Category Archives: 2010

Over 25 Years Service

From ‘The Libretto’ – November 2010

8th October 2010
Over 25 Years Service

Left to right: J. GRIFFITHS A.M., M. REED, J. VIRGO, R. DOGGETT, R. BENNETT, C. JONES, L. LYNCH, K. GIBBS, A. CASWELL, R. SHUCK, D. GOULD, L. JONES, P. HESLOP, T. HOLE, D. CHOWN, B. NASH, V. LEWIS, D. KING, R. JONES, J. EVANS, G. SOTTON, O. HOWELL, D. SCOTT and S. HATTON. Given Awards but not in picture: J. WILLIAMS and E. DAVIES (names in bold gave the presentations).

A fantastic night was had by all when the


Choir honoured members that have given 25 years or more service to the choir. The night was very special as many choristers had family members to share this special night.

The night was well supported by choristers not receiving awards, this goes to show how well respected by the rest of the choir these men are. It’s was also great to see Dave Chown receive his award and looking so well after his illness and we hope to see him back singing soon.

Haydon Davies

From ‘The Libretto’ – November 2010

The choir also lost a past member in Haydon Davies. Haydon was the choirs first P.R.O. and I have been informed he did a remarkable job in getting the choir known across the country and on T.V. and Radio. He was well liked and respected by choristers past and present. Again we pass on our deepest sympathy to his family.

Liz Evans

From ‘The Libretto’ – November 2010

The sad news of Liz Evans passing away was felt deep in the choir. Liz was well liked and well respected by Choristers and families. I know we all pass on our deepest sympathy to Richard and his family.

The choir will be holding a remembrance service for Liz on Thursday, 25th November at St. Mary’s Church, Magor.

2010 Cruise

From ‘The Libretto’ – November 2010

 

Well the cruise is over and it was a great success for the choir regarding the concerts. We achieved the same response as we did 2 years ago on the Oriana with both theatre concerts resulting in standing ovations. It was a shame that we were not treated the same as 2 years ago and having witnessed the lack of commitment and respect given to Leon and Roy, I must applaud them for all the hard work they did on our behalf.

Siân once again showed her worth when she compered, conducted and played the piano for Eleri. Steve and Shirley Ann were again total professionals (even though they can not tell the time, along with Dave Currie). Eleri added an extra special touch to the concerts. Her singing at times moved you almost to tears. She put the so called Stars and Celebrity on the cruise to shame with her perfect singing (words from a passenger on-board).

Also a big thank you to all the ladies who sold CD’s, badges and calendars.

Please send me your holiday snaps for the Libretto.

LOVIN’ IT! (Going on-stage)

From ‘The Libretto’ – November 2010

LOVIN’  IT! Ramblings of a Chorister

In October’s ‘The Libretto’ under ZEN TEACHINGS there was a suggestion that if at first you don’t succeed, sky diving is not for you.  Might I suggest the same applies to paragliding off a 7000ft mountain in Turkey.  Funnily enough, that’s not when I did most damage to my leg.  I fell off a one inch pebble in the garden, partly tore my Achilles tendon and tried swimming before it had healed to complete the job properly!   Exercise can be dangerous!

I was in the bath the other night (Coll insists), watching my little plastic boat sail around Gran Canaria, followed closely by a little yellow duck and a pretty little blue dolphin, when I was reminded of all of you on the cruise and wondered if you were thinking of the ones you’d left behind and if you’d ever see them again.  Then I realised that you weren’t under sail bound for Botany Bay, and I thought ‘Don’t be silly!  You’d all be in the bar.’

Anyway, I was beginning to miss you all and looking forward to you coming back and doing our next concert.  Because one of the things I love about this choir is going on stage.

We’re all in what passes for the changing room, making final adjustments to our belts and braces, trying to hang up our bags on a non-existent rail but they keep falling down.  “Anyone got a spare pair of cufflinks?”  “Are we wearing our waistcoats, now or later?”  “Any fluff on my coat?”  “No, only on the Potters!”  The humour and camaraderie never ceases to amaze me.

