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Choir Performs Amid the Flowers at Wimbourne St Giles.

 

 

Photographs by Colleen Gauntlett

On July 15th 2017, some sixty members of Caldicot Male Voice Choir travelled through the quiet country lanes and rolling hillsides of Wiltshire and Dorset to finally arrive in an area of outstanding beauty at the picturesque village of Wimbourne St GIles, home of the Earls of Shaftesbury.  Every year the St Giles Church Council bedecks the church in a wonderful display of flower arrangements and sculptures.  This year’s theme was ‘Country Ways’ and the choir positioned itself against the magnificent wooden screen of the 18th century Georgian church surrounded by over thirty magnificent floral displays.

The Choir, conducted by Siân Hatton and accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson performed a wide mix of favourites including Welsh hymns Rachie, Cwm Rhondda, Laudamus, Eli Jenkins’ Prayer and Malotte’s The Lord’s Prayer through to fast moving The Lady is a Tramp, With a Voice of Singing and Ride the Chariot.  These pieces contrasted with the Welsh songs ‘Anfonaf Angel’ the traditional, tragic, Welsh folk song, ‘Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn’, ‘The Impossible Dream’ featured in The Man of La Mancha and ‘Mansions of the Lord’ from the film ‘We are Soldiers’.  The choir also delighted the audience with its premier performance of ‘Shenandoah’. In a long, varied programme, Siân Hatton delighted the audience with a rendition of the humorous Marriott Edgar poem ‘Albert and the Lion’ accompanied on piano by Stephen Berry.

The programme included a performance from a four piece brass ensemble made up from young pupils of the local Queen Elizabeth School who delighted the audience with an exploration of musical styles beginning with ‘Fly me to the Moon’ included Baroque, Handel’s ‘Hornpipe’ from Water Music, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake right through to ‘Sir Duke’ by Stevie Wonder and ‘La Cucaracha’, finalising with the Glenn Miller classic ‘In the Mood’..  The foursome form part of the thirty odd strong School orchestra who perform over thirty concerts a year.

Following rapturous applause from the audience and words of appreciation and a request to visit again from the Rector, the reverend David Paskins the choir left to board the coach to nearby Cranborne and the Sheaf of Arrows for well deserved refreshment.

 

All Stars and Spangled Banners as Caldicot Choir sings with American Choir

 

 

Photos by Colleen Gauntlett

This time last year Caldicot Male Voice Choir travelled in the rain to the magnificent St Peter’s RC Church in Cardiff to share the stage with the touring American Tapestry Choir and this year it was delighted to repeat the experience on July 6th, this time in glorious sunshine, with Californian choir, the San Jose Symphonic Choir conducted by Leroy Krumm and accompanied by Mark Bruce.  The concert, arranged by UK Travel Designers Ltd. was held in aid of the Severn View Open Doors project which supports sufferers of dementia in the Chepstow area and over £500 was donated by the choirs and audience. The Choir is aiming to raise sufficient funds to provide a number of outbuildings for the charity’s sensory garden.

The 50 strong San Jose Choir opened the concert with a disciplined walk through to the stage with trumpet accompaniment of ‘Now I Walk in Beauty’ written by Gregg Smith and followed their first half with classical pieces from around the world including Rachmaninofff’s ‘Borgorodiste Devo’, ‘Shine on this Shining Night’, and a delightful harmonised version of ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star’.  The Welsh audience were thrilled that the choir superbly performed ‘Ar hyd y nos’ in Welsh to round off their first performance.

Caldicot Male Voice Choir of over 60 voices conducted by Shirley-Anne James and accompanied by Stephen Berry included a series of songs from its extensive repertoire either side of the interval, opening with well known hymn ‘Cwm Rhondda’ followed by items as varied as folk song ‘Bugeilio’r Gwentith Gwyn’, the hymn of forgiveness ‘He’,  ‘Anfonal Angel’, ‘The Lord’s Prayer’, ‘Troyte’s Chant’, ‘Laudamus’, ‘With a Voice of SInging’ and finalising with the famous Wesleyan hymn ‘Morte Criste’ much appreciated by the Americans and audience alike.

