Category Archives: 2011

Coruscating Kick Off for Choir’s Christmas

 
Press Release by Jeff  Williams:


Press Release

 
 
 

Caldicot Male Voice Choir kicked off the festive period with a triplet of disparate musical engagements, during the first three days of December.

 

The choir conscientiously supports community events and on Friday, 2nd December, nearly 60 choristers squeezed onto a covered stage in the centre of Caldicot village. They braved the brumal rain to entertain the stoically enthusiastic crowds, at a ceremony to ‘Switch-on’ Caldicot’s coruscating Christmas illuminations.

 

The choir’s attendance at the annual civic jamboree was framed by appearances at two completely contrasting sporting venues. On Thursday, 1st December, Caldicot Male Voice Choir was humbled to be invited to sing for the 1st Battalion, The Rifle Regiment, on the occasion of the inaugural Corporal Palin Memorial match; a thrilling encounter, contested between Chepstow Football Club and a team representing the Chepstow based Rifles, at Caldicot Town’s Jubilee Way ground.

 

Two days later, the choir was in the slightly more grandiose setting of the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, for the Wales V Australia rugby International. The choir was honoured; along with our friends from the Beaufort, Cwmbran, Pontnewydd and Risca Male Voice Choirs, to represent Gwent as constituent members of the largest Male Voice Choir ever assembled at a rugby International match.

 

Caldicot Male Voice Choir warmly welcomes new members and rehearsal nights are Monday and Thursday, between 7:15 and 9:15pm., at the Choir Hall, Mill Lane, Caldicot.

 

Photo by Colleen Gauntlett

 

Note: Coruscating means brilliant or showy

 

Shane for you to go! Massed Choirs at the Millennium Stadium

 

Early Saturday morning, 3rd December, we travelled to Cardiff on a cold but dry day, and assembled outside Gate No. 3 of the Millennium Stadium to join 44 other Welsh male voice choirs consisting of One thousand seven hundred and fifty five choristers from all over Wales, London and Oxford.  This made it the largest ever choral gathering before an International Rugby Match.  Wales were playing Australia again and this was to be Welsh legend, Shane Willliams’  last International match.  We climbed up stairs 640 and 641 in the North stand like a trail of mountain goats in blazers hoping that oxygen would be provided at the half-way stage.  Hankies at the ready in case of nose bleeds we squeezed ourselves along the rows of seats with just enough room for our feet and jammed our mostly stout frames into narrow seats with legroom to do Monarch Airlines proud.

 

We all sit down,  force ourselves in well before 10 o’clock.  Pontnewydd and Cwmbran choirs behind us and Bridgend in front and Risca to the side, we are settled in comfortably, bags between our knees, sitting on coats, when four basses need the toilet.  Up we get like a Mexican Wave to let them through.  Settled down now, they come back again!  Even before the bar opens!  This goes on all morning!  At least the exercise kept us from getting cramp.

 

The band from the Royal Regiment of Wales, 2nd Battalion (Volunteers) arrive along with Haydn James, the conductor and rehearsals start.  These go very well considering there’s  a lot of us.  “Don’t sing so loud on the Australian Anthem” advises Haydn.  We get through Gwahoddiad, Deus Salutis, Soldier’s Chorus, A Tribute to the Barbarians and Myfanwy with no problem, but everyone messes up Delilah. It’s soon put right by Haydn and rehearsals are over by 12-00.

 

Anyway, its now lunch time and we don’t have to be back till 1-30, so many choristers go across the road to Wetherspoons where the beer and food is a lot cheaper than in the stadium.  Those of us who stayed had to wait for the refreshment bars (tea, coffee and food) to open and we settled down to quietly to eat our sandwiches and crisps.

 

Half an hour to kick off and we’re all in our places again.  The band, resplendent in their scarlet uniforms, polished brass and helmets strikes up and on the second bar all the voices from 44 choirs erupt in song with Gwahoddiad, Sospan Fach, Calon Lân and more.  Some of those who’d been over to Wetherspoons (not our lads) mixed up the first and second verses of Delilah  (soon corrected) and just as the Welsh team (with ‘Diolch’ on their shirts as a tribute to Shane), emerges from the tunnel we start on We”ll Keep a Welcome.  Perfect timing!  The sound is amazing as it echoes back at us from all four sides.  The roof is closed, but even we could only metaphorically raise it!  The crowd appreciated us with cheers and applause but they didn’t show us on the telly much and the singing of the Anthems was phenomenal and not too loud on ‘Advance Australia Fair’ though.  Nice shot of Shane’s yellow boots on the big screen, bearing ‘Bye! Bye!’ on them.