Now the moment we‘ve all been waiting for.  Mike shouts “Listen to me!  Listen up!  We’re going to line up outside in four rows, tenors to the left, back row followed by baritones and then basses, then the third row, tenors first and so on”.  It’s the ‘so on’ bit that totally confuses us. Besides it’s raining!  “Where do we line up?”  Someone wasn’t listening or couldn’t hear because of all the chatter.  Nevertheless, Mike carries on with “it’s a bit crowded in there but they have provided enough chairs for forty of us.”  Bearing in mind that there’s sixty five of us (this is fiction after all) we can see that there’s going to be a mad dash and a scrum for these seats when the solo performer comes on.  Tactical plans are already being discussed and drawn up for the forthcoming battle.

“Right!  There’s a good crowd out there tonight so when we go in I don’t want any talking like last time.  Hang on!  There are eight baritones in the second row and none in the back.  That’s not right.  How did that happen?”   It seems to happen every time – who’s on a wind-up? So there’s lots of jostling before reluctantly four choose to go into the back row.  Inevitably, they’re the shortest!   Is it because the taller ones are harder to shift?

“When you come off the stage, I want you to break in the centre between Roy and Leon and go to the left and right in single file, row by row.  Go to the back and come down the sides to the seats over by the organ” orders Mike.  Now ‘ang  on, this is getting a bit involved.  Are we Welsh Guards at Trooping the Colour or what?  Ah well, just follow the rest and it’ll be alright?  Trouble is all sixty five of us are thinking the same.  At least we’re in unison!

Off we go in line, shepherded in by Mike as if we’ve got an appointment with Madame Guillotine.  Heads up boys, you’re not going to lose them!  Look enthusiastic as if you’re enjoying yourselves!  No talking and face the front.   All these thoughts are going through our minds. Well mine anyway, but I’m new to this.   We get on the stage more or less in order, not too much chatter and face the front.   Siân gets on the podium, about half of us can’t see her, the piano starts up and off we go, perfectly on time with ‘Llanfair’.   LOVIN’ IT.

We get through half a dozen more pieces to rapturous applause, but now it’s only fair to let the solo artist have a go, so we get the signal to leave the stage.  Leon goes off first with Roy alongside up the centre aisle.  Then Merv is alongside Roger.  Going like clockwork  so far, but then the second row decide they should leave at the same time as the first, but all go to the left because that’s closer to the seats, joined quickly by the third and then the fourth so all semblance of order, like the charge of the Light Brigade, has evaporated.  Mike’s face is a picture of despair, but at least we’re not talking.

The soloist has finished and it’s time for a break, but where do we go and have they laid any drinks on?   They have, but it’s orange squash mixed far too strong so it burns the back of the throat and with half of us having a blood sugar problem, do they want to kill us?  We weren’t that bad in the first half, were we?

Soon it’s time to go outside to line up again for the second half.  This time we’ve got the hang of it. Four rows, equal numbers in each row except we’re 3 tenors short (no, not those).  “We think they’re in the loo” suggests someone. “Well tell ’em to get a move on, it’s piddling down out here as well!”   Or words to that effect!  We all get together; finally in order and with raindrops on our jackets and heads fetchingly glistening under the lights, we march proudly back onto the scaffold, sorry, I mean stage, with chattering teeth, dripping hair and hyperactive from excess sugar and E numbers.  We line up with military precision in our assigned places and wait for Siân to start – and she signals us to SMILE!   Wonderful sense of humour.  LOVIN’ IT!

Lyn (Baritone, maybe)

Concert: Cirencester

From ‘The Libretto’ – October 2010

Aunty Sian’s Page

Well, what a wonderful concert! After the small hiccup with the bus breaking down, you all gave one of the best performances I have ever heard, especially in an “away” concert. Every piece was sang superbly and the packed audience certainly had a good, fine evenings entertainment.

It was a fitting end to what has been a very successful connection with Cirencester, I was sp pleased that that it went well for Margret and Alan. They have been very faithful and supportive Vice Presidents and they deserved to finish on a high.

It was good to see that there was a substantial number on stage for this concert as we often travel away to a venue with a poor turnout. Please keep up the good work for future concerts.

