DANIEL JOHN HUGHES
Life Member of the Morriston Orpheus Choir
Daniel John Hughes, one of the oldest life members of the Morriston Orpheus Choir, has died at the age of 96.
Danny, as he was affectionately known, was born in May 1911, the first born son of John and Elizabeth Hughes. From that day on Danny's life was filled with Music. As a young boy in Pentrepoeth School, Morriston, Swansea, he became a member of the School Choir under the Direction of the late Ivor Sims, the founder of the Morriston Orpheus Choir.
During the war Danny was called up and became an Orderly based mainly in Italy where we are sure he found some of the talented Italian Singers with whom he could compare notes. After the war he returned home and joined his Uncle in business in Morriston, Swansea and remained there for a few years until he later became an employee of the Steel Company of Wales in Felindre, Swansea. There he was in charge of the Stores until he retired at the age of sixty-five.
The first thing he did when he returned home from Italy was to join the Morriston Orpheus Choir under the direction of the late Ivor Sims where he remained until he was over eighty. Danny and his late brother Cyril, who also became a member, were strong in their togetherness when practising their choir pieces in the home of Cyril and family, thus bringing the sound of song into the lives of his two nephews Rowland and Christopher and of course their mother Barbara.
“Danny came from a family where male voice choirs and competitions were their life blood” said Clive Williams, spokesman for the Morriston Orpheus Choir. “Initially, Danny, his brother Cyril, along with cousins were members of the Morriston United Choir, but joined the Orpheus when the two Morriston choirs united after the last war. As a family, they were all baritones, and Danny was accused of being a traitor to the family tradition when he transferred to the bottom bass section later in life”.
Danny's charismatic personality was the key to his popularity. On one occasion during the Choir's appearance in London, Princess Alexandra sought him out knowing it was his eightieth birthday and she had met him previously. She asked members of the Choir “Where is the Birthday Boy?”'. She met up with him eventually and took his hand in hers and wished him a Happy Birthday. They then had a long chat which was a moment Danny never forgot. “That was a moment in time when his charisma impressed a Royal Person” said Barbara Hughes.
Danny was not only a singer but also an excellent actor. He became a member of the Morriston Dramatic Society, his best friend the late Elwyn Williams being the producer. He played many different roles both in Welsh and English in the late 1940s through the sixties. He had appeared on television being interviewed on his favourite subject the Morrison Orpheus Choir and by his side was the late Orpheus chorister Denzil Jones. Danny had been a Morriston Orpheus Chorister since 1947. It became his life and he continued that dedication until the day he died. He was kept informed about everything going on with the Choir.
In his book, the previous Musical Director Alwyn Humphreys expressed his gratitude to Danny for his helpful knowledge about the Choir.
Ill health and failing eyesight forced him to give up singing in the last twenty years, but until recently he was a regular visitor to the Choir's rehearsals. “Danny belonged to the golden age of Male Voice singing in Morriston and he will be greatly missed especially by his sister in law Barbara and nephew Christopher who took exceptional care of him during the last years and to whom all connected with the Orpheus send our deepest sympathy. The Morriston Orpheus Choir was his life during and after his involvement with it” said Clive Williams.
“In the hope that he has now joined his late brother Cyril in the Heavenly Choir, we say Good-bye to a wonderful man Daniel John Hughes” said Barbara Hughes.
Mr Hughes funeral will be held at 2 pm on Tuesday 10 July at Swansea Crematorium.
Notes to Editors
1. The Choir holds rehearsals on Wednesday and Sunday evenings
2. Further information may be obtained from Clive G Williams or Barbara Hughes on 01792 520046.
3. Visit the Morriston Orpheus Choir web site at www.morristonorpheus.com