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Choir sings at Roley Bennett’s Memorial Service

 

The Choir was saddened but proud and privileged to be part of the Memorial Service to tenor chorister Roley Bennett at the small, local St Stephen and St Tathan Church in Caerwent on Monday 4th September following his sudden death on August 7th reported earlier.

Following a summary of 68 year old Roley’s life, spent largely in the Caerwent and Llanmartin area and tributes by Rev. John Walters including references to his wife Hazel and much loved extended family, his career both as a carpenter and shepherd, his hobbies of piano accordian playing in the JJR trio, his love of cars and mechanics and of course his membership of Caldicot Male Voice Choir, the moving service progressed with a solo rendition of Finlandia by his daughter in law and a first reading from Wisdom of Solomon 3 1 -9.

Over forty choristers, conducted throughout by Siân Hatton and Shirley Anne James and accompanied by John Nicholson and Stephen Berry, made their first contribution with Gwahoddiad (Invitation) a traditional hymn sung by choirs at many funerals. A second reading by Rev. Waters of Revelation to St John 21, 1 -7 was followed with the communal singing of The Lord is My Shepherd (Crimond).

Moving and sad poetic memories were made by members of Roley’s family before the Choir sang one of Roley’s favourites, Eli Jenkins Prayer (Troyte’s chant) before more memories and tributes were made by family members before Prayers were offered by Rev. Waters..

Prior to the Congregation singing the well know hymn ‘Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer’ the choir movingly sang Malotte’s version of the Lord’s Prayer and following the Blessing and final prayers, closed the service with Verdi’s Slave song of the Nabucco, ‘Speed Your Journey’.

Fittingly to reflect Roley’s sense of fun and love of music the Recessional Music, played by Stephen Berry on the church organ was the well known Queen song ‘We are the Champions’.

The Choir’s thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to wife Hazel, Roley’s extended family and to all who loved such a gentle giant.  With his passing a light has gone out in many lives but endearing, treasured memories will live long in all who were privileged to know him. Rest in Peace, Roley.

Sad News of Allen Worwood

On Monday we were told of the sad death at 89 years of age of retired but long serving chorister Allen Worwood on January 30th 2017. Bass chorister Allen joined Caldicot Male Voice Choir in 1990 and retired due to ill health in 2013.  Allen was presented with a lifetime Honorary Vice-president award following his retirement. 
 
Allen was very proud of his roots coming from the Tranch in Pontypool before moving to Usk on marrying Mary and then on to Bulwark in Chepstow and joining the Choir at the same time as David Kirton.
 
This photograph of Allen was taken in 2012 at the afterglow following our singing at Cardiff Castle for Tata Steel executives from India.
 
His funeral will be held at the Forest of Dean crematorium on 9th February at 2-30pm.  No flowers please and donations to Diabetes UK via Funeral Directors Phillip Blatchley.
 
Our heart felt sympathy and condolences go out to his wife Mary and daughter Linda.  Allen was a much respected and well liked chorister who has been greatly missed since his retirement.

Sad News to start the year

The choir is saddened on two counts so far this year.

 

David Scott, Bottom Bass

 

 

Firstly long standing chorister of over thirty years, bottom bass David Scott informed us that due to continuing ill health he has reluctantly decided to retire from the choir.  A native of Scotland Dave, also known as Davy or Dai, is an adopted Welshman and though diminutive in physical stature his presence and support as a chorister was huge.  Presented last year with a well deserved Lifetime Achievement Award and honorary vice presidency for his services to the choir both as a loyal chorister and committee member, Davy will be sorely missed in the front row of the bottom basses.  We wish him well in his retirement and we hope to see him popping into the choir hall as often as he can.

 

 

Doug Taylor, 2nd tenor

 

On an even more tragic note, the choir was informed by chairman Mark Stocker that another long standing chorister of over thirty years, Doug Taylor passed away on 8th January.  Doug had suffered from illness for several years but nevertheless never let this interfere with his attendance at choir practice and concerts.  A wonderful 2nd tenor with a resounding voice and welcoming smile Doug. like so many of our choristers was a caring and loyal gentleman, well liked and respected by all who knew him.

 

He spent many years as a committee member and not only organised the fund raising 200 club, each week announcing the names of the winners but was also the Choir’s Welfare Officer catering for needs of choristers and their families with problems relating to the choir and sending out flowers and sympathies to those needing care and support.  He will like David, be sorely missed.  Our thoughts go out to his wife Gill and his family at this very sad  time  Rest in Peace.

