Category Archives: 2013

Choir Supports Magor School Appeal

Photos by Phil Cody.  Left click to enlarge.

 


Press Release

 

On Saturday 26th October, continuing its tradition of supporting local as well as national charities, over forty choristers and the Musical team of Siân Hatton, Shirley Ann James and Stephen Berry, braved the fearsome gales and stormy rain to perform at the new Magor Church in Wales primary School.  The concert was arranged to raise funds for both Magor primary and Undy Church funds.

 

The choir produced a mixed programme ranging from close to home, the spiritual to the secular, from Africa to America and from film to musical theatre.  The Choir’s programme included Welsh hymns Rachie, Laudamus and Llanfair and the Welsh love song Yfory, telling of a young man’s return from his travels to see his loved one ‘tomorrow’.  Ever popular American Trilogy was followed by the foot tapping rhythms of African Trilogy which included  an arrangement of the South African National Anthem.  From Les Misérables’  ‘Bring Him Home’ to Queen’s ‘Find Me Somebody to Love’; Malotte’s ‘The Lord’s Prayer’, Bizet’s operatic duet ‘The Pearl Fishers’; our version of West Life’s ‘You Raise Me Up’ to the romantic ‘Somewhere Out There’ from the Spielberg cartoon ‘An American Tail’.  More film and theatre music was presented in the form of ‘Can You Feel the Love tonight’ from Disney’s the Lion King and finally including spiritual ‘De Animal’s a’ Comin”, the audience was treated to a wide range of wonderful male choral music to suit all tastes.

 

The concert was fittingly augmented by the musical talents of the soloist, Caldicot sixth-former Tom Carron who skilfully accompanying himself on the piano, delighted the audience by opening with ‘Chasing Cars’ made famous by Snow Patrol and following with three pieces from Les Miserables; ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, ‘Stars’ and ‘Empty Chairs and Empty Tables’.  Tom hopes to study English at Bristol University next year and he can be seen playing the starring role of Jean Valjean in the forthcoming Caldicot Musical Theatre Society’s presentation of Les Misérables at Caldicot School between 30th November and 2nd December.

 

All this to the rhythmic accompaniment of the downpour bouncing off the School roof!  Perhaps somebody didn’t like our version of the Lord’s Prayer!  Maybe we should have sung the José Feliciano hit  ‘Listen to the Pouring Rain, Listen to it Pour’? Or to carry on the Les Misérables theme – ‘A Little Fall of Rain’?

 

Following the concert, the choir bravely, with heads facing into the storm, fought its way against the elements, to the warming comforts of the nearby ‘Wheatsheaf’ hostelry for well deserved and heart warming (if not body) refreshments.

 

Choristers Serenade Mrs Cooke for 70th Birthday Bash

 

On the 18th October over 40 choristers crossed the Chepstow bridge over the River Wye and followed the meandering A48 alongside the Severn Estuary to the picturesque small town of  Westbury-on-Severn, nestling on the banks of the River Severn and famous for its views of the unique, world-famous Severn Bore.

 

The coach was skilfully driven down a dark, narrow lane to the Community Centre where we alighted to be received by an appreciative party of over 100 guests for whom we were invited to perform as part of the celebrations of the 70th birthday of Mrs Di Cooke which was originally marked on 10th October.

 

The party revellers, sitting in a balloon festooned hall and seated at tables laden with plentiful supplies of party food and drink, put down their drinks to listen spellbound to our first half renderings, conducted by Siân Hatton and accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson, of Llanfair, De Animals a’ Comin’, the Everly Brothers hit, Let it be me, the restful An Evenings Pastorale, rousing American Trilogy and finally to end the first part, Somewhere Out There from the film ‘An American Tail’.

 

To loud, rapturous applause, the choir retired to the bar for suitable thirst quenching, light refreshment before returning to the party room, to further introductory applause, to commence the second half with Yfory,  Eli Jenkins Prayer, specially requested by Mrs Cooke, May You Always Have a Song, Gwahoddiad (another special request) and finally Rachie.  The Choir was specially pleased with the attention and appreciation that the audience gave us and we were thrilled to be part of Mrs Cooke’s special occasion.

 

The Choir then returned to the bar for splendid refreshments supplied by the host (how did she know we all liked cheese? Good choice!) and further entertained party goers with more ‘Afterglow songs’.  Karl Gregory, as ususal rounded off the evening with his special version of ‘When the coal comes down the Rhondda’ and ‘Bobbing up and Down Like This’ while precariously balancing a pint of beer on his head.  At midnight, with requests to come and sing for them again, we left the party-goers to return to the bus and make the short journey back down the Severn to home.

