All posts by Lyndon

Choir honoured to sing at Vice President Funeral

EPSON MFP image


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.

Shirley Anne Presents a Celebratory Cake to the Choir

Normally Caldicot Male Voice Choir gives out presentations and accolades to well deserving choristers, supporters and guest artistes but on April 29th something different and special occurred.

Assistant Musical Director for the past 17 years, Shirley Anne James decided that to mark her 60th birthday she would present the choir with a specially commissioned cake as a thank you for all the years of the choir being, to quote – ‘A real tonic to me, the choir is like my family’.

Colleen Gauntlett often volunteers to make celebratory cakes for the choir and on this occasion she was asked by Shirley Anne to make a special lemon flavoured one with a Welsh theme and as the pictures show, she was thrilled to bits with the daffodils, Welsh dragon plaque, yellow roses and all the other musical themes.

Needless to say, as always the choristers lined up to wish Shirley Anne a very happy birthday before enthusiastically devouring the cake in minutes. Once again, a very happy birthday Shirl, and thanks for the cake. Fabulous.

Presentations Made to Two Outstanding Choristers

Photographs by Colleen Gauntlett

At Caldicot Male Voice Choir’s Annual Concert on Saturday 6th April, following a wonderful performance by both the choir and its Guest Artiste, Rhydian Jenkins, two presentations were made to well deserving, outstanding choristers.


The first presentation was to long standing chorister Mervyn Roberts (who is approaching forty years service) of a Lifetime Achievement Award and Honorary Vice-Presidency by Jessica Morden MP, and John Griffiths AM, accompanied by Choir President Richard Evans, Musical Director Sian Hatton and chairman John Nicholson.


Mervyn is not only as a dedicated baritone chorister but was for many years choir treasurer. He was instrumental in obtaining and managing funds and the finances not only to enable the choir to continue but also to achieve the building of the Choir’s magnificent Choir Hall in 1996. Mervyn maintains a wonderful, dry sense of humour and is rarely lost for words so on this occasion he could not resist making a short speech to give thanks for the many years of friendship and joy that he has shared with the choir and he is truly surprised, humbled and honoured by the presentation of this award.


The second presentation of a Certificate and gold lapel badge by the same team was made to baritone David Gould to celebrate remarkably, 50 years of continuous service to the choir


While the choir, formed in 1963 was still in its infancy, chorister number 28, David signed up in 1969 and in his early years, he often stepped in to conduct the Choir in the after concert singing, when the social conductor, the late Colin Jones (who along with still active chorister John Evans also served over 50 years with the choir) wasn’t there. Thus he became known as ‘Jones apprentice’ and David has continued to conduct the choir in the afterglows for the past 20 years.


David has served on many Choir committees and also held the posts of transport manager, vice-chairman, treasurer and secretary. David, has a fine baritone voice and has featured as a soloist at many concerts, including this year’s Annual. In 2002 he formed even closer ties with the choir by marrying its musical director Sian Hatton.


David has participated in every Choir tour both at home and abroad with the exception of the tour to Scotland in 2017 when at the age of 72, he embarked on a tour of the Amazon jungle!
Both Mervyn and David are to be congratulated and thanked for their huge contribution to, not only Caldicot Male Voice Choir but also to the wonderful culture of Welsh Male Voice Singing.

Wonderful 2019 Annual Concert

Photograph by Colleen Gauntlett

Once again a wonderful concert was presented by Caldicot Male Voice Choir on Saturday evening 6th April at Caldicot Leisure Centre. Many thanks to all who came and supported us including special invited guests and vice presidents.


Soloist Rhydian Jenkins was superb with a fabulous demonstration of controlled singing expertly accompanied by Jeanette Massocchi. Dean Powell as compere was his usual professional, witty self and it’s always a pleasure to have him compere our concerts.


The choir’s performance was exemplary and many thanks to the music team of Sian Hatton, Shirley-Anne James, Stephen Berry and John Nicholson for their leadership and hard work.


The Choir included a wide range of songs from its repertoire including opener Men of Harlech, followed by The Prayer, part sung in Italian, ever favourite A Miner’s Song and the first welsh number ‘Llef’. Further pieces in Welsh were ‘Gwahoddiad’, a new version of Calon Lan arranged by Stephen Berry, ‘Y Tangnefeddwyr’, ‘Anfonaf Angel and’ finalising with ‘O Gymru’ arranged by Dr Haydn James who was in the audience. The choir was joined by Rhydian who sang the solo part in this item.
The Choir also premiered at the Annual Concert, Simon and Garfunkels ‘Bridge Over Trouble Water’, again arranged by Stephen Berry and foot tapping ‘Amen’ -This Little Light.


