S4C will pay tribute to the late Sioned James on April 7 with a programme honouring the conductor’s contribution to Welsh music and culture.

Llandysul-born Sioned died aged just 41 last summer.

She formed the successful Cardiff-based choir, Côrdydd; and Cofio Sioned James (Remembering Sioned James) hears from her friends and contemporaries about the woman behind the public persona of a disciplined conductor.

Among those paying tribute is Ysgol Gerdd Ceredigion musical director, Islwyn Evans. Sioned was a pupil at Ysgol Dyffryn Teifi, where he was a teacher; and was a member of several of his choirs.

Sioned was inspired by Islwyn’s skills as a conductor, and after she left school, they became friends.

“Sioned lived life to the full!” he said.

“I miss her as a friend, but I’m so glad I knew her.

“I remember her as a pupil in year 8. It was an exciting period musically for us in Llandysul at the time.

“If I remember correctly I was conducting five choirs, and Sioned was a member of every one, apart from the boys’ choir, but she wasn’t far from that choir either, eyeing a few of them up.”

Tom Evans, head teacher of Sioned’s primary school, Ysgol Gynradd Llandysul, also recalls her childhood.

“She was interesting because she was so small at school,” he said. But although she was small, she had a strong personality, she was a tough nut! She stood up for what she believed, even then.”

Television and radio presenter Heledd Cynwal, oine of Sioned’s closest friends, said: “We supported each other. I couldn’t have chosen a better friend. She was a sensitive person and a rock for many people.

“The first time I met her was at the Urdd outdoor activity centre Glan Llyn, when I was in Form 1. I remember meeting a tall, thin girl, with a dodgy perm and a brace. It was like looking in a mirror, because I looked like that too.

“I think fate brought us together as we had the same issues growing up.

“She had a certain spark about her and I wanted to be a part of that, because I was always looking for a bit of trouble myself, and she was indeed mischievous.

“Our relationship blossomed during that week in Glan Llyn, and from then on we became the best of friends.”

Côrdydd’s present conductor, Huw Foulkes, said: “This programme is important not only to mark her talent as a musician, but also to recall her personality and her amazing influence. I challenge anyone to think of a Welsh conductor who’s succeeded in forming as many contacts around the world; or in transforming Welsh choral singing.”