Vice Presidents’ Cheese and Wine party is a great success

Photos by Colleen Gauntlett.  Left click on an image to enlarge


A change to normal practice last night (Monday 19th November) when Caldicot Male Voice Choir invited its vice president supporters to a cheese and wine party at the Choir Hall. They were treated to a short video and slideshow presentation of the choir’s activities over the past few years followed by a concert including a selection of Christmas songs conducted by Sian Hatton, Shirley Anne James and accompanied by chairman John Nicholson (who arranged the evening) and Stephen Berry.

The vice-presidents are non-singing active supporters of the choir who apart from an annual financial contribution support the choir’s activities throughout the year and often provide valuable advice and expertise. The evening was arranged in appreciation of their continuing support and encouragement.

During the evening, much to his surprise and delight, long-standing but now retired chorister Larry Lynch was, accompanied by extended applause from everyone at the hall, presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award and was conferred as an Honorary Vice President in recognition not only of his long service as a dedicated chorister but for his invaluable contribution over nearly forty years. Larry was not only a past committee member but toured on several occasions to America, Europe, throughout the UK and on two cruise ships. The award was jointly presented by President Richard Evans, chairman John Nicholson and Musical Director Sian Hatton. To quote Larry, ‘I never in the world expected this. This is a totally unexpected surprise award and the certificate will take pride of place alongside my 25-year long service award.’

Jayne’s Quiz Night Poses Questions

A great Quiz night at Caldicot Choir Hall on 16th November organised by Jayne and Robert Stallard. Lots of questions to stump the 80 odd participants with music and general knowledge questions from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Not to mention the Baby Quiz to identify choristers from their baby photos set up by Darren Lloyd and Tony Griffiths.

£230 was raised for the choir including the raffle and Paul Carlson’s team won the £30 prize. We’re also grateful to an unknown lady all the way from Cornwall who bought the quiz questions for £15. Many thanks. This is now turning into an Annual event to raise funds for Caldicot Male Voice Choir to help it continue to carry out its concert performances and charity appeals. Many thanks to all who turned up to support it as well as the bar staff of David Kirton, Chris Nolan and Paul Thomas and to the choristers who helped set up the hall and clean up afterwards.

Photographs were taken by Colleen Gauntlett.

Choir Sings at Rogiet War Memorial


Based on an initiative and idea in 2014 by Jayne Stallard, wife of Rogiet Community Council Chairman, Rob Stallard the building of an exquisite and poignant new War Memorial was completed at the Recreational Field in Rogiet in October 2018 to replace the previous wooden memorial which was seriously deteriorating.  With an assembly of many of the local residents, a short Act of Remembrance and Dedication service was conducted by the Rev. Glyndwr Hackett in which Caldicot Male Voice Choir, conducted by Shirley Anne James and accompanied by John Nicholson was proud to sing ‘Mansions of the Lord’ from the film ‘We Were Soldiers’. The service included the playing of ‘The Last Post’, a reading by local schoolgirl Teya Andrews and concluded with a singing of the immortal hymn, ‘O God, our help in ages past’ accompanied by Choir accompanist Stephen Berry.

Consisting of two memorial benches, sandstone planters and the central plinth, the small memorial garden was designed by Rogiet Primary pupil Teya Andrews and consists of a stone plinth topped with a tiled mosaic made by Felicity Ball bearing the words ‘They once Saved Us, so let’s remember them! One more salute!’.

Following the service, welcome, warming refreshments were provided for everyone at the Rogiet Village Hall where a display of all the Rogiet Primary school pupil designs for the memorial were displayed around the walls.

Chorister Craig walks 80 miles for National Autistic Society

While Caldicot Male Voice Choir raises thousands of pounds for local and National charities, it is also proud of individual members who undertake challenges to help charities under their own initiative. On 22nd October one of our youngest choristers, 25-year-old baritone chorister, Craig Howells and his friend Darren O’Sullivan began a four-day walk, starting at Hay on Wye to follow the River Wye to Caldicot.  The walk of over 80 miles, taking four days, was undertaken to raise funds for and awareness of the National Autistic Society.

Sponsored by his brother Alyn and father Tony (who is also a chorister in the choir as was his late grandfather Owen), Caldicot Football club, Likes Land Rover, Tata Steel, Caldicot Male Voice Choir and the Castle Inn and many others, they started at Hay on Wye and spending nights in Hereford, where they were sheltered by Hereford Rowing Club and on to Ross on Wye where the White Hart provided free accommodation and breakfast, on to Monmouth, camping out in their tent for the final night and finishing at the Castle Inn in Caldicot who gave a massive welcome home and support.

