Caldicot Male Voice Choir was deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the death of long standing and legendary, second tenor, chorister Colin Jones on April 9th at the Royal Gwent Hospital. Colin had been suffering ill health for a few years and was admitted on April 8th but sadly passed away the next day. The Choir fittingly and poignantly paid tribute to Colin by singing Welsh hymn ‘Gwahoddiad’ conducted by Shirley Anne James at practice on Monday.
Colin moved from Tredegar to Caldicot in 1963, leaving his job at Ebbw Vale steelworks to work as a fitter and turner at the newly built, giant RTB Steelworks at Llanwern and joined the choir soon after it was founded in 1963. He remained a stalwart, loyal chorister for 53 years and was the first to be presented with a gold lapel badge and certificate for completing 50 years continuous service at the 50th Anniversary Concert in 2013 by Assembly Member John Griffiths AM and Musical Director Siân Hatton. Colin was heard to say that the hardest decision he ever had to make was to retire from the Choir in 2016 and he was presented with a well deserved Lifetime Achievement Award and conferred as an Honorary Vice-president on August 4th that same year.
Although Colin served many years on the committee, was chairman in 1973 – 1974 and spent several years as librarian, holding on tenaciously to musical copies unless you could prove beyond doubt that you didn’t have a particular piece, he is perhaps best known for his role as impromptu leader and ‘Beer Conductor’ of many afterglows, His party piece of balancing a full pint of beer on his head while the choir sang ‘Bobbin’ up and down like this’ is legendary from California to Wiesenthal and beyond. He handed these roles onto baritone David Gould (often referred to as Colin’s apprentice) and choristers Karl Gregory and Alyn Dawe. Colin was one of the team which initiated the building of the choir hall in 1996, the progress of which he captured on video; a DVD copy of which is in the trophy cabinet in the hall.
Colin toured extensively with the Choir to Canada, the USA, to Holland, Germany and Austria as well as two cruises and many tours and concerts throughout the UK. Even though small in stature Colin was a huge character in the choir and played several major roles both chorally and socially, A strong supporter of Caldicot Rugby Club as well as the choir, there is no doubt that together with his distinctive side whiskers, cheeky grin, imposing presence and strong opinions, never afraid to express them, he will be remembered as a truly great chorister and he will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
The Choir’s condolences go out to his widow Margaret, daughter Helen, son Andrew and to all his family at this sad time.