Category Archives: 2020

Bill Nash shows off his D M Davis Award with his family

Because of Corona Virus restrictions it wasn’t possible to present the D M Davis Choir of Jackson, Ohio USA awards made to our oldest chorister, 97 year old Bill Nash with Caldicot Male Voice Choir present.

These awards were sent to Bill in Bristol and Lyn asked if photographs could be taken with his family. His daughter, Jane Buckland sent him these yesterday and he thought you might like them

Others in the photos are his wife Eileen, daughter Jane, his son Andrew, another daughter Sharon and Ian, Jane’s husband. Bill is recovering from shingles and its good to see him looking well. Very best wishes from all of us at Caldicot Male Voice Choir and we hope to be able to see you soon.

Blood donor session at the Choir Hall

Caldicot Male Voice Choir has always supported local and national charities but this year it has been particularly difficult due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However it is able to enable the hall to be used for the Welsh Blood Transfusion Service and its next session will be on September 2nd at the hall. This will be followed by a session in Chepstow on September 11th. The posters say it all.

All precautions will be taken to protect you from any possible contamination be the virus during these sessions so please try to make one of them.

Crownhill Topsoil donates material for Choir Hall extension build

The new extension at the Caldicot Choir Hall is now underway and is thankful to Griffiths Civil Construction for starting it off by digging out the foundation trench and filling it with concrete. As soon as they have the resources the firm will build the blockwork up to DPC level and lay the base flooring,

In addition the Choir is grateful to Simon Stone at Crownhill Topsoil and Aggregates based at Caerwent who, after discussions with vice chairman Leon Jones donated and delivered 3 tons of sand to the hall on Monday 17th August.

The Choir is a registered charity which in normal years raises thousands of pounds for charities and good causes locally and nationally but the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 virus means that this year our events programme has not been possible.

The closure of the hall has also imposed many issues financially and although able to maintain the Hall the choir is not able to raise sufficient funds to progress the building work as quickly as we would like.

The Choir would welcome any donation or contribution to this project whether by labour or material donation. Please get in touch if you can.

PS The Leisure centre has let us have 2 parking spaces and Griffiths Civil Construction has supplied fencing and supports. Signage to follow. Thanks Leon Jones for organising.

Choristers work together to clean up slabs

Caldicot Male Voice choristers have not remained idle during this pandemic lockdown. Just like the other 8000 male voice choristers in Wales who are frustrated by not being allowed to sing together they are finding other things to do.Caldicot MVC has its own Choir Hall which while closed still needs to be maintained and cared for.

To this end a few choristers got together on Sunday 16th August to clean up some paving slabs ready for re-laying after the extension is built, do some weeding and clear the spider wildlife from inside. A small team of Leon Jones, Lyn Gauntlett, Chris Richards, Grahame Morton, Dai Gould, Russ Woodward, Colleen Gauntlett and one other willing volunteer busied themselves for a couple of hours to achieve their goal before getting together at a social distance inside to enjoy Dai Gould’s home made rock cakes and a welcome cup of coffee made by Grahame.

The Choir would like to thank all those who have contributed materials and work to getting the extension started.

Extension Build Started By Griffiths Civil Construction

This is where the extension will be built
Concrete laid in preparation for blockwork

If you’ve been over to the Leisure Centre recently you will have noticed that some building work is going on at the Choir Hall. The Choir Hall has recently increased its flexibility by offering the use of 16 round tables at various functions as well as rectangular tables and seating for about 200.

This has resulted in the need for extra storage space so all this furniture need not be stored in the main hall and so create extra floor space at events, concerts and functions. To this end planning permission was obtained to use the side of the hall to build an extension but building work was delayed due to funds being available.

Griffiths Civil Engineering are currently involved in renovation of Caldicot Town Centre and the company was approached by the Choir in February to see if they could help in any way as part of their community projects. Following this meeting which included a video presentation, Griffiths Civil Engineering agreed to provide the materials, equipment and labour to build the footings, foundations and brickwork up to floor level.

Work was delayed due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic but the concrete foundations have now been laid in preparation for the brickwork to be completed in the next two weeks.

Funds, equipment and materials will be needed to enable completion of the work so if you’re out there and are feel you can contribute in any way, please get in touch via our web site and the Choir will be more than happy to contact you.

Meanwhile, the Choir is extremely grateful to Griffiths Civil Engineering for their help so far into this project.

