50th Anniversary Gala Concert Charity Success

Press Release

Left click on images to enlarge

Photographs by James Goodwin and Lyn Gauntlett



On Saturday the 7th September, as part of its 50th Anniversary programme, the Caldicot Male Voice Choir made the short 100 metre journey across the road to the Leisure Centre in Caldicot to perform an exciting concert of pieces from throughout its illustrious 50 year history.  Hosted by the superb journalist and broadcaster Penny Roberts the Choir was delighted to perform before a large audience a range of songs from its past including Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘Entrance and March of the Peers‘, the spiritual telling of the arrival of the animals at Noah’s Ark, ”De Animals a’ comin” and the romantic Elton John melody from the Lion King. ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ in which Musical director, Siân Hatton, with her amazing soprano voice, sang the solo part, while Assistant Musical Director Shirley Ann James conducted.   The first quarter closed with the unaccompanied, beautiful Malotte arrangement of ‘The Lord’s Prayer’.


The Choir has a long proud tradition of encouraging young musicians and following this it was delighted to introduce a quintet of young woodwind musicians, all graduates of the Royal Welsh School of Music and Drama, who thrilled the audience with a mix of  Handel: Hornpipe, Romantic Flight from the film How to Train Your Dragon, Arnold’s, Three Shanties, including ‘What shall we do with a drunken, sailor?’  renditions encompassing the worlds of classical and film music.  All technically difficult pieces the audience were amazed by the range of sound, skill and expertise of the Rosso Ensemble.  As Penny Roberts remarked, we are sure to hear a lot more of these musicians, both as a group and as individuals.


In the second quarter the Choir opened with the rhythmic African Trilogy, with Siân Hatton taking the solo part, followed by an arrangement of the 1960 hit by the Everley Brothers, ‘ Let it be me‘.  The quiet, unaccompanied madrigal sound of ‘Innsbruck‘, sung in Welsh was contrasted with the most famous of operatic duets; ‘The Pearl Fishers‘ from Bizet’s opera of the same name.


The Choir’s adopted theme song’ ‘Llanfair‘ followed and then to thrill the audience further ‘American Trilogy‘, made famous by Elvis Presley was conducted by Shirley Ann James and accompanied by Stephen Berry on piano and John Nicholson on electronic keyboard.  Stepping up to the mark, not only one of the most famous of football themes, but probably the most famous tenor aria, ‘Nessun Dorma‘ was expertly conducted by  Siân Hatton and wonderfully sung by the choir to produce the most thrilling of endings, almost equal to a final Welsh hymn ‘Amen’.  The virtues and wonder of  one man’s living in Wales were proclaimed by the singing of ‘O Gymru‘ in which the solo was endearingly sung by Tom Hole, who has sung this so many times before, it must be in his dreams.


The Rosso Ensemble composed of Flute: Gemma Hawkins, Oboe: Bethan Keeble,  Clarinet: Daisy Evans,  Bassoon: Harry Ventham and on Horn: Daniel de Souza re-entered to continue to delight the audience with its fabulous sound.  Pieces included Reicha: 1st movement, Morricone: Gabriels oboe and finally, Ibert: Trois Pièce Breve. From foot tapping to hauntingly beautiful pieces, the highly talented Rosso Ensemble provided a fabulous programme.


In contrast , the Choir re-entered to enthuse the audience once again with the Welsh Hymn ‘Laudamus‘ – ‘We shall praise thee’ with one of the most famous of all Welsh Hymn openings ‘Gwaed y groes sy’n codi fyny’, and then calming every one down with the delightful, nostalgic composition by Wilfred Shaw ‘An Evening’s Pastorale, first sung by the choir in 1966.  An equal favourite, newly introduced in the past two years, the choir melodiously threaded it way through the 1954 Jack Richards’ composition, words by Richard Mullen, of  ‘He’, specifically arranged for our choir by accompanist Stephen Berry.  In startling contrast of styles the choir finalised by entering the world of Rock with its stunning, unique presentation of Freddie Mercury’s Queen hit ‘Find Me Somebody to Love’.  This was arranged for the Choir by our own John Nicholson who accompanied on the keyboard. Siân Hatton, this time dropping to tenor expertly sung Freddie’s part and left no-one in any doubt that we had found, in our audience, many who in return, love us.  Compère Penny Roberts remarked that she had interviewed Freddie Mercury when a young journalist and she is sure that he would have been thrilled by this fabulous performance.


