Due to Covid-19 restrictions Caldicot Male Voice Choir has been unable to perform its programme of concerts for about 19 months. A consequence of this is that it has been unable to recruit new members as well. Sadly during the pandemic a number of choristers have passed away or retired and have not been replaced.
To offset this the Choir has started a drive to invite men from the area to join. This began on Saturday 6th November when a number of choristers braved the freezing weather at Caldicot Town Centre to invite male passers-by to learn a little about the choir and invite them to visit the Choir Hall in Mill Lane to listen to its practice. To the choristers’ delight, several men showed an interest and promised to give it some thought.
Choristers will repeat this invitation at the two special Saturday Markets in December. Please look out for them. If you are interested please come along to any practice on a Monday or Thursday evening from 7-00pm for a listen and a chat.
You do not need to be a great singer to be part of this Choir because we all sing in harmony and sometimes in unison. There is no obligation to join so come in from the cold and have a look and a listen. You will be surprised.
At practice on 25th October Caldicot Male Voice Choir was pleased to present a cheque for £2375 to Wendy McManus the Community Fund Raiser for Wales Air Ambulance Service. With Gift Aid this amount will increase further.
Wendy is quoted as saying ‘A huge thank you to everyone in Caldicot Male Voice Choir for its fabulous fund raising in challenging times. We really do appreciate your support to keep our helicopters flying.’
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the choir’s charity events organiser, Tony Griffiths said that it has been difficult to organise events but nevertheless through golf days, cycling and running events and even virtual challenges, this amount has been raised.
Apart from concerts, the Choir’s charity events have raised about £50,000 for local and national charities over the past 10 years.
Next year the Choir will be raising funds for ‘Ready Steady Go’ a local charity based in Undy which supports the needs of autistic children in the area.
It was with the greatest sadness that Caldicot Male Voice Choir was presented with the news that long standing, devoted chorister Mervyn Roberts passed away at the Grange Hospital on Thursday 14th October. Mervyn had been ill for some time and suffered the effects of Covid-19 alongside other symptoms soon after being admitted.
Mervyn was born on the 4th October 1935 in Resolven, Neath and celebrated his 87th birthday 10 days before his death. Like so many others, he transferred from Port Talbot steelworks to Llanwern steelworks in 1962 as a Heater in the Soaking Mill at where he remained for 27 years.
Mervyn joined the Choir as a baritone in 1989 following his retirement and was unique, according to Musical Director, Sian Hatton that instead of singing up and down the scales for his voice test he sang ‘I am the Lord High Executioner’ from the Mikado. This has never been repeated and is a testimony to Mervyn’s sense of humour.
Mervyn served for many years on the Committee and accepted the post of Treasurer at the crucial time of the building of the new Choir Hall in Mill Lane, Caldicot. Mervyn was exemplary in this role and thanks to his diligence and attention to detail kept the finances under control and within budget.
Mervyn, along with many others was awarded a certificate and silver lapel badge in 2013 to recognise his continuous service to the Choir for over 25 years. In 2018 he was a warded a Lifetime Achievement Award and conferred as an Honorary Vice President in recognition of his significant contribution over many years to Welsh Male Choral Singing at Caldicot.
Mervyn also spent many years supporting RAOB (The Buffs) and helped raise several thousands of pounds to aid St David’s Hospice and other charities. The Choir is proud that it joined in enthusiastically to help The Buffs in its and Mervyn’s endeavours.
Together with his late brother Theo, Mervyn had a unique joint sense of fun and both are often remembered for their antics on the call to get on the bus after an afterglow by rushing to the bar to order a final glass of whisky. On many occasions one or other was in serious danger of being left behind.
Mervyn formed many long lasting friendships with other choristers and he would often be seen reminiscing about past events including his train journeys and outings to the Mumbles and elsewhere from his home in Resolven as a child.
Mervyn was a truly dedicated chorister and rarely missed practice or concerts and it is so sad that his long career, like others had to end prematurely due to the effects of the Covid-19 virus.
Despite the tragic loss of his daughter Susan, in 2018 and the effects of his wife Kath suffering a severe stroke in January 2021, Mervyn maintained his sense of humour and would always greet choristers with a smile or a joke. Many will remember being greeted often by Mervyn in a terrible Indian accent. He maintained a brave public face throughout but those close to him knew how much he must have suffered.
Mervyn was a much loved chorister, a gentle gentleman and will be remembered and missed for a very long time. Thank you Mervyn for your devoted service to the Caldicot Male Voice Choir, your continual sense of humour and kindness which has touched all who have been privileged and honoured to have known you. Rest in Peace, dear friend.
The Choristers of Caldicot Male Voice Choir were deeply saddened to hear of the death at home of its much loved Chorister, Wyndham Goodwin after a short illness on 18th September.Born in Newport on 21st February 1946 he joined British Railways at the age of 15 and served as a driver through the last days of steam until his retirement at the age of 64. Wyn was the last of the trio of bass singing railwaymen in the Choir consisted of himself, Roy Evans and John Wyson.
Wyn joined the Choir as a Bass in 1995 and served continuously for over 25 years. This achievement was recognised by the presentation made jointly by Musical Director Siȃn Hatton, Jessica Morden MP and John Griffiths SM of a commemorative lapel badge and certificate at a special presentation outside the hall at the end of June this year. Sadly this was to be Wyn’s last appearance with Choir. Because of Covid restrictions, Wyn’s last concert was at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh, Northern Ireland on March 9th 2020.
Wyn was a loyal and hard-working chorister who not only sang at many concerts over his long service but over many years was an active and committed committee member, probably best known for the long hours spent behind the bar with his fellow choristers Dave Kirton and Roger Francis.Wyn had a powerful voice and when the basses were told by the conductor to tone it down a bit, we all knew to whom it referred, but that’s part of being in a choir and often raised a laugh.