Craig and Darren have so far raised over 1500 pounds for the National Autistic Society with money still rolling in. If you would like to donate, go to Craig and Darren’s Just Giving page.

Choir surprises chorister Andy at his Birthday bash

Photo by Colleen Gauntlett


Being in a choir is not just about singing together, it’s about having friends around you to share special times. When you join a choir you become part of a family and just about two years ago Caldicot resident but Canadian born, Andy Friedman walked through the door of the Choir Hall in Mill Lane and after listening to Caldicot Male Voice Choir for a few minutes decided to join their ranks as a second tenor. In Andy’s words ‘one of the best decisions of my life’.

At the request of his wife Carla, Caldicot Male Voice Choir was delighted to surprise Andy by taking part in the celebrations of his 70th birthday dinner at the stunning venue of Thornbury castle on Saturday 27th October, On facing the refrains of ‘Happy Birthday to You’ and surrounded by his family and friends, Andy was overwhelmed by this surprise but it didn’t stop him stepping into the front row of the second tenors to enthusiastically join in. 

The choir entertained the audience with favourites including ‘Rachie’, Shenandoah’, ‘Sixteen tons’ and also premiered a performance of a new arrangement of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ by choir accompanist Stephen Berry. Finalising with ‘Cwm Rhondda’ the choir retired to the bar for welcome refreshment with Andy’s compliments. The choir was conducted by musical directors Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson.

Choir travels to Stroud’s Magnificent St Laurence Church


Photographs by Colleen Gauntlett. Left click on images to enlarge.

Last visited on 2nd March 2013, Caldicot Male Voice Choir returned this time on a drizzly, cold October 6th day, to the magnificent St Laurence Church in Stroud.  Over 40 choristers, the music team of musical director Siân Hatton, assistant musical director  Shirley Anne James and accompanists Stephen Berry and John Nicholson  took part in a concert, shared by The Brass Band of the Gloucestershire Constabulary to raise funds for the Longfield Hospice in Gloucestershire. This occasion also celebrated the 150 year anniversary of the Church and coincidentally the 30th anniversary of the Longfield Hospice.

The Constabulary Band opened proceedings by giving a superb rousing performance during their 45 minute presentation. Opening with the piece ‘Children of the Regiment, the band showed its versatility by playing arrangements of the peaceful ‘Celtic Impression’ which included a euphonium solo, to the rousing themes from the films ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘The Gladiator’, to memories of wartime music medleys and a Caribbean Variation of a tune highlighting the three percussionists in the band. The performance ended with an encore rendering of ‘Manhattan Skyline’.

As the Constabulary Band left the church, the choir entered the stage to grasp the audiences’ attention with ‘Men of Harlech’ before the more sedate ‘Shenandoah’ and uplifting ‘Ride the Chariot’ with soloists David Gould and Siân Hatton. A change of mood followed with ‘On the Street Where You Live’ from the musical My Fair Lady.  Welsh numbers appreciated by the audience included ‘Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn’ and ‘Anfonaf Angel’ before the choir showed its language versatility by offering up ‘The Prayer’ partly in Italian and English made famous as a duet by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. ‘African Prayer’ as a version of the South African National Anthem was sung partly in Xhosa and partly in Welsh to be followed by the song made famous by Tennessee Ernie Ford ‘Sixteen Tons’. A concert could not finish without the choir singing ‘Cwm Rhondda’, the most famous of Welsh Hymn tunes.  Asked to perform an encore the choir obliged with the rousing, enthusiastic ‘Rachie’ which has one of the most famous of all Welsh choir ‘Amens’ to bring on rapturous applause from the appreciative audience.

Following the concert the choir made its way to the Imperial Hotel in Stroud to be made most welcome by Hotel manager Lacksham Gallage who, not expecting us and not knowing what to think when invaded by 40 odd singing Welshmen and their supporters, threw open the doors and provided us with refreshments and crisps for the rest of the evening.  It must be said that the Afterglow singing, controlled by David Gould was the best for a long time and several new pieces were included to the delight of the clientele which included a party from West Wales.  A bucket collection instigated by Mark Stocker raised 128 pounds to go towards Cancer Research since we learned that one of the diners was about to take part in a 2 mile raft race the next day in support of the charity. Well done all for making it a great evening.

Cycling Oxford Choir Meet us in Chepstow

Photos by Colleen Gauntlett  Left click on the images to enlarge.