The Choir has raised many hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities and good causes throughout it 50 years and is pleased and proud to continue this tradition.  On hearing of the plight of of so many children suffering radiation sickness as a result of the disastrous Chernobyl nuclear explosion in 1988, the choir decided that it’s nominated charity this year would be the local ‘Victims of Chernobyl Children’s Trust’ who’s aim is every year to bring children from Belarus to Caldicot for a month’s much needed respite.  For 25 years, the charity, led by Marcia Doyle and her husband Michael, have also organised and travelled with convoys to Belarus with much needed basic aid to Belarus each year.  They will be leaving Caldicot once again on September 20th for a month’s stay in Belarus and to meet up with another convoy.


The Choir, together with it social side, Côr Meibion Caldicot Cycle Club and The Birdie Boys Golf Society and other events, an Open Evening, raffles and Christmas card sales resulted in Choir Chairman, Leon Jones being able to present the charity with a cheque for an amazing SIX THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED AND TWENTY FIVE POUNDS and 40 PENCE as a symbol of the total amount raised. It is worth mentioning that the sponsored cycle ride that the cycle club undertook from Brecon to Caldicot in July raised over £4700 of that total.  This will enable the charity to bring another six children and their interpreter to Caldicot next year.  We are sure to give them, as always a really warm Caldicot welcome.


The Choir is sure that it has presented a wonderful evening, not only to its special guests, Newport East MP, Jessica Morden, Monmouthshire County Council Chairman, David Dovey and his wife Stephanie, Caldicot Mayor Alan Davies and his wife Susan, County Councillors; Pauline Watts, Jim Higginson and John Marshall; charity organisers Marcia and Michael Doyle, Choir President, Richard Evans with his wife Norma, and Vice Presidents but also to compère Penny Roberts, Guest Artists, The Rosso Ensemble and all the Caldicot residents who have loyally supported us over the years.  A wonderful, enjoyable musical and social evening which will live in their memories for a long time to come and a fitting contribution to our 50th year Anniversary Celebrations.


Finally the choir returned with its guests, to enjoy an evening’s refreshment and further impromptu singing; always enjoyed by everyone.  The highlight of our social gathering was the final cutting of the 50th Anniversary Cake by Siân Hatton and Shirley Ann James, who with knives aloft (who knows what was in their minds?) enthusiastically attacked the main sixteen inch cake weighing 24 pounds.   The main cake was just sufficient to give everyone in the hall a piece, with choristers descending like gannets to devour the last crumbs; the second, three dimensional cake representing the choir badge, was auctioned and raised an incredible £65 by a chorister consortium of Bob Brown, Ron Powell, Tony Griffiths and Mark Stocker.  We are informed that the cake will be taken to the local Brookside Nursing Home for the residents to enjoy shortly.  The third cake, although iced and supporting nine sugar crafted choristers is a dummy demonstration.  The result of three months hard work, the fabulous cakes were created by chorister’s wife Colleen Gauntlett who crafted three displays representing the Choir’s badge and the Choir’s achievement of ‘Singing Together Since 1963’ .  Unfortunately, Colleen could not be at the evening to witness the cutting and distribution of her beloved creations; she would have had a tear in her eye.



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Caldicot Male Voice Choir hosts Argentinian School Gospel Choir

Photos by Colleen.  Left click on images to enlarge

Press Release

On Wednesday 10th July, Caldicot Male Voice Choir Hall played host to a triplet of varying musical styles.  We were pleased to welcome the Gospel Choir of St. Georges College from Buenos Aires, Argentina who are on a three week tour in the UK.   Founded in 1898, the college is one of many British type Schools in Argentina and boasts several choirs, one of which is the Gospel Choir.  This choir learns its varied music by rote and its membership is drawn from a mixed ability range throughout the college, without audition.



The evening’s programme opened with Chepstow Community Big Band playing a mixture of band sounds including reminisces of Glenn Miller’s In the Mood,  the sixties theme tune of the Austin Powers films, Soul Bossa Nova, Lester Leapin, featuring a saxophone solo, a tribute to our South American guests, Livin’ la Vida Loca, through to the theme from ‘The Family Guy, then Bird Land and finishing with Get it on, including fine tenor sax, alto sax and guitar solos.


