All posts by Lyndon

Choristers attend first Anniversary of Sensory Garden

Choristers with the Pasha Pops girls

Caldicot Male Voice Choir has a proud history of raising funds through its activities and concerts for National and local charities and good causes. 2018 was no exception when it succeeded in raising about £4000 to enable the Severn View Nursing Home in Chepstow to create a sensory garden for its residents, many of whom suffer from dementia and related illnesses.
In recognition of this, through chorister Alyn Dawe, the home invited a delegation of choristers from the Choir to a first anniversary party of the opening of the garden on 11th August which is now beautifully resplendent in a multitude of colourful flowers and shrubs.

The small number of choristers present entertained the thrilled residents with a short programme of songs including Let it be Me, Annie’s Song, Stout Hearted Men and My Grandfather’s Clock.

It was a great pleasure for the choristers and the residents to be reunited with the fabulous sister singing duo, the Pasha Pops who, in period costume with genuine props for the era, entertained us all with their fabulous return to singing the songs of wartime Britain in the forties.
It was a wonderful afternoon enjoyed by all and many thanks to the Nursing home for the refreshments and hospitality

Choir Sings at Caerphilly Castle Wedding

Caldicot Male Voice Choir was delighted to be invited to sing at the wedding of Jess Andrews and Peter Green in the majestic hall of Caerphilly Castle on 9th August. Luckily the rain held off for the happy couple who met in the Tippling Philosopher in Caldicot (now closed) 9 years ago. Jess is a teacher of Welsh at Caldicot Comprehensive School and Peter works for a famous brewery in Caldicot. They are off on honeymoon to a fabulous tour of the Far East which includes Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Borneo and the Maldives.

The Choir was conducted by Shirley Anne James and accompanied by Stephen Berry. The Choir’s other accompanist, John Nicholson joined the ranks of the second tenors on this occasion.

The waiting wedding guests were entertained by the Choir with its version of the Everly Brothers hit ‘Let it be Me’ to be followed on the entry of the bride with the Welsh song ‘Yfory’ with it’s words of hope for ‘tomorrow.’ During the signing of the register the Choir further entertained the guests with ‘You Raise Me Up’ and the Elvis Presley hit ‘Only Fools Rush In’.

The bride and groom, Mr and Mrs Green were thrilled that after the ceremony the Choir sang its own arrangement of the famous Welsh Hymn, ‘Calon Lan’ with soloist David Gould. The appreciative guests left the hall to the sounds of the choir singing ‘Hen Wlad fy Nhadau’.

Photo taken by Colleen Gauntlett.

Choir Sings at Monmouth Gymanfa Ganu

Shirley Anne, all smiles.
The boys I love are up in the gallery

For the third consecutive year, Caldicot Male Voice Choir’s Assistant Musical Director Shirley Anne James, was invited to conduct the Annual Gymanfa Ganu at the beautiful Monmouth Methodist Church as part of the Monmouth Festival on Thursday 1st August. Shirley Anne has been conducting Gymanfaoedd Canu and singing festivals since her early twenties, beginning in towns and villages near her home town of Llandovery, leading to conducting Gymanfaoedd Canu at Marcross in the Vale of Glamorgan for several years.

This year was different however in that about 50 choristers of Caldicot Male Voice Choir travelled to Monmouth to support Shirley Anne and the event which attracted about 150 participants to the Church.

Conducted by Shirley Anne James and accompanied by Church organist, David Morgan and singing from the balcony (standing room only), the choir enthusiastically joined in with the mix of well known Welsh and English hymns such as Cwm Rhondda, Rachie, Ellers, Jesus, good above all other, Rhosymedre, Gwahoddiad and several more. The choir played a further part by delighting the audience with its own version of Calon Lân, conducted by Musical Director Siân Hatton and accompanied by arranger Stephen Berry.

This was a wonderful evening of communal singing, enjoyed by all who took part and the Choir certainly hopes to participate again next year.

Photographs by Colleen Gauntlett

Choir Sings for King of the Zulu Nation

The Choir in front of the Barracks
Flanked by Band of the Royal Regiment of Wales and The Zulu Bodyguard

Caldicot Male Voice Choir has a long connection with Royalty having sung before Queen Elizabeth II, The Duchess of York and recently the Prince of Wales.  However, perhaps its most unusual connection to date was to be privileged to be invited to sing before King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, King of the Zulu Nation at a Military Pageant at Brecon Barracks on Sunday 21st July.

The King and entourage of Princes, Princesses and his Zulu bodyguard were visiting Brecon over four days to commemorate the 140 year Anniversary of the Zulu War, the battles of Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift the subject of the 1964 film Zulu starring Michael Caine and Stanley Baker.  Following a pageant and re-enactment of the Battle of Isandlwana where over 1400 British troops were killed, Caldicot Male Voice Choir was invited to sing the three National Anthems, N’Kosi Sikele Afrika, Hen Wlad fy Nhadau and God Save the Queen as part of the Beating Retreat Ceremony at the end of the day.

