The Choir was saddened but proud and privileged to be part of the Memorial Service to tenor chorister Roley Bennett at the small, local St Stephen and St Tathan Church in Caerwent on Monday 4th September following his sudden death on August 7th reported earlier.
Following a summary of 68 year old Roley’s life, spent largely in the Caerwent and Llanmartin area and tributes by Rev. John Walters including references to his wife Hazel and much loved extended family, his career both as a carpenter and shepherd, his hobbies of piano accordian playing in the JJR trio, his love of cars and mechanics and of course his membership of Caldicot Male Voice Choir, the moving service progressed with a solo rendition of Finlandia by his daughter in law and a first reading from Wisdom of Solomon 3 1 -9.
Over forty choristers, conducted throughout by Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied by John Nicholson and Stephen Berry, made their first contribution with Gwahoddiad (Invitation) a traditional hymn sung by choirs at many funerals. A second reading by Rev. Waters of Revelation to St John 21, 1 -7 was followed with the communal singing of The Lord is My Shepherd (Crimond).
Moving and sad poetic memories were made by members of Roley’s family before the Choir sang one of Roley’s favourites, Eli Jenkins Prayer (Troyte’s chant) before more memories and tributes were made by family members before Prayers were offered by Rev. Waters..
Prior to the Congregation singing the well know hymn ‘Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer’ the choir movingly sang Malotte’s version of the Lord’s Prayer and following the Blessing and final prayers, closed the service with Verdi’s Slave song of the Nabucco, ‘Speed Your Journey’.
Fittingly to reflect Roley’s sense of fun and love of music the Recessional Music, played by Stephen Berry on the church organ was the well known Queen song ‘We are the Champions’.
The Choir’s thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to wife Hazel, Roley’s extended family and to all who loved such a gentle giant. With his passing a light has gone out in many lives but endearing, treasured memories will live long in all who were privileged to know him. Rest in Peace, Roley.