A presentation in the form of framed Certificate and gold lapel badge was made to David Gould for completing a remarkable 50 years continuous service to the choir (only the third chorister in the choir’s history to achieve this) and Mervyn Roberts honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award Certificate for his close to forty years of dedicated and outstanding service to the choir. Congratulations to both.

Great afternoons of Rugby 6 Nations Championships at the Choir Hall

The lights are out, the flags are down, the TV and projector are turned off, the screen wound up and the doors finally shut, but what a great series of events at the Caldicot Male Voice Choir Hall with the showing of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship over the past two months. A great result for Wales in winning the Grand Slam, the Championship and the Triple Crown and overall a fabulous five weeks of Rugby from all six Nations.

The atmosphere at the matches was further enhanced by a few items of singing by members of the choir conducted by Sian Hatton, David Gould and accompanied by John Nicholson. A really great sound which we hope will encourage some of the men in the audience to join us.

This was not only financially rewarding to help the Choir with its charity and concert work but also showed the people of Caldicot that we have a wonderful Male Voice Choir and a Choir Hall of which it can be rightly proud.

These events would not have been possible if not for the hard work put in by Leon Jones who had the original idea and who worked non stop to ensure a great success. Also it would not have been possible either if it wasn’t for the bar staff including not least David Kirton, John Nicholson, Sian Hatton, Wyn Goodwin, Darren Lloyd, Chris Nolan, Dave Gould, Chris Richards, Dave’s daughter Alison Kirton and her partner David Gill and more who turned up at every match to ensure everyone was well watered and fed. Forgive me if I’ve forgotten anyone.

Thanks must go to all those who donated the bread rolls and to Leon Jones for the non-stop supply of hot dogs throughout the whole tournament to keep us fed.

Also tremendous work was put in by the Hall team to ensure the hall was set up with tables and chairs in place ready for each match. Included were Garry Keeble, Peter Hanks, Grahame Morton, Gareth Thomas, Mike Thurman, Leon Jones,and John Nicholson and many more. Please let me know who these are. The same team were also responsible for ensuring the hall was set up for other events, parties and choir practice. A fabulous job by everyone.

Many thanks to Lyndon Gauntlett for designing and printing the posters and putting them on several Community pages Facebook every week as well as video clips and photos taken by his wife Colleen.

The whole project shows how much can be achieved by a willing team of volunteers who have the best interests of the choir at heart.

We would also like to thank all of you who came along to watch the games. We hope you had a great time and that you will lend your support to the Choir in future events.

This event will be repeated next year and we hope to be able to show many of the World Cup matches as well. Keep looking out for us on our web site and on Facebook.

Choir Takes Welsh Culture to Bristol on St David’s Day

On St David’s Day March 1st, Caldicot Male Voice Choir took a part of Welsh culture across the Severn Estuary to the far side of Bristol to entertain the residents of the luxury Audley Redwood Retirement Village in Failand, Bristol.

About 40 members of the choir assembled in the resplendent, modern Redwood Hall at the centre of the village to begin the performance. Conducted by Sian Hatton and Shirley-Anne James, accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson, the choir presented an eclectic mix of Welsh songs including well known Calon Lan, Rachie, Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn, Eli Jenkins Prayer, Anfonal Angel, Cwm Rhondda and O Gymru interspersed with a few English numbers including ‘On the Street Where You Live’ from the sound of Music and ‘Stout Hearted Men’. Sian Hatton included a delightful solo of ‘My Little Welsh Home’ and tenor chorister Peter Hanks presented a solo rendition of ‘Dafydd y Garreg Wen’ as a much appreciated addition to the concert.

Following grateful consumption of the sandwiches and french fries provided by the hosts, the choristers departed to a local hostelry ‘The Failand Inn’ for further refreshments and an enjoyable hour or so of traditional ‘Afterglow’ singing, led by chorister Dave Gould.

Choir Welcomes American Visitors

On 21st February at practice, the doors of the hall opened and the choir were thrilled to welcome two American visitors, Rachel Hultin (on the left facing) and Annette Miller. Both had travelled 4800 miles from Wheat Ridge, Colorado, USA just to hear us sing. They were leaving to go back home the following day and I hope they will have some lasting memories of us to take with them. They were given a much appreciated CD of our latest recording ‘One Moment in Time’.