The San Jose choir’s second performance was less classical and included Bernstein’s ‘Somewhere’, ‘Keep your Lamps Aglow’, William Smith’s ‘Ride the Chariot’ (also included in Caldicot’s repertoire), ‘Hear me Redeemer’ and of course Burt Bacharach’s ‘Do You know the way to San Jose’.  Finishing with a tremendous version of ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ with trumpet and piccolo accompaniment as well as piano, the choir received a long standing ovation from an appreciative audience.

Finally the two choirs assembled on stage to sing together the two National Anthems, ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ conducted by Leroy Krumm followed by ‘Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ conducted by Shirley-Anne James which again led to another standing ovation in recognition of superb performances from two wonderful choirs.

Many of the American choristers had never heard a Welsh Male Voice Choir before and all were thrilled to have shared this fabulous choral experience and will return to the USA with a desire to return to Wales again.

Following its visit to Cardiff, the San Jose Choir continues its tour of the UK with concerts in Harrogate and York before returning to California.

 

 

Choir to Sing with San Jose Symphonic Choir

 

On Thursday 6th July, Caldicot Male Voice will suspend its usual practice and instead will be appearing alongside the prestigious touring Californian choir, the San Jose Symphonic Choir at St Peter’s Church, St. Peter’s Street, Cardiff at 7-30pm.

Founded in 1924 the San Jose Symphonic of over 100 voices has toured extensively in its history throughout Europe, Australia and across America and Caldicot Male Voice is thrilled to be performing alongside them. The Symphonic Choir will be conducted by Leroy G Kromm, its renowned musical director since 1985 and will be accompanied by Mark Bruce.

Caldicot Male Voice Choir will perform not only a traditional mix of traditional Welsh choral music but also more modern pieces and is conducted by Sian Hatton, musical director since 1988 and Shirley Anne James.  The choir will be accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson.

Last year Caldicot choir performed, to great acclaim at the same venue with the 100 strong American Tapestry choir and this year’s concert should be at least as fabulous as it was then.

Entry is free but any donations will be made to the Choir’s nominated charity for 2017, the Severn View Open Doors project which provides support for sufferers of Dementia in the Chepstow area.

Choir Performs Amazing Annual Concert

 

 

Photographs taken by Colleen Gauntlett.  Left click on images to enlarge.

 

Accolades and praises for the standard of performance by Caldicot Male Voice Choir and its Guest artistes of wonderful tenors Rhys Meirion, Aled Wyn Davies and leading West end soprano Shân Cothi  at the Annual Concert in Caldicot Leisure Centre on April 8th keep flooding in.  In what was without doubt one of the most remarkable and best concerts ever staged by the Choir, the audience of well over 400 was treated to an evening of fabulous entertainment that will live long in the memory of all who attended.

Host and compere, BBC Wales Today presenter, Rebecca John opened proceedings by introducing 75 choristers to the stage conducted throughout by Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson who started with a wonderful version of Cwm Rhondda arranged by Arwel Humphreys followed by a variety of items including ‘The Impossible Dream’, ‘Eli Jenkins’ Prayer’ and for the first time for many years ‘Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn’ and ‘Comrades in Arms’.

Rhys Meirion, Aled Wyn Davies and Shân Cothi, popularly known as ‘Two T’s and a Cothi’, accompanied throughout by the talented Caradog Williams on piano took to the stage singing ‘Brindisi, the Drtinking Song’ fro Verdi’s La Traviata and then performed a beautiful rendition of all time Welsh favourite ‘Myfanwy’, followed by the iconic ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and then a wonderful version of Ave Maria written especially for the Three Welsh Tenors by Robat Arwyn.  Each artiste then performed solos with Shân singing ‘I Feel Pretty’ from West Side Story, Rhys with ‘Coren ‘ngrato (Catari, catari) and finally to cap off their incredible first performance, Aled sang ‘L’alba sempara della lucci l’ongra’ by Tosti.