Ron Presents Choristers’ 50th Anniversary Cake to Nursing Home

DSC_1474
Mark, Tony, Ron and Bob with the cake after Ron had nearly dropped it.


Press Release

 

You will remember that one of the 3-D, 50th Anniversary fruit cakes made and decorated by chorister Lyn’s wife, Colleen Gauntlett was auctioned at the afterglow following the Gala Concert.  The cake was bought by a consortium of four choristers, Ron Powell, Bob Brown, Tony Griffiths and Mark Stocker.  It was decided that rather than eat it themselves, they would donate it to the residents of Brookside Nursing Home in Caldicot.

 

Early in October, Ron Powell took the cake to the home and presented it to Heather Whittam, the coordinator for Community Connections and Bridget Cribbs, Support Officer for Monmouthshire Housing Association.  Community Connections is a befriending scheme which meets at Brookside in the older persons ‘Youth Club’ where they mix with residents to offer companionship, games and activities.

 

Half the cake was kept and later distributed to permanent residents of Brookside.  Later reports were that the 12 inch square cake was thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated by everyone.

 

Cycle Club Inspire Quiz Night

Quiz Night

 

On Friday 1st November, there will be a QUIZ NIGHT, courtesy of Côr Meibion Caldicot Cycle Club at the Choir Hall at 7-00 pm. to raise funds for the Choir.

 

On the sponsored ride from Brecon to Caldicot, the Cycle Club raised about £5000 in sponsorship to help the Victims of Chernobyl Children’s Trust and the organisation of this evening is a way to say thank you to the choristers who generously gave their support.

 

This is the first time in memory that we have held a Quiz Night at the Hall and with Lyn as the Quiz master it should be a bit of fun.  He’s never been a Quiz master in his life before and the most complex question he normally asks is ‘ What’s the time? What have you done with my shirt?’  Questions will not be too difficult but should be challenging.  The first prize is £50, second is a bottle of spirits and third is a bottle of wine.  A bottle of wine will be supplied to each table free. The Quiz is open to everyone and anyone, although team size is limited to six, please and entry is £2 per team member.  Entry for spectators is nominally £1 but any donation over this is acceptable.

 

Please come along even if you don’t want to join in with the quiz, come just for the laugh!

 

Working Week-end for Choristers

 

While it is great to have our own Choir Hall it means that we all have a responsibility to keep it clean and maintain the structure and buildings. We are rightly proud of our building and so this week-end about twenty or so willing volunteers turned up to work hard on all the little jobs that accumulate over the year.

 

It’s surprising how many there are, from a lick of paint by Ron Powell and Paul Thomas, weeding the garden with Philip Cody, Roger Francis and Bob Doggett, cleaning the windows were Jason Dawe and Mike Thurman, washing and polishing the floor, with Grahame Morton dusting walls (don’t tell Pat), Russell Woodward and Spencer Dowse checking electrics, changing fluorescent lights, checking smoke alarms and emergency lighting, Tommy Hole checking out the toilet plumbing and boiler and Ken Cooper, Ron Palmer and Dave Gould sorting out the offices upstairs and the archives and store rooms.  The list goes on and on.  It was also gratifying that newcomers like Peter Williams, Phil Cody and Russell Woodward who have only been with us for a few weeks gave several hours of their time to help.

 

Also helping out were as always, chairman Leon, John Wyson, Jason Dawe, Mark Stocker, Dave Kirton, Garry Keeble, John Jenkins with all the odd jobs and not forgetting Wyn Goodwin demonstrating his culinary skill with a continuous supply of staple chorister fodder, the bacon butties!

 

Many thanks to all who helped, particularly as there was a function in the hall on Saturday evening as well.  A tremendous job and well done.  If anybody has been missed out, sorry and let me know.

 

To quote chorister Graham ‘Spike’ Hughes, who couldn’t make it   ‘The Hall is a tremendous asset both to us as a choir and the local community. Keeping it looking as smart as it does gives a very good impression of how we go about our business, whether it be giving a concert, hosting our own social functions or assisting local charities with the use of a perfect venue’

 

Couldn’t say it better myself, Spike.

 

 

Footnote:

 

The Choir is extremely grateful to Eirwyn Williams of Woodstock Waste Disposal, Caldicot for his company’s generous donation of the use of a skip to help dispose of our unwanted material.  Many thanks, Eirwyn.  It is due to the generous support of many companies in the Caldicot area that the Choir and its’ Choir Hall continue to be a wonderful asset to the town and local community.

 

 

Lyn

 

 

Still They Come! Another new recruit!

