A WORKPLACE choir in Merthyr Tydfil has seen huge demand to get back together following Covid restrictions, with the group meeting virtually to sing a popular Welsh song.
The choir at EE’s Customer Service Center in Merthyr saw colleagues jump at the chance to return to singing as a group, after they were asked to perform a song for Welsh Language Music Day on February 4. The day was created in 2013 to celebrate and introduce people to music in the Welsh language.
The choir, created in 2017, chose to sing the popular Welsh song Yma o Hyd which means “always there” in English. The song, released in 1983 by folk singer Dafydd Iwan, has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent years, being embraced by fans of the Wales national football team.
The choir saw huge demand from colleagues at the center wanting to videotape the song, with those who signed up saying singing together offered a chance to ‘disconnect’ from the pressures of work and life, especially during the pandemic, and having fun with colleagues.
Elisabeth Williams, business adviser at the centre, said: “I love to sing and being able to do that at work was an amazing opportunity. I couldn’t miss the opportunity.
“I have suffered from mental health issues throughout my adult life. Being in the choir gives me a sense of belonging and it lifts my spirits and those around me. It makes me smile and laugh. J love the positivity that surrounds it and how no one judges anyone else.
Many at the center said it was also an opportunity to experience music in the Welsh language. Although many members of the choir have a basic knowledge of Welsh at school or through family, some said it was an opportunity to reconnect with the language and discover music in Welsh for the first time.
Business adviser Ayesha Griffiths is not a native Welsh speaker but now plans to find out more. She said: “Singing Yma o Hyd means a lot, especially after learning the history of the song. I plan to listen to and learn more songs in Welsh in the future.
Business adviser Carwyn Minard said he had a basic understanding of the language but had learned more Welsh as his daughter attended a Welsh school. “The Welsh language means a lot to me, and it frustrates me that I can’t speak it fluently because it’s something we should all be making an effort to learn.
“Our culture and heritage are integral to who we are and our language should flourish not just within us, but with future generations.”
30 people at the EE center joined the choir virtually to rehearse the song and videotape the performance between shifts.
It has been a busy time for the centre, with customer demand for connectivity and support reaching record levels. Customer data usage on EE’s network has grown 79% since 2019 as customers rely on connectivity more than ever for things like working from home, online education and streaming growth video.
Marc Allera, CEO, Consumer Division, BT, said: “My colleagues at Merthyr continue to do a great job and raise the bar on customer service. They are enthusiastic and passionate people, so I am not surprised that so many of them played their part in this fantastic performance.
“The pandemic has been a very busy and difficult time for everyone here, but they have risen to the occasion and done everything they can to keep our customers connected. Now it’s great to see them getting back together, albeit virtually, and having a lot of fun with the choir. The words Yma o Hyd – or “always there” – really struck a chord. And you can see what it means to be part of this incredible team.
EE’s award-winning Merthyr Tydfil contact center is widely known for its community work and charitable fundraising. It is also home to EE’s dedicated Welsh customer service team, the only UK mobile provider to offer dedicated help and support to thousands of Welsh customers.