Photos by Colleen Gauntlett. Left click to enlarge.
Almost fifty members of the choir made their way across the border by car and coach to the beautiful setting of Clearwell Castle, nestled in a picturesque valley of the Forest of Dean. The romantically set venue, on appropriately St Valentine’s Day, played host to the wedding reception of Ross and Emma Millar who’d earlier married in the village of St. Maughans , 3 miles east of Monmouth.
Clearwell Castle was built in 1727 and in the 1970’s it was used regularly as a rehearsal and recording studio by rock music bands including Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Badfinger, Sweet, Mott the Hoople and Bad Company. Remember them?
Following in their footsteps but of a different genre, the choir were invited by Rob Millar, the groom’s father and a long-standing Vice President of the Choir to sing at the castle as the bride and groom entered, with their guests and we duly obliged with a medley of songs, earlier chosen by Emma and Ross.
From a quarter past four, as the guests entered from a damp, brumal afternoon into the splendid, chandelier lit reception hall and to a welcome champagne and canapé reception, the Choir conducted by Shirley Ann James and accompanied by John Nicholson and Stephen Berry opened up with the rousing Welsh Hymn, Rachie and followed by Bride and Groom selected Let it be Me, made famous in 1960 by the Everly Brothers, May You Always Have a Song, You Raise Me Up, Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love, On the Street Where You Live from My Fair Lady, Charles Aznavour’s She and One Moment in Time, originally written for Elvis Presley. It was famously sung by Whitney Houston at the 1988 Olympics in South Korea and is now regularly sung by our Choir.
Many of the songs were repeated as more and more guests arrived. The audience appreciated performance finalised with the Welsh National Anthem, Mae Hen Wlad fy Nhadau. As the choir departed for home, just as the rain started, the bride, groom, bridesmaids and wedding guests made their way to the long awaited wedding breakfast.