 

No comments to make on the match except to say Wales lost 24 – 18 – back to normal then.  However, an interesting statistic is that when Wales had 15 men in the game, they won by 18 points to 3!  I don’t think Leigh Halfpenny tackled O’Connor without the ball.  He was running back to collect it when O’Connor got in the way.  Not fair! But then, what do I know?  I was 200 metres  away in a seat up in the sky.

 

The fabulous ending of  Shane Williams scoring a try with a flamboyant somersault in the last minute couldn’t have been written in fiction.  Incredible!  87 caps and 58 tries for Wales! A great player will be missed by all rugby fans throughout the world.

 

We struggle back through the massed crowds to wait for the bus in Greyfriars Road only to find we’d lost Giovanni.  Apparently he’d taken a toilet break and went out of the wrong entrance.  How can you lose someone in that hat?  Anyway, thanks to Leon phoning his sister in Caldicot for his mobile number, he is found and eventually gets on on the bus.  Why is it that toilets play such a large part in the life of Male Voice Choirs?  It had been a long day and most were pleased to get back home, tired and subdued at the result (should be used to it) but pleased and proud to have been part of a special day.

 

 

Lyn

 

 

 Photos by Lyn and one taken of us by someone from Bridgend choir

 

Rifles and Rainstorms

Our busy early December programme to support local community events started on Thursday 1st December with a visit to Caldicot A.F.C. clubhouse to sing to the footballers and supporters after the Corporal Palin Memorial Match between Chepstow A.F.C. and 1st Battalion, the Rifles.  This event was organised to raise money for the Rifles ‘Swift and Bold Appeal’.

 

Well over forty of us arrived after the presentation of the trophy and we started our unaccompanied, short programme of songs, including Stout Hearted Men, Fields of Athenry and Aus der Traube, ably led by Dave Gould.  Although we suffered some competition from fans and soldiers still revelling in their victory celebrations over Chepstow, we persevered with our singing much to the delight of an appreciative few in the clubhouse.  Never mind, we enjoyed a pint or two afterwards as a reward for our efforts.

 

The following evening, Friday 2nd, about 55 choristers dressed up to brave the cold, drizzly winter weather to support and entertain the crowds at the ceremony to turn on the Christmas illuminations in Caldicot.  We assembled  at the Cross at the end of Newport Road and squeezed our cold, wet frames onto the small staging sheltered by a tarpaulin.  John Nicholson conducted us, precariously perched on the edge of the stage in the rain. We weren’t sure whether he was waving his arms to keep us in time, or trying to keep his balance. Meanwhile, Steve Berry played the accompaniment expertly, with fingers frozen to the keyboard.

 

We entertained the small, damp, shivering crowd with a range of Christmas songs including Joy to the World, Casatchok, Shepherds Watch and Wise Men Wonder and Christmas Medley.  Our position at the Cross however, meant that not many of the visitors at the nearby fair were aware of our performance.  Our faithful group of supporters gave us plenty of encouragement with their enthusiastic cheers and clapping.  Comfort and Joy in the pub afterwards.

 

Photos by Colleen Gauntlett 

 

 

Choir Christmas Cards and DVD’s

Sales of Christmas Cards designed by Lyn (not him again!) and his wife Colleen to choristers has been progressing steadily for the past few weeks with over 40 packs sold to date.  These are produced for the benefit of choir members and each is fronted by a snowy scene from St Peter’s church in Bromyard.  The power of  photo editing software has created a magical snowy scene of sixty of us outside the church in sunny July this year.  Each pack contains five designs of individually embellished 7″ x 5″ cards, although if a pack of a single selected design is preferred, this can be done.  Cards can also be personalised with your own message if required. 

 

The message inside each card is

” Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year  – Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda”

 

 

The cards are ideal for sending to your friends met through previous tours or concerts and not only help to keep you in touch at this festive time, but also help to promote the choir to a wider public.  Many are already winging their way to far away places across the globe.

 

Because of production costs, packs are produced to order so please see Lyn on practice nights if you want these.  He will do his best to get the cards to you by the next practice.  A donation of £2 a pack will be made for the benefit of Côr Meibion Caldicot members.  Please don’t leave it to the last minute.

 

Also, DVD’s made by Lyn and Coll of this year’s Gala and Annual Concerts can also be made to order to send as small Christmas gifts to long-distance friends.  DVD’s have found their way to the USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Malta, Italy, Germany, France and the Netherlands and the feedback has been more than complimentary.  Not only do you get to re-live these fabulous concerts, but it means you don’t have to wait for the next one to hear Siân’s jokes again.  A donation of £4 for each DVD sold will be made to the Choir.

 

Please see Lyn again if you want to order either of these DVD’s and please give him plenty of notice to produce them before Christmas.

Owen Money Pays Up!

