On a cool but sunny October 4th Autumnal afternoon the choir made its way over the Severn Bridge and along the M4, past majestic Windsor Castle before turning off to drive through the maze of suburban streets that make up the London Borough of Harrow. The Choir was delighted to accept the invitation to return, following last year’s visit, of former Caldicot lad, Lyndon North, the Vicar of St. Andrews Church, Roxburgh to support his appeal for St Luke’s Hospice, Kenton.
We sang here a year ago, almost to the day on October 5th last year and we were reminded once again of the wonderful setting of this modern church with its superb acoustics. Many thanks to the church supporter for providing sumptuous refreshments, pastries, tea and coffee on our arrival. It’s very mush appreciated after a long journey
Led by our Musical team of Siân Hatton and Shirley Ann James and accompanied by John Nicholson and Stephen Berry, the programme opened to a full church of about 200 with ‘Rachie’ , a rousing Welsh Hymn guaranteed to gain the immediate interest of any audience. Following on with the contrasting ‘May You Always Have a Song’ and ‘On the Street Where you Live’ from the musical My Fair Lady, and ‘American Trilogy’ made famous by Elvis Presley. The enthralled audience was then treated to a refined, classical performance by local talented soloist William Davies with excerpts from Handel’s Messiah including ‘Thy rebuke hath broken my heart’ and ‘He was cut out of the land of the living’.
The programme continued with Elvis’ hit ‘Always on my mind’ and the haunting Welsh Melody ‘Dafydd y Garreg Wen, conducted by Shirley Ann James who also conducted the next number, romantic ‘Let it be me’. The first half performance continued with the reassuring hymn ‘He’ and concluded with ‘O Gymru’ with once again, Tom Hole singing the solo part.
Opening the second half with the classic Welsh hymn, ‘Llanfair’ and the spiritual ‘Ride the Chariot’, in which the soloists were Siân Hatton and David Gould, the programme continued with the romantic appeal from the Don Bluth/Stephen Spielberg cartoon An American Tail, ‘Somewhere Out there’ and the equally romantic Elvis hit ‘Can’t help falling in love with you’. With the audience now sitting firmly upright in anticipation, the choir with Stephen Berry on the church organ held the audience in raptures with ‘When I survey the Wondrous’ cross’ to the tune of Morte Criste.
William returned to the stage once more to delight the audience by singing ‘Sleep’ by Ivor Gurney and ‘Chanson triste’ by Henri Duparc. His wonderful voice and chosen pieces complemented the choir’s performance perfectly.
The final part of the programme included the song first made famous by Josh Grogan and now a firm favourite of many choirs ‘You Raise Me Up’, contrasted then with Welsh Hymn ‘Llef’, ‘Eli Jenkins’ Prayer’ (also known as the Sunset poem) from Dylan Thomas’s radio play ‘Under Milk Wood’ sung to Troyte’s chant and finalising the concert with the foot tapping ‘Rhythm of Life’ which brought the audience to its feet with a standing ovation as the final accolade..
For the choir, it was a pleasure and delight to sing to such an enthusiastic, welcoming, full house audience in a splendid setting with superb acoustics. We are assured by Rev. Lyndon North that we will be invited back at the earliest opportunity.
The choir then boarded the bus to the Windsock RAFA club Harrow, to which we were invited once again to partake of refreshments and entertain regulars with another ‘afterglow’.
Tired but thrilled with the quality of the performance and the reception of the audience, the choir made the long return journey by bus along the M4 to Chepstow, Caldicot and Newport.