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Great afternoons of Rugby 6 Nations Championships at the Choir Hall

The lights are out, the flags are down, the TV and projector are turned off, the screen wound up and the doors finally shut, but what a great series of events at the Caldicot Male Voice Choir Hall with the showing of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship over the past two months. A great result for Wales in winning the Grand Slam, the Championship and the Triple Crown and overall a fabulous five weeks of Rugby from all six Nations.

The atmosphere at the matches was further enhanced by a few items of singing by members of the choir conducted by Sian Hatton, David Gould and accompanied by John Nicholson. A really great sound which we hope will encourage some of the men in the audience to join us.

This was not only financially rewarding to help the Choir with its charity and concert work but also showed the people of Caldicot that we have a wonderful Male Voice Choir and a Choir Hall of which it can be rightly proud.

These events would not have been possible if not for the hard work put in by Leon Jones who had the original idea and who worked non stop to ensure a great success. Also it would not have been possible either if it wasn’t for the bar staff including not least David Kirton, John Nicholson, Sian Hatton, Wyn Goodwin, Darren Lloyd, Chris Nolan, Dave Gould, Chris Richards, Dave’s daughter Alison Kirton and her partner David Gill and more who turned up at every match to ensure everyone was well watered and fed. Forgive me if I’ve forgotten anyone.

Thanks must go to all those who donated the bread rolls and to Leon Jones for the non-stop supply of hot dogs throughout the whole tournament to keep us fed.

Also tremendous work was put in by the Hall team to ensure the hall was set up with tables and chairs in place ready for each match. Included were Garry Keeble, Peter Hanks, Grahame Morton, Gareth Thomas, Mike Thurman, Leon Jones,and John Nicholson and many more. Please let me know who these are. The same team were also responsible for ensuring the hall was set up for other events, parties and choir practice. A fabulous job by everyone.

Many thanks to Lyndon Gauntlett for designing and printing the posters and putting them on several Community pages Facebook every week as well as video clips and photos taken by his wife Colleen.

The whole project shows how much can be achieved by a willing team of volunteers who have the best interests of the choir at heart.

We would also like to thank all of you who came along to watch the games. We hope you had a great time and that you will lend your support to the Choir in future events.

This event will be repeated next year and we hope to be able to show many of the World Cup matches as well. Keep looking out for us on our web site and on Facebook.

Choir Takes Welsh Culture to Bristol on St David’s Day

On St David’s Day March 1st, Caldicot Male Voice Choir took a part of Welsh culture across the Severn Estuary to the far side of Bristol to entertain the residents of the luxury Audley Redwood Retirement Village in Failand, Bristol.

About 40 members of the choir assembled in the resplendent, modern Redwood Hall at the centre of the village to begin the performance. Conducted by Sian Hatton and Shirley-Anne James, accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson, the choir presented an eclectic mix of Welsh songs including well known Calon Lan, Rachie, Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn, Eli Jenkins Prayer, Anfonal Angel, Cwm Rhondda and O Gymru interspersed with a few English numbers including ‘On the Street Where You Live’ from the sound of Music and ‘Stout Hearted Men’. Sian Hatton included a delightful solo of ‘My Little Welsh Home’ and tenor chorister Peter Hanks presented a solo rendition of ‘Dafydd y Garreg Wen’ as a much appreciated addition to the concert.

Following grateful consumption of the sandwiches and french fries provided by the hosts, the choristers departed to a local hostelry ‘The Failand Inn’ for further refreshments and an enjoyable hour or so of traditional ‘Afterglow’ singing, led by chorister Dave Gould.

Choir celebrates Stephen’s 70th Birthday with Cake

On 18th February at Caldicot Male Voice Choir’s practice the choristers shared in accompanist Stephen Berry’s 70th birthday (the day before) by not only singing ‘Happy birthday’ once more but indulged themselves by partaking of a special cake commissioned by Steve from Colleen Gauntlett to share with the choir.

The cake was a 12 inch square red velvet chocolate sponge covered in fondant icing, with a buttercream filling and decorated with musical symbols and a hand crafted motif of Steve at an upright piano constructed purely from sugar and completely edible (except for the ribbon). Cake makers and ‘sugar crafters’ will appreciate the stress and many hours that were spent creating the cake but well worth it when her ‘choir boys’ appreciate it.

