Category Archives: 2012

Open Evening for Annalese



This Coming Thursday June 5th the Choir will be opening its doors for an Open Evening, starting at about 7-15 pm to help raise funds for local girl Annalese who is suffering from the rare and dreadful disease known as FOP which means she is being physically locked in by the growth of a second skeleton. She is trying t0 raise funds for ‘The Friends of Oliver Appeal’ which funds research to try and find a cure.


We hope as many people as possible turn up to the is free evening where you can see and hear the choir put through its paces by our Musical Team, free of charge but we would like you to make a donation to the charity.


Our three Open Evenings held in the past year or so have raised well  over £1300 for The Seren Appeal to help the neo-natal ward at the Royal Gwent Hospital. The Victims of Chernobyl Children’s Trust and Prostate Cymru.


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New chorister joins as long serving one retires

At our last Annual Concert, long serving and loyal 2nd tenor chorister John Callow was presented with a well deserved Lifetime Achievement Award and Honorary Vice Presidency for his services to Caldicot Male Voice Choir.  However, due to declining health, John has announced his retirement from the choir after 23 years.  He will be long and affectionately remembered for being the Choir’s Registrar for 17 of those years when his voice would regularly boom out the numbers present at practice or following a concert.  John had promised that he will try to come to as many practices as he can and he can be assured of a very warm welcome.  Very best wishes to you and all your family, John.


Continuing the trend of recruiting new members, we were visited by Chris Nolan,  next door neighbour of bass chorister John Wyson last Monday and he turned up again to practice on Thursday.  During the break, he successfully took his first voice test in front of accompanist Stephen Berry and emerged to the announcement that he will be joining the 2nd bass section.  A keen cyclist, Chris is originally from Bristol and moved to Caldicot about a year ago.  He is already losing his Bristol accent and is beginning to ‘talk tidy’ .  The plus side is that it is his birthday next Thursday and he will still be under forty!  Well done, Chris.  We are sure you will have many enjoyable years as part of our choir’s family.


This makes 18 new recruits since this time last year.  If you’re not a member of the choir and you’re reading this, you are male and over 18 and enjoy singing, why not consider joining us?  If you are not local to Caldicot, why not think about joining a Male Voice Choir near you?









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Choir Sings for Parkinson’s Support Group

About a month ago we were asked if The Chepstow Parkinson’s Support Group could accompany us with their special song Let Us Take Control sung to the tune of Men of Harlech during Parkinson’s  Awareness Week.  Scroll down for the full report earlier this year.  There is also a share on Facebook as well.


This has just been posted on You-tube.  To view it, click on the link, Parkinson’s song


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Yet another 2nd Tenor joins our ranks

Last Monday at practice, following our Annual Concert, the door opened and in walked Caldicot resident George Boswell.   George has known a number of choristers for many years and he was finally persuaded to visit us.  He remarked that he’s been interested in joining the choir for some time, not only for the great singing but also to join in with the friendly and sociable atmosphere within the choir.


Like so many before, he went into the back room with Siân and after warbling a few notes, he emerged to the announcement that he will be joining the second tenors.  A very warm welcome to you George and we hope you have a very long and happy membership of our choir.  Goerge’s arrival means that we have recruited 16 new members since this time last year and our numbers have reached the 80 mark.


The choir always welcomes new choristers, so if you are reading this, over 18 and thinking that singing in a Male Voice Choir would interest you, please come along to our practices on Monday and Thursday evening (except Bank Holidays and Christmas).

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50th Anniversary Concert Set up video on You-tube


The company which set up our 50th Anniversary Concert have put a time – line clip lasting about 2 minutes of the 50th Anniversary Concert.


While it doesn’t show any of the choir’s music performance, it is quite interesting to see the lighting, seating and special effects, not to mention the full house.  It’s on You-tube and if you click on the link:


it will come up


Hope you enjoy it.