Choristers remain active during lockdown

The lockdown period to restrict the spread of Covid-19 has led to a huge restriction of several groups and societies ability to get together, socialise and enjoy their favourite hobby.

However, they have been keeping healthy and active with a huge variety of activities; never have gardens, sheds, allotments looked so well. Hundreds of little jobs around the house which have been waiting for years have now been undertaken and completed.
As well as painting and decorating, many have taken up new hobbies, revisited old ones by dusting down the piano keyboard for example, learned new skills such as baking and cooking and even started to learn a language such as Welsh.
The choristers and music team of Caldicot Male Voice Choir, like so many others cannot wait to come back.

Caldicot Male Voice Choir has been unable to practice since mid-March and its nearly seventy members cannot enjoy their favourite pastime of singing together at its Choir Hall. For most this is their major social activity and has really been missed by all.
Many have continued to work in key areas of the NHS, transport, essential retailing; others have been furloughed and many have been shielding or self-isolating at home.

Davey Scott Passes Away on July 5th 2020

David Scott with his Lifetime Achievement Award

Caldicot Male Voice Choir choristers were saddened to learn of the death of long standing chorister David Scott at the Royal Gwent Hospital on July 5th after a short illness. David was 85 years old.

David, (Davey, Dai) was a long standing member of the choir following his move from Scotland as a young man to work in the Central Engineering Workshops at Llanwern steelworks until his retirement. Never forgetting his roots, he nevertheless became an adopted Welshman by joining Caldicot Male Voice Choir as a second tenor in about 1966. Although he left for a short while he rejoined in the 1970’s, joined the bass section and received a 25 year long service award, alongside many others in 2013.

A long serving committee member and no longer able to sing in concerts due to ill health, he finally retired from the choir in January 2017 at the age of 82 but was still an ever present at the Annual and Gala concerts with his wife Ellen. He was delighted at the Annual Concert in 2016 to be honoured with the Choir’s Lifetime Achievement Award and conferred as an honorary Vice President. The certificate, presented by John Griffiths AM hangs proudly on his living room wall alongside his 25 year long service award.

Davey was a true gentleman, always willing to join in a friendly chat or sing along in an afterglow. He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew him, both in the Choir and in the Caldicot community. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to his wife Ellen and his family at this sorrowful time.

Rest in Peace, dear friend.

Footnote: The funeral will take place at Langstone Crematorium on July 21st at 10-30 am but due to Covid 19 restrictions only family and informed friends are allowed to attend. The cortege will be passing through Mill Lane, past the Choir Hall en-route at about 10-00 am.

Choir Hall Kitchen gets total refit during lock down

One of the few benefits of the shutdown at the Choir Hall is that a long awaited major upgrade of the kitchen facilities could be accomplished.
The Choir was fortunate in that a few days before the lockdown, Howden’s Kitchens of Chepstow donated sufficient cupboards and fittings to completely refurbish the out of date and worn out kitchen as part of its charitable service contribution to the local community.

However, lock down and social isolation due to Covid 19 came into force before work could be started. Fortunately chorister Leon Jones stepped in and volunteered to isolate himself at the hall, firstly to strip out the old kitchen, arrange for a new floor and final fitting as well as disposal of the waste.

With further contributions from Rhys Maidment of Klassic Floors and carpenter Andrew Little a new floor was laid and the units fitted.
The finishing touches, including complete tiling of the kitchen and plumbing in the services was then done by Leon himself, again isolating himself at the hall. The skip to dispose of the waste was donated by choir vice president Irwyn Williams of Woodstock Skip Hire. The paint was obtained from B & Q Newport.

A fabulous job done by all in very difficult isolation circumstances and the Choir members are extremely grateful for all who contributed materials, time and labour.

The final photos were taken by Leon who is quoted as saying ‘it was one way of dealing with the lock down’.

American Choir Honours Bill Nash

Bill with his family at his birthday. Plaque superimposed

Last January saw the celebration of the 97th birthday at the Choir Hall of probably the oldest and longest serving male chorister in the Country; Bill Nash who has been singing in choirs for over 80 years, even during his wartime service in the Royal Air Force.

Instigated by the Welsh Association of Male Choirs after seeing the report on Facebook, Caldicot Male Voice Choir was delighted soon after to receive a parcel from Wilbur McCormick of the D L Davis Male Voice Choir in Jackson, Ohio, USA. The parcel contained a Choir polo shirt, a commemorative plaque and a letter endorsing BIll as an Honorary Life Member of this prestigious Choir.

