It would be difficult to imagine anywhere more English. The beautiful and remote vastness of Exmoor is the countryside that inspired the story of Lorna Doone. On it’s northern fringe rocky bays, surrounded by some of Britain’s highest cliffs, stare out towards the mountains of south Wales and in the steep sided valleys, thatched cottages shelter in the green wooded coombes.
At the heart of the moor is the village of Simonsbath, replete with cherry red telephone box, classic English country pub and ancient church. There was, however, something different about Simonsbath on Saturday, 9th July because hanging majestically from a flag-pole outside St. Luke’s Church was a large red dragon on a green and white background; for one night only, Simonsbath was going to be Welsh, as it welcomed the Caldicot Male Voice Choir.
In a concert to raise funds for St. Luke’s Church, the Choir sang to a packed audience. Once again, Siân showed her ineffable value to the Choir by doubling up as a superb soloist, she was assisted by the ever reliable Shirley Ann. Accompanists, Steve Berry and John Nicholson also excelled, as they compensated for the lack of a piano with faultless performances on the church organ. Many types of musical genre were incorporated into the performance, from rousing Welsh hymns and operatic classics to the more modern ‘Fields of Athenry’ and ‘You Raise Me Up’, made famous by Westlife.
After the concert, the Choir and it’s audience decamped to the Exmoor Forest Inn; a picture postcard pub, so English that it would double for a set on ‘Midsomer Murders’. As the twilight surrendered to the darkness, this tiny part of Somerset resounded with the harmony of ‘hwyl’ and song and as the last glasses were downed a lone voice, in a soft west country lilt, called out “Nos da, Boys!”. It was that sort of night.
I can’t believe that Martin Pipe was there enjoying the afterglow and gave some of you a tip for the following day that won at 20/1….and you never did it.
- You Raise Me Up
- The Fields of Athenry
- Morte Criste
- American Trilogy
- Let It Be Me
- Slaves’ Chorus
- The Lord’s Prayer
- Troyte’s Chant
SOLOIST AND COMPÈRE: Siân Hatton