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Choir returns to Caldicot Methodist Church

 

Photo by Colleen Gauntlett

Following its recent performances at the Royal Albert Hall and Buckingham Palace in May and more recently in July at Bristol, Caldicot Male Voice Choir gladly returned to home soil to sing at the local Methodist Church in Caldicot to raise funds for the organisation ‘Count Everyone In’ which supports, through the Methodist Church, adults with learning difficulties. The concert was attended by the organisations founders Pete and Christine Winmill from Newbury and was introduced by minister, Rev. Preben Andersen, a keen and enthusiastic supporter of the Choir..

Conducted by Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied on piano by John Nicholson Caldicot choir’s concert consisted of many of the pieces sung in Bristol to entertain a welcoming home audience.  The Methodist Church always gives us a warm and appreciative welcome.  As well as Welsh favourites, Rachie, Anfonaf Angel, and Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn, the choir delighted the audience with Shenandoah, With a Voice of Singing, Somewhere Out There, Eli Jenkins’ Prayer and You Raise Me Up, made famous by Westlife and many others in the first part of the concert.

The choir was supported by father and daughter partnership, Gareth and Catrin Edwards.  Catrin delighted us with clarinet arrangements of In ‘Dream’ and ‘Into the West’ composed by Shore from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Calon Lân and Cwm Rhondda while Gareth accompanied his daughter on the church organ.  Later Catrin delighted us further with clarinet arrangements of Wiegenlid (Brahms), Nocturne (Chopin), Ascot Gavotte from My Fair Lady (Lerner and Loewe) and finally The Lord’s My Shepherd (Townsend) while her father Gareth accompanied on piano.  Catrin celebrated her 15th birthday recently and has been learning the difficult clarinet instrument since she was five years old. A pupil of the Welsh medium school Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw in Pontypool she has taken time out from her GCSE exams to play for us at the concert.

Caldicot Male Voice Choir continued its programme in the second part with more Welsh favourites such as Cwm Rhondda,and Gwahoddiad and included A Miner’s Song, Ride the Chariot, the German drinking song Aus der Traube and the Tennessee Ernie Ford hit Sixteen Tons.  The concert finalised with the well known him ‘When I Survey the Wond’rous Cross to the tune Morte Criste in which Oliver Edwards although attending in his role as Mayor of Caldicot, is also a 2nd bass chorister of the choir and was invited to join the choir by Musical Director Siân Hatton.

Rev. Andersen was pleased to later inform us that the concert raised £264 in voluntary contributions for ‘Count Everyone In’.

Choir Sings with touring American Choir

On a blistering July 10th evening Caldicot Male Voice Choir made the short journey over the bridge to the magnificent Bristol’s Staple Hill Methodist Church to join the 35 strong touring Marvin United Methodist Church Chancel Choir from Tyler, Texas, USA.  This choir which included young members of the Bella Voce choir from the same town are touring the south of England over six days.  Before appearing with us they had earlier sung a lunchtime recital at the oldest Methodist Building in the world at the New Room, Bristol. The tour included concerts at Hampton Court Palace, Worcester College, Oxford and finalising at Southwark Cathedral.

Conducted by Musical Director James Broussard, the Texas Choir assembled up the steps behind the altar to give a stunning opening performance of a mix of American Spiritual music in

various styles including Shaker arrangements and all sung amazingly without accompaniment. Their pieces included several thrilling and amazing bass, tenor and soprano soloists from among its number.  This was followed later in the evening, following Caldicot’s two performances by an equally amazing performance.

Caldicot Male Voice Choir, conducted by Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied by John Nicholson on piano, performed either side of the interval by singing a range of items from its repertoire including Welsh favourites Rachie, Robat Arwel’s arrangement of Anfonaf Angel, Cwm Rhondda, the love story of Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn, Gwahoddiad and the resounding Yr Tangnefeddwyr , the poem by Waldo Williams recalling the wartime bombing of Swansea.  Caldicot delighted the Americans, who had never heard a Welsh Male Voice Choir before, by including Shenandoah, Somewhere Out There from the Spielberg cartoon American Tail and the spiritual Ride the Chariot.  Caldicot’s versatile programme also included A Miner’s Song, composed by Dan and Laura Curtis and the rousing pair Comrades in Arms and Men of Harlech.  The concert concluded with the choir and audience singing Mae Hen Wlad fy Nhadau from the Gallery.