 

 

Our social nights go from strength to strength! A full house was treated last night to an raucous evening of laughter and song delivered by  Merthyr born comedian Owen Money (“You know Merthyr – a small town next to Asda”). Fabulous dance music was superbly presented by his accompanying band, The Soul Sharks.

 

“I was last in Caldicot 25 years ago and you said then you’d invite me back. ‘Ow the ‘ell do you find this place? And where do you park?”

 

“The largest sauna I’ve ever played in” and the “Last time I saw curtains like that, reminds me of  the last time I saw my Uncle George” was how Owen somewhat unfairly but humourously, described the Choir Hall before opening with an hilarious description of his home town, describing the Gurnos estate and its new airport in Merthyr (“So you live on an estate? asked Prince Philip.  How’s the shooting?”) and a sponsored mountain walk up ‘Kill a man for his giro’.  This was followed up by a caustic comparison of South Wales local accents;  Newport -“Let’s Fight!”.  Carmarthen – starts off fast then slows down…………..

 

Owen now lives in Porthcawl where he warned “Don’t fall down in the winter in Porthcawl, there’s no-one there young enough to pick you up” and smoothly moved on to comments about the ‘Woodentop’ English Rugby team management, followed by a reminisce of ‘The Flowerpot’ men and their relationship with ‘Weed’ and the drug problem in Merthyr (“I’ve never had any problem”).   On then to the conviction that Martians have invaded and are disguised as traffic cones mating in the Brynglas tunnels, causing traffic chaos as part of the plan to rule the earth.

 

After warning the photographer (me) not to take any more photos of us or “You’ll be going through the window.  It’s a question of security – Social Security!” he moved on to stories of past romantic encounters:”What’s that noise?”  “It’s my ‘usband” – “You never said you was married!”  “You didn’t ask!”  “Where’s yewer back door?”  “We ‘aven’t got one”   “Where’d you want one!”  – ” How big’s your ‘usband?”  “He’s six foot six and is a black belt in karate in his spare time.”  “How much spare time has he got?”  ” Well he works in Llanwern steelworks!”  He was out of the window and down the drain pipe like a shot, naked – before overtaking two joggers.  “Why are you wearing a condom?”  “Rainin’ when I left the ‘ouse.”

 

“When I die I want to look dead, like ‘e do over there! I don’t want to die of a salad overdose!”  was his observation on dying before turning off his mate’s life support machine instead of the television. Moving on to the demise of Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden and Colonel Gaddafi “There ‘s only more more to get rid of – Jeremy Kyle”. When one of the audience said “He’s fab”, Owen responded with ” Move over by the wall, luv.  That’s plastered as well”.  The progression through jokes about Gypsies in Dale Farm, Gypsy weddings (tarmaccing as they went along) and how he had 8 bed wetting sisters and didn’t know what it was like to sleep on his own until he got married was met with continuous eye-watering laughter. ” I could swim before I was two!  I told my Mam I wanted to sleep down the shallow end.”

 

Then finishing with his ‘true’ story of Andy Powell and the Golf buggy incident down the M4 after the Scotland match two years ago – Police warned him “Don’t blame it on the sunshine, don’t blame it on the moonlight, don’t blame it on the good times.  Blame it on the Buggy!”

 

During the interval, the Annual Draw was made by our President, Mr Richard Evans, ably assisted by Bass chorister John Jones.

Winning tickets and names are:

1st Prize:     £500            No. 0410     P. Chapman

2nd Prize    £100             No. 1969     D. Taylor

3rd Prize:     £50              No. 0603    C. Evans

 

The audience was then treated to more than an hour of a fabulous dance mix of swing, pop and rock music superbly played and sung by the Soul Sharks and once again everyone left tired but enthusing about a wonderful night’s entertainment.

 

Our next Social Event will be the New Year’s Party with Musicians in Black.  Book your tickets early through Bob Doggett.

 

Photos by Lyn

 

 

CHOIR TUNE UP IN TORQUAY


Press Release

Left click on photos to enlarge and then left click on the image to  enlarge furtherUse the back arrow at the top left of the screen to go back.

 

On an unseasonably mild November night, that would have graced mid summer, Caldicot Male Voice Choir were in the quasi-Mediterranean wonderland of the ‘English Riviera’.  The contemporary ecclesiastical splendour of the Methodist/United Reformed, Central Church, in Torquay, was the capacious venue of a very well attended musical evening.  The audience was informed that the choir was the largest ever hosted in the 35 year history of this majestic church.

 

The vertiginous walls, bejewelled with vivid stained glass, supported an unfathomably high ceiling that facilitated for sublime acoustic performance.  The choir performed a varied programme that showcased a large selection of music from their latest recording, an album entitled “One Moment In Time“, the details of which are to be found under the recordings bar.  The superb acoustics of the church, the dynamically accurate leadership of our Music Director, Siân Hatton and the synchronised dual accompaniment of John Nicholson on the organ and Stephen Berry on the piano made our rendition of ‘Nidaros‘  one to remember and be proud of.

