Choir in Missouri

From ‘The Libretto’ – October 2011


The choir in Kansas City!

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Choir To Entertain Sporting World

From ‘The Libretto’ – October 2011

The choir have been asked to sing at two major sporting events over the next few months.

On 22nd October at Chepstow Races for the ‘Coral Silver Cup’ Meeting, and on the 3rd December at the Millenium Stadium for the match between Wales and Australia. The match is to mark 130 years of the Welsh Rugby Union and the choir will be part of a 2,000 strong choir.

Hopefully, we may get to see Wales parading the World Cup.

Footnote: Since this post has gone to press, Wales have been dumped-out of the World Cup by an Irish/French referee!

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St Mary’s Monmouth Concert

Press Release

On Saturday, 8th October, Caldicot Male Voice Choir made the comparatively short journey to the county town of Monmouth to perform in a fundraising concert for St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church. In splendid seclusion, set back slightly in the street line and sandwiched between tall, medieval terraced town houses, the Roman Catholic Church of St. Mary is the oldest post-reformation church in Wales.
Replete with original features dating from 1793, there cannot have been many occasions when the narrow chancel of this pristine church has surrendered to the uniformed ranks of a large male voice choir. The choir enthralled an enthusiastic audience with a comprehensive portfolio of traditional and modern classics from the world of opera and musical theatre. The programme was framed by two rousing Welsh anthems, opening with the powerful ‘Llanfair’ and closing with an emotional rendition of ‘O Gymru’.
The choir’s Musical Director, Siân Hatton guided the congregation through the evening. She beguiled her audience with recitals of Marriott Edgar’s famous monologues, ‘The Lion and Albert’ and ‘Albert’s Return’, seamlessly switching from her ‘dolce’ sweet Sirhowy lilt to broad Lancastrian mill town brogue.
At the conclusion of a very successful concert, the delighted Parish Priest, Father Nicholas James said “We are delighted to have the choir at St. Mary’s and in conjunction with the church acoustics, the choir have made a simply wonderful sound.”
Jeff Williams
Not for the Press
After the concert, many of the choir retired to the British Legion for a well deserved glass of lemonade, a packet of salt and vinegar crisps (no pies or pasties) and a rendition of  ‘Abide with Me’.  Believe it or not, I was there!  Many thanks to the Legion for the refreshments afterwards.  The afterglow was enthusiastically led by the Dawes brothers amongst others.


Left click on the images above to enlarge, then to enlarge further left click again on the new image when it appears.  The concert photos were taken by an anonymous member of the audience, many thanks. No apologies are made for the subject matter of the other photographs.





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St. Pierre

Over 50 choristers arrived at the picturesque and select Marriott St Pierre Hotel and Country Club to entertain over one hundred employees of Surgo, a Tyneside Construction Company, at the 19th hole.  The audience was soon silenced and distracted from their after dinner conversations to listen awestruck to rousing choruses of Rachie and Llanfair and to the more sedate, but tuneful renditions of favourites such as You Raise Me Up, May You Always Have a Song and Can’t Help Falling in Love among others.  We finished with a stirring encore presentation of O Gymru. Tommy’s solo was one of the best.   Music Director for the evening was Shirley Ann James, who as usual led superbly from the front and the accompanist was the ever excellent Stephen Berry


Such was the professionalism of the choristers that they weren’t distracted for a second by a flying coffee cup over the back of Surgo’s chairman, nor by the attempted shoulder charge of a tiny waitress carrying coffee and tea on Shirley Ann while she was trying to conduct us.  In the best traditions of the Welsh, Shirley Ann stood firm under pressure and didn’t bat an eyelid.


After the short concert, we retired back to the bar where the beer flowed freely to enjoy an excellent afterglow appreciated by many of our Surgo audience, particularly one lady who took an instant liking to Tommy and John (and maybe one or two other choristers who are not saying anything).   All in all, from the excellent singing at the performance to the friendly banter afterwards, a really enjoyable night was had by all.



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Dave Chown

From ‘The Libretto’ – September 2011

It was with sadness today we heard of the passing away of Dave Chown. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with Dave’s family at this sad time.


Dave was a long standing member of the Choir with well over 25 years service.  Although he had suffered with ill-health for several years, he remained a staunch supporter and will be well remembered with affection by many in the Choir who were friends of his in better days.


The funeral will be at St. Mary’s Church, Caldicot on Friday 23rd September at 1-30pm followed by cremation at Gwent Crematorium, Croesyceiliog.  The Choir has been asked to sing at the funeral service.

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2011 Gala Concert. A Tribute to Roy Shuck








 Holly’s three items were Ave Maria, Somewhere and Time to Say Goodbye


Brecon Choir Comments:


I’ve just been on the Brecon Choir website and extracted their comments about the Gala concert from the Newsletter page.  If you want to visit their web-site  go to our LINKS page.  Lyn

“……..Then a rapid 100 mile round trip to meet up with our old friends at Caldicot who had invited us as guests at a concert dedicated to the memory of their late Secretary Roy Shuck. The Caldicot Choir are some 80 strong so the contrast between their power and our more delicate tone was appreciated by a large audience. Their repertoire differs from ours and it was good to hear old favourites like “Nidaros” sung with power, accuracy and passion. It was good too to join with them to sing, as a massed choir, those stirring anthems “An American Trilogy” and “O Gymru” with the sweet voice of their other guest, soprano Holly Holyoake, singing the solo.

