Because of Corona Virus restrictions it wasn’t possible to present the D M Davis Choir of Jackson, Ohio USA awards made to our oldest chorister, 97 year old Bill Nash with Caldicot Male Voice Choir present.
These awards were sent to Bill in Bristol and Lyn asked if photographs could be taken with his family. His daughter, Jane Buckland sent him these yesterday and he thought you might like this one.
Others in the photos are his wife Eileen, daughter Jane, his son Andrew, another daughter Sharon and Ian, Jane’s husband. Bill is recovering from shingles and its good to see him looking well. Very best wishes from all of us at Caldicot Male Voice Choir and we hope to be able to see you soon.
The new extension at the Caldicot Choir Hall is now underway and is thankful to Griffiths Civil Construction for starting it off by digging out the foundation trench and filling it with concrete. As soon as they have the resources the firm will build the blockwork up to DPC level and lay the base flooring,
In addition the Choir is grateful to Simon Stone at Crownhill Topsoil and Aggregates based at Caerwent who, after discussions with vice chairman Leon Jones donated and delivered 3 tons of sand to the hall on Monday 17th August.
The Choir is a registered charity which in normal years raises thousands of pounds for charities and good causes locally and nationally but the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 virus means that this year our events programme has not been possible.
The closure of the hall has also imposed many issues financially and although able to maintain the Hall the choir is not able to raise sufficient funds to progress the building work as quickly as we would like.
The Choir would welcome any donation or contribution to this project whether by labour or material donation. Please get in touch if you can.
PS The Leisure centre has let us have 2 parking spaces and Griffiths Civil Construction has supplied fencing and supports. Signage to follow. Thanks Leon Jones for organising.
Caldicot Male Voice choristers have not remained idle during this pandemic lockdown. Just like the other 8000 male voice choristers in Wales who are frustrated by not being allowed to sing together they are finding other things to do.Caldicot MVC has its own Choir Hall which while closed still needs to be maintained and cared for.
To this end a few choristers got together on Sunday 16th August to clean up some paving slabs ready for re-laying after the extension is built, do some weeding and clear the spider wildlife from inside. A small team of Leon Jones, Lyn Gauntlett, Chris Richards, Grahame Morton, Dai Gould, Russ Woodward, Colleen Gauntlett and one other willing volunteer busied themselves for a couple of hours to achieve their goal before getting together at a social distance inside to enjoy Dai Gould’s home made rock cakes and a welcome cup of coffee made by Grahame.
The Choir would like to thank all those who have contributed materials and work to getting the extension started.
If you’ve been over to the Leisure Centre recently you will have noticed that some building work is going on at the Choir Hall. The Choir Hall has recently increased its flexibility by offering the use of 16 round tables at various functions as well as rectangular tables and seating for about 200.
This has resulted in the need for extra storage space so all this furniture need not be stored in the main hall and so create extra floor space at events, concerts and functions. To this end planning permission was obtained to use the side of the hall to build an extension but building work was delayed due to funds being available.
Griffiths Civil Engineering are currently involved in renovation of Caldicot Town Centre and the company was approached by the Choir in February to see if they could help in any way as part of their community projects. Following this meeting which included a video presentation, Griffiths Civil Engineering agreed to provide the materials, equipment and labour to build the footings, foundations and brickwork up to floor level.
Work was delayed due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic but the concrete foundations have now been laid in preparation for the brickwork to be completed in the next two weeks.
Funds, equipment and materials will be needed to enable completion of the work so if you’re out there and are feel you can contribute in any way, please get in touch via our web site and the Choir will be more than happy to contact you.
Meanwhile, the Choir is extremely grateful to Griffiths Civil Engineering for their help so far into this project.
The lockdown period to restrict the spread of Covid-19 has led to a huge restriction of several groups and societies ability to get together, socialise and enjoy their favourite hobby.
However, they have been keeping healthy and active with a huge variety of activities; never have gardens, sheds, allotments looked so well. Hundreds of little jobs around the house which have been waiting for years have now been undertaken and completed. As well as painting and decorating, many have taken up new hobbies, revisited old ones by dusting down the piano keyboard for example, learned new skills such as baking and cooking and even started to learn a language such as Welsh. The choristers and music team of Caldicot Male Voice Choir, like so many others cannot wait to come back.
Caldicot Male Voice Choir has been unable to practice since mid-March and its nearly seventy members cannot enjoy their favourite pastime of singing together at its Choir Hall. For most this is their major social activity and has really been missed by all. Many have continued to work in key areas of the NHS, transport, essential retailing; others have been furloughed and many have been shielding or self-isolating at home.
