A Look through the Viewfinder:
The magnificent Church of St. John the Evangelist, Maindee, escaped the devastation of a Luftwaffe land mine in nearby Kensington Place in 1941 only to suffer major destructive fire damage in 1949. Many years of dedicated restoration work has resulted in a beautiful building which welcomed us on a freezing January Saturday night to help to raise Church funds. The voices of about 60 choristers from Caldicot, controlled immaculately by Siân, reached up into the furthest and deepest recesses of the high vaulted ceilings and down into the audience to warm their hearts with a wide variety of music from our varied and extensive repertoire.
Our opening number of the Cole Porter Medley (Another Opening, another Show!) showed our versatility and variety of style, bringing the audience to the edge of its seats, in eager anticipation of what was to follow. They weren’t disapointed! The Choral renditions included a mixture of four Welsh songs, from romantic Myfanwy, Lleucu Lloyd and Yfory to the rousing Llanfair and then on to two pieces made famous by Elvis Presley, the quintessentially romantic ‘Can’t help falling in Love with You’ (arrangement by Stephen Berry) to the rebel rousing ‘American Trilogy’ made even more memorably thrilling by the wonderful accompaniment on the Church organ. The first half closed with our tremendous rendition of ‘Nidaros‘, all the more appropriate since the words tell of a Nun silently and despairingly praying out to St. John the Beloved Disciple and the conquest of Love over Anger and Good over Evil. The resonant sound of our voices and the accompaniment of the fabulous organ in his own Church must have reached up to him in his Heavenly heights.
Guest Artistes for the evening were the husband and wife team of Joyce and Graham Rickards. Well known locally for the charitable performances as ‘Music for You’ and their work with Cwmbran Operatic Society, and accompanied by our own Stephen Berry they delighted us all with glorious presentations of ‘Waltz in my Heart’, ‘Ol’ Man River’ from Showboat, ‘Bless this House’ , ‘Count Your Blessings’ and duets of ‘All I Ask of You’ from Phantom of the Opera and ‘Thanks Be to God’. Many thanks to Joyce and Graham, friends of Caldicot Male Voice Choir for many years, for their support.
Following our haunting version of ‘Fields of Athenry’ (piano arrangement by John Nicholson), the concert appropriately finalised to the fabulous words of Isaac Watts’ ‘When I Survey the Wond’rous Cross‘ sung to the tremendous harmonies and musical cadences of Morte Criste which again shook the highest reaches of this wonderful Church.
Many thanks to Siân for leading us so well in your own unique wayand to Steve and John for your superb accompaniments on both piano and organ.
Light refreshments were taken by the choir at the nearby Conservative Club, Maindee where we continued to entertain the local clientèle with rapturous and rousing renditions of our favourites.
Sadly, we’ve learned that Shirley Ann wasn’t at the concert due to the death of her father in law on Saturday morning. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Shirley Ann, Gareth and their family at this distressing time.
Photos by Lisa Hodge at the Church and Lyn