Category Archives: 2018

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 !!

Fabulous Gala Concert with Risca Male Choir


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

Those of you who go to Caldicot Leisure Centre in Mill Lane cannot fail to see Caldicot Male Voice Choir’s Choir Hall with it’s bright red badge above the entrance.  This magnificent hall was opened in 1996 through funds raised by the choristers and grants at that time. To celebrate the opening, three local choirs, Risca, Cwmbran and Blaenavon were invited to Caldicot to perform in a special inaugural Gala concert. The start of the tradition of annual Gala concerts.

Caldicot was thrilled that 22 years years later, Risca Male Choir accepted the invitation to return to perform in Caldicot Male Voice Choir’s 22nd Gala concert on September 8th at the Leisure Centre where the capacity audience of over 400 was presented with one of the best Gala performances for many years. Introduced by the professional performance throughout of compère and host Dean Powell Caldicot, conducted by Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson and including about 15 who were at the inaugural Gala, opened proceedings with resounding ‘Men of Harlech’ to be followed by varying styles of ‘Mansions of the Lord’, haunting ‘Tangnefeddwyr’, ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ by Malotte, spiritual ‘Ride the Chariot’ and the premiere performance by Caldicot of ‘The Prayer’, a beautiful song much of which is sung in Italian.

Risca followed, conducted by new Musical Director Tomos Gwyn and accompanied by Alison Thomas with a range of song styles including vigorous ‘Gloria’, the beautiful Rudyard Kipling inspired ‘Seal Lullaby’, spiritual ‘Goin’ up a Yonder’ to be followed by tributes to the First World War dead, the poem ‘In Flander’s Fields’ and the poem by Robert Binyon ‘For the Fallen’ with the words ‘They shall not grow old…..’,  Risca choir included about ten members who were part of the first Gala Concert.

Taking to the stage after the interval, Risca presented us with contrasting styles of the famous ‘O Danny Boy’, rhythmic ‘Gonna Rise Up Singing’, ‘Hiraeth’ expressing the virtues of the particularly Welsh emotion of longing. Included was the soft, Welsh lullaby ‘Si Hei Lwli ‘Mabi’, Anfonaf Angel and patriotic ‘O Gymru’, extolling the virtues of Wales.

Showing off the range of songs sung by Welsh male choirs, Caldicot presented a varied second half programme of ‘African Prayer’ based on the South African National Anthem, Nkosi Sikelel’I Africa but sung in both Xhosa and Welsh, a now firm favourite the memorable words of ‘A Miner’s Song’, a foot tapping copy of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s ‘Sixteen Tons’, the tragic love story of Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn and finally the most famous of all Welsh hymns, ‘Cwm Rhondda’.

Both Choirs combined on stage for about 100 voices to sing the famous all time favourite hymn, ‘When I Survey the Wond’rous Cross’ sung to the tune ‘Morte Criste’ as a finale.  Amazing!

There is no doubt that the audience, including special guests Jessica Morden MP, Peter Clarke, chairman of Monmouthshire County Council and councillors Alan Davies, David Evans, Tony Easson, Jim Higginson representing Caldicot wards, Rev. Preben Andersen of Caldicot Methodist Church, Dr Haydn James, musical director of the Welsh Rugby Union and Wales and British Lions Rugby legend Gerald Davies in his capacity as Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire, was absolutely thrilled with the evening of tremendous Male Voice Choir singing by two of Wales’ leading choirs. A night to remember!

Many thanks to all who helped in the creation and organisation of such a wonderful concert.


Another two new choristers join our ranks

The word must be going around about how good it is to be a chorister in Caldicot Male Voice Choir because another two walked in the door last week.

Earl Harvey lives in Caldicot and was encouraged to come along by his neighbour, chorister Dave Hennesey to join and we’rs so glad he did.  After listening to us for the first half of a practice he immediately offered to go into the back room with Siân to go through his first voice test.  He came out to the announcement that he is a very welcome top tenor.  Earl is retired but spent many years as a court usher to Gwent Magistrates, so I’m sure he’s shown many of you the door in his time.

Similarly, new entrant Alasdair Stewart also did his first voice test and emerged from the back room as an equally welcome second tenor.  Stewart is the son of former chorister Ron Stewart who emigrated to Canada where Alasdair was born,  He has recently returned and lives in Cladicot and works in Lydney.

A very warm welcome to both and we’re sure they will enjoy every moment of being in the choir.

