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Unique Gala Concert Shared with Neighbouring Choir

The Two Choirs prepare to sing together for the first time ever.

Photo by Colleen Gauntlett

 

The audience at the Leisure Centre in Caldicot was witness to a unique event on Saturday 9th September when for the first time ever, despite being only four miles apart, Caldicot Male Voice and Chepstow Male Voice Choirs joined to give a magnificent Gala performance which showed off male voice choir singing at its finest.

With introductions by internationally renowned host and compere Dean Powell, the concert was opened by sixty Caldicot choristers with an arrangement of Cwm Rhondda (Bread of Heaven), followed by a mixed repertoire of ‘Anfonaf Angel’ (Guardian Angel), ‘Mansions of the Lord’ from the film ‘We are Soldiers’, the spiritual ‘Ride the Chariot’ conducted by Shirley Anne James and featuring soloists Siân Hatton and David Gould and rounding off with ‘A Voice of Singing’, a fast piece that shows off magnificent harmonies and moving cadences.

Chepstow, conducted by MD Richard Fry and accompanied by Kirsten Watson, wonderfully presented a different style of male voice singing with a mix of popular songs ranging from ‘Diolch I’r Ior’ (Thanks to the Lord) a powerful Welsh hymn, to the prayer by Valjean from Les Misérables ‘Bring Him Home’.  The first half programme also included the delightfully sung ‘This is the Moment’ from the musical Jeckyll and Hyde, ‘When I fall In Love’ a hit for Doris Day and finally ‘Memory’ from the musical Cats and made famous by Welsh singer Elaine Page.

At breaks in the proceeding the audience were wonderfully entertained by the jokes, anecdotes and information of presenter Dean Powell who as member of Treorchy Male Voice Choir is very familiar with the presentations of Male Voice Choir concerts.  This was the second time that Dean has hosted Caldicot’s Gala concert and hopefully it won’t be the last.

Part Two saw Chepstow return to the stage and again gave a superlative performance including the well known and rousing hymn ‘Deus Salutis (Llef)’, the theme song from the TV series The Vicar of Dibley, ‘The Twenty Third Psalm’ (if you hum it, it will stay with you all day), ‘Comrades in Arms’ and on to the fasting moving, foot tapping spiritual ‘Amen’ – This Little Light of Mine.  Chepstow certainly lit up the Gala with their bright light of wonderful singing,

Caldicot, led by MD Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson also presented a wide mix of pieces varying from a German drinking song ‘Aus der Traube in die Tonne’, to a wonderfully precise performance of ‘Shenandoah’, the now iconic ‘A Miner’s Song’, a firm favourite, the romantic but sad ‘Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn’ (Watching the White Wheat) and finalising with the Queen classic ‘Somebody to Love’ with soloist Siân Hatton. Although not sung by the choir for a few years, Caldicot is the only Male Voice Choir in the country to sing this arrangement by accompanist John Nicholson.

The concert ended with a wonderful finale of both choirs joining together on stage to sing the classic Male Voice hymn ‘Gwahoddiad’ (Invitation) conducted by Richard Fry and finally that great Easter hymn, ‘Morte Criste’ by Isaac Watts, ‘When I Survey the Wond’rous Cross conducted by Siân Hatton.

Following ‘Hen Wlad fy Nhadau’ the audience left in no doubt that Male Voice singing is alive and well in the furthest South East corner of Wales and may it long continue.

Following the concert, Chepstow were invited to the Choir Hall for ample refreshments and further entertainment of incredible Afterglow singing.

Many thanks to all those who helped to make this concert a wonderful success, from staff at the Leisure Centre, the music teams of both choirs, bar staff, those who set up and cleaned the choir hall and to the audience for their wonderful participation and enthusiasm.

Choir thrills audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe

Salvation Army Church,, Edinburgh
Allan Park South Church, Stirling

On the recent August Bank holiday about forty choristers, the musical team of Siân Hatton, Shirley- Anne James, Stephen Berry and John Nicholson and some thirty supporters of Caldicot Male Voice Choir took to the high and low roads to Scotland and all arrived together in Edinburgh for their short tour of the city and Stirling.

After a ten hour journey on Thursday 24th August the choir arrived at its hotel on the outskirts of Edinburgh and straightaway entertained a party of Brazilian visitors who were totally enthralled by the sound of a Welsh Male Voice Choir singing a selection of Welsh hymns and other songs in full volume.

The following day was without a concert and many of the party chose to visit the sights and sounds of Edinburgh Fringe festival and take in the multitude of tourist attractions in the City including The Royal Yacht Britannia. Princes Street and the Royal Mile.  The choir got together in the afternoon at the Standing Order pub in George Street to treat the diners and drinkers to a surprise round of impromptu singing before returning to the hotel.

Saturday saw the choir take to the roads again to travel to Stirling, home of the famous castle, city walls and statue to the memory of William Wallace.  After a morning’s sightseeing and lunch the choir assembled at the Allan Park South Church to give a concert to raise funds for the Church.  The audience was thrilled and surprised when the choir opened with Flower of Scotland and proceeded not only to treat the audience to a range of songs including Cwm Rhondda, The Lady is a Tramp, A Miner’s Song, Rachie, The Lord’s Prayer, Shenandoah and many others but were also delighted by the solo performances of tenor chorister Peter Hanks and musical director and soprano Siân Hatton. The choir departed to rapturous applause and standing ovation to make its way to the City Wall pub to again give the local residents a real taste of off the cuff male voice singing enjoyed by everyone including a few Welsh visitors to the town.

The highlight of the tour was to perform at the close of the Fringe at the Salvation Army Church in Edinburgh to a packed house of about 200.  The choir made its entrance to the sound of the Salvation Army brass band playing Men of Harlech to rapturous applause and again excited the audience with its opening of Flower of Scotland.  Included in the Choir’s performance of 15 songs were the favourites sung at Stirling including many sung in Welsh; Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn, Anfonaf Angel, Gwahoddiad, Rachie as well as popular Somewhere Out there, Let it be me, Mansions of the Lord, the delightful hymn He and somewhat incongruously Aus der Traube a German traditional drinking song.

The Choir and audience were also treated to items played by the Salvation Army Brass Band in two interludes and joined in with enthusiastic community singing with brass band accompaniment.  The Choir again received a standing ovation and rapturous applause with a demand to come back to Scotland to sing for them again.  Departing to the strains of ‘Ar Yyd y Nos’ played by the band, the choir made its way across the cobbled streets of Edinburgh to say farewell to the City at the Fringe Courtyard where it once again entertained the huge crowds waiting to see the Fringe performances.

Although short, this was a well received, successful tour where the choir proved itself to be worth ambassadors of Wales and Welsh Male Voice singing to audiences from around the World who had never experienced the like before

 

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.

 

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