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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.

 

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 www.caldicotmalevoicechoir.co.uk or visit the choir hall on any Monday or Thursday night from 7 pm.

Risca Male Choir Joins us for Gala Concert

 

Following on from its recent appearances at The Royal Albert Hall and Buckingham Palace in May, Caldicot Male Voice Choir is making a welcome return to The Leisure Centre in Caldicot on September 8th at 7-00 pm for its Gala concert with guest choir, Risca Male Choir. Also making a welcome return is our compere for the evening, Dean Powell. The poster says it all so make a note in your diaries and be there for a great evening of musical and comedy entertainment. Where else can you get to see and hear two of Wales’ leading choirs on the same stage?

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.

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