As with all Colleen’s cakes this was greatly appreciated and eagerly devoured by all members but leaving a piece for Steve to take home. Only crumbs remained at the end but Steve was able to take the model home to take pride of place.

Steve was heard to say ‘it’s a fabulous cake, exceeding all expectations and must be Colleen’s best yet. I’m absolutely thrilled’.
Steve has been an accompanist at the choir since 2007 and is also musical director of Newport’s U3A choir who also shared in his birthday celebrations last week.

We are all thrilled that Steve has had a wonderful 70th birthday weekend shared by all his friends (choral and otherwise) and family.

Health and Fitness Fayre March 23rd at the Choir Hall

This is a charity event to help The UK Sepsis Trust (Wales) to raise awareness of Sepsis to the public and within the NHS. If you’re interested in any aspect of improving your health, beauty, fitness and well being please support this event and also help to save lives. Entry is free and there will be lots on offer. This is just one event that Caldicot Male Voice Choir and its associated cycle club and Golf society will be organising to support this worthy cause during the year.

THE RACE NIGHT IS BACK ON FEBRUARY 22nd

Caldicot Male Voice Choir has a proud history of raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities and good causes through its concerts and other activities over many years.  In order to carry out this valuable community work it does of course need to raise funds for itself and to maintain its own magnificent, purpose built Choir hall in Mill Lane which serves the Caldicot Community.

For over twenty years the Choir hall has been host, not only to many concerts and social occasions but also to a fun filled Race Night and this year it is being held on 22nd February starting at  7 -00pm.  Entry is strictly by ticket only at £8 from Ron Powell and includes a buffet.  Ten races are being shown on a state of the art projection system with a 4 metre screen and a superb  sound system to make it all the more realistic.  Races are randomised so no-one has any idea of the winners. A lot of fun is promised as in the past by sponsoring horses and placing small bets in the hope of winning.  There is no chance of losing your shirt.

The evening is backed up by a raffle with fabulous prizes so please come along for a really great night if you like a day at the races! Tickets are going faster than the horses so get your quickly.

CHOIR SINGS FOR CHORISTER’S DAUGHTER AND NEW HUSBAND AT EVENING RECEPTION

Photograph taken by Colleen Gauntlett

On Saturday 26th January Caldicot Male Voice Choir sang at Lucy and Tom’s celebratory wedding evening at the Choir Hall in Caldicot following their 2 pm wedding at Caldicot Castle. Lucy is the daughter of bass chorister Paul Carlson who was introduced to husband Tom by a friend from School. Both trained as teachers but Lucy now works for Torfaen Play Services.
 
As they walked into the choir hall, the choir, conducted by Shirley-Anne James and accompanied by John Nicholson welcomed them in with the rousing Welsh hymn tune, ‘Rachie’, followed by melodic ‘Shenandoah’, ‘On the Street Where You Live’ from the musical My Fair Lady, Eli Jenkins Prayer from Under Milk Wood, ‘Somewhere out there’ from the Stephen Spielberg film ‘An American Tail’, The programme also included romantic Welsh modern tunes ‘Anfonaf Angel’ and ‘Yfory’ and then including the Tennessee Ernie Ford hit ‘Sixteen Tons’ and the Everley Brothers hit ‘Let it be me’ before the choir finalised to rapturous applause from the appreciative guests with the famous Welsh hymn ‘Cwm Rhondda’.
 
The guests rounded off the early part of the evening by enthusiastically playing a selection of party games such as Connect 4, Hangman, noughts and crosses, Frustration and many others from pre-digital and internet days. Caldicot Male Voice Choir would like to congratulate Tom and Lucy on their marriage and wish them every happiness in their future lives together as Mr and Mrs Leigh
 

6 Nations Rugby is Back Again at the Choir Hall

Left click on images to enlarge

All matches of The Guinness 6 Nations Rugby Championship are being shown live on the Caldicot Choir Hall”s Giant 4 metre screen again this year. Together with the Autumn Internationals played by Wales the showings have always been a great occasion in a fabulous atmosphere. Together with a fully licenced, well stocked bar, Leon’s hot dogs and rolls, even tea and coffee there’s everything you need for a great evening or afternoon of Rugby. With coloured lights, great sound, huge screen, flags and bunting, the chance to win on the first try tote, it’s the next best thing to actually being at the live stadium venues. Entry is free but we ask that only drinks purchased at the bar are consumed  – they’re very cheap at club prices so no reason to bring your own.

