A Committee Meeting held on January 20th 1970 sanctioned the payment of affiliation fees of Three Pounds Ten Shillings to become members of the Welsh Association of Male Choirs, and a further payment of One Shilling per Chorister for insurance purposes.
In January a social evening was held at the Haywain Pub where the Choir hosted members and wives of the Tonyrefail Male Voice Choir. This was a great success and resulted in the recruitment of two new members from Bristol. Bill Nash, whose brother belonged to the Tonyrefail party, had come along with his friend Jack Brittain to listen and enjoy a night out. They were so impressed with the singing and the friendliness of the Caldicot contingent that they turned up at the next rehearsal requesting membership. Ralph Hodges welcomed then with open arms and they soon became two staunch and loyal additions to the ranks.
Ralph Hodges continued to hold the baton, and throughout 1970 the accompanists included Violet Hill, Elwyn Powell, David Whitcombe and Meurig Jones. Some of the concerts for that year included venues at Tintern, Ebbw Vale, Trethomas, Ponthir, Bristol and Newport.
This was the year the Choir first tasted success in competition. The venue was again at Kington and the test piece for Glee Parties (under 40 voices) was ‘Tempest and Calm’. We were the third choir to take the stage and had to wait whilst two more had their turn before adjudication. Most of the choristers were gathered outside the main hall of Kington High School, where the competition was held, when the result was announced over the public address system “First prize … Caldicot and District Male Voice Choir!!”.
Well, there was pandemonium, everybody was leaping about, slapping each other on the back and congratulating everyone. Social Conductor Colin Jones vaulted (he was younger then) a fence into the school garden and soon reappeared with the biggest and longest stick of rhubarb in the world. He used this to conduct the Choir at the evening’s celebrations held at a wayside hostelry called ‘The Buck Inn’ conveniently located on the road home.
On returning home, the ‘Cup’ was placed on display in Washbourne’s Hardware shop which was situated those days in the main street. All the Choir turned up at the next rehearsal in uniform for an official photograph which can be seen displayed on the wall of our Choir Hall. A social evening was held at the Haywain Pub to celebrate the win.
A complaint was received at a committee meeting on 10th September from some members of the Severn View Club. Apparently, after giving a concert there, some choristers continued singing in the car park before heading home, and the club had received a letter from a local resident!
The A.G.M. for 1970 was held on the 19th of October in the Junior College, Caldicot. The election of Officers was as follows :-
- President – Alderman Les Budden
- V. President – Councillor Graham Powell
- Conductor – Ralph Hodges
- Chairman – Doug Baynham
- Secretary – Vic Edwards
- Treasurer – Chris O’Conner
Committee : – Colin Jones, Idris Jones, Ray Smith, Terry Trollope, Dai Powell, Ken Rowlands, Austin Keeble, Bill Nash, Terry Davies, Ken Penny and John Evans. Those underlined are still choristers today (Nov 2002).
It was passed at the meeting that the Bristol choristers would be exempt from the Choir contributions of sixpence a week because they had to pay Severn Bridge tolls every time they attended rehearsal. To my knowledge this still stands today. A recruitment drive also called for, owing to the membership still remaining less than forty.
A discussion was held at the Meeting regarding purchase of uniforms and it was decided bu a majority that black blazers would be appropriate. As soon as a suitable supplier could be found it would be the choristers obligation to buy one. For the time being the Choir would retain the black and gold striped tie although it was hoped a unique design could be found in the near future along with a blazer badge.
From Dave Gould’s Choir History – ‘Dai was There’