Birdie Boys off for a round at St Pierre

Photographs by Ron Ashton, Colleen Gauntlett and Lyn Gauntlett

Caldicot Choir’s golfers, The Birdie Boys not only tweet and twitter in the choir, they and their friends play a round of Golf or two to raise funds for Charities.  Last Saturday 23 of them came along to the St Pierre Marriott Golf resort near Chepstow to play on the Mathern Course in a special Golf Day to help Caldicot Male Voice Choir continue to raise funds for good causes through its concert activities.

While trying to emulate the achievements of past winners on this course such as Jacklin, Woosnam, Langer, Ballasteros and Gallagher, six teams of four started off from the clubhouse and hotel and after a marathon 5 mile walk (although some went by buggy) through the links while trying to get a little white ball down a sequence of 18 holes, they all managed to get back to the hotel by about 5-30pm.

The eventual winners of the event organised by choristers Maurice Penny, Tony Griffiths and Alyn Dawe was a team from the Choir captained by chorister Tony Griffiths and guest golfers Mike Griffiths, Chris Orum and Dale Harris. Birdie Boys captain on the day, Alyn Dawe presented the intrepid four with a magnificent trophy, donated by The Birdie Boys golfers  Second place was a team of choristers represented by captain Dave Gould, Paul Thomas, Ron Powell and Mark Stocker. Third place was another team of choristers; Tom Hole, David Hennesey, Alyn Dawe and Jason Dawe. Nearest the pin on the 5th hole – Chris Orum, nearest the pin on the 18th – Dale Harris and finally, longest drive on the 17th – chorister Karl Gregory.

Following the fish and chip supper and the presentations of awards by Birdie Boys captain Alyn Dawe, a raffle with prizes on the night and sponsorship of each of the 18 holes and pins raised about £700. The main sponsors were Flexi-Print, Gambia Horse and Donkey charity, JAGA transport, Ray’s Garden Services, Blood Bikes Wales, MPS, The Tredegar Arms, Shirenewton and Timothy Taylor’s Brewery not to mention several individual sponsorships.

A fabulous day of golf was enjoyed by everyone in perfect weather conditions.

Long serving chorister passes away


The Choir was saddened to learn at practice on 23rd August 2018 that long serving, retired baritone chorister Doug King sadly passed away on Monday 20th August 2018 after a long illness. This photograph was taken at Bingham Hall in Cirencester on September 29th 2012.

Doug retired in 2014 after about 40 years service to the choir. Following his retirement Doug was awarded an Honorary Vice Presidency and a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Annual Concert in 2016 by John Griffiths AM and Music Director Siân Hatton.

He was a calm, quiet gentleman, rarely ruffled who always had a smile on his face. Although his seat at the choir in the centre of the baritones has been taken by others he is still missed as a loyal and respected chorister.

Our condolences and sympathy go out to his family and friends at this sad time. His funeral will take place at the Langstone Crematorium on Monday September 3rd, Service is at 11-30am.

22 Years since Risca Male Choir at the opening of Caldicot Choir Hall

Photo by Colleen Gauntlett


In 1996 work was completed on building the brand new, purpose built, magnificent Choir Hall in Caldicot.  Owned and funded by Caldicot Male Voice Choir with help from local authorities and the National Lottery grants, the building’s completion was marked by holding a Gala Concert to which Risca, Blaenavon and Cwmbran Male Choirs were invited to join Caldicot in a feast of wonderful Welsh male choral singing. Since then a Gala concert to which another choir or musical group is invited has been held each year to remember this auspicious occasion .

In the past, Blaenavon and Cwmbran Male Choirs have returned to the Choir Hall and now, after a gap of 22 years Caldicot Male Voice Choir is thrilled and delighted to invite Risca Male Choir once again to its Gala concert.  Risca is arguably one of the leading choirs in Wales and together with Caldicot, fresh from its acclaimed appearances recently at the Royal Albert Hall and Buckingham Palace are sure to give a give a fantastic evening’s entertainment.

We are also pleased to welcome back for the fourth time the talented, humorous, witty and extremely choir knowledgeable, Dean Powell to host the concert.

The concert is at Caldicot Leisure Centre in Mill Lane Caldicot on Saturday September 8th and doors open at 6-30 pm.  Tickets are £10 each from Alan Pearce on 01291 422005 in advance, from the Leisure Centre, from any chorister or at the door on the night.

Caldicot Male Voice Choir is always keen to welcome potential new members so if are interested in starting a new hobby, learn new skills and make new friends then please take a look at our web site or visit the choir hall on any Monday or Thursday night from 7 pm.