 

On an even more poignant note, we have learned from Doug’s family that Thursday 12th January was his wife Gill’s 80th birthday which they planned to celebrate together.  Not only that but next week they would have celebrated 60 loving and caring years of marriage.  Gill was also a lifelong supporter of the choir not only in coming to many concerts but was also a committed fund raiser at many of our charity functions and social events.

 

 

Ken Gibbs

Ken Gibbs

 

It is with mixed feelings that we sing the beautiful hymn in Welsh, ‘Gwahoddiad’ meaning ‘Invitation’ because so often it is sung in tribute to the passing of a current or retired chorister.  Last week was no exception when we learned of the sad death on 21st July, after illness of long standing and loyal chorister 88 year old Ken Gibbs.

Ken has been a stalwart and loyal supporter of the choir for over 42 years since moving from Margam to Underwood where he was involved in local politics and was also a school governor at Llanmartin Primary School.  Ken had an active varied life having also served in the army and had volunteered as a local Scout leader. Until his retirement from Choir practices at the end of last year, Ken was always to be seen from his central position amongst the second tenors with a beaming smile and a wave to all who came into the hall.  Ken was devoted to our Choir which came second only to his love of his wife of 62 years Marilyn, his son and four daughters, thirteen grandchildren and six great grand children.  He was well known as a devoted family man and father, for his wicked sense of humour, his friendship and warmth and can best be described a a true gentleman, loved by all.  The photograph above was taken at his last appearance at the Choir Hall when he attended, proudly in his blazer and greys to see us perform on St David’s Day.

He was thrilled last November at the Wentwood Inn in Llanfair Discoed, in front of his family, many of the choir and to his great surprise, to be presented with the Choir’s Lifetime Achievement Award and Honorary Vice Presidency for his outstanding contributions and loyalty to the choir over many years.

He is sadly missed by all of us and our lives are emptier at his passing.

Post script.

The choir was proud and privileged to have sung at Ken’s funeral on 5th August at Caldicot Methodist Church, presided over by Rev. Preben Andersen.  Items requested by the family were ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables, ‘Gwahoddiad’ and ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ sung to music by Malotte.  Shirley Anne James conducted and John Nicholson accompanied on piano.

 

 

Owen Howells Passes Away

 

In July this site reported that with Owen, Anthony and new chorister, Craig Howells there were three generations of the same family singing in the choir.  Sadly, this happy situation was short lived.  Owen was taken seriously ill early on in the tour to Cornwall and was taken to Truro Hospital on August 19th where he was taken into intensive care.  The Choir is deeply shocked and saddened to learn that after a brave fight, with often hopes of a recovery, lasting six weeks,  Owen passed away peacefully in Truro on Tuesday 24th September just over a month away from his 85th birthday.

Originally from Penclawdd, Owen moved to this area in 1962 to become a crane driver in the pre-pickle warehouse plant at the Llanwern Steelworks before his retirement and along with others from the steelworks, he joined the choir in 1964.  In the following 49 years he has sung in every section, finally singing in the bass section.  In all that time he rarely missed a concert or practice and always walked into the Hall with a spring in his step. Small in build but with a huge heart, Owen is best described as a quiet gentleman and a devoted,caring, loving family man. He always had a wicked smile and a twinkle in his eye which told of a mischievous past.  He was extremely pleased and proud that his son Anthony and particularly his grandson Craig, together with son-in-law Jason Dawe, are also members of the choir and it is regrettably sad that they could not have spent more time singing together.

It is obvious that Owen loved our Choir, its members, music and social life and there is no doubt our Choir loved him.  We will all miss him.  All our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences go out to sons Tony and Stephen, daughter Helen and to all his family at this very sad time.

Owen’s funeral will take place at Caldicot Methodist Church on Tuesday 8th October.  Choristers to arrive at 2-00 pm for the service at 2-30 pm.  Interment is at Dewstow cemetery and refreshments will be available at the Choir Hall afterwards.

 

Jack Virgo Passes Away

 

 

Jack Virgo

 

 

The Choir was deeply saddened to hear of the death in hospital, of long standing chorister, Jack Virgo on 18th September after a short illness.

Jack had served over 40 years in the choir and was a regular at practice until recently.  A talented and impressive tenor, Jack was always a proud and devoted member of the choir and his presence in the rows of the top tenor section will be sorely missed.  In his many years in the choir, Jack had toured throughout Europe and North America, was a member of our outstanding competition successes in Eisteddfodau and had sung at nearly all of our major venues.  The photograph above shows Jack in the back row at the 2012 Annual Concert.