 

 

The Choir was thrilled and delighted when local lad, John Antell from Caldicot walked through the doors at practice last night.  Well known to many choristers and the son of a former chorister, also called John, he sat down and listened to us for a while and then announced he would like to join.

 

Now a familiar scene, he went into the back room with Siân for his voice test and emerged to the announcement that he is a top tenor!

 

This now makes ten new members who have joined us in the past year (including 5 top tenors, two 2nd tenors, two baritone and a bass).  To join is a big commitment and takes a little bit of nerve, but it seems the message is getting out there that we are a great organisation to belong to.  The more the merrier (sorry, men over 18 only and you should enjoy singing).  If you’re reading this and you’re not a member of the choir but have thought about joining us, why not do what the nine have done and come along to a practice on a Monday or Thursday evening at the choir hall?

 

Well done, John and a huge welcome to our ranks.  We are sure you will have a long and happy association with our choir.

Choir Travels to St Andrews, Harrow

Photos by Phil Cody, Mike Knepper and Lyn. To enlarge left click on images

 

 


Press Release

 

On a cool but sunny October 5th 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 of former Caldicot lad, Lyndon North, the Vicar of St. Andrews Church to support his appeal for Macmillan Cancer Support.

 

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 its now traditional Llanfair , a rousing Welsh Hymn guaranteed to gain the immediate interest of any audience. Following on with the contrasting spiritual ‘De Animals a’ comin’  the Everley Brothers hit ‘ Let it be me’, ‘American Trilogy’ made famous by Elvis Presley. The enthralled audience was then treated to a mesmerising performance by Musical Director Siân Hatton of  ‘Oh My Beloved Father (O Mio Babbino Caro)’  from the opera ‘Gianni Schicchi’ by Puccini and ‘Summer Time’ from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.  The programme continued with ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight?’ from the Lion King with Siân singing the solo and conducted by Shirley Ann James who also conducted the next  number, romantic Welsh ballad ‘Lleucu Llwyd’.  The first half performance continued with the melancholic plea ‘Bring Him Home’ from the musical Les Misérables, sung by the choir for the first time in about fifteen years and finalised with all time foot-tapping favourite, ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’.

 

Opening the second half with the classic Welsh hymn, ‘Rachie’ and ‘May You Always Have a Song’, the choir followed with the now familiar Munster Rugby team anthem, ‘Fields of Athenry’ to be contrasted with the Stephen Berry quietly accompanied ‘Lord’s Prayer’.  With the audience now sitting firmly upright in anticipation, Siân once again delighted them with a solo rendition of ‘The Singer’ first sung by her as a test piece when only 15 years old and familiar ‘I Could Have Danced all Night’ from the musical My Fair Lady, joined in quietly by a number of the audience.

 

The final quarter was the concert icing on the cake with the classic opening of Bizet’s ‘Pearl Fishers Duet’; probably the most famous tenor – bass duet of all time.  In contrast, the audience were thrilled to listen to ‘Myfanwy’ which tells of a lover’s plea for his girl friend not to leave him.  Melodic hymn ‘He’ followed by the hugely contrasting, ‘Somebody to Love’ written and sung originally by Freddie Mercury, but on this occasion by Siân taking Freddie’s part in her own unique style.  To cries of ‘More, more!’ the choir responded with an encore of the glorious Easter hymn, ‘When I Survey the Wond’rous Cross’ to the tune of Morte Criste.

 

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.

 

Following the concert, the choir ascended into the bus to wend its way around the maze of streets and roundabouts that make up West London until the destination of the RAFA club was eventually found.  However, reminiscent of the 1957 Slim Dusty song, ‘There’s nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear, As to stand in the bar of a pub with no beer!‘, (click on the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8E0aZ387M)  the lads had to settle for lager or Guinness with which to wash down bowls of beef and potato curry.  Chairman Leon was heard to say ‘I quite like Foster’s now! – No accounting for taste then.  There was no dampening of the ‘Afterglow’ though and a small clientèle was treated to a late evening informal concert of our best known Afterglow songs including Happy Birthday to Mervyn (how old?).

 

11-30 or so and happily entrenched into our seats, the ‘on the bus afterglow’ from the boys of the back row continued to beyond the Severn Bridge until we arrived wearily home.

 

 

If you click on the website link to the church http://www.standrewsroxbourne.org.uk/and look on the right side bar you’ll see a link to Caldicot Male Voice Choir.  Click on this and you will hear extracts from the concert.  Well worth listening to!!!