Caldicot Choir were delighted by the many expressions of praise heaped on them by the American Choir who later joined us at the Staple Hill Oak pub for a taste of British hospitality. This was the third occasion where we have joined with a touring American Choir in recent years.  The previous were at St Peter’s Church Cardiff in 2016 (Tapestry Choir, California) and 2017 (San Jose Symphonic, California) and it looks forward to greeting many more in the future.

The concert was held to raise funds for The St Peter’s Hospice in Bristol and it raised well over £1000 for the charity.

Choir comes home to perform at Caldicot Methodist Church

Following it’s recent successful appearances at the Royal Albert Hall and Buckingham Place in May and its concert on July 10th at Bristol’s Staple Hill Methodist Church with a touring American  Choir from Tyler in Texas Marvin United Methodist Church Chancel Choir), the choir is returning to Caldicot for its first home concert since these prestigious events.

On July 14th the Choir is singing at Caldicot Methodist Church to give a free concert for local residents.  Supported by local talented musicians father and daughter duo Gareth (keyboard) and Catrin (flute) it is sure to be a concert to remember.

The poster says it all.  Entry is free but a donation (minimum suggested £5) to support the work of ‘Count Everyone In’ which supports the education of underprivileged children within the Methodist Church, would be appreciated.

Choir to sing with touring USA Choir

 

 

The Poster says it all.

The Marvin Chancel Choir is a 60-member choir that provides music leadership for the 11 o’clock sanctuary service each Sunday morning, as well as for a variety of special services throughout the year. The choir also performs many great choral masterworks at festival seasons and other times, often accompanied by orchestra and featuring outstanding soloists. Members of the Marvin Chancel Choir and Bella Voce Youth Ensemble will be featured in five concerts during a six-day tour of England July 8-16. A highlight will be concerts at Charles Wesley’s New Room, the oldest Methodist chapel in existence. The choir will also present concerts at Hampton Court Palace, Worcester Cathedral at Oxford, Southwark Cathedral and a combined concert with the Caldicot Male Voice Choir in the magnificent Staple Hill Methodist Church in Bristol.

All proceeds will be donated to St. Peter’s Hospice in Bristol.

Choir Sings for Chorister’s son’s wedding

Photograph by Colleen Gauntlett

On Saturday 28th April, Caldicot Male Voice Choir was privileged to sing at the wedding of Michael John Griffiths to Rachel Elizabeth Davies at St Tewdric’s Church, Mathern near Chepstow.  Michael is the son of baritone chorister Anthony Griffiths and his wife Carolyn Griffiths and Rachel is the daughter of Steven Davies and Elizabeth Ridler-Davies.

The choir, conducted by John Nicholson and accompanied by Stephen Berry welcomed the incoming congregation with Yfory (Tomorrow) and You Raise Me up before joining in enthusiastically during the service with selected hymns ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ and ‘Love Divine accompanied by church organist Dorothy Harris. The service was conducted by Rev. Julian White who put the nervous bride and groom at their ease with a number of anecdotes and friendly chat.

Following the vows and exchange of rings as an essential part of the ceremony, the couple together with the wedding party retired to the rear of the church for the signing of the Register while the Choir continued to entertain the well wishers and congregation with ‘Somewhere Out There’ from the Spielberg animated film American Tail and the romantic ‘Let it be Me’ made famous by the Everley Brothers.

The couple left to the strains of Mendelsohn’s traditional ‘Wedding March’ before assembling outside for photographs with the Choir, who for once were all smiling.

The Choir would like to wish Michael and Rachel every happiness in their future lives together.

Another Great Annual Concert for 2018

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

On Saturday April 7th 2018 Caldicot Male Voice Choir was delighted once again to perform at its Annual Concert for the residents of Caldicot at the local Leisure Centre.

Under the expert guidance of its musical director Siân Hatton, assistant director Shirley Anne James and the accompanist duo of Stephen Berry and John Nicholson, the Choir thrilled the audience with a wide ranging repertoire extending from the walls of Harlech Castle with rousing ‘Men of Harlech’ to the banks of the Missouri with the contrasting melodic ‘Shenandoah’, down to the coal mines of Kentucky with ‘Sixteen Tons’, the Deep South of the USA with the slave spiritual ‘Ride the Chariot’, then on to New Orleans with ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’; across the oceans to visit New Zealand’s Maoris with Pokarekare Ana with the words of Calon Lân and on to South Africa with ‘African Prayer’ an adaptation of the national anthem Nkosi Sikel’i Afrika sung in Xhosa and Welsh.