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International Visitors to visit Choir


The Choir always has an Open Door policy and welocmes visitors for all over the world to its Choir Hall in Mill Lane.  The Visitor’s Book, signed over the years by many hundreds of people bears witness to the tremendous support, appreciation and best wishes by visitors from not only most countries in Europe but from as far afield as Canada, Australia, South Africa, the United States, and all parts of Africa and Asia (not many from Antarctica though).


This coming Thursday 27th July we are privileged to welcome once again representatives of  the Friendship Force who have been pleased to have visited us on six previous, consecutive occasions.  This year’s thirty or so ambassadors are from San Fransisco.  Following refreshments in the afternoon at the Choir Hall, they have asked if music can be provided by our own accompanist, Stephen Berry and have once again asked to listen to us at our practice in the evening. Last year we were pleased to host over 20 representatives of the Friendship Force of Egypt who despite the language barrier really enjoyed being part of our rehearsals and our music.


The Friendship Force is an International Organisation of more than 35 years standing and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize some years ago for going behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War.

Each year more than 5000 Citizen Ambassadors  travel overseas from many countries to be hosted by thousands of people all over the World, forging links and extending the hand of friendship to encourage world peace.

A non-political and non-religious organisation it also provides humanitarian aid wherever needed.

During their stay in South Wales, they will be received by the Mayor of Newport, the Lord Mayor of Cardiff and the Welsh Assembly. They will also visit Big Pit, The Transporter Bridge and Tredegar House, but we’re sure that the highlight of their visit will be listening to Caldicot Male Voice Choir.


We have also been asked, and were delighted to accept, a request from The Argentinian School’s Choir to sing with us on their tour of the UK.  Having heard of the reputation of Male Voice Choirs in Wales, they wanted the opportunity to sing along with one of the best and we were only too happy to fulfill their request.  A short combined concert will take place from 7-00pm  at the Choir Hall on Wednesday 10th July.  We will also be joined by 25 members of the Wyedean School Band which should provide an unusual and exciting evening’s entertainment.  We have been informed that long standing friend of the choir, Mr John Griffiths, Welsh Assembly Minister for Culture and Sport will also be visiting us on that evening (nothing to do with Lyn’s birthday on the 10th).


Argentinian School Choir


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Back Stage Help From Local Businesses

We all know the help and support that Inanda Events gave to setting up and organising the staging, lighting, video, hospitality etc. to make our 50th Anniversary celebrations such a success.  Kirsten and Steve did a fabulous job but in addition have given us a legacy of hall decorations free of charge to use in our hall.


Did you know that we receive generous help from local businesses?  In particular a few deserve special mention for their invaluable help without which we would not have been able to put on such a spectacle for the over 500 in the audience.


Tony Mort, Managing Director of A.J.Access Platforms Ltd. of Caldicot generously provided a powerful movable hoist.  This was invaluable in lifting the massive lighting rigs up into the roof space of the Leisure Centre. No one in the choir is quite tall enough to reach and probably couldn’t hold the weight anyway.  Several tons in total and without the hoist it wouldn’t have been possible.  It also provided a platform for the lighting engineers to work safely on the stage lighting – over forty lights in total.


Secondly, while we were assembled on our new four tier staging did you know that Mark Jones (no coincidence in having the same surname as Leon) of J & W Fabrication and Welding, Shirenewton, Chepstow provided the expertise, skills and facilities to enable our existing staging to be converted from three to four tiers.  This enabled us all to be clearly seen and heard by the audience (no hiding places).  Mark also helped manufacture the brackets to hold the advertising banners on the Choir Hall walls.  Special mention must also be given to chorister Grahame Morton for obtaining the use of tube bending tools through his employer Reliance Water Controls of Worcester.  Without this bit of precision kit, the staging hand rails could not have been built.