As always, we were greeted as old friends and royally entertained in their fabulous Choir Hall after the concert. There were new songs too in the ”Afterglow” where choirs traditionally exchange favourite party pieces like “Gospel Shoes” and “Rachie”.”


From ‘The Libretto’ – September 2011


What a fantastic night of music we had on Saturday with the Brecon and District Male Choir and Holly Holyoake. The crowd enjoyed every moment of singing and the entertaining compère Siân. Siân was both informative and amusing (she needs a new joke).

A mix of modern, Welsh traditional, foreign and hymns were sung by both choirs and an extra special touch was the family connection between both choirs. Brecon was conducted by Lynette Thomas who is the sister of our very own Shirley Ann James, it must have been a great night for the both of them.



Holly gave an outstanding display of singing both as a solo artiste and then joining the choir for the magical ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ and the rousing ‘O Gymru’.



The highlight for me was singing ‘Nidaros’; never having sung it before on stage and I was a bit nervous when the piano struck up. As always, there was nothing to worry about as Siân guided us through it with ease.

Well done to Ron Powell on his first concert and all the new choristers who were experiencing the Gala Concert for the first time.

Afterwards, talking to two choristers from Brecon, who could not get over the choir hall or what a good choir we are (see Siân is telling the truth). They said it was great listening to ‘Nidaros’ which needs to be sung by a big choir and they could not get over ‘Calm Is The Sea’ which they had never heard unaccompanied before.

The afterglow was almost as good as the concert with both choirs joining together to give the audience a mini-concert.



 A big thank-you to all the women who helped by selling raffle tickets etc. and selling tickets on the doors.  Also to the choristers for all the food that was laid on for our guests.

Mark Stocker





Photos by Colleen Gauntlett

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No More Raffle Tickets

From ‘The Libretto’ – August 2011

That’s correct you did hear it right. Our chairman has decreed that this will be the last batch of raffle tickets that we sell. We still have a few books left so if you can help please see Roger Francis.

In order to raise funds for the choir, there will be social evenings in the hall. The four social evenings coming up:

  • A night of fun and laughter with Pixie Perez on 23rd September
  • Sing along with Simply Mick
  • Sing, dance & laugh with Owen Money & the Soul Sharks (includes raffle draw)
  • New Years Eve at the Choir Hall

Please support these social evenings and bring along your family and friends.

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‘Llanishen Pastorale’ for the Heroes

Press Release

The Choir at Llanishen Hall

On an emerald green cloth of Monmouthshire farmland, amidst the pastoral tranquillity of a summer’s night, Caldicot Male Voice Choir joined forces with the village of Llanishen to support the ‘Help for Heroes’ charity. The concert was a sell out in the superbly appointed, state-of-the-art amenity of Llanishen Hall.

The choir regaled the audience with a varied repertoire from around the world, cleverly inter-woven with stirring Welsh classics such as ‘Llanfair’ and ‘Myfanwy’. The musical journey incorporated  the high ‘veldt’ of South Africa with the haunting Zulu melodies of ‘African Trilogy’, the green ‘Fields of Athenry’ in Ireland and Peking, China, as the choir sang ‘Nessun Dorma’ from Puccini’s opera Turandot. Towards the end of the evening, the choir melded harmoniously with Musical Director Siân Hatton in an ethereal rendition of ‘Lily of the Valley’ and throughout the concert both choir and audience were enchanted by the oboe recitals of Rhian James, the talented daughter of Assistant Musical Director, Shirley Ann James. The concert concluded with a rousing performance of ‘Morte Criste’, during which Siân invited ex-chorister and friend of the choir, Alan Evans to join the baritone section for the finale.

At the end of the concert, the choir reassembled at the Star Inn, Llansoy, for a few more hours of revelry, refreshment and song.


  1. Llanfair
  2. She
  3. African Trilogy
  4. As long as I have music
  5. Tydi A Rhoddaist
  6. Lleucu Llwyd
  7. Somewhere Out There
  8. Gwahoddiad
  9. Myfanwy
  10. Nessun Dorma
  11. Let it be me
  12. Lily of the Valley
  13. Fields of Athenry
  14. Marina
  15. Speed your Journey
  16. Morte Criste


From ‘The Libretto’ – September 2011

Magnificent Music Makers!

As things often do, it started with a certain person (you all know who), volunteering the Caldicot Male Voice Choir to help us raise money for Help For Heroes.

They didn’t know this at the time and, being such a wonderful choir, their diary was already full but, being such a wonderful group of people, they agreed to come to us anyway. And so it was. Not only did they come and sing, they also brought laughter and joy in abundance.