LOVIN’ IT! (Voice Tests)

From ‘The Libretto’ – October 2010

LOVIN’  IT! Ramblings of a Chorister

As you get older you tend to fall over more often.  The question becomes not how do you get up but what can you do when you’re down there?  Recently, while down on the ground, I reminisced that one of my best moments in the choir was doing the voice tests with Siân.

I’d been coming to practice nights for about 3 weeks when Siân came across to me and said “About time you did your first voice test, Lyn” so I followed her meekly into the back room (thinking – I need the toilet).  She sat down at the piano and asked if I’d ever sung before. “Never had much to sing about really, especially when I’m in the bath and look down” I said glibly.   I soon learned that it doesn’t pay to be flippant with Siân.  “Do you know what range your voice is in? “   she asked with a ‘tut’.  “I don’t think I’m mezzo soprano, baritone maybe”  I hazard a guess.  Sian raised her eyebrows and thought  “Oh, my God!  Not another comedian, we’ve got plenty of them!”  You could see it in the eyes!  Maybe I didn’t learn fast enough.

“Try and follow these notes” as she hit middle C.  I tried my best and squawked out something resembling the peacocks at Farthing House.

“Let’s go a little lower” suggested Siân helpfully.  How low can one get, I thought?  At around D (Bass clef) I think I’m getting the hang of it when Siân goes nearly an octave lower to Eb.  “I just want to see how low you can go”.  Short of limbo dancing under the piano, I couldn’t see how much lower I could get, but I don’t think that’s what she meant.  “Well you did alright and you are definitely a baritone, welcome to the choir.” LOVIN’ IT!

It was announced that I’d passed my first voice test to stuttered applause and I was shoved in between Dai Kirton and Leon Jones as my mentors.  Oh Joy!  Second row!  No hiding place!

This was loads of fun (sic) and they taught me a lot, encouraging me with digs in the ribs and enthusing me with”sing higher, you’re too low!”  I tried standing on a chair, but that’s not what they meant either.  “Perhaps you ought to be in the Bass section” they often suggested, but I thought -“ No, Siân said I was a baritone so a baritone I’ll be”.  I persevered, especially with   the breathing. You can’t sing unless you breathe, I was told.  I’ve also learned that you must use your brain and smile as well – that’s hard!  There’s a lot to learn in this choir, you know!

After 3 more months I was invited to do my second voice test.

Siân asked “What do you want to sing, Lyn?”   Like a rabbit caught in the headlights, my brain went dead and I offered “SHE”.   Big mistake!  We went into the back room and Sian sang the tenor bit at the beginning.  Going pretty well so far I thought.  Not much wrong with that.   I started singing She may be the song that Summer sings nicely, but when I got to She may be the chill that Autumn brings’ the  chill went right down my spine and I more or less froze.  By the time I got to the ‘Oooos’ I’d lost it totally.  Couldn’t remember the words!   Gone! Mercifully to both sets of ears, Sian stopped playing and remarked “Well, you’re nearly there, Lyn.  We’ll try again next week and sing something different.”   I thought ‘Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk’ might be best, but we hadn’t practised that!   NOT SO LOVIN’ IT now!

Anyway, I asked Dai if he’d do the honours and come in with me and I’d sing ‘Take me Home’ which to me at the time was more a wishful thought than a song.  Siân struck up the piano and this time, with Dai’s encouragement we started on ‘I remember the face of my father’.  When we got to ‘I remember my mother was smiling’ it was going really well.  When I left home at the tender age of 18,   I remember my mother laughing her head off and throwing a party after I’d gone so that was appropriate, and can you blame her?

We were in tune and going at the right pace and I hit the high notes as well!   Siân stopped playing after the chorus and commented “That was good, very, very good!”  (She did, really!) “You’ve passed. You can now do concerts!  Can you read music?”  LOVIN’ IT!

I went back into the hall and Mike told me to go between Vince and Tommy and that’s when my troubles really started.  After a few bars of Tydi a Roddaist, they both said, “Perhaps you should be in the Basses, Lyn.  You’re not going high enough.”   Here we go again, more sore ribs!   Perhaps I need a step-ladder. But that’s another story.  At least they shared the Potters Throat Lozenges – even Tom sometimes – after he’d brushed the fluff off.

