Many of the choristers will remember the picturesque, 16th century Cwrt Bleddyn Manor House set in the verdant, rolling hills of mid Monmouthshire near Llangibby, in its halcyon days as a popular night club where some forty or more years ago they may well have gone there to dance the night away in any of its three disco bars with visiting girls from Newport, Caerleon, Usk and further afield. I know of at least one chorister who met his future bride to be at one of these venues. While waiting for the ceremony to begin, choristers wandered the tree lined lawns alongside a babbling trout stream and ponds to reminisce on what might have been.
Since those heady days of the sixties and seventies, the manor house has become a luxury hotel and spa resort, once owned by Richard Branson’s Virgin empire, listing among its frequent guests, Sir Cliff Richard, but on Friday 21st September it played host to Caldicot Male Voice Choir who were delighted to sing at the wedding of bass chorister John MacCarthur’s son James to Emma Whitely.
As the bride proceeded down the Crystal Suite aisle, lined with purple gladioli bedecked pedestals towards a nervous James, the facing choir on stage above them both, sang the romantic Nessun Dorma aria from Puccini’s opera Turandot conducted by John Nicholson and accompanied by Steve Berry. The choir watched on closely, with due reverence as James and Emma emotionally made their marriage vows to each other before turning to one side to sign the register. The choir entertained the waiting witnesses, friends and family to a romatic medley of Somewhere Out There, Let it be Me, May You Always Have a Song and finally the favourite Can’t Help Falling in Love made famous by Elvis Presley. We were so good we sang it twice but hard to judge the audience reaction since they were leaving at the time.
Photographs were duly taken outside in the Cwrt Bleddyn courtyard, complete with dry fountain, of remaining members of the choir with Emma, James and bridesmaid Molly before the choristers retreated to the Oak Room for welcome refreshments.