King Goodwill watches us sing the National Anthems

Flanked by the King’s Bodyguard of 30 Zulu warriors in battle uniform, leopard skins and lions tails and accompanied by the Band of the Royal Welsh Regiment and Corps of Drums conducted by Major Dennis Burton, the Choir delighted the King with their performance before marching from the Parade Ground to rapturous applause from an appreciative audience.

This was a unique occasion in which Caldicot Male Voice Choir was proud and honoured to participate.


Caldicot Choir Hall paid host to one of its most unusual events on Saturday 20th July, namely the pre-wedding Indian Sangeet ceremony of Kiran Pabla and Dee Jay Bains. Kiran is the daughter of Charanjit Pabla and Uma Pabla from Rogiet. Dee Jay hails from Coventry and the couple were introduced via the Internet about 3 years ago. Romance blossomed leading to the ceremony on Saturday.

Attended by about 150 guests, the ceremony consisted not only of copious amounts of food, music and dancing but the offering of gifts, tributes and good wishes to the couple while they sat on a raised divan in colourful surroundings.

Guests came from all over the country and the USA to be with the happy couple and a thoroughly enjoyable evening was had by all. Many thanks to Charanjit and Uma for the wonderful hospitality extended not only to the guests but to members of the Choir who serviced the bar.

Wonderful setting for the future Bride and Groom

The Choir Hall in Caldicot makes an ideal venue for weddings, functions and corporate events including training sessions. It is equipped with seating for up to 200, state of the art projection and sound systems, a fully licenced bar and many other facilities.

Another Birthday Celebratory Cake

It’s become something of a tradition that if there is a special event in the Choir, Choir photographer, Colleen Gauntlett will on special request make a celebratory cake as a treat for appreciative choristers on a practice night.

In recent months cakes have been made to celebrate the thirty years service by Sian Hatton to the Choir, a Christmas cake, cakes to celebrate the birthdays of accompanists Stephen Berry, choristers David Kirton and Peter Hanks and assistant musical director Shirley Anne James.

July 11th saw Colleen bring along a surprise cake to celebrate her husband Lyn’s birthday on 10th July. Lyn’s favourite bird is the Kingfisher so the cake’s theme was of a kingfisher surrounded by a frog and bull rushes. The flavour was white chocolate with a fresh raspberry butter cream filling, eagerly devoured during a break in practice. Colleen commented that she does this because although she loves the Choir to bits, it’s the best way she knows to keep them quiet for a few minutes.

Fabulous Concert in Aid of Sepsis UK Trust

Caldicot Male Voice Choir is proud of its heritage of raising funds for charity and good causes and Saturday 6th July at Caldicot Choir Hall saw a new dimension in its efforts to raise funds for its adopted charity, The Sepsis UK Trust (Wales) this year. The event raised about £1800 for the charity which aims to increase awareness of this killer disease. It claims the lives of about 55,000 a year in the UK

A musical evening was provided by not only the choir but performing alongside us were talented soprano Kayleigh Hallworth, accompanied by Stephen Berry, who sang a mix of songs from West End musicals and shows as well as Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ and Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Songbird’ to delight the audience. Accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson and conducted by Sian Hatton, the choir played its part by singing ten items including ever popular ‘A Miner’s Song”What Would I do Without my Music?’, ‘California Dreamin”, the premiere of Paul McCartney’s ‘Yesterday’ and finalising with a return to Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.

Compere Stephen Dance eloquently kept the proceeding flowing with introductions and well researched information, while Terence Canning, Director of the Sepsis UK Trust (Wales) gave a moving presentation of the effects that Sepsis has had on his own and others. A video of Jayne’s Story was also shown.

The evening was also augmented by the choir’s musical director Sian Hatton’s piano recital of Bach’s Prelude in C Major and Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’. Sian Hatton and her husband David Gould had the audience in stitches of laughter by presenting a humorous version of ‘The Green Eye of the Yellow God’ with actions.

Finally the evening would not have been complete without the support of Merthyr based band ‘Wall Street’ who with their mix of dance and smooth music from the sixties to the present day kept the packed audience dancing to the late hours.

All the artistes gave their services freely to aid the charity and all are thanked for their support by the choir and The Sepsis UK Trust.

Choir enjoys June Krakow Tour

About 40 choristers from Caldicot Male Voice Choir, the music team of Sian Hatton, Shirley Anne James, Stephen Berry and John Nicholson and another 40 supporters left the choir hall to undertake a five day tour of the wonderful Polish city, Krakow on June 6th 2019.