Caldicot Male Voice Choir choristers were saddened to learn of the death of long standing chorister David Scott at the Royal Gwent Hospital on July 5th after a short illness. David was 85 years old.
David, (Davey, Dai) was a long standing member of the choir following his move from Scotland as a young man to work in the Central Engineering Workshops at Llanwern steelworks until his retirement. Never forgetting his roots, he nevertheless became an adopted Welshman by joining Caldicot Male Voice Choir as a second tenor in about 1966. Although he left for a short while he rejoined in the 1970’s, joined the bass section and received a 25 year long service award, alongside many others in 2013.
A long serving committee member and no longer able to sing in concerts due to ill health, he finally retired from the choir in January 2017 at the age of 82 but was still an ever present at the Annual and Gala concerts with his wife Ellen. He was delighted at the Annual Concert in 2016 to be honoured with the Choir’s Lifetime Achievement Award and conferred as an honorary Vice President. The certificate, presented by John Griffiths AM hangs proudly on his living room wall alongside his 25 year long service award.
Davey was a true gentleman, always willing to join in a friendly chat or sing along in an afterglow. He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew him, both in the Choir and in the Caldicot community. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to his wife Ellen and his family at this sorrowful time.
Rest in Peace, dear friend.
Footnote: The funeral will take place at Langstone Crematorium on July 21st at 10-30 am but due to Covid 19 restrictions only family and informed friends are allowed to attend. The cortege will be passing through Mill Lane, past the Choir Hall en-route at about 10-00 am.
Last January saw the celebration of the 97th birthday at the Choir Hall of probably the oldest and longest serving male chorister in the Country; Bill Nash who has been singing in choirs for over 80 years, even during his wartime service in the Royal Air Force.
Instigated by the Welsh Association of Male Choirs after seeing the report on Facebook, Caldicot Male Voice Choir was delighted soon after to receive a parcel from Wilbur McCormick of the D L Davis Male Voice Choir in Jackson, Ohio, USA. The parcel contained a Choir polo shirt, a commemorative plaque and a letter endorsing BIll as an Honorary Life Member of this prestigious Choir.
The beautifully made plaque mounted on oak reads: ‘In Recognition of his 80 Years of Service to the World of Music BILL NASH is Awarded a Lifetime Honorary Membership by the D.M. DAVIS MALE VOICE CHOIR of Jackson Ohio, USA January 9, 2020′.
This is a rare honour, richly deserved by Bill. This accolade was due to be presented to Bill at the Annual Concert this year, but unfortunately the event was cancelled, Since we do not know when the Choir can meet again it was decided that now is the right time to make this award public. Bill is at home in Bristol, is well and still learning his music. He has been aware of the award for some time and he and his family are thrilled and delighted that his long continuous service to male voice singing has been honoured in this way.
Many thanks to Wilbur McCormick and all at the D.M. Davis Male Voice Choir for this wonderful tribute. Hopefully we will be able to make the presentation to Bill personally soon.
Dave Gould was good enough to write a report of Caldicot Male Voice Choir’s trip to Armagh. This post is slightly edited to allow press reports but I’m sure Dave will forgive me. I’ve put up Paul Williams photo again until I’ve had chance to collate more by choristers. Bear with me.
CALDICOT CHOIR IN ARMAGH FOR ST. PATRICK FESTIVAL
In the freezing conditions of a 5-30am boarding of the bus on Friday 6th March, Caldicot Male Voice Choir departed the sleeping town to begin the journey to Armagh in Northern Island, After more than 6 hours travelling from Bristol airport, the Choir arrived at Aonach Myacha Irish Cultural and Language centre to take part in the opening celebrations of the new centre, built around the steel shell of the old fire station.
Scheduled to sing a few numbers at 2-30pm to entertain the crowds and dignitaries, unfortunately there were so many participants that it wasn’t until 3-30pm that the Choir was able to sing two pieces, ‘Rachie’ conducted by Sian Hatton and ‘Calon Lan’ conducted by Shirley Anne James, both accompanied by John Nicholson. This short performance was broadcast live by RTE Radio.
Following the settling in at the Clayton Hotel for its two night stay, the choristers made their way for an evening of refreshment and on request a lot of singing at the popular Kelly’s Cellar, only stopping to give other acts a chance.