Rachel’s comment was ‘A worthwhile journey indeed! My ears and my heart are filled with joy for the music’ to be further endorsed by Annette who wrote ‘ I believed we were coming to a concert. Imagine my surprise when I learned it was a practice.
I then felt I was imposing by being here. However, your members could not have been more welcoming! Thank you for letting us listen to your beautiful voices. You were fantastic!’


Many thanks for your kind words both and so glad you enjoyed our practice and that we made you feel welcome.


If any of you out there would like to visit us, please call in to the Choir Hall on any Monday or Thursday evening from 7-00pm. You will be made very welcome.

Choir celebrates Stephen’s 70th Birthday with Cake

On 18th February at Caldicot Male Voice Choir’s practice the choristers shared in accompanist Stephen Berry’s 70th birthday (the day before) by not only singing ‘Happy birthday’ once more but indulged themselves by partaking of a special cake commissioned by Steve from Colleen Gauntlett to share with the choir.

The cake was a 12 inch square red velvet chocolate sponge covered in fondant icing, with a buttercream filling and decorated with musical symbols and a hand crafted motif of Steve at an upright piano constructed purely from sugar and completely edible (except for the ribbon). Cake makers and ‘sugar crafters’ will appreciate the stress and many hours that were spent creating the cake but well worth it when her ‘choir boys’ appreciate it.

As with all Colleen’s cakes this was greatly appreciated and eagerly devoured by all members but leaving a piece for Steve to take home. Only crumbs remained at the end but Steve was able to take the model home to take pride of place.

Steve was heard to say ‘it’s a fabulous cake, exceeding all expectations and must be Colleen’s best yet. I’m absolutely thrilled’.
Steve has been an accompanist at the choir since 2007 and is also musical director of Newport’s U3A choir who also shared in his birthday celebrations last week.

We are all thrilled that Steve has had a wonderful 70th birthday weekend shared by all his friends (choral and otherwise) and family.

The Choir crosses the County’s northern border to sing at Ewyas Harold

Caldicot Male Voice Choir travelled just over Monmouthshire’s northern border into Herefordshire to visit the Memorial Hall at picturesque Ewyas Harold at the head of the Golden Valley and in the lee of the Black Mountains to sing to a packed house of about 200. The concert was arranged to raise funds for St Michael’s Hospice in Hereford and it is understood that about £2000 was raised on the night.

Compered by Tom Williams and supported by guest artistes, fourteen year old soloist Amber Powell and guitarist/vocalist Kirsty Thomas the choir performed on stage to a wide range from its repertoire conducted by Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson.

The Choir opened with the rousing hymn tune Rachie to be followed by a selection including the spiritual Ride the Chariot with soloists David Gould and Siân Hatton, the sadly tragic folk song Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn and inspiring African Prayer’ ‘Nkosi Sikeleli Afrika’ partly sung in Welsh.

Guest artiste, fourteen year old Amber Powell delightfully sang two pieces from her musical studies ”To Sylvia’ and ‘Where ‘ere you Walk’. Following with the theme tune from ‘The Sound of Music’ Amber left the stage to appreciative, well deserved, generous applause.

The choir continued by including two premiere arrangements of ‘Calôn Lan’ and the Simon and Garfunkel hit, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ by Stephen Berry as well as a ‘Miner’s Song’, ‘On the Street Where You Live’ from the musical My Fair Lady and ‘Stout Hearted Men’ originally from the 1940 film ‘New Moon’ and sung by Nelson Eddy.

Talented guitarist and vocalist Kirsty Thomas, who started learning the guitar at 13 years of age, provided a contrasting and entertaining performance of ‘Hallelujah’, ‘Old No. 7’ referring to a famous brand of Kentucky Whiskey and completing with ‘A Coat of Many Colours’ made famous by Dolly Parton.

The Choir returned to the stage to finalise with its versions of ‘With a Voice of Singing’, ‘Anfonaf Angel’, the partriotic ‘O Gymru’ and the well known favourite hymn ‘When I Survey the Wond’rous Cross’ sung to the tune Morte Criste.

The concert ended with the singing of both anthems ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ and rapturous, standing ovation applause for all artistes from an enthusiastic and appreciative audience.

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