But they didn’t just come; they brought their own, newly repaired keyboard which they had vowed not to move again, post-repairs! They also brought a young oboist-star-in-the-making with them. In the interval they bought raffle tickets and, post interval, they strayed from their beautiful programme and generated one of those unforgettable and poignant moments in inviting Alan (for the uninitiated, that’s Alan Evans of course) to sing their final number with them (Morte Criste). Get the picture?  The amazing generosity of the Caldicot Male Voice Choir created a magical evening and helped us raise a shed-load of money!

The varied programme included many favourites such as She, Let It Be Me, Speed Your Journey and Gwahoddiad. Stirring stuff gave way to comical Marina and, in response to a request from an individual in the audience, we all had a spine-tingling moment during Myfanwy.  As Siân Hatton (Musical Director) said, none of the men could quite manage a soprano solo so she offered some thrilling trilling amongst the men. But the solo spots belonged to Rhian James and her oboe with multiple beautifully played short pieces.

Returning from trekking across Mongolia on another fund-raising event just a few days before the concert night didn’t stop Diana McCrae, H4H Volunteer County Co-ordinator for Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen, joining us to tell us a little about the work of H4H and to emphasise that every penny raised from events such as ours goes directly to those in need. So how much did we raise? Not sure yet but it’s in the high hundreds; we’ll bring you the exact total next month.

Those of you who read the related piece last month will remember that the plan was to return to The Star where John and Julie were waiting with beer and sandwiches (what else could it be?) for the choir. That’s exactly what happened and, yes, there was more singing. As someone remarked, “it doesn’t get any better than this”.

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Our New Web-Site

From ‘The Libretto’ – August 2011

Our new web-site has been up and running for a few weeks now and is still very much in its infancy.  Tony Griffiths and Graham ‘Spike’ Hughes have worked extremely hard and done a tremendous job in setting this up and it is now ready for your input (forgive the computer jargon). In addition to Spike and Tony, Lyn Gauntlett has also been volunteered onto the web-site Administration Team.

We can advertise events, tell stories, write biographies and histories, play our music, show an art or photo gallery, link to other web-sites, even open a shop – the list is almost endless.

Our web-site is slightly different in that it is also a ‘Blog’ site.  This means that anyone can make their own comments and suggestions, leave messages and express opinions in the Comments boxes.  Obviously rules will apply to content because the site is open to everyone in the world.

For this to succeed as an impressive web-site that will not only be informative but also inspire more to take an interest in us, we need continuous support from all involved with the choir; from the musical team, choristers, vice-presidents and supporters.  So if you have any ideas of what you’d like on the site, or would like to give us an article or photograph or relate an experience from the past, then please let one of us (Tony, Spike or Lyn) know.  Everything will be considered.  It is your web-site – so please use it.

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Choir turn Exmoor village Welsh

Press Release

From ‘The Libretto’ – August 2011



It would be difficult to imagine anywhere more English. The beautiful and remote vastness of Exmoor is the countryside that inspired the story of Lorna Doone. On it’s northern fringe rocky bays, surrounded by some of Britain’s highest cliffs, stare out towards the mountains of south Wales and in the steep sided valleys, thatched cottages shelter in the green wooded coombes.

At the heart of the moor is the village of Simonsbath, replete with cherry red telephone box, classic English country pub and ancient church. There was, however, something different about Simonsbath on Saturday, 9th July because hanging majestically from a flag-pole outside St. Luke’s Church was a large red dragon on a green and white background; for one night only, Simonsbath was going to be Welsh, as it welcomed the Caldicot Male Voice Choir.


In a concert to raise funds for St. Luke’s Church, the Choir sang to a packed audience.  Once again, Siân showed her ineffable value to the Choir by doubling up as a superb soloist, she was assisted by the ever reliable Shirley Ann. Accompanists, Steve Berry and John Nicholson also excelled, as they compensated for the lack of a piano with faultless performances on the church organ. Many types of musical genre were incorporated into the performance, from rousing Welsh hymns and operatic classics to the more modern ‘Fields of Athenry’ and ‘You Raise Me Up’, made famous by Westlife.

After the concert, the Choir and it’s audience decamped to the Exmoor Forest Inn; a picture postcard pub, so English that it would double for a set on ‘Midsomer Murders’. As the twilight surrendered to the darkness, this tiny part of Somerset resounded with the harmony of ‘hwyl’ and song and as the last glasses were downed a lone voice, in a soft west country lilt, called out “Nos da, Boys!”. It was that sort of night.

I can’t believe that Martin Pipe was there enjoying the afterglow and gave some of you a tip for the following day that won at 20/1….and you never did it.


  1. Llanfair
  2. You Raise Me Up
  3. The Fields of Athenry
  4. Crusaders
  5. Llef
  6. Yfory
  7. Anthem
  8. Marina
  9. Myfanwy
  10. Morte Criste
  11. American Trilogy
  12. Let It Be Me
  13. Slaves’ Chorus
  14. The Lord’s Prayer
  15. Troyte’s Chant



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