November 14, 1857, Llwynbedw (near Cwmgïedd), Wales.

October 14, 1949.

Y Garn, Wales.

Son of Thomas and Hannah Morgan Rees, John had little schooling as a child. He started working as a pit-boy at age nine, in Ystradgynlais and Aberdare, but still somehow acquired a musical foundation. By age 17, Thomas was giving music lessons, with Daniel Protheroe was one of his pupils. By age 21, he composed a cantata which he submitted in an eisteddfod in Treherbert. He studied under Joseph Parry at Aberystwyth in 1879 then, with the help of David Jenkins, began to teach in Pen y Garn.

He went to Emporia, Kansas, in 1882, and in 1889 was awarded a Bachelor of Music degree in Toronto, Canada. After returning to Wales in 1883, Thomas settled at Pen-y-garn, near Aberystwyth. He taught an adult music class, directed local choirs, and was a part-time lecturer at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and taught music part time at Tregaron county school. In 1895, his string quartet won a £20 prize at an eisteddfod in Aberdare.

Rees became well known as a composer of hymn tunes and anthems, as a conductor, and judge at eisteddfodau. His works include:

  1. Penpark

where to get Rees’ photo