The journey carried on to the worlds of stage and screen with ‘The Rhythm of Life’ from the musical Sweet Charity and ‘Mansions of the Lord’ from the film ‘Band of Brothers. Wartime memories of the blitz of Swansea in 1941 were brought to mind with the words of Welsh poet Waldo Williams, ‘Y Tangnefeddwyr’ set to music by Eric Jones before raising the roof with ‘A Voice of Singing.   Included was a quick trip to Germany with the hearty drinking song ‘Aus der Traube in die Tonne’.  The choir took a much needed respite and looked heavenward with Malotte’s ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ before returning home to Wales while singing ‘Cwm Rhondda – Bread of Heaven,’ the rousing hymn ‘Rachie’ and the soft, tragic tale of Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn.

During breaks in its world wide journey of song, the choir was wonderfully supported by local prize winning soprano Ffion Edwards, recently returned from her Eisteddfod winning performances who, accompanied by Stephen Berry similarly led us through a wide range of songs from throughout the world.  Starting with ‘What good would the moon be’, to ‘Welsh ‘Mae Hiraeth yn y Mor’, the inclusion of Strauss’s ‘Schön sind doch kalt’ and ‘ Breit über mein Haupt’, the always popular Puccini’s ‘O mio Bambino caro’, to Cornwall’s ‘Poor Wandering One’ from The Pirates of Penzance and including her mother’s favourite ‘Yr Alarch’ – The Swan, also set to music by Eric Jones.  Ffion also sang this when presented with the Geraint Morris Memorial Award at the Choir Hall last October.  As a result of winning this award, Ffion has been invited to sing as guest soloist, along with Caldicot Male Voice Choir at the Royal Albert Hall on May 19th.

The performance finalised with a rendition of the Wesleyan Easter favourite ‘When I Survey the Wond’rous Cross’ to the tune ‘Morte Criste’ in which Ffion, accompanied by the Choir, delightfully sang the soloist third verse.

The whole evening’s journey, thrilling the audience around the world of music, was steered and directed smoothly and humorously on the night by, for the third time at one of our concerts, the immaculate and timely introductions of Dean Powell as host and compère.

The evening ended with presentations to the Musical team, Ffion and Dean with an extra acknowledgement and presentation to Siân Hatton in recognition to her thirty years continuous service as Musical Director to the Choir.  A magnificent achievement and well deserved.

Choir sings for Bloodwise Charity at Bethany Church, Cardiff

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

The Choir last sang at the Bethany Church in Rhiwbina, Cardiff in May 2012 and was delighted to return again on 24th March to perform to help raise fund for Bloodwise, the Blood Cancer Research Charity Cardiff Branch.

In a brightly lit church in front of a small but enthusiastic audience and conducted by Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied by the accompanist duo of Stephen Berry and John Nicholson, the choir of over 50 choristers presented a wonderfully varied programme of not only traditional rousing Welsh hymns and melodies Rachie, Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn, Anfonaf Angel and O Gymru, but also introduced additional pieces such as Sixteen Tons, Shenandoah and  Men of Harlech.  Blended into the programme were film themes from ‘We are Soldiers’ (Mansions of the Lord) and ‘An American Tail’ (Somewhere Out There), theatrical showtime hits such as The Rhythm of Life together with all-time favourites Stout Hearted Men, Cwm Rhondda, Eli Jenkins’ Prayer, Malotte’s The Lord’s Prayer and the spiritual Ride the Chariot.  An unusual rendition was Calon Lân sung to the Maori tune Pokarekare Ana arranged by Alwyn Humphries and fittingly for Easter the choir included ‘When I survey the Wond’rous Cross’ to the tune Morte Criste.

Included in the evening’s delights, between choir performances, were the wonderfully skilled saxophone performances of Catrin Roberts, a 14 year old pupil of Ysgol Gyfun Cymraeg Glantaf. Catrin is currently studying the saxophone with Naomi Bayley and last year was awarded third prize at the Urdd National Eisteddfod in the year 9 age group  Accompanied by her father, a former musical director of Cwmbach Male Choir on piano, Catrin faultlessly demonstrated her skill with her chosen instrument by playing an aria by Bozza, the second movement of a sonata by Paul Creston and finalising with the first movement of a sonata by Phil Woods.  We are sure Catrin will follow in the footsteps of her talented sisters Elen and Hannah, students at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

With a firm promise from organisers Tom and Gill Jones to bring us back again in the near future, the audience left having been thoroughly entertained by both the choir and soloist, Catrin.   The Choir then departed to take light refreshments at the nearby Deri Inn where until we arrived, the patrons appeared to be all aged under thirty.  Despite the high prices the choir contributed enthusiastically to a rousing ‘Afterglow’ to the surprise and delight of the customers and publican.