 

The guest soloists were soprano, Angela Hancocks and Mr. Clive Bastin, who performed an Organ recital from Mendelssohn’s second symphony, the “Hymn of Praise“.  The choir brought the evening to a close with a powerful rendition of “Morte Criste“,  again with both piano and organ accompaniment, which drew a prolonged standing ovation from the appreciative Torquay audience.  Breaking news is that we have indeed been invited back next year for a repeat performance.

 

At the conclusion of the concert, the choir and much of the audience reconvened at the Torquay RAFA Club, where welcome refreshments were taken and songs sung, until well into the night.  The choir was delighted to comply with a request from one local lady to sing ‘Flower of Scotland’  ably supported by our very own Davy Scott, who knew all the words.

 

Those of us who travelled back by bus had a splendid view of the fog along the M5.

 

Jeff Williams

Photos by Carolyn Griffiths, Fran Francis, Nina Isley and Lyn Gauntlett

 

 

Busy December Days

 

 

 

The Choir has a busy few days at the start of December.  On the 1st we are pleased to have been invited to the annual Corporal Palin Memorial Match at Caldicot Football Ground of Chepstow F.C. versus a team from the 1st Battalion, The Rifles, K.O. 6-30pm.  Proceeds are in aid of the Rifles Swift and Bold Appeal.  The Battalion, based just outside Chepstow, has recently returned from a six month tour of Afghanistan where tragically, they lost five of their number with several others injured; so if you’re reading this and live in the Caldicot area, please come along to the match.  The choir will lend their support to this event by giving a short concert at the clubhouse in Caldicot after the match (probably followed by an informal sing-along, knowing our lot).  To see photos of the Battalion’s return march through Chepstow in November 2011, please click on 1st Rifles Return.

 

On the Friday 2nd December we shall be giving an outdoor performance to celebrate the switching on of Caldicot’s Christmas lights at 7-00pm.  I believe the lights are being turned on at 6-30pm. 

Wear your Winter woollies for this one lads!

 

 

And finally for this weekend, we’ll be off to the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday 3rd to join about 2000 (yes 2000!) other choristers to sing before the start of the match between Wales and Australia.  This match is to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the Welsh Rugby Union and I believe this to be the largest choral gathering ever to sing before a Rugby Test match. The amazing sound should give our lads a really good boost.  If the roof is closed, then we should raise it!  Look out for us on the telly, kick off is 2-30pm and we’ll be on before then. Take a look at the WRU web-site by clicking on Welsh Rugby Union

Central Church, Torquay

 

 

The Choir is off to sunny Torquay and the English Riviera to perform a charity concert at the majestic Central Church in Tor Hill Road on Saturday evening and we’re expecting a good crowd to watch and listen to our wide ranging repertoire. The 16 piece programme will include not only Welsh favourites such as Llanfair and Yfory, but a rousing rendition of Nidaros as well as, among others the lighter pieces, Marina and Alexander’s Ragtime Band. The evening’s performance includes our debut performance of Gloria composed by Vivaldi.

 

Many members of the choir and their wives are spending a long weekend in Torquay but they’re not there for the sunbathing.  The rest are looking forward to a late afternoon coach trip down the picturesque M5.  Pity it’ll be dark.

 

The concert starts at 7-30pm and tickets are £5 at the door.  Well worth it!

NEW YEARS EVE PARTY

Our New Year’s Eve Party this year to celebrate the arrival of 2012 features MUSICIANS IN BLACK, a Bristol based, father and daughter duet.

 

The duet has appeared at the choir hall before and proved extremely popular.  This talented pair play a wide range of classical, pop and contemporary dance music which is bound to please all ages.

 

Tickets are available to choristers and their families in the first instance from Bob Doggett on a first come, first served basis, so book your seat placings early.  Demand is bound to be HUGE.

All proceeds to Caldicot Male Voice Choir.  More details to follow:-

Books, DVD’s and CD’s

Well done to Tony Griffiths and Dad, Allen for organising a Choir ‘Book, DVD and CD’ lending service.  For the past few practices they have brought in and asked for donations to the library.  Any donations can be recovered at any time.  Choristers may then borrow any item they fancy for a £1 donation and return the item when they’ve finished with it.  All proceeds will be donated to Choir funds.

 

Lots of interest has been shown and the idea is proving very popular with an extremely wide range of books, DVD’s and CD’s available and the list is growing all the time.  Good luck with this new fund raising venture.  They could do with a little more help in putting the books etc. back in the boxes at the end of practice, though.