We all know that singing in a choir has major health benefits but to add to this several choirs. including Caldicot Male Voice Choir have formed cycling clubs to improve their fitness levels. Caldicot was therefore delighted to accept Oxford Welsh Male Choir’s cyclists and choristers invitation to join them as they took a break from their charity ride from Oxford to South Wales as they rested up on Friday 28th September at the Beaufort Hotel in Chepstow.   As part of their 90 year anniversary celebrations, the Oxford cycle ride and concert tour was in aid of the British Heart Foundation. Oxford and Caldicot Male Voice Choirs were also joined by members of Chepstow Male Choir for the get together.

Conducted by Musical Directors Helen Swift of Oxford and Siân Hatton of Caldicot and baritone chorister of Caldicot, David Gould the group of about 50 choristers and supporters were treated to an enthusiastic mixture of songs including ‘Rachie’, ‘Let it be me’ to ‘My Grandfather’s clock’ and ‘Stout Hearted Men’ as a medley of ‘afterglow’ singing thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Following on, Oxford travelled to Penarth on Saturday 29th September to meet up for a joint concert with Risca Male Choir. The city of Oxford has a long standing association with Risca in that the city supported a march by 1000 miners from Newport to Oxford in 1928 as part of fund raising efforts in the city to aid the stricken South Wales coalfield population. Later in 1929 the city adopted Risca as its main recipient of its relief efforts. The city also found work for several hundred men and boys of the South Wales coalfield during this turbulent time.

It’s Not all about Singing


Caldicot Male Voice Choir is fortunate in owning its own Choir Hall in Caldicot built in 1996 as a result of tremendous fund raising and building efforts by choristers at the time. However, it comes at a price and one of these is that it has to been cleaned, maintained and decorated on a weekly basis.  Once a year the choristers and supporters come together to spruce up the hall, perform essential maintenance task, weed the garden and repaint worn out surfaces.  There are many skills and talents beyond their incredible singing in the choir which includes painters, plumbers, electricians, floor technicians and more besides and these were applied over the weekend and beyond to make Caldicot Choir Hall the envy of all choirs that visit.

On  a gloriously sunny and warm September 15th and 16th, organised by chorister Leon Jones, a willing and able team of volunteers gave up their weekend to carry out these essential tasks which included a complete re-paint of the rear rehearsal room to a neutral two-tone grey colour scheme which despite early misgivings looks fabulous and plans are being made to decorate the enormous hall in the same colour scheme. The garden and grounds were cleared up and weeded and offices tidied up and sorted.

The supporting ladies including Music Director Sian Hatton, chairman’s wife Vanessa Nicholson, Coral Kirton, Leslie Isaacs-Penny and Jayne Richards among others not only provided copious amounts of tea and much needed refreshments but also laid their hands to painting, cleaning and giving loads of useful advice and encouragement.

Many thanks to NIcky and her team from AGS Cleaning for sprucing up the practice room carpet and bring it up to nearly new and to Danielle Wheeler and Thomas Martin of Johnstones Paints of Cwmbran who generously donated all the paint and decorating materials.

It doesn’t matter what you do for a living why not consider joining a choir as a new hobby. If you live near Caldicot then look up our web sit

Many thanks to Graham Spike Hughes for posting the photos in other posts. Looks like they were taken by Leon.


Now the painting is finished !

After all the hard work at the weekend it was time for the carpets to be brought back to life. AGS Carpet Cleaning were called in to action and did a great job. Nicky and her team did themselves proud as they washed and scrubbed with machines and various liquids to rejuvenate the carpets back to their former sparkle. Highly recommend them, look them up online.

and to go with the new paint scheme…..

Choir Hall Maintenance Weekend

On a bright Saturday morning the hall was opened up for the start of the maintenance plan drawn up by Leon Jones. A willing group of choristers, and choristers wives, turned out to rejuvenate the hall and carry out some essential maintenance.  As you will see from the pictures below, the committee had previously agreed to trying a new colour scheme in the small rehearsal room before progressing to the Main hall.  We think it looks great and brightens up the room, especially with the new LED lights.

Some necessary work was carried out in the beer cellar to keep the beer flowing !

The bar area, shelving and lighting had a refresh..


Meanwhile a lot of work was done on the grounds too…even in the rain !!

Our uniform room had a makeover…wow…. it looks great now !!

Floors got scrubbed…

And of course….there were tea breaks !!!!

and more tea breaks………!

Huge thank you to the ladies who provided the workforce with bacon and sausage rolls on Saturday and sandwiches and cakes on Sunday.

To all those who helped out in any way…. thank you for helping to keep the choir hall maintained and looking as good now as it did 20 years ago.  To those who couldn’t make it this time….see you next time !!

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