Photo by Colleen Gauntlett
Described in the poem ‘Usk’ by T.S. Eliot, the 15th century, family run White Hart Village Inn in Llangybi once owned by Henry VIII and part of his dowry to Jane Seymour, has in its long history echoed to the sound of the chants of Cistercian Monks and to the tramp of Cromwellian army boots. Nothing however has compared to the sounds of Caldicot Male Voice Choir when it turned up to entertain the patrons and diners with its Christmas carolling on December 15th.
Standing with their backs to an ancient 15th century fireplace, complete with a Priest hole the choir, accompanied and directed by Stephen Berry, entertained with a collection of songs and Carols recently performed at its concerts with local Caldicot schools. The programme included ‘Christmas Time Again is Here’ sung to the rousing hymn tune ‘Llanfair’, the Christmas hit ‘Silver Bells’ sung by so many including Bing Crosby, Matt Monroe and Perry Como, the ancient carol, ‘God Rest You Merry Gentlemen’, the Russian drinking and dance song ‘Casatschok’, a Christmas medley which included ‘Have yourself a Merry little Christmas, ‘A Child is a King’, ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Joy to the World’, ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Shepherds Watch and Wise Men Wonder’ sung to the familiar tune ‘Scarlet Ribbons’.
This was followed by a range of community carol singing, enthusiastically joined in by regular patrons and visitors alike, with none more so than the proprieter’s young son, 8 year old Zaki. The singing included seasonal favourites ‘O Come all ye faithful’, ‘Once in Royal David’s City’, ‘The First Nowell’, ‘Good King Wenceslas’ and ‘Silent Night’ in which Zaki delightfully and confidently sang the first verse.
During the break in performances the choir was treated to a fabulous feast of festive refreshments including mulled wine provided by the proprietor, Khaled Shalapy. Many thanks for inviting us and looking after us so well.
The evening was rounded off until the arrival of the bus with a session of ‘Afterglow’ singing thoroughly enjoyed by all of the late night diners and village regulars.