Photos by Colleen Gauntlett. Left click on the image to enlarge.
The final concert of three in one week by the choir to support the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal and Welsh Warrior was an incredible event at the fabulously poppy festooned Caldicot Castle. Organised by Monmouthshire County Council on Saturday November 8th., an audience of over 1500, on a cold but dry evening were thrilled to be entertained by presenter and soloist tenor Wynne Evans, the Military Wives Choir who made the journey down the M4 from RAF Brize Norton to be with us, local artists, trio Rusty Shackle and of course ourselves, 73 members of Caldicot Male Voice Choir and the four members of its Musical Team.
Welsh tenor and radio personality, Wynne Evans opened the proceedings with the usual joke of original members of Dad’s Army behind him (wearing thin now Wynne), followed with his incredible presentations of ‘Tell my Father’, from the 1999 musical ‘The Civil War’ and the 1914 American song written to encourage the purchase of War Bonds, ‘Over There’ before introducing us to open our concert, conducted by Siân Hatton, Shirley Anne James and accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson with favourites ‘Rachie’, ‘The Rose’, ‘Mansions of the Lord’, ‘Yfory’, ‘Eli Jenkins Prayer’ and ‘African Trilogy’ (soloist Siân Hatton).
The Military Wives Choir opened their concert performance with a medley of wartime favourites including ‘It’s Long Way to Tipperary’, Keep the Home fires burning’ and We’ll Meet Again’ made famous by Dame Vera Lynn. They followed this with an enthusiastic rendering of the spiritual ‘Lean on Me’ and ‘Stay by my side, we can rule world’.
The interval followed where the audience tucked into a hogroast with rolls included in the ticket before returning to their seats in anticipation of more thrilling performances form ourselves, the Military Wives Choir, Rusty Shackle and of curse, Wynne Evans.
The return to the seats was greeted by the poignant presentation of ‘Last Night before we go to War’ by the popular local trio Rusty Shackle before Caldicot Male Voice Choir presented four pieces beginning with Welsh hymn, ‘Llanfair’, the moving Jean Valjean’s prayer ‘Bring Him Home’ from the musical Les Misérables and then the spiritual ‘Ride the Chariot’ (soloists Siân Hatton and David Gould) before finalising their performance with ‘O Gymru’ with Tommy Hole as the soloist.
Wynne Evans opened with the tenor favourite from the musical ‘The Man from La Mancha’ – ‘The Impossible Dream’ before the introduction for the second time of the Military Wives Choir who once again treated the audience to a mix of songs including ‘With or without you’, John Denver’s ‘Annie’s Song’. ‘Wherever you are’ – my love will keep you safe and finally the appropriate Gary Barlow song ‘Sing’ – sing it louder, sing it clearer. They certainly did! A wonderful performance on a freezing night.
Before the Remembrance parade, Wynne Evans closed his appearance and introductions with the beautifully sung Welsh prayer to the Lord, ‘Gweddi’r Arglwydd’.
The evening closed with a short parade by members of The Royal Welsh Regiment and Army Cadets before the playing of the Last Post. ‘At the going down of the Sun and in the Morning, We will Remember Them’. We were delighted that The Military Wives Choir had also made the effort to learn and sing the words and tune of ‘Mae hen Wlad fy Nhadau’ alongside ‘The Queen’ to fittingly end the evening,
Although a very busy week, Caldicot Male Voice Choir is proud and delighted to have supported The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal and the Welsh Warrior Charity during Remembrance Week to commemorate the one hundredth Anniversary of the start of World War 1. We are also thrilled that on each of the three occasions over seventy choristers and Musical team gave up their time to support all three concerts, not only on the nights but during long and intense practices over the previous two months.
Post script. The Military Wives Choir presented us with a beautiful, framed photograph of themselves standing in front of a Galaxy Transport aircraft at Brize Norton. This will take pride of place on our Choir Hall wall. Many thanks for the wonderful tribute, ladies.