Caldicot Male Voice Choir took to the stage once again to complete a wonderful first part with some of their favourites, including ‘Ride the Chariot’ with soloist Sián Hatton and David Gould,  ‘A Miner’s Song by Dan and Laura Curtis, Malotte’s version of The Lord’s Prayer and finalising with Haydn James’ and Jenny Trew’s arrangement of O Gymru featuring soloist,chorister Tom Hole.

Part Two opened with Choir premieres of ‘With a Voice of Singing’ and the romantic ‘Anfonaf Angel’ before singing their popular version of ‘On the Street Where You Live’ from My Fair Lady contrasted with the beautiful, well known hymn ‘Gwahoddiad’.

Shân, Rhys and Aled took to the stage again to rapturous applause and once again gave combined offerings beginning with a humorous duet from Joseph Parry’s Welsh opera ‘Blodwen’ and the waltz duet from the opera ‘The Merry Widow’ before Aled ‘s second solo of ‘I’ll Walk with God’. Shân beautifully followed this with the well known and popular favourite Puccini’s ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’ before Rhys finalised a superb performance of ‘Bugail Aberdyfi’, ‘The Shepherd of Aberdovey’ by Rhys Lewis.  All three returned to the stage to give a skillful demonstration of Cerrdd Dant singing which involved a superlative counter melody version of Calon Lân. The trio ended the performance with an incredible rendition of Dros Gymru’n Gwlad – a prayer for Wales (Finlandia) which prompted a long standing ovation as a tribute for a truly magnificent performance.

Caldicot returned to the stage to present a totally different style with music from the worlds of stage and film with ‘The Lady is a Tramp’ and ‘The Way We Were’ from the film of the same name before contrasting with ‘Psalm 23’ in Welsh set to music by Franz Schubert.  The concert finalised with ‘You Raise Me Up’ and the Easter Hymn ‘Morte Criste’ beginning with the words ‘When I Survey the Wond’rous cross’.  The audience and choir were thrilled that the guest trio of Rhys, Aled and Shân joined with the choir for the third and last verses.  Again this promoted a long standing ovation.

After presentations and speeches, the concert closed when compère Rebecca John invited everyone to stand and sing ‘Mae Hen Wlad fy Nhadau,’ the Welsh National Anthem’ conducted by Siân Hatton and accompanied by Stephen Berry.

Invited guests for the evening included Brig. Robert Aitken CBE, Lord Lieutenant of Gwent; Kevin Thomas, High Sheriff of Gwent and Dr. Haydn James, Musical Director of the Welsh Rugby Union as well as representatives of Monmouthshire County Council.. The Choir is also extremely grateful to Caldicot Metal Decorating Ltd, represented by Mr Richard O’Neill for so generously sponsoring this event.

There is little doubt that this was one of the best concerts ever presented by Caldicot Male Voice Choir and everyone left that evening knowing that they had witnessed something special.  How do we follow that?

 

 

 

Choir brings Welsh stars to Caldicot

Did you know that Caldicot Male Voice Choir has pleasure in bringing three of Wales’ greatest singing stars to the Caldicot Leisure Centre on Saturday 8th April, namely tenors Rhys Meirion and Aled Wyn Davies together with West end stage star, soprano Shan Cothi? Each has performed on the stage at world famous venues in Europe, North America, Australia and many more countries and here they are in Caldicot to appear alongside Caldicot Male Voice Choir. The three performing on stage together will give a mix of music and humour to delight everyone whatever their taste in music. The Choir will give a blend of songs from the stage and screen as well as traditional Welsh songs and hymns.

All three have appeared alongside the Choir in the past; last year Rhys Meirion and Aled Wyn Davies appeared as two of the fabulous three Welsh tenors and Shan Cothi thrilled us all with her superlative performance at the 50th Anniversary Concert in 2013. The Choir is delighted and proud that they have accepted the invitation to come to Caldicot again.

Hosted by BBC Wales Today presenter Rebecca John, the evening is sure to be a great event and must not be missed.

