Derek Morgan, B.Mus.
Teacher, Musician & Organist
Derek Morgan was a school teacher, chapel organist and organ builder. He was born January 13th, 1934 to Lewis Morgan and his wife Margaret, née Harries. Derek’s father, who worked for Aberdare Urban District Council, died whilst Derek was still a young boy. He was for many years brought up by his mother at 6, Foreman’s Row, Abernant. Derek’s great grandfather and grandfather were deacons at Bethel Baptist Church in Abernant, a church which Derek also attended.
As a youngster he participated in the dramatic activities of his chapel, appearing in a performance at the Social Centre hall in Hurst Grove. As a teenager he was the accompanist for the Abernant Pensioners Choir.
He received his elementary education at the Abernant village school, transferring to the County School in Trecynon in 1945. He took his CWB School Certificate in 1950, the last year of the School Certificate. In the following year he gained a GCE O level in Economics. For A level he studied Welsh1, Music and Economics. He spent his university years at U.C. Cardiff where he graduated with a B.Mus. in 1956.
After completing his National Service in Wrexham, Derek came back in 1959 to his old school, Aberdare Boys Grammar, to fill the temporary post of music teacher for a year, while Gethin Evans was on sick leave. During this academic year, 1959‒60, as well as the Carol Service he rehearsed the school choir in preparation for the school concert2 in May at the Coliseum, Trecynon. The main work was Bach’s Cantata No.99, together with eight other miscellaneous choral pieces. Derek also conducted the orchestra when a 16-year-old pupil Terry Johns3 performed Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 3 in E.
On leaving ABGS Derek gained a teaching post at Bryngolwg Secondary Modern School, Mountain Ash, which became part of the Mountain Ash Comprehensive School in September 1966. It was there that he spent his entire career thereafter.
In the summer of 1957, Derek married Marlene D. Price at Calfaria Baptist Church in Monk Street, Aberdare. The couple eventually settled at 4 Plasdraw Avenue in the early 1960s, and brought up three children: Hywel4, Gareth and Eirwen.
Derek was the organist at Calfaria for a remarkable fifty years until the chapel closed. Not only did he play the organ there but he also undertook, with Jeffrey Lloyd (Cwmdare), a partial rebuild of the instrument in 19755. Later when the congregation reluctantly decided to move their services from the main chapel to the schoolroom, Derek located a smaller pipe organ6 in Cwmfelinfach, dismantled it and rebuilt it with several alterations at the schoolroom at Calfaria.
Derek also played the organ at Bethel, Abernant, and Bethesda in Abercwmboi. In addition, he fulfilled for a time the role of accompanist and deputy conductor for Cwmbach Male Choir.
In 2020 Derek and Marlene left Aberdare to live closer to their daughter Eirwen in Wantage, West Berkshire. Within a year of arriving in Wantage, Derek died in July 2021.
Gadael ysgol gyda’I lol,—a meddwl
Meddu safle siriol
Trin cloddiau hir ar dir dôl,
’Nawr ! ysgon fyddai’r ysgol.