It all kicks off on Friday February 1st with the France v Wales game.  Doors open at 7-00 pm ready for the kick off at 8-00 pm.

All proceeds are to aid Caldicot Male Voice Choir so we trust that as many choristers and supporters as possible will come along to help out  Even if you don’t care much for Rugby, each showing is an incredible social occasion.

Choristers share their birthday with a celebratory cake

Photograph and post by Lyn Gauntlett

76 years ago on January 16th 1943 the country echoed not only to the boom of Hitler’s bombs but also to the sounds of baritone David Kirton and top tenor Peter Hanks entering the world. This has carried on for many years as they continue to be long standing choristers in Caldicot Male Voice Choir. To celebrate this momentous anniversary, Dave asked Chorister’s wife and Caldicot Male Voice Choir photographer Colleen Gauntlett to make a special cake for both as she has done on several special occasions.
 
Happy to oblige, Colleen presented her creation of a chocolate orange sponge cake complete with fondant covering and orange cream filling to the choristers on 17th January. The decorative theme showed David Kirton in his role as bar manager at the hall (as well as his many other functions) and Peter Hanks in his role as a solo tenor performer at many of the choir’s concerts. Both were thrilled to take home the hand made sugar crafted models of each.

 
The photographs show the 14 inch cake in all its glory before being, as is so often the case, eagerly devoured at a break in practice by the choir and musical team of Shirley Shirley-Anne James, Stephen Berry and John Nicholson until only crumbs remain.

Another birthday milestone for Bill Nash

 

It was with great delight and pleasure that on Monday 7th January the choir was able, once again to wish its oldest chorister a forthcoming happy birthday by enthusiastically singing the tune  ‘Happy Birthday’ to Bill Nash.

Bill will be celebrating his unbelievable 96th birthday on Wednesday 9th January which surely must make him the oldest male voice chorister in Wales still actively and regularly singing. A highlight of his year was to be presented to HRH Prince Charles when the choir was honoured to sing at the Prince’s celebration of his 70th birthday at Buckingham Palace last May.

Bottom bass Bill makes the journey to practice from the centre of Bristol to Caldicot twice a week aided by his family and is still able to make it to many of our concerts.

Bill was born in Llanharan in 1923 to later sing with his father and brothers in Llanharan Male Voice Choir and attend Cowbridge Grammar School from where he left at 16 years old to serve in the RAF before and during the second World War as an aircraft fitter. He served in North Africa, Italy, South Africa and other countries before moving to Gloucester after the war and then to Bristol in 1952 to work many years for the British Aircraft Corporation and where he has lived since. He sang in Redland Male Choir in Bristol for many years before joining Caldicot Male Voice Choir in 1970.

He has, in his long history of about 80 years of male choral singing, sung in every section of a male voice choir. An incredible, probably unequalled record.

Bill has an incredible knowledge and expertise as a chorister and is always willing to pass on his experiences to younger and new members of the choir, not to mention our musical team.

The top photograph shows Bill with his daughter Sharon (his other children being Andrew, Jane, Ellen and Anne)  at Buckingham Palace and the lower shows him being presented with a well deserved Lifetime Achievement award and conferred as an Honorary Vice President of Caldicot Male Voice Choir at a special presentation by John Griffiths AM and Musical Director Siân Hatton at our Annual Concert in April 2014.

Many happy returns and best wishes for a happy birthday and celebration on Wednesday, Bill.

Coincidentally Bill shares his birthday with fellow chorister second tenor Mike Thurman who is a comparative youngster at 71 who was also congratulated at practice. Many happy returns to both.

Footnote.  Roy Noble paid a tribute to Bill on his BBC Radio Wales show on Sunday 20th January 2019 and played Alexander’s Ragtime band sung by the choir. Reports were also published in the South Wales Argus and the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Review.

 

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..
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