Caldicot has arguably one of the best male voice choirs in Wales with over 80 choristers so you are invited to come and see for yourselves. Doors open at 6-30pm. Tickets are only £10 from Alan Pearce 01291 422005, at the Leisure Centre in Mill Lane or from any chorister.

All monies raised are to support Caldicot Male Voice Choir to enable its continuing charity and choral work.

Choirs raise funds for Charity Appeal at Caldicot Choir Hall

Photographs taken by Colleen Gauntlett.  Please left click on the images to enlarge.

 

For the past four years Caldicot Male Voice Choir has held a St David’s Day concert at its Choir Hall in Caldicot to raise funds for deserving causes.  This year it was pleased to invite local Durand School Choir as its special guests to help the Chairman of Monmouthshire County Council, Mr Jim Higginson’s appeal for The St. David’s Foundation and Tŷ Hafan Trust, a children’s hospice in Sully, near Barry.

Among the invited guests were the Lord Lieutenant of Gwent, Brigadier Robert Aitken CBE, the High Sheriff of Gwent,  Mr Anthony John Clay as well as the Mayors of Monmouth, Merthyr CBC and Torfaen and Monmouthshire Councillor Mr Brian Strong.

Over seventy members of Caldicot Male Voice Choir took to the stage on the evening.  Conducted by Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson the Choir entertained the capacity audience to a wide mix of choral songs including Welsh items Rachie, Yfory, Aberystwyth, Gwahoddiad, O Gymru (soloist Tommy Hole) and for the first time for many years, the traditional song Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn.  Also included were The Rose, The Lord’s Prayer by Schubert, Troyte’s Chant of Eli Jenkins’Prayer as well as songs from the world of film such as On the Street Where You Live from My Fair Lady and The Way We Were from the 1973 film of the same name.  The programme also included the rousing spiritual Ride the Chariot featuring soloists Siân Hatton and David Gould.

The School Choir of 25 children delighted the audience with a range of Welsh and English songs, opening with Myfanwy followed by  Heno, heno, Calon Lân, Ar Hyd y Nos and Sosban Fach.  Included in their programme was Max Boyce favourite, Swansea Town, The Streets of London, My Lighthouse , Somewhere Out There from the animated film An American Tail and finalising with a medley of songs from Abba – Waterloo, Dancing Queen and Mamma Mia which had the audience enthusiastically tapping its feet.

The musical direction and tutelage of Head teacher Allison Waters and the musical staff of Durand School, Deputy Head Mr Anthony Moses, guitarist Mr Will Maragon and pianist, retired Deputy Head, Mrs Marilyn Modget can be rightly proud of their talented young Choir.

This was also the first concert of new recruits second tenor Andy Friedman and two bottom basses Oliver Edwards and Peter Fagan.  Well done all, may this be the first of many.

Choir is Proud of its Eisteddfod Performance

Photographs by Colleen Gauntlett.  Click on images to enlarge

 

For the first time since 2004, Caldicot Male Voice Choir took up the challenge to enter the National Eisteddfod, this year held at Abergavenny on Saturday 6th August.  Entry into this has meant huge amounts of organisation, dedicated practice and commitment from all of the choristers and the Musical team of Siân Hatton, Shirley Anne James, Stephen Berry and John Nicholson over the past 6 months.

Arriving in glorious Summer weather the choir had the opportunity to spend some time walking around the enormous Maes before making its way to the Pavilion to prepare for the competition against some of the leading choirs in Wales.  After suffering sweltering temperatures in the ‘holding area’ the choir took to the stage as the last of the eight competitors, nervously but with superb discipline to face an audience of self considered experts, not to mention the adjudicating panel.