LOVIN’ IT!

Lyn (Baritone, maybe)

New Uniform

From ‘The Libretto’ – September 2010

I for one would like to thank the Choir Committee on the decision to supply the new Blazers & Greys for the choir. When we go on stage in our number ones we look fantastic, as we are dressed the same, unfortunately the same can not be said about the Blazers and Greys we wear at the moment. Different variation on the grey trousers and blazers not matching makes us look 2nd rate. So I applaud the chairman and the committee for getting it right on this occasion.

LOVIN’ IT! (Weddings)

From ‘The Libretto’ – August 2010

LOVIN’  IT! Ramblings of a Chorister

After going to my eldest step-son’s wedding in Cyprus, (he took a bigger leap there than I did in Turkey), I sat back and reflected, while sitting on a beach in Agia Napa (yes, really), on why I love going to WEDDINGS with the choir.

I’m reminded of a Mr and Mrs competition we entered soon after I married Coll.  I was asked “What’s your wife’s favourite flower, Lyn?  I thought carefully for a while and after a flash of inspiration said “Homepride!”  I wasn’t in hospital for long and the scars don’t show anymore..

We all meet up in the churchyard, smartly dressed in our blazers and greys and play the traditional game of finding the oldest gravestone in the cemetery.  “Look at this – Elias Jenkins – Died 1832  Aged 90 years.  Alongside his wife Sarah, Born 1814 Died 1914 Aged 100.”  Wonder what poor Elias died of?  Do the maths!  Did he have a heart attack, I wonder?

Anyway, we all troop into the church and squeeze ourselves like sardines into the choir stalls.  “Don’t stand over there with the tenors, Lyn.  You’ll only get confused” advises Siân.  “But the baritones won’t let me in!” says I.  “Turn sideways and make some room”  and they finally relent, but make sure I’m squeezed up tight against a pew so I can’t breathe or sing.

“What are we singing?”  “Fight the Good Fight” is the inevitable answer, but we never do (one day, one day!).  How about ‘Oft in Danger, oft in woe’ – that’s never been done.  “I had that at my wedding” comes a shout from the back.  I’m LOVIN’ IT!   I really am!

Shirley Ann commands sternly, “Now boys, watch me and keep your eyes off that blonde in the third row”.  Good of her to point her out, some of us hadn’t noticed.  We had our eyes fixed on the bust of a brunette in the fourth.

We all take a deep breath, start the first hymn and go for it with such gusto that we finish three bars ahead of the organist before the first verse is over.  What would we do with the “Galloping Major”?  Doesn’t bear thinking about!   Sounds like he needs a dose of Imodium.

We come to the ‘Anyone know of any just impediment ….?’ bit. Necks are craning to the back and many are hoping beyond hope that there will be some response, but there never is.  Dustin Hoffman (The Graduate) never bursts in and neither does Dudley Moore. But the bride is not Bo Derek (‘10’) either.  If she was we wouldn’t be able to sing but we’d all enjoy ourselves.

The bride and groom make their vows and are declared ‘Husband and Wife’. “You may kiss the bride” and half the choir have wishful thoughts “What about us, never mind about him!  What’s he done to deserve that?”  “Go on, give her a good ‘un!” Behave, you’re in Church!

The other half of the choir has mixed thoughts, wistfully dreaming of fond memories and wonder if she’s a good cook, can do the washing and ironing or make a bed.

There’s always one who bursts out with “An’ another one’s gone,  an’  another one’s gone, another one bites the dust!” – just a bit too loudly. Who’s the cynical Queen fan then?  Who thinks he’s Freddie Mercury?  The groom is humming “I Want to Break Free”.  No escape now.

We sing ‘Somewhere Out There’, ‘She’ and ‘Yfory’, while the bride and groom sign their lives away and think of tonight.  Shirley Ann smiles and says “Well done, boys!  Da iawn!  The tenors were really good” and we make our way home or to the pub. Some of us  are not quite sure where to go in the middle of the afternoon.  Tesco?

LOVIN’ IT!

Lyn (Baritone, maybe)

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