He was deeply fond and proud of the Choir and was often the first to welcome new visitors to the hall, making them feel at home and welcome. He was also extremely helpful to new choristers, helping them to blend in and feel comfortable in their new roles.Apart from the Choir,
Wyn was also an active member of the local Bowls Club and over the years, with his wife Dianne fostered many children. He leaves behind not only his wife Dianne but his son James, daughter in law, Joanne and grandson, Lewis.
The Choir offers its sincere condolences and sympathy at the sad loss of one of its most much loved chorister’s in Wyn Goodwin. Rest in Peace old friend.
The funeral will take place at Langstone Vale Crematorium on 29th September at 4-30pm. All will be welcome at the Caldicot Choir Hall in Mill Lane NP44 5DD from 5-30pm.
A selection of the many photographs taken of Wyn during the past ten years are attached. I hope they bring back fond memories of a real character. He will be missed but long remembered.
During the pandemic restrictions Caldicot Male Voice Choir has been unable to help charities fund raise through its concerts. However, it also raises money through its Golf Society, the Birdie Boys and its Cycle Club, Cor Meibion Caldicot Cycle Club which between them have contributed over £48000 for national and local charities in the past 9 years.
Events have included cycle rides, half marathons, golf days, walks and virtual events.
The Birdie Boys last event was on the 18th September at Llanwern Golf club to raise funds for the Welsh Air Ambulance, the Choir’s nominated charity for 2020/2021. 30 choristers and supporters took part and with sponsorship and a raffle raised £379 on the day, making the total for the charity though a range of events to £2375.A magnificent effort considering the restrictions imposed by lockdowns.
Many thanks to all who have taken part in the events and particularly baritone chorister Anthony Griffiths for organising most of the events.
The attached photos were taken on the day by chorister Leon Jones which explains why he’s not in any.
Caldicot Male Voice Choir is now after the pandemic restrictions have been eased, in a position to invite men over the age of 18 to join in a wonderful hobby by singing together with over 60 other choristers in the Choir.
In the next few weeks you may see this flyer appearing over the town. Please take the time to read it. Members of the Choir will also be making appearances at the special Saturday markets in the Town Centre when you will have the opportunity to talk to choristers about what it means to be in one of Wales’ leading Choirs, right on your doorstep.
Why not just pop along to the Choir Hall in Mill Lane on any Monday or Thursday evening from 7-00pm to see and hear us? Bring your wives or partners as well. They will be very welcome. The choir hopes to see you there.
The Choir was saddened last week 25th August 2021 to learn of the passing of retired chorister John Callow. John had been a long standing second tenor for over 25 years and was much liked and respected as a true gentleman. He was always among the first to welcome new choristers and help them to blend in with the choir with useful and relevant advice.
Notably for over 17 years, chorister John Callow had been diligently marking off on his little clipboard the attendance of every chorister at almost every practice and concert until he relinquished the role to Dai Gould in 2013 He has walked around the hall, sometimes despairingly but always hopeful, prior to every concert to determine which and how many choristers will be attending and whether or not they need the bus. He always, twice a year painstakingly produced a statistical summary of attendances showing the record of every chorister.
After over 1600 times, his town crier voice of ’55 here tonight!’ in every practice has been sorely missed (not always 55, sometimes more, sometimes less) because after all that time, John decided to put down the pen and clipboard for a well deserved rest. This unsung, but vital job carried out by John has ensured that choristers were aware of the need to attend practice and come to as many concerts as possible, large or small.
In recognition of his contribution to the Choir, John was also the first recipient of the newly introduced ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ and was conferred as an Honorary Vice President in 2013. He retired form the Choir in 2016. Well done, John for your valued contribution and membership of the Choir for so many years.
Condolences and sympathy go out from the Choir to his family and friends at this sad time. The Choir sang Gwahoddiad at practice on 26th August in remembrance of a much loved chorister.
During the pandemic lockdown, Caldicot Male Voice Choir remained busy by building a much needed extension to its Choir Hall in Mill Lane, Caldicot. Now it’s completed, it was pleased to welcome back Georgie Davies of Griffiths Civil Construction who generously provided the materials and labour to complete the groundworks, foundations and sub floor. This was a huge contribution without which the project couldn’t have started.
This extension now enables the hall to store it’s tables, including the circular tables to be used at weddings and its 200 chairs thus clearing the hall completely for other functions such as the Choir’s support for Blood donor sessions. The photographs show Georgie with Choir Chairman John Nicholson, Secretary Ken Cooper and Vice Chairman Leon Jones, the Choir’s project manager during the build.
Back Singing Together! Caldicot Male Voice Choir was delighted and thrilled to be able, with appropriate Covid-19 precautions in place to resume practices together after a 16 month absence.
Over 50 choristers assembled to sing pieces such as Rock a my Soul, Benedictus, Anfonaf Angel, Sixteen Tons, Calon Lan, Anfonaf Angel and Cwm Rhondda for the first time together for 16 months, led by the music team of Sian Hatton, Shirley Anne James, Stephen Berry and John Nicholson. The Choir also welcomed two new members Andrew Yearsley (Bass) and Bob Benjamin (Top tenor). Welcome both.
In a party but controlled atmosphere the Choir was presented with a celebratory cake baked by Colleen Gauntlett which was eagerly devoured by the choristers during a break in rehearsal. It was obvious from the choristers’ faces and smiles that it was a great thrill to be back singing together again.
The photograph shows left to right:
Karl Gregory, Gareth Thomas, Leon Jones, Ken Cooper, Colleen Gauntlett, Sian Hatton, Stephen Berry, John Nicholson and Shirley-Anne James.