Conducted by musical director Siân Hatton and accompanied by Stephen Berry, the 72 strong choir opened its performance with Schubert’s beautifully written ‘Psalm 23’ with its quietly moving cadences throughout the story.  Following enthusiastic applause the next item was the rapidly tongue twisting ‘Deryn y bwn o’r banna’, sung unaccompanied to a fast moving rhythm.  Although short, this is a technically demanding piece to maintain the pace and of course keep in tune from beginning to end.  The choir succeeded in this admirably.  The performance ended with the contrasting ‘Bywyd y Bugail’ with its changing tempo, key and volume to test any choir’s ability to sing together.  The three pieces chosen had all been included in previous Eisteddfodau as test pieces and represented a severe challenge to the choir not only in the musical interpretation but was also demanding in the language.

After leaving the stage, to loud applause the choir and its supporters took the opportunity to acquire some refreshment before the long awaited adjudication.  Finally, the adjudicators commented very favourably on our performance although the eventual winners were Côr Meibion Brythoniau. We were disappointed that we did not come away with any silverware, we all felt that we had won gold medals for the huge efforts, incredible discipline and superb musical performance on the day.  The whole choir deserves enormous praise and respect for all the hard work put in over several months which culminated in a fantastic performance and an incredible experience.  Well done all.

Footnote:

 

For two choristers, tenor Alan Loy and bass Stuart Parry, this was their first concert performance after passing their second voice test.  Well done both for what must have been a nerve racking experience which is one you’ll never forget.

Caldicot Choir shares Cardiff stage with American Tapestry Choir

Tapestry Choir poster 3

 

 

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

Last Thursday 30th June the choir travelled down the M4 to Cardiff to sing at the beautiful St Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Roath, Cardiff with  the 1oo strong, mixed voices of the American Tapestry Choir.  The M4 signs warned us of heavy traffic due to a concert and we thought we were going to sing to a packed house.  We soon realised these were a warning for the Beyoncé concert on the same night at the Principality stadium.  Never mind.

The Tapestry Choir consists of over 100 voices drawn from all over the USA who arrived in Ireland on 26th June.  Although they have been preparing for this tour for several months, many met for the first time and rehearsals started almost as soon as they step off the planes.  On their 12 day tour, organised by UK Travel Designers in conjunction with American based Harmony International, they had already performed in Dublin and were appearing with Caldicot Male Voice Choir in Cardiff before moving on to London, Normandy and Amsterdam.  The choir is conducted by composers Joe Martin, Lloyd Larson  and Nancy Price and features members of the incredible Manassas Chorale from Virginia, including their director Becky Verner.  Their repertoire includes many popular and traditional choral pieces largely composed by Joe and Lloyd.

Caldicot Male Voice choir conducted by Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James, accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson opened proceedings with a selection of Welsh hymns including Rachie and Gwahoddiad interspersed with American musical pieces ‘The Lady is a Tramp’ and ‘Memories’ from the film of the same name and the popular ‘A Miner’s Song’ by Dan and Laura Curtis.  This was followed by The Tapestry Choir giving superb vocal arrangements of gospel pieces and traditional spirituals including Beautiful Saviour, Bring Him Home, ‘Tis a gift to be simple, ’tis a gift to be free’ and ‘Praise the Lord’ a medley of compositions conducted by Lloyd Larson and a combination of Gabriel’s Oboe featuring Debbie MacDonald on flute before blending into the hymn  ‘This is my Father’s World’.

The second half opened with the Tapestry choir giving once again fabulous musical arrangements of traditional American songs including ‘Down in the Valley to Pray’ as well as new compositions by Lloyd Larson and Nancy Price, who conducted her version of The 23rd Psalm and featured soprano soloist Sue Martin singing a delightful version of Pie Iesu.  The Tapestry choir finalised with a roof-lifting ‘Summer version of Spirituals’ conducted by Joe Martin

The concert organisers deemed that all ticket sales at the door would be donated to the Choir’s 2016 charity appeal this year, the Motor Neurone Disease Association on behalf of whom an appeal was made by charity organiser Tannwen Saunders.  Tannwen later announced that about £315 was raised for the charity.