 

I have also made a recording of the whole concert which I’ll put on a CD soon if you’d like one.   Lyn

Visit from America

As always the choir opens it’s arms to visitors and it was with great pleasure that we welcomed a guest all the way from Los Angeles, USA to practice tonight (October 3rd 2013).

 

Stephen Jones who is staying in Caerwent visiting has mother, was brought along to practice by our most fervent supporter, Allen Griffiths. Stephen emigrated to America some 33 years ago after visiting Los Angeles with the Magor Rugby team on tour. He along with his cousins Paul and Clive Thomas have settled and raised their families there.

 

Through the medium of Facebook, Stephen has followed the choir’s progress, he even said he likes cycling – perhaps the cycle club has its first overseas member!

 

Nice to see you Stephen and we are glad you enjoyed your visit.

 

Chepstow Welsh Society love our Welshness


Press Release

 

The Choir is proud to continue its Open Door Policy and at last Thursday’s practice  it was particularly pleased to welcome Chepstow and District Welsh Society through its doors.  Regrettably many choirs have a limited repertoire of Welsh songs but we are rightly proud to support our Welsh heritage, culture and language by including many famous Welsh pieces in our concert programmes.

 

Some thirty or more members and supporters of the Welsh Society were treated to a broad example of our favourites traditional hymns, conducted by Siân Hatton, Shirley Ann James, chorister John Evans and accompanied by Stephen Berry, including Llanfair, Rachie, Gwahoddiad and Laudamus together with modern songs such as Yfory and love song Lleucu Llwyd.  As a demonstration of our versatility, our Welsh items were followed with presentations of The Lord’s Prayer, American Trilogy, Can You Feel the Love Tonight  and Puccini’s Nessun Dorma from the opera Turandot by special request and not forgetting a couple of our Queen numbers, Bohemian Rhapsody and Somebody to Love, with Siân as usual giving a superlative performance as soloist

 

In this  far south eastern corner of Wales, few of the choir are Welsh speakers but all are committed to continuing the best traditions of Wales through it’s choral singing.  The evening was a great success in demonstrating this and to quote Helen Morfydd, organiser of the Welsh Society :-

 

Without exception, everyone from our Welsh Society sang (!) your praises and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  Apart from the great evening’s entertainment it was heartening to see that great Welsh tradition of choral singing is still going strong in our local area.  As I said last night, I am mightily impressed that you sang in Welsh without copies and with lots of care and attention not only to the music but also the words; impressive pronunciation!”………….”you have certainly broadened your fan base amongst those of us who could make it and gave us an opportunity to socialise in Welsh in a new environment.  So to end, I’ll say that the Amens were amazing and the ‘Arglwydd dyma fi’, my personal favourite, will stay with me a long time.”

 

We are all pleased that you all enjoyed yourselves and we were particularly thrilled to see ex-accompanist Meurig Jones come to hear us as well.

 

Photos by James Goodwin.  Left click on the images to enlarge

 

We hope that we can make this a regular event for the future.

 

Footnote.

 

As as consequence of the Open evening, Paul Carlson, in the audience on the night came to practice and promptly signed up to join the choir as a 2nd bass.  Well done Paul!

 

Choir Welcomes More New Choristers

Within the past few months, the choir has been delighted to welcome four new members to the choir, top tenors Frank Wells,  Stephen Edwards, 2nd tenor Russell Woodward and baritones Craig Howells and Philip Cody. Steve and Phil joined after years of intensive persuasion and cajoling by other choristers, Phil being a long-standing vice-president and Steve and Russell as  work mates or friends of many of the choristers and dare we say locals at the pub.  They must like it because they’ve stayed.  Although known to many choristers, Frank is one of those who just decided to walk into practice to see what it was like and stayed.

 

Yesterday, we were thrilled that Paul Carlson and Peter Williams came along to the choir hall to listen to us.  Paul from Undy, came to the Welsh Society Open evening last Thursday and was so impressed by our singing and sociability that he decided to join. At practice he went into the back room to undergo his first voice test and emerged to join the ranks of the 2nd basses.

 

Peter, a retired engineering lecturer from Rogiet, came into the hall with his wife, Bridget and after chatting to the lads decided to take his voice test as well.  He emerged from the back room to the announcement by Siân that he was a top tenor.  Welcome news indeed!

 

The choir has recruited nine new members in the past year, including 4 top tenors (including Steve Edwards, David Price and Frank Wells) two 2nd tenors (Stefan Edwards, Russell Woodward), and two into the baritone (Phil and Craig) and one in the bass section (Paul) and we are always on the look out for more.  If you are interested, and many are, please come along to practice on any Monday or Thursday evening.  You’ll always be welcome and there’s no obligation.