Choir holds first concert since lockdown

John Nicholson, Stephen Berry, Glenna Parry, Shirley Anne James, Sian Hatton and Gavin Parry
Mark Campbell (left) and Nigel Keen at their first concert

On Saturday 5th March Caldicot Male Voice Choir performed its first concert at the Choir Hall in Mill Lane two years to the day from its last at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh, Northern Ireland. The concert was arranged to raise funds for the St David’s Hospice which cares for so many people in the area in their last remaining days.

The Choir also included two bass choristers Nigel Keen and Mark Campbell who were making their first appearance in a concert. Nigel has had a long wait for this since he passed his second voice test just before the pandemic restrictions were imposed.

To a seated limited audience of about 100 the Choir, conducted by musical director Sian Hatton and Shirley-Anne James and accompanied by Stephen Berry and John Nicholson performed several pieces including Cwm Rhondda, Y Darlun for the first time, Shenandoah, A Miner’s Song, Rock-a my soul, again a premiere,16 tons, Yfory and of course Deus Salutis (O Iesu Mawr) to the tune ‘Llef’.

The Choir was delighted to welcome back it’s guest artiste, mezzo soprano Glenna Parry accompanied by her husband Gavin. As well as her solo pieces she joined with her sister Sian, in Rossini’s ‘Cat’s Duet’ and later was included in a trio of herself, Sian and Shirley Anne in ‘Three Little Maids from School’ from the Mikado.

During the interval Jaz Cuggy, representing the St. David’s Hospice Care gave a short talk on the work and needs of the charity, explaining that from its humble beginnings of just a few patients, it now cares for over 2500 and needs to raise eight million pounds a year to provide care for these. The Choir finalised its performance by continuing with Anfonaf Angel, Benedictus and Ride the Chariot which included soloists David Gould and Sian Hatton.

Following its first ever performance of ’76 Trombones’ from the musical The Music Man, the Choir in tribute to the brave, suffering people of the Ukraine appropriately sang ‘World in Union’ to show its support . On display throughout was a candlelit photograph of the Ukrainian Flag mounted on a draped Flag of Wales. All choristers displayed a blue and yellow ribbon as well as a daffodil to show solidarity with Ukraine.

The Choir’s diary for the rest of the year is slowly filling up and if you would like to join please come along to practice on any Monday or Thursday evening from 7pm. You will be very welcome.

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Choir Holds first full practice of the Year

Last September it was reported that Caldicot Male Voice Choir could return to full practice due to a relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions. Sadly, this was short lived because of the emergence of the Omicron Covid variant.


However after a period of 3 months, the Choir returned to full practice at the Choir Hall on Monday 7th February, although maintaining appropriate precautions to minimise any further spread of the variant.
About 50 choristers and music team came along to the practice, when for the first time in 3 months or more it could join together to sing new pieces such as Y Darlun and to revisit older pieces including Cwm Rhonnda, Y Tangnefeddwyr, Rachie and On the Street Where You Live.


Prior to the practice the Choir was delighted that new bass chorister Mark Campbell passed his second voice test by bravely singing ‘Kwmbayah’ in front of Musical Director SIan and supported by bass chorister John Evans.


A celebratory cake to mark the occasion was once again baked, decorated and provided by chorister’s wife Colleen Gauntlett. As always this was devoured by the Choristers at the end of the practice (along with well deserved liquid refreshment at the bar) and there was sufficient for eagerly anticipated seconds and thirds and for many to take home to their wives and partners.


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Bill Nash celebrates his 99th Birthday

Bill proudly diplays his 50 year continuous service award

Once again the choir is grateful for the continuing support of the Grassroots section of the South Wales Argus for including this report by PRO Lyn Gauntlett, of the 99th birthday of Caldicot Male Voice Choir’s oldest member, Bill Nash.


The photo shows Bill proudly holding the certificate, presented by Jessica Morden MP and Musical Director SIan Hatton to commemorate his 50 years of continuous service to the Choir at a special outdoor ceremony last year.


On the same day, fellow chorister Peter Heslop also received the same award. Previous recipients of this award have been the late Colin Jones, choristers John Evans and Dave Gould.

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Choir Christmas practice in the South Wales Argus

Once again, Caldicot Male Voice Choir is grateful to the Grassroots section of the South Wales Argus for publishing a short article about the choir’s penultimate practice of 2021. Dressed in Christmas attire the Choir was forced to sing its Christmas repertoire without an audience due to Covid restrictions. Let’s hope things get better in 2022 and we can sing together in front of an audience.