On the first day, during glorious weather the choir enjoyed a short tour of the famous Wawel castle and Market Square followed in the evening by a performance in the magnificent Bazylika Mariacka (St Mary’s Basilica) situated in the famous market square as a guest choir of the International Cracovia Cantons Choral festival alongside choirs from the USA, the Czech Republic, England and Lithuania. During this performance the choir premiered its version of ‘Benedictus’ alongside ‘Cwm Rhondda’ and ‘Deus Salutis’.

The third day saw the choir follow in the steps of Copernicus, Chopin, Mendeleyev, Pope John Paul II and US President Bill Clinton among many others. The choir descended over 380 steps and walked 3 km to the depths of the World heritage site of the Wieliczka salt mines where the choir was privileged to sing ‘Rachie’ and ‘Deus Salutis’ in the incredible cathedral like cavern of St Kinga’s Chapel.

The fourth day saw the choir perform ‘A Miner’s Song’ as one of only five choirs to be invited to sing at the Festival’s Gala concert in the packed Philharmonic Hall to be followed by an hour long concert at the ‘Twelve Apostles’ church of St Peter and St Paul to a capacity audience. Musical Director Sian Hatton delighted the assembly by opening the concert with a solo performance of the Polish National Anthem.

Many of the group took the opportunity on the penultimate day to visit the nearby Auschwitz and Birchenau Nazi concentration and death camps where over 1.1. million people were murdered; a sombre, harrowing and moving experience, never to be forgotten.

The final day, before an evening flight home, many took the opportunity to visit the beautiful town of Zakopane overlooked by the magnificent and imposing Tatra mountains.

The Choir arrived home in the early hours of June 12th, exhausted but knowing that they had enjoyed a wonderful tour in a beautiful city.

Choir honoured to sing at Vice President Funeral


On 14th May 2019 at St Mary’s Church, Magor, the Choir was saddened but honoured and privileged to be invited to sing at the funeral of long standing Vice President Olive Evans MBE. Olive had been a stalwart in the Monmouthshire community, devoting her life to service not only as a school teacher and deputy headmistress at Sandy Lane school, Caldicot but as a long time supporter and vice president of the Caldicot and District branch of the Royal British Legion of which she and her late husband Gwilym, were instrumental in reviving the Branch.

Her service to the community included many years as a Monmouthshire County Councillor representing the Labour Party, serving two terms as Chairperson, the first woman to do so in 2004 as well as many years on the local Undy District Council. She also spent a large part of her life driving for Meals on Wheels. However, the Choir will remember her most for her long association as a Vice President and supporter of the choir. She joined the Choir on its first P & O cruise around the Mediterranean over 10 years ago.

The service was conducted by Revd. Jeremy Harris and included many tributes to Olive from local councillors, The Royal British Legion, Friends and Family. The Choirs’ contribution not only included singing as part of the congregation, Psalm 23, The Lord’s My Shepherd (Crimond) and the hymn ‘O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder’ but contributed two pieces, ‘Gwahoddiad’ which means ‘Invitation’ and Eli Jenkin’s Prayer from Dylan Thomas’ radio play ‘Under Milk Wood’. Both were favourites of Olive and the singing was greatly appreciated by her family.

Olive will be greatly missed not only by the choristers of Caldicot Male Voice Choir, her family and friends but also by the many hundreds whose lives she touched in her eventful life of service. Rest in Peace, dear friend.

Choir Visited by Icelandic Choir

Joint Choirs sing Calm is the Sea before the Afterglow

Sunday evening 28th April saw fabulous entertainment at the packed Caldicot Choir Hall when Caldicot Male Voice Choir paid host to visiting Choir ‘Karlakor Eyjafjardar’ from northern Iceland. The Icelanders had already performed at St John’s Church in Cardiff, visited Swansea and the Gower coast and watched Cardiff Blues play the Ospreys at the Principality Stadium before coming to Caldicot. Many thanks to David James of the Cardiff Arms Park Male Choir for his part in suggesting the visit.

Conducted by Gudlauger Viktorson, the Icelanders gave a rousing performance of non-traditional music based on vivacity and fast tempo mixed with modern Icelandic songs, Blues adaptations and even a small dance routine, much to the amusement of the audience. Like Caldicot, they also included their version of Sixteen Tons originally recorded by Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Caldicot Male Voice Choir, conducted by Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied by John Nicholson complemented the evening with a wonderful performance of traditional Welsh songs; ‘Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn’ and ‘Anfonaf Angel’, Cwm Rhondda, spiritual ‘Ride the Chariot’, ‘Sixteen Tons’ and ever popular, ‘A Miner’s Song’.

Following a superb buffet and exchanged gifts and presentations, the evening was rounded off by both Choirs combining on stage to sing alternate verses in English and Icelandic of the haunting ‘Calm is the Sea’. Incredibly, this was a superb performance without any prior rehearsal.

Finally finishing with impromptu afterglow singing, the Icelanders travelled back to Cardiff with the sound of ‘Hen Wlad fy Nhadau’ in their ears and memories of Caldicot and its Male Voice Choir that are sure to linger for many years.

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