We are grateful to Kevin Mansell-Abell at ThatMedia Group of Caerwent for his invaluable help in designing and manufacturing the advertising banners, feather banners, new entrance lights and the choir badge installed in the Choir Hall.  These have added a new dimension to our advertising and image.  Thanks must also go to chorister Spencer Dowse of Dowse Electrical for obtaining and installing the LED up-lighting for the feather banners which graced and led the way up to the Hall entrance.


Over and above, we are also extremely grateful to Luigi and Carlo of Newport Printing Company for their help and support in producing our very special programme copy of the evening.  Our gratitude must also go to chorister Ron Palmer, without whose meticulous records we could not have produced the historical content of the programme.  We mustn’t forget the substantial help given by many choristers (you know who you are) in setting up the hall, the cleaning up afterwards, the running of the bar, help from families, wives and partners and the commitment by dedicated committee members to ensure this was an event to remember


We are extremely grateful to all the local businesses who help us out for little reward.  Their support and partnership is fundamental to us not only to continue an important part of our musical heritage but in so doing aid many local and national charities.  Thanks to all of you.



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Choristers Carolling at Haywain

Before the Choir Hall in Mill Lane was built, the choir would practice in Green Lane School and then make its’ way to the local Haywain public house for a welcome thirst quencher and a bit of a sing song.  Since 1996 when the choir hall was opened with its own bar, this twice weekly trek to the pub was no longer necessary.


Many choristers live quite near to  the pub which is still regarded by many as the choir’s local and so it becomes an annual tradition that  every Christmas we entertain the clientèle with a round of Christmas songs and carols in which audience participation is compulsory.  So it was that after practice we made our way up the road to the warming (sweltering)  packed, standing room only atmosphere of the Haywain.  Conducted by Shirley Ann James and accompanied by John Nicholson we jammed ourselves cosily into the bar and sang renditions of Casatchok, a Christmas Medley, God Rest You Merry Gentlemem and Joy to the World before inviting the audience to sing familiar carols such as O Come All ye Faithful, Once in Royal David’s City and The First Nowell.


Following on from the carolling, the choir continued with its traditional afterglow to round off, as usual for this event an enjoyable evening just right to set off the Christmas Season (in style???).


A raffle, directed by Richie Llewellyn in his own inimitable style and reindeer costume was held towards the end of the evening to raise funds for the choir and a donation and refreshments were provided by the landlord.



Photos by Colleen Gauntlett

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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.

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New Year’s Eve Sell-out

Following the success of previous social evenings this year, Mark Stocker is delighted to announce that the New Year’s Eve Event with Barry Hammett’s Swingshift Band is a total sell-out.  Entry to the Choir Hall on New Year’s Eve will be strictly TICKET ONLY as all seats and table arrangements have been finalised.  Many thanks to Mark for arranging not only this special event, but for arranging previous theme nights this year and to the bar staff and other choir member volunteers without whom none would have been possible.


The Choir Hall has been decorated in advance by the Annual Concert venue organisers, Kirsten and Steve of Inanda Events, Magor who have, free of charge, spectacularly festooned the hall in a very special way with fabulous snowy scenes and falling snowflakes and a glistening reindeer and sleigh in the entrance.  The matching pink and silver side wall hangings were generously donated by chorister Allan Saye and his wife, Lillian. So far the alarms have not been set off and Caldicot Theatre Group have cancelled their event so the decorations will not interfere with them.  A path has been cut in the snowy woodland scene wall fresco to reveal the fire escape doors.  Let’s hope no-one nicks the sleigh and reindeer from the entrance hall.  By the way, a couple of volunteers are needed to clean up the mess left by the peacocks.


Footnote:  Farthing Hill House is on the Chepstow Road junction with Crick Road and has a few peacocks in residence, one named Cedric (although they don’t belong to the house).


The Choir would like to thank in advance, all the supporters who will make this a night to remember and are sure to put us all in the right mood to welcome and enlighten the celebration of our Golden Anniversary Year in a very special way.

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