The following morning many choristers took on a bus top sight seeing tour before moving on to the spectacular Armagh Cathedral in preparation for its evening performance. This took the form of joining in with some 30 choral and individual musicians and singers to pay tribute to the achievements of St Patrick. Caldicot, as the only Male Voice Choir performed its two pieces, ‘Anfonal Angel’ and ‘Benedictus’ under the superb echoing acoustics of the marbled setting of the incredible Cathedral. The Festival will be televised in Ireland by RTE on March 17th.
Arriving at the hotel after midnight, the lateness of the hour did not prevent the choir enjoying an afterglow singing until past 3am.
The final day the Choir, before returning home spent the afternoon at the spectacular Titanic Museum which gave the opportunity for much reflection on this tragic event.
Finally the Choir arrived back in Caldicot in the early hours of Monday morning, exhausted but knowing that it had 19 hours to go before its next practice.
Photograph by Colleen Gauntlett with kind permission of the School
Once again Caldicot Male Voice Choir supported a local school at its St David’s Day celebration. This time, invited by headmistress Suzanne Hamer, on March 2nd some thirty odd choristers and the musical team of conductor Shirley Anne James, accompanists Stephen Berry and John Nicholson went along to Magor Church in Wales Volunteer Aided Primary School.
In front of over 100 well behaved and attentive children the choir, all wearing traditional daffodils and compered by Shirley Anne, opened with resounding ‘Rachie’ guaranteed to have the children sitting bolt upright in attention. Followed by Welsh folk song ‘Bugeili’or Gwenith Gwyn’, the children were treated to a solo performance by Peter Hanks of ‘My Little Welsh Home’ before answering a barrage of questions about the Choir: Who’s the oldest? Who’s the youngest? What’s your favourite song? How long have you been singing? How many in the Choir? and many more. Finalising with favourite Calon Lan with David Gould singing the solo second verse, the whole school then stood to join in with the Choir to sing the Welsh National Anthem, Hen Wlad fy Nhadau.
On Friday the Choir will be travelling to Northern Ireland to firstly sing on Friday 6th March at the opening of the Irish Cultural Centre in Armagh to be followed on Saturday by singing at a Festival in Armagh’s St Patrick’s Cathedral to commemorate the life of St Patrick. This will be broadcast live throughout the world on March 17th. Before returning on Sunday 7th March, the choir will visit and sing at the Titanic Museum in Belfast. Should be an interesting weekend.
On Thursday 9th January, Caldicot Male Voice Choir wished its oldest chorister a happy birthday by giving him a standing ovation and enthusiastically singing the tune ‘Happy Birthday’ to Bottom Bass Bill Nash followed by ‘For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow’. He was also presented with a special card signed by all present as a mark of the true affection and respect felt by all members of the choir.
The evening was attended by his son Andrew and daughters Anne and Sharon. Unfortunately his other two daughters, Jane and Ellen were unable to attend but sent their very best wishes. All were thrilled and delighted with the Choir’s genuine adulation of their father.
Bill’s celebration of his 97th birthday on Thursday surely must make him the oldest male voice chorister in Wales, if not the U.K. still actively and regularly singing. Tributes have been pouring in including from the USA and mentions have been made on BBC Radio Wales.
One of the many highlights of his almost 50 years in Caldicot Male Voice Choir was to be presented to HRH Prince Charles when the choir was honoured to sing at the Prince’s celebration of his 70th birthday at Buckingham Palace in May 2018.
Bottom bass Bill makes the journey to practice from the centre of Bristol to Caldicot twice a week aided by his family and is still able to make it to many of our concerts.
Bill was born in Llanharan in 1923 to later sing, at the age of 14 with his father and brothers in Llanharan Male Voice Choir and attend Cowbridge Grammar School from where he left at 16 years old to serve in the RAF before and during the second World War as an aircraft fitter. He served in North Africa, Italy, South Africa and other countries before moving to Gloucester after the war and then to Bristol in 1952 to work many years for the British Aircraft Corporation and where he has lived since. He sang in Redland Male Choir in Bristol for many years before joining Caldicot Male Voice Choir in 1970.
He has, in his long history of over 80 years of male choral singing, sung in every section of a male voice choir. An incredible, probably unequalled record.
Bill was presented with a well deserved Lifetime Achievement award and conferred as an Honorary Vice President of Caldicot Male Voice Choir at a special presentation by John Griffiths AM and Musical Director Siân Hatton at the Annual Concert in April 2014.
Bill has an incredible knowledge and expertise as a chorister and is always willing to pass on his experiences to younger and new members of the choir, not to mention our musical team.
I would be interested to learn of any chorister who is of Bill’s age or older who is still active as a singer in any Welsh Male Voice Choir