Caldicot choir followed the Tapestry choir’s wonderful performances with items equally as entertaining and in particular  ‘Ride the Chariot’ an American spiritual featuring soloist David Gould and Siân Hatton which was praised with yells of delight and a standing ovation from the Tapestry Choir and the audience.  The rousing second presentation included the Welsh Hymn, Llef as well as The Impossible Dream from the musical Man from La Mancha and the romantic modern Welsh song ‘Yfory’ tomorrow.  The Choir’s performance once again inspired the audience to a second standing ovation.  The mix of items blended together perfectly to give the Americans a real taste of Welsh culture in glorious, inspiring surroundings

The invitation to sing with the American Tapestry Choir was triggered by Nancy Price the composer of the song ‘As long as I have music’.  This piece was arranged by our own Stephen Berry for a four part male voice choir and was recorded by the choir on its 2010 album ‘One Moment in Time’, part of which is featured on our web site’s Recordings page.  Knowing she was coming on tour to the UK with the Tapestry Choir, she particularly asked if we could join them in Cardiff so we could perform this song jointly with the male members of their choir.   Although we had not sung this song for about four years, we, after a few run-throughs to remind us, were only too pleased to accept.  After just one rehearsal we performed this as a climax to a wonderful evening’s entertainment and once again the choirs and audience were moved to give the accolade of yet a third standing ovation.

In a closing remarks Father George Puthoor from Kerala, India of St Peter’s Church will not mind me saying that he was moved to tears while praising both choirs for a remarkable and incredibly moving performance by both choirs.  I’m sure both choirs and their musical teams will go along with that Father George.

 

Choir Sings in Three Choirs Concert at the Castle

Photos by Colleen Gauntlett.  Left click to enlarge

 

It was unusually splendid, sunny afternoon in the grounds of Caldicot Castle on June 18th when three Male Voice Choirs from Monmouthshire took part in the Choirs in the Castle Concert to raise funds for the National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny in August.

Caldicot, Chepstow and Monmouth got together for the first time ever in their histories to take part in a fabulous concert of wonderful Welsh Male Voice singing to entertain a large crowd picnicking in the Castle grounds.

Opening with the classic Rachie, over 130 voices, conducted by Gareth Whitcombe and accompanied by Sara Humber of Blaenavon Male Voice Choir the audience were then entertained in turn by each choir.  Caldicot sang a mix of Llef, A Miner’s Song, What would I do without my music?, The Impossible Dream from the Braodway musical Man of La Mancha and finalising with the Welsh Hymn Aberystwyth conducted by Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied not only by John Nicholson and Stephen Berry but by a cacophony of the local birds enthusiastically joining in from the trees.

Chepstow’s seven items, conducted by Frank Jones and accompanied by Rosemarie Lewis and Kirsten Sondergest-Watson included the iconic ‘Calon Lan’ loved by so many choirs and audiences alike as well as This Little Light of Mine and Alexander’s Ragtime Band.

Monmouth Male Voice Choir has only been in existence for three years but gave a remarkable concert which included Divine Brahma, You Raise Me Up, Anfanol Angel and a medley of Welsh Hymns conducted by Ian Russell and accompanied by Helen Stidolph.

We were delighted to see guest artist Welsh tenor Wynne Evans again, who entertained us not only with Granada, O Sole Mio and later ‘With a Song in my Heart’ and together with the delightful compere Alex Jones from the BBC’s ‘One Show’ kept us amused with a humorous repartee and concise introductions throughout.  A highlight of the evening was when Wynne Evans surprisingly invited Gareth Whitcombe  to sing a part of the ‘Pearl Fisher’s Duet’ on stage.  Fortunately Gareth has a formal training as a singer.

The concert finalised with the choirs combining to give  incredible renditions of An American Trilogy and the well known, beautiful hymn ‘Gwahoddiad’ and closing with a rousing rendition by everyone of ‘Hen wlad fy Nhadau’, the National Anthem.

This was a unique occasion, organised by Monmouthshire County Council events team with special thanks going to Dan Davies and Tim Lewis for all their hard work in putting this together.  Let’s hope we can do more joint events together.

 

 

Wonderful Annual Concert. Sensational Sound.