The beautifully made plaque mounted on oak reads:
‘In Recognition of his 80 Years of Service to the World of Music
BILL NASH is Awarded a Lifetime Honorary Membership by the D.M. DAVIS MALE VOICE CHOIR of Jackson Ohio, USA January 9, 2020′.

This is a rare honour, richly deserved by Bill. This accolade was due to be presented to Bill at the Annual Concert this year, but unfortunately the event was cancelled, Since we do not know when the Choir can meet again it was decided that now is the right time to make this award public.
Bill is at home in Bristol, is well and still learning his music. He has been aware of the award for some time and he and his family are thrilled and delighted that his long continuous service to male voice singing has been honoured in this way.

Many thanks to Wilbur McCormick and all at the D.M. Davis Male Voice Choir for this wonderful tribute. Hopefully we will be able to make the presentation to Bill personally soon.

Reflection by Andy Friedman on the Armagh Tour

On stage at Armagh Cathedral

Photograph by Paul Williams

This post is the thoughts of Caldicot Male Voice Chorister Andy Friedman following the return of the Choir from Armagh last weekend. Thanks Andy. Thanks also to Paul Williams for the photo. More to follow.

Caldicot Male Voice Choir trip to Belfast and Armagh: 6-8 March 2020
It was cold when we boarded the coach at Choir Hall in the gloom at 5:30am to begin our long journey to Aonach Myhacha cultural centre in Armagh. We were all wearing our blazers and greys and accompanied by our little Easyjet micro allowances for hand luggage.

It was a long trip by coach and plane and coach, and after seven hours we arrived near the cultural centre. A mere three hours after that we had tasted the local foods and of course the Guinness. We were fed and lined up ready to go onstage in a large room up on the second floor of the fresh paint scented new cultural centre. Then we did an impression of the Grand Old Duke of York’s troops, but instead of marching up to the top of the hill, we marched down the stairwell to the concert area, got most of the way down, stood for 15 minutes, and then marched back up the stairwell as the Irish carried on with their speeches and entertainments. We then marched back down and waited on the stairwell again, and then got to the small stage hardly big enough for the 40 strong Caldicot Male Voice Choir.

Shirley-Anne James was called upon at short notice to give a little speech in Welsh for the Celtic audience, and then we sang our two numbers Rachie and Calon Lan. Then back to Belfast for the evening and next day of being tourists before the coach back to Armagh for rehearsal and performance at the magnificent cathedral.

The trip was marked more by listening to music performed by others than giving our own concert. The restaurants and bars had musicians playing. The cavernous St Georges market in Belfast had entertainments including a yukelli group and a really magnificent guitar trio

Singing on that generous stage among the marble and concrete and under the magnificent staggeringly high ornate ceiling was a thrill. During our rehearsal it became rather obvious that one among us was jacketless. The errant jacket made a particularly spectacular entrance to the rehearsal as announced by the concert master for all to see a wee taxi driver come down the central aisle to deliver to Alasdair Stewart who towered over him and shamefacedly accepted that very expensive jacket. Much speculation among the choristers on the cost of that taxi ride for the imperious jacket. Alasdair did comment on how accommodating the receptionist at the hotel was in extracting the jacket from his room and organising the taxi. This was a theme among us for the weekend. Just how friendly and helpful were the people we met in Northern Ireland. I for one was not only given enthusiastic directions on request but was also taken to where I wanted to go by a few.

Besides our two numbers, Anfonaf Angel and Benedictus and three pieces sung all together among the assembled masses, we shared the event with more than 30 other ‘acts’. They were all of a high standard, with for me the highlight being the innovative and tear-generating rendition of ‘Danny Boy’. Many a sore bum was endured; but ears were delighted. Our own songs were well received by some from the other choirs who filled the huge space in the Cathedral and, particularly gratifying, from Sian Hatton, Shirley-Anne James and John Nicholson

Some sang and drank at the hotel until near 3:00am after the concert in the Cathedral. Many pints of Guinness went down. Amazingly on Sunday none seemed much worse for wear. After most were fascinated, and saddened, at the impressive Titanic Museum, we eventually piled back onto the coach for the smooth journey back to Choir hall, arriving at 00:10 Monday morning. A mere 19 hours before practice.