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Choir Visited by Icelandic Choir

Joint Choirs sing Calm is the Sea before the Afterglow

Sunday evening 28th April saw fabulous entertainment at the packed Caldicot Choir Hall when Caldicot Male Voice Choir paid host to visiting Choir ‘Karlakor Eyjafjardar’ from northern Iceland. The Icelanders had already performed at St John’s Church in Cardiff, visited Swansea and the Gower coast and watched Cardiff Blues play the Ospreys at the Principality Stadium before coming to Caldicot. Many thanks to David James of the Cardiff Arms Park Male Choir for his part in suggesting the visit.


Conducted by Gudlauger Viktorson, the Icelanders gave a rousing performance of non-traditional music based on vivacity and fast tempo mixed with modern Icelandic songs, Blues adaptations and even a small dance routine, much to the amusement of the audience. Like Caldicot, they also included their version of Sixteen Tons originally recorded by Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Caldicot Male Voice Choir, conducted by Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied by John Nicholson complemented the evening with a wonderful performance of traditional Welsh songs; ‘Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn’ and ‘Anfonaf Angel’, Cwm Rhondda, spiritual ‘Ride the Chariot’, ‘Sixteen Tons’ and ever popular, ‘A Miner’s Song’.

Following a superb buffet and exchanged gifts and presentations, the evening was rounded off by both Choirs combining on stage to sing alternate verses in English and Icelandic of the haunting ‘Calm is the Sea’. Incredibly, this was a superb performance without any prior rehearsal.

Finally finishing with impromptu afterglow singing, the Icelanders travelled back to Cardiff with the sound of ‘Hen Wlad fy Nhadau’ in their ears and memories of Caldicot and its Male Voice Choir that are sure to linger for many years.

Wonderful 2019 Annual Concert

Photograph by Colleen Gauntlett

Once again a wonderful concert was presented by Caldicot Male Voice Choir on Saturday evening 6th April at Caldicot Leisure Centre. Many thanks to all who came and supported us including special invited guests and vice presidents.


Soloist Rhydian Jenkins was superb with a fabulous demonstration of controlled singing expertly accompanied by Jeanette Massocchi. Dean Powell as compere was his usual professional, witty self and it’s always a pleasure to have him compere our concerts.


The choir’s performance was exemplary and many thanks to the music team of Sian Hatton, Shirley-Anne James, Stephen Berry and John Nicholson for their leadership and hard work.


The Choir included a wide range of songs from its repertoire including opener Men of Harlech, followed by The Prayer, part sung in Italian, ever favourite A Miner’s Song and the first welsh number ‘Llef’. Further pieces in Welsh were ‘Gwahoddiad’, a new version of Calon Lan arranged by Stephen Berry, ‘Y Tangnefeddwyr’, ‘Anfonaf Angel and’ finalising with ‘O Gymru’ arranged by Dr Haydn James who was in the audience. The choir was joined by Rhydian who sang the solo part in this item.
The Choir also premiered at the Annual Concert, Simon and Garfunkels ‘Bridge Over Trouble Water’, again arranged by Stephen Berry and foot tapping ‘Amen’ -This Little Light.


A presentation in the form of framed Certificate and gold lapel badge was made to David Gould for completing a remarkable 50 years continuous service to the choir (only the third chorister in the choir’s history to achieve this) and Mervyn Roberts honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award Certificate for his close to forty years of dedicated and outstanding service to the choir. Congratulations to both.

The Choir crosses the County’s northern border to sing at Ewyas Harold

Caldicot Male Voice Choir travelled just over Monmouthshire’s northern border into Herefordshire to visit the Memorial Hall at picturesque Ewyas Harold at the head of the Golden Valley and in the lee of the Black Mountains to sing to a packed house of about 200. The concert was arranged to raise funds for St Michael’s Hospice in Hereford and it is understood that about £2000 was raised on the night.

Compered by Tom Williams and supported by guest artistes, fourteen year old soloist Amber Powell and guitarist/vocalist Kirsty Thomas the choir performed on stage to a wide range from its repertoire conducted by Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson.

The Choir opened with the rousing hymn tune Rachie to be followed by a selection including the spiritual Ride the Chariot with soloists David Gould and Siân Hatton, the sadly tragic folk song Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn and inspiring African Prayer’ ‘Nkosi Sikeleli Afrika’ partly sung in Welsh.

Guest artiste, fourteen year old Amber Powell delightfully sang two pieces from her musical studies ”To Sylvia’ and ‘Where ‘ere you Walk’. Following with the theme tune from ‘The Sound of Music’ Amber left the stage to appreciative, well deserved, generous applause.

The choir continued by including two premiere arrangements of ‘Calôn Lan’ and the Simon and Garfunkel hit, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ by Stephen Berry as well as a ‘Miner’s Song’, ‘On the Street Where You Live’ from the musical My Fair Lady and ‘Stout Hearted Men’ originally from the 1940 film ‘New Moon’ and sung by Nelson Eddy.