Photographs by Colleen Gauntlett and Tia Hughes.  Left click on the images to enlarge.Photographer

 

 

 

Well, you were told in advance that this would be a fabulous concert and one which you should all come along.  So it proved and those who were not there missed a real treat.  The evening presented a varied programme which demonstrated the remarkable skill and diversity of the Choir and reflected all the hard work done by the choristers and Musical team to provide such a range which included several new pieces.

Conducted by the Choir’s own expert musicians, Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson, the Choir’s sound was amazing and each of its eighteen items in a packed programme were sung to arguably perfection which thrilled and delighted a near packed house of over 400.  The new members of the choir are really coming into their own.  Well done all of you.

The programme was a mix of old and new, from Welsh hymns such as Llef, Gwahoddiad and for the first time Aberystwyth, to pieces from the musicals including On the Street Where You Live, The Lady is a Tramp and The Way We Were.  The spiritual Ride the Chariot featured soloists Siân Hatton and David Gould and O Gymru included Tommy Hole as soloist.  A highlight of the choir programme was the nine minute competition piece ‘Crossing the Plain’ with its wonderful mixed cadences of tone and pace.   Now a firm favourite, A Miner’s Song was received to huge acclaim and appreciation as were ever popular Eli Jenkins’ Prayer and the foot tapping Rhythm of Life.  The choir also wonderfully premièred it’s version of The Impossible Dream from the musical Man of La Mancha, although none of us tilted lances at windmills.

Not only was the choir superb but the evening was uplifted by the incredible performances of The Three Welsh Tenors of Rhys Meirion, Aled Hall and Aled Wyn Davies conducted by the incredible skill of Caradog Williams on piano These were amongst the best artistes that we’ve ever had the privilege to invite.

Each tenor has his own particular style which has been blended together to give a superb exhibition of tenor singing at its best.  Opening with a medley of Welsh favourites Cwm Rhondda, Myfanwy and often sung by the choir, Rachie the trio included a mix of songs from the world of classical music such as O Sole Mio and Ar hyd y Nos, West end shows and not forgetting their invitation to the audience to sing a selection, including Calon Lân, Sospan Fach and Delilah, of songs more often heard at Welsh Rugby Internationals.  These were joined in with such enthusiasm and gusto by audience and choir alike that it would have been worth two tries at the Millennium (or should I say Principality) Stadium.  The tenors included a composition called Gwynllian by Caradog Williams, Some Enchanted Evening, a fantastic rendition of When You Walk Through a Storm and finally completing their fabulous performance with the iconic Nessun Dorma, made famous by another tenor trio.

The Choir was delighted that the Three Welsh Tenors joined them for the third verse of the favourite hymn of Charles Wesley, Morte Criste, ‘When I Survey the Wond’rous Cross’.

The whole programme was delightfully introduced and compèred by the lovely BBC Wales presenter Lucy Owen who led us through the evening’s itinerary flawlessly and smoothly.  In the same programme as seventy men, to quote Lucy, ‘it was the best Saturday night she’d had for a long time’.  Thank you Lucy for a wonderful presentation.

The evening was finalised by  a number of awards, not least Honorary Vice President and Lifetime Achievement Awards to Bass Chorister, David Scott, Baritone Doug King and retired President Richard Evans but also a long service certificate and silver badge as award for 25 years continuous service to David Kirton.  The presentations made by Musical Director Siân Hatton and John Griffiths AM were capped by the magnificent award of a certificate and a Bass clef badge in solid gold to Bass chorister John Evans for completing 50 years unbroken service to Caldicot Male Voice Choir.  The only previous recipient of this award was made three years ago to second tenor Colin Jones but there are a number coming up to complete 50 years in the next couple of years.

The evening concluded with short walk to the Choir Hall for a little light refreshment and an enthusiastic Afterglow enjoyed by everyone.  We were pleased that Lucy Owen and last year’s compère Rebecca John joined us for a short while for autograph signings and ‘selfie’ photographs.

Many thanks to all who set up the hall and the Leisure Centre and cleared up afterwards and to the bar staff who did a splendid job of keeping us all well watered.

 

 

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