The Choir welcomes newcomers to its ranks so if you are interested in a new hobby in the New Year please get in touch via the Contacts tab.

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CHORISTERS INVITE LOCAL MEN TO JOIN THE CHOIR

Once again choristers from Caldicot Male Voice Choir faced the freezing conditions at the special Saturday Christmas market in Caldicot Town Centre on 4th December.


Why, may you ask? The Choir is keen to invite local men over the age of 18 to join in with a fabulous hobby which teaches new skills, is proven to relieve stress and helps to encourage a longer, more fulfilling life in great company. The choristers stood in the cold to hand out invitations to visit the Choir Hall in Mill Lane, Caldicot and have a listen. If it takes your fancy, why not join in with a really friendly bunch who absolutely love singing together.


The Choir currently has about 60 members of all ages ranging from mid twenties to over 80’s. The singing together is all about blending the voices in harmony so you don’t need to be a great singer, just be able to hold a note. The Choir meets every Monday and Thursday evening, except Bank Holiday and around Christmas time at the Choir Hall in Mill Lane, Caldicot NP26 5DD

.

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Choir Welcomes Ready, Steady, Go Committee

Ready, Steady Go Committee Ladies with the Choir

Following Caldicot Male Voice Choir’s fund raising for the Wales Air Ambulance Charity this year, it is pleased to announce that it is supporting local, Undy based charity Ready, Steady, Go in 2022.

Ready, Steady, Go is a registered charity (no. 1183203) and organises much needed events and activity suitable for children with autism at its base in Undy and in the community. It also provides peer support for parents and carers of the children who take part in these activities. The club helps develop social interaction and friendship by providing opportunities through supported play in a safe, comfortable, positive and considerate environment.

At practice on Monday 22nd November it was delighted to welcome five members of the Ready, Steady Go committee to its Choir Hall who were thrilled to listen to the Choir go through a short repertoire.

An opportunity was given to Cathryn Duke to relate a summary of the purpose and aims of the charity to the choristers during a break in practice. Charity chairperson, Tracy Stafford expressed her profound, sincere thanks to the Choir for selecting Ready, Steady, Go as its nominated charity for next year and is looking forward to working with the Choir to maximise the fund raising potential.

The club meets at Undy Church Hall and will shortly be taking over the lease of this building. This will allow expansion of its activities and support and the Choir hopes that through its fund raising efforts in 2022 the money raised will significantly help in this endeavour.

To learn more about Ready, Steady, Go please e-mail Tracy at readysteadygocharity@outlook.com

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Choir invites local men to join


Due to Covid-19 restrictions Caldicot Male Voice Choir has been unable to perform its programme of concerts for about 19 months. A consequence of this is that it has been unable to recruit new members as well. Sadly during the pandemic a number of choristers have passed away or retired and have not been replaced.


To offset this the Choir has started a drive to invite men from the area to join. This began on Saturday 6th November when a number of choristers braved the freezing weather at Caldicot Town Centre to invite male passers-by to learn a little about the choir and invite them to visit the Choir Hall in Mill Lane to listen to its practice. To the choristers’ delight, several men showed an interest and promised to give it some thought.


Choristers will repeat this invitation at the two special Saturday Markets in December. Please look out for them.
If you are interested please come along to any practice on a Monday or Thursday evening from 7-00pm for a listen and a chat.

You do not need to be a great singer to be part of this Choir because we all sing in harmony and sometimes in unison. There is no obligation to join so come in from the cold and have a look and a listen. You will be surprised.

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Choir Presents Cheque to Air Ambulance

At practice on 25th October Caldicot Male Voice Choir was pleased to present a cheque for £2375 to Wendy McManus the Community Fund Raiser for Wales Air Ambulance Service. With Gift Aid this amount will increase further.


Wendy is quoted as saying ‘A huge thank you to everyone in Caldicot Male Voice Choir for its fabulous fund raising in challenging times. We really do appreciate your support to keep our helicopters flying.’


Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the choir’s charity events organiser, Tony Griffiths said that it has been difficult to organise events but nevertheless through golf days, cycling and running events and even virtual challenges, this amount has been raised.


Apart from concerts, the Choir’s charity events have raised about £50,000 for local and national charities over the past 10 years.


Next year the Choir will be raising funds for ‘Ready Steady Go’ a local charity based in Undy which supports the needs of autistic children in the area.

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