Photos by Colleen. Left click on images to enlarge
On Wednesday 10th July, Caldicot Male Voice Choir Hall played host to a triplet of varying musical styles. We were pleased to welcome the Gospel Choir of St. Georges College from Buenos Aires, Argentina who are on a three week tour in the UK. Founded in 1898, the college is one of many British type Schools in Argentina and boasts several choirs, one of which is the Gospel Choir. This choir learns its varied music by rote and its membership is drawn from a mixed ability range throughout the college, without audition.
The evening’s programme opened with Chepstow Community Big Band playing a mixture of band sounds including reminisces of Glenn Miller’s In the Mood, the sixties theme tune of the Austin Powers films, Soul Bossa Nova, Lester Leapin, featuring a saxophone solo, a tribute to our South American guests, Livin’ la Vida Loca, through to the theme from ‘The Family Guy, then Bird Land and finishing with Get it on, including fine tenor sax, alto sax and guitar solos.
The School gospel choir of about twenty girls and six boys, ranging in age from twelve to sixteen, led by their conductor and pianist Simon Roberts, delighted us all with their enthusiastic and tuneful renderings of Changing my Life, Lean on Me in English and then enchantingly Calejon del Carretero in Spanish. Once again reverting to English the choir fittingly sang The Reasons Why We Sing and Better me, Better You. Reverting to their native tongue they sang a tribute to their home city Buenos Aires Hora Caro. Their wonderful choral presentation of youthful voices ended to rapturous applause from Caldicot Male Voice Choir and audience ended with the swinging jazz of Give me a Star.
Some fifty five members of the Male Voice Choir, accompanied by Stephen Berry and John, Nicholson then astounded the surprised Gospel Choir, who had never heard not only the volume but the melodic range of four part harmony of a Welsh Male Voice Choir before, concluded the evening’s proceedings with an opening of the rousing, foot tapping Alexander’s Ragtime Band conducted by Siân Hatton. Following whoops of delight from the school, the choir demonstrated its versatility by moving through to melodic An Evening’s Pastorale, African Trilogy, conducted by Shirley Ann James and the solo part sung be baritone Jason Dawe, modern, romantic welsh ballad Lleucu Llwyd, the hopeful words of Yfory and finally raising the roof with a special version of Laudamus which brought the gospel choir to its feet.
The choir is always proud to open its doors to choir and music of all events and following words of gratitude and tribute from the Gospel Choir’s musical director Simon Roberts, the evening concluded with words of praise and encouragement from Siân Hatton to the youngsters to keep on enjoying singing as a wonderful hobby. Presentations of commemorative choir ties were also exchanged between Simon and Male Voice Choir chairman Leon Jones. We are sure their visit to Caldicot Choir Hall will be remembered for a long time to come.
An interlude to the proceedings included a ‘Happy Birthday to You’ tribute to Cor Meibion Caldicot Public Relations Officer, Lyn Gauntlett who celebrated his 65th birthday on the evening. He (me) was delighted to receive individual happy birthday wishes from every single member of the School Gospel Choir at the end.