A display of photographs from throughout Jack’s life is on display in the entrance to the Choir Hall.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family at this very sad time and the choir will be proud to sing in his memory at his funeral at St Mary’s Church, Caldicot at 11-00am on Friday 27th September.

Choristers, please arrive by 10-30am.

Giovanni (John) Mattia

Giovanni at the Senedd March 1st 2012

 

The Choir was absolutely devastated to learn of the sudden and unexpected death of 77 year old chorister Giovanni Mattia at his home on Friday 8th February 2013.

Giovanni, known affectionately by everyone as John was born in the southernmost part of Italy and emigrated to this country as a young man.  Following the sad death of his wife Franca, a few years ago he joined our choir as a 2nd Tenor.  Although he was only a chorister for just over two years, he immediately infected all of us with his constant smile and enthusiasm.  Always in his choir polo shirt or fleece jacket, he attended just about every practice and concert in the short time he spent with us. His unbounded pleasure and immense pride on being part of our Choir were plain for all to see.  Our performances of Nessun Dorma were a particular joy to John as a reminder of his Italian roots and his shared love of singing.

Although small in stature, often hidden from view in the ranks of the choir on stage, John captivated us all with his huge smile and even bigger heart.   It is a privilege to have known him and he has left an immense gap in our midst.  The photograph above shows John on the steps of the Welsh Assembly Building (the Senedd) on March 1st 2012 prior to our concert inside.

Our sincere condolences and thoughts go out to his son John, daughter Sarah, sister Emilia and all his family at this very sad and tragic time.

John’s funeral will take place in St Paul’s Catholic Church, Longcroft Road, Caldicot on Monday 18th February at 2-00pm and internment will be at Caldicot Cemetery.

 

 

Bill Thomas

Bill Thomas, Baritone
Bill Thomas, Baritone

 

 

The Choir was faced with the sad news that 74 year old baritone Bill Thomas passed away following a long term illness on Friday 14th December Bill joined the choir only about five years ago but in that short time, his cheerful nature, and dedication to the choir were soon noticed and he became an extremely popular member of the choir’s family.  Always with a sense of fun, looking on the bright side of life and with a joyful enthusiasm, Bill, supported by his wife Jan, was devoted to the choir and all it stands for.  Regularly at practice and concerts until his illness prevented him doing so, always willing to help to set up and clear the hall and never failing to come to all the choir’s social activities, he was the epitomy of a willing and active chorister and an example to us all.  Realising his worth and commitment, choir members elected him to join the committee but he was disappointed to be unable to take up these duties due to illness.

In particular, the baritone section will miss his sense of fun, cheery nature and poor jokes.

Our deepest sympathy and heartfelt sorrow go out to his wife Jan and all of Bill’s family at this very sad time.  He will be sorely missed by all who were privileged to know him.

The funeral service will take place at St. Mary’s Church, Caldicot on 27th December at 2-45pm.  Choristers are asked to be there at 2-15pm in blazers and greys.  Cremation will take place at the Forest of Dean Crematorium and then return to the Choir Hall for refreshments.

John M Jones

It was with great sadness that the choir learned of the sudden death of Bass chorister John M Jones on Wednesday 16th May 2012 at his home in Bristol.

 

To quote Siân, and endorsed by us all, “John was a real character; a talented,  loyal and devoted chorister.  He will be missed by us all”

 

Our sincere regrets and sympathy go out to his wife Joy and family at this very sad and distressing time.  Our thoughts are with you.

 

The choir was also saddened to learn that on the same day, ex-tenor Doug Harris also died.  Our thoughts are also with Doug and his family at this distressing time.

Audrey Berry

Our deepest sympathy and condolences go out to Steve, Gill and their family on learning of the passing away of Steve’s mother, Audrey on the 3rd September.  The following announcement is from the South Wales Argus, Wednesday 7th September 2011.

 

BERRY (Audrey).  On the 3rd September 2011 peacefully at the Royal Gwent Hospital, Audrey aged 85 years of Newport. Dearly beloved wife of Wilf, dearly loved mother of Stephen, loved mother-in-law of Gill, loving nanna of Angela, Richard, Katherine, Lisa and David, loving great nanny of Emma, Matthew, Jade, Ethan, Evie and Josh.

Funeral Wednesday 14th September service in St. John’s Church Maindee at 3pm prior to committal at the Gwent Crematorium at 4pm. Family flowers only please but donations in memory may be given to Caldicot Male Voice Choir. C/O Albert E Hicks Ltd., Grafton House, 1 Grafton Road, Newport NP19 0AS. (Cheques made payable to Caldicot Male Voice Choir).

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