Choir Annual Concert Coming Up on April 7th

Not forgetting the giant screen showings of the 6 Nations at the Choir Hall this weekend and Super Saturday next week, I’d just like to remind you that our Annual Concert is coming up quickly on April 7th. Following on from last year’s fabulous concert we’re proud to invite local prize winning soprano Ffion Edwards as our guest artiste. As well as bringing you the superstars of Welsh singing Caldicot Male Voice Choir is also pleased to bring you the best of the young musical talent that lies within our County.
 
Sponsored by Caldicot Male Voice Choir talented soprano, Ffion was awarded the prestigious Geraint Morris Memorial Award by the Welsh Association of Male Choirs in 2016 to follow her second place in the 18th 25 year old category at the National Eisteddfod. Ffion has recently graduated with honours at the Royal Welsh College of Music and is waiting to start a Master’s degree at the Royal College of Music in London in September.
 
We’re again pleased to welcome back internationally renowned compere and host Dean Powell. Dean has hosted for us twice before and each time ensured proceedings went smoothly with his unique humour, knowledge and lively presentation. The choir is certainly looking forward to meeting up with him again.
 
Put the date in your diaries and make sure you get to the Leisure Centre in Caldicot on April 7th for a really great evening of Welsh singing, humour and culture.

Choir opens 2018 with Catbrook concert

Photo by Colleen Gauntlett

Caldicot Male Voice Choir has sung in many prestigious events and venues including many International Sports Stadia, The Royal Albert Hall, huge Cathedrals and Churches and Concert Halls throughout this country, the US, Canada and across Europe, not to mention the National Eisteddfod stage, but few of these compare to the wonderful welcome and enthusiasm for our singing given by the villagers of Catbrook, high up and hidden in the dense forests of the Wye Valley.  Venues such as these remind us of the humble roots of the great tradition that is Welsh male voice singing.

Once again we wound our way through the long and winding forest roads (again in the dark and rain) to arrive at the small Catbrook Memorial Hall to once again entertain the small group of about sixty who always greet us with a warm and encouraging welcome, not to mention the copious amounts of food so generously donated and appreciated.

Conducted by Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson, the programme not only included traditional songs such as Rachie, Begeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn as well as Somewhere Out There, The Rhythm of Life, the spiritual Ride the Chariot and Anfonaf Angel but also included contrasting performances of ‘The Lady is a Tramp’ and ‘Shenandoah’ showing the versatility of our Choir’s singing repertoire. Solo performances were also made by Siân Hatton who sang ‘Wishing you were here again’ from the Phantom of the Opera and top tenor Peter Hanks who included ‘Down by the Salley Gardens’ with words by W B Yeats and the unofficial anthem of Lincolnshire, ‘The Lincolnshire Poacher’ with the audience joining in the chorus.

The concert was followed by a fabulous traditional ‘Afterglow’ in which choristers and the audience are entertained by a wide mix of unaccompanied choir singing.

Once again, the choir left to the plaintive strains of ‘On the bus, on the bus’ with the only regret that it will be another eighteen months before we return.

Choir sings at Cherry Tree Nursing Home

Last night, 21st December the choir was pleased, as part of its Christmas programme to visit the Cherry Tree Nursing Home in Caldicot to entertain the residents and staff with a range of Christmas Carols from its programme. Conducted by Siân Hatton and Shirley-Anne James and accompanied by Stephen Berry the choir invited the audience to join in with the singing of favourites such as O Come all ye faithful, Christmas Time again is here, Hark the Herald Angels Sing and God Rest You Merry Gentlemen.
 
The Choir also sang Joy to the World, A Christmas Medley of four well known songs including Jingle Bells, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Sleigh Bells Ringing and A Child is a King. The widely appreciated evening was finalised with Big Crosby’s ‘I’m Dreamin’ of a White Christmas’ before the Choir were treated to refreshments of traditional mince pies and a welcome glass of warming sherry.
 
Following the concert the choir walked around to retired chorister Colin Jones’ home to sing a few carols for him. Colin is unable to get out of the house much due to ill health and after serving in the choir continually for over 50 years he misses it very much. He showed his appreciation by a massive thumbs up and every chorister present shook his hand, even the new members who didn’t know him personally.
 
Afterwards the choristers entertained the patrons of the Haywain public house which is a favourite watering hole of many of the choir.
 
Photographs by Colleen Gauntlett.  Left click on images to enlarge
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