A Look Through the Viewfinder
As the ethereal mists of a cool St. David’s Day settled over a calm and tranquil Cardiff Bay, choristers of Caldicot Male Voice Choir proudly sported Marie Curie daffodils on their blazer lapels and assembled in the magnificent Senedd building to take part in the Welsh Assembly’s celebrations. Invited to sing at Presiding Officer, Newport West Assembly Member Rosemary Butler’s lunchtime reception, the choir assembled in an unfamiliar configuration, balanced precariously down the slate stairs between the Oriel and the Neuadd while Gavin Parry, our accompanist for the day was below us, next to the paper Daffodil trees in the Neuadd and Siân, surrounded by cameras and tripods, conducted us from a distance on the balcony across the other side of the gallery.
The audience of Assembly members, guests (including Members of the Belgian Parliament), Welsh Government staff and exhibitors were treated to a rousing chorus of the traditional Llanfair, accentuated by the vibrant acoustics provided by the funnelled, undulating ceiling of the Oriel. As we sang the more modern song O Gymru, extolling the virtues of Wales, in which baritone Tom Hole once again confidently took the solo verse, the midday sun broke through the mists and radiantly shone through the surrounding glass to bathe the choir in a swathe of brilliant light. Disappointingly for the choir and no doubt for the audience, time was not available for us to perform more from our Welsh repertoire.
The disappointment was short lived however, by the presentation of gastronomic delights not seen by many of the choir since the days on the Azura cruise. On the day, the Senedd also played host to many chefs and culinary experts, together with representatives from Wales True Taste showing us award winning products, and members of the Welsh Culinary Team demonstrating their skills. The choir was more than enthusiastically delighted to sample all that was on offer from wonderful Welsh produce. It doesn’t get any better than this!
After lunch, the choir enthralled the guests with its impromptu, unaccompanied afterglow renditions of Annie’s Song, Llef and Stout Hearted Men. The Senedd had never seen or heard anything like it and we look forward to taking up a future invite to this incredible venue.
On a special note, it was a real pleasure to meet up with Newport East Assembly Member John Griffiths, long time friend and supporter of the choir on his home territory. Good to see you, John!
Photos taken by Lyn with special thanks to Helen Gallivan for taking photos while we were singing.