Photos by Colleen Gauntlett. Left click on images to enlarge
The Festive Season continued in its full spirit when Caldicot Male Voice Choir carolling concerts with a local school continued with the invitation to the children of Years 5 and 6 of Castle Park Primary School to join in an evening of cheerful carolling to an audience of over 100 beaming parents, grandparents aunts, uncles and over fifty choristers on Thursday 14th December. The first surprise was that an unexpected return visit by Santa Claus thrilled and delighted the children who had already taken to the stage.
Introduced nervelessly by Mason of Year 6, the children gave an enthusiastic and talented performance of a wide range of poems and carols, opening with ‘Here we come a Wassailing’ (introduced by Violet) which is an old English word for ‘a toast’ – Cheers! This rousing number was followed by Sharima’s introduction of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ to which the audience joined in but needed picture cards to remind them of each gift brought by their true love. Cian then told us that Year 5 will sing Welsh folk tune ‘Sospan Fach’ and Cody introduced Year 6 to give a rendition of the poem ‘Colonel Fazackerley’ which tells of his meeting with a ghost which invited himself to Christmas dinner. Summer of Year 5 introduced ‘Something is happening’ a song telling of the story of Christmas and then Anoushka also of year 5 the singing of the traditional ‘Away in a Manger’ in which Evieanna, Brooke and Gracie delightfully sang the first verse.
In a change from the usual concert dress uniform of blazers and greys Caldicot Male Voice Choir took to the stage in colourful Seasonal attire and fancy dress of decorative pullovers and Santa hats. The Choir’s first half programme, conducted by Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied by John Nicholson included favourites ‘Casatchok’, ‘Christmas Time Again is Here’ sung to the hymn tune Llanfair, ‘A Christmas Medley’, ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Shepherds Watch and Wise Men Wonder’.
Following an interlude Caldicot Male Voice Choir returned to the stage to sing their version of hit ‘Silver Bells’ sung by many including Bing Crosby, Doris Day, John Denver, Johnny Mathis and many others, ancient carol ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ played in Supermarkets everywhere, ‘Joy to the World’, Bing Crosby’s famous Christmas song ‘I’m Dreamin’ of a White Christmas’ and finishing with a humorous rendition of ‘The Carol Singers’, originally written for the male choristers of Manchester Cathedral is a parody of the world’s worst carol singers in which they are finally arrested and jailed by policeman ‘old Bob Bates’ characterised by top tenor Bob Doggett.
Evieanna of Castle Park School Choir welcomed us all back to the second half performance when the choir continued to entertain us with a mix of ”Mary’s Boy Child’, sung to a swing time rhythm and a cheerful ‘Santa Clause’ introduced by Year 6 pupil, Naveah. Kyle then said that the words of a simple song were changed to make it Christmassy – ‘I Wanna Hear Bells’ We certainly did – it was that loud but wonderfully sung. In contrast, Cieran told us that their version of ‘Silent Night’ which followed was challenging because the last verse ‘Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht’ was sung in German. Well done for a perfect performance. ‘The true meaning of Christmas’ was told in a poem written by Tom Krause and introduced by Mason of Year 5 before the wonderful performances of the children were finalised by Noah of Year 6 with the loud hand clapping and foot stamping which came as an enjoyable and integral part of the invitation to ‘Come on and Celebrate’. It was a good job the staging was sturdy enough to stand up to over 50 children stamping as hard as they could to the rhythm.
The evening closed with a finale of Caldicot Male Voice Choir, Castle Park Primary School and all the audience joining in with the well known favourite ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’
The evening was a great success enjoyed by all and was a reflection of all the hard work put in by the weekly practice of Castle Park Primary School Choir, Their musical team of Mr M Jones, Mrs S. Wilcher and Mrs T. Withey, together with head teacher Mrs Kay Ford can be rightly and justly proud of their pupils. Many thanks must be extended to the School’s PTA who provided the refreshments and organised the raffle. Tribute must also be paid to all those choristers who helped set up the hall beforehand and to chorister Leon Jones who provided and set up the Christmas trees and decorations.