Talented guitarist and vocalist Kirsty Thomas, who started learning the guitar at 13 years of age, provided a contrasting and entertaining performance of ‘Hallelujah’, ‘Old No. 7’ referring to a famous brand of Kentucky Whiskey and completing with ‘A Coat of Many Colours’ made famous by Dolly Parton.

The Choir returned to the stage to finalise with its versions of ‘With a Voice of Singing’, ‘Anfonaf Angel’, the partriotic ‘O Gymru’ and the well known favourite hymn ‘When I Survey the Wond’rous Cross’ sung to the tune Morte Criste.

The concert ended with the singing of both anthems ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ and rapturous, standing ovation applause for all artistes from an enthusiastic and appreciative audience.

Choir entertains residents of Cherry Tree Nursing Home

Photo by Colleen Gauntlett
On Thursday 20th  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 Shirley-Anne James and accompanied by John Nicholson the choir invited the audience to join in with the singing of favourites such as O Come all ye faithful, Silent Night and Hark the Herald Angels Sing’.
 
The Choir also sang God rest you Merry Gentlemen, Silver Bells, Shepherds watched and Wise Men Wonder to the tune of Scarlet Ribbons and 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 tea, traditional mince pies and cakes.
 
Afterwards the choristers entertained the patrons of the Haywain public house which is a favourite watering hole of many of the choir with a wide range of Christmas Carols enthusiastically joined by many of the patrons..

Choir invites Dewstow Infant School to the Choir Hall

Photos by Colleen Gauntlett

To open its busy festive season. Caldicot Male Voice Choir invited the children of Dewstow Infants School to join in some festive fun and carol singing at the choir hall on December 11th. The small choir of about twenty girls and one boy entertained the choir and the audience with three festive songs; ‘Midnight’, a swinging, foot tapping ‘Christmas calypso’ and and a body swinging ‘Gospel rap’ which brought a huge round of applause. Full credit to the school choir because under the tuition and guidance of their teacher, Kerry McDonald they had only three weeks in which to practice

The children were amazed, delighted and thrilled when Santa Claus paid a surprise visit to hear them singing and later join the choir in the bass section.

Conducted by Shirley Anne James and accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson the choir presented a wide range of Christmas songs including Silver Bells, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, White Christmas, a Christmas Medley including Jingle Bells which had the children singing along, a calypso version of Mary’s Boy Child bringing back memories of UB40 and finalising with the humorous parody of The Carol Singers describing how a group of carollers being arrested by P.C. Bob Bates for raucous, dreadful carol singing.

 

Vice Presidents’ Cheese and Wine party is a great success

Photos by Colleen Gauntlett.  Left click on an image to enlarge

 

A change to normal practice last night (Monday 19th November) when Caldicot Male Voice Choir invited its vice president supporters to a cheese and wine party at the Choir Hall. They were treated to a short video and slideshow presentation of the choir’s activities over the past few years followed by a concert including a selection of Christmas songs conducted by Sian Hatton, Shirley Anne James and accompanied by chairman John Nicholson (who arranged the evening) and Stephen Berry.

The vice-presidents are non-singing active supporters of the choir who apart from an annual financial contribution support the choir’s activities throughout the year and often provide valuable advice and expertise. The evening was arranged in appreciation of their continuing support and encouragement.

During the evening, much to his surprise and delight, long-standing but now retired chorister Larry Lynch was, accompanied by extended applause from everyone at the hall, presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award and was conferred as an Honorary Vice President in recognition not only of his long service as a dedicated chorister but for his invaluable contribution over nearly forty years. Larry was not only a past committee member but toured on several occasions to America, Europe, throughout the UK and on two cruise ships. The award was jointly presented by President Richard Evans, chairman John Nicholson and Musical Director Sian Hatton. To quote Larry, ‘I never in the world expected this. This is a totally unexpected surprise award and the certificate will take pride of place alongside my 25-year long service award.’

Choir surprises chorister Andy at his Birthday bash

Photo by Colleen Gauntlett

CALDICOT CHOIR SURPRISE CHORISTER ANDY AT HIS BIRTHDAY BASH.

Being in a choir is not just about singing together, it’s about having friends around you to share special times. When you join a choir you become part of a family and just about two years ago Caldicot resident but Canadian born, Andy Friedman walked through the door of the Choir Hall in Mill Lane and after listening to Caldicot Male Voice Choir for a few minutes decided to join their ranks as a second tenor. In Andy’s words ‘one of the best decisions of my life’.

At the request of his wife Carla, Caldicot Male Voice Choir was delighted to surprise Andy by taking part in the celebrations of his 70th birthday dinner at the stunning venue of Thornbury castle on Saturday 27th October, On facing the refrains of ‘Happy Birthday to You’ and surrounded by his family and friends, Andy was overwhelmed by this surprise but it didn’t stop him stepping into the front row of the second tenors to enthusiastically join in. 

The choir entertained the audience with favourites including ‘Rachie’, Shenandoah’, ‘Sixteen tons’ and also premiered a performance of a new arrangement of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ by choir accompanist Stephen Berry. Finalising with ‘Cwm Rhondda’ the choir retired to the bar for welcome refreshment with Andy’s compliments. The choir was conducted by musical directors Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson.

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.

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.

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