The School gospel choir of about twenty girls and six boys, ranging in age from twelve to sixteen, led by their conductor and pianist Simon Roberts, delighted us all with their enthusiastic and tuneful renderings of Changing my Life, Lean on Me in English and then enchantingly Calejon del Carretero in Spanish.  Once again reverting to English the choir fittingly sang The Reasons Why We Sing and Better me, Better You.  Reverting to their native tongue they sang a tribute to their home city Buenos Aires Hora Caro.  Their wonderful choral presentation of youthful voices ended to rapturous applause from Caldicot Male Voice Choir and audience ended with the swinging jazz of Give me a Star.



Some fifty five members of the Male Voice Choir, accompanied by Stephen Berry and John, Nicholson then astounded the surprised Gospel Choir, who had never heard not only the volume but the melodic range of four part harmony of a Welsh Male Voice Choir before, concluded the evening’s proceedings with an opening of the rousing, foot tapping Alexander’s Ragtime Band conducted by Siân Hatton.  Following whoops of delight from the school, the choir demonstrated its versatility by moving through to melodic An Evening’s Pastorale, African Trilogy, conducted by Shirley Ann James and the solo part sung be baritone Jason Dawe,  modern, romantic welsh ballad Lleucu Llwyd,  the hopeful words of  Yfory and finally raising the roof with a special version of Laudamus which brought the gospel choir to its feet.


The choir is always proud to open its doors to choir and music of all events and following words of gratitude and tribute from the Gospel Choir’s musical director Simon Roberts, the evening concluded with words of praise and encouragement from Siân Hatton to the youngsters to keep on enjoying singing as a wonderful hobby.  Presentations of commemorative choir ties were also exchanged between Simon and Male Voice Choir chairman Leon Jones.  We are sure their visit to Caldicot Choir Hall will be remembered for a long time to come.


An interlude to the proceedings included a ‘Happy Birthday to You’ tribute to Cor Meibion Caldicot Public Relations Officer, Lyn Gauntlett who celebrated his 65th birthday on the evening.  He (me) was delighted to receive individual happy birthday wishes from every single member of the School Gospel Choir at the end.

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Romsey Reunion for 50th Anniversary

Press Release


Photographs by Colleen.  Left click on images to enlarge.



On Saturday 1st June, for the sixth time since the turn of the millenium, on a glorious start to the summer, the choir travelled the 120 miles to the historic ‘Jewel in the Hampshire crown’ of Romsey.  The centre-piece of this beautiful town and burial place of Lord Mountbatten of Burma, is the spectacular 10th century, former Benedictine Abbey which played host to us joining old friends, the Michelmersh Silver Band for a joint concert as part of the choir’s 50th Anniversary celebrations.  The band has recently been promoted to the Championship section of the National Brass Band Championships for the first time in its history, so it is a great privilege and pleasure for the choir to be invited to perform with them once again in this fabulous setting.


Under the soaring vaulted ceilings of the Abbey, the concert, compered by resident band conductor Roland Wright and conducted under the direction of the band’s Musical Director Melvin White, the Silver Band opened in front of a large enthusiastic audience with an electrifying performance of Fanfare and Choral, Laudes Domini  followed by a delightful flugel horn solo of Marianne (Wayne Landen) and then the magnificent Brass Triumphant, written for and often played by the world famous Rhondda Valley Cory Brass Band (now know as the ‘Buy as You View Brass Band’).  The choir, bathed in light and conducted by Musical Director Siân Hatton, opened its first presentation of music from around the world with inspiring Welsh hymn, arranged by the legendary Welsh composer Mansel Thomas,  Llanfair, contrasted by Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Irving Berlin’s Alexander’s Ragtime Band, the 15th century Austrian madrigal ‘Innsbruck’ , ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ (soloist Siân Hatton , conducted by Shirley Ann James) from Disney’s The Lion King and American Trilogy  made famous by Elvis Presley.  Choir accompanist Stephen Berry was delighted to support on the refurbished Victorian Walker organ, while fellow accompanist John Nicholson provided the piano accompaniment.  The opening numbers of both the choir and the band were reinforced by the incredible acoustics afforded by the height and length of the architecturally splendid, pillared knave.  Those of us with hair on the back of our necks certainly had it raised!


The first part of the concert concluded with three further pieces from the band including many times recorded New Orleans traditional jazz, Just a Closer Walk (trombone soloist Matthew Curtis), a Soprano Cornet Solo of Demelza (Connie Boler) and vigorous Gaelforce with its stunning percussion parts.


Following the interval, the band re-opened with March O.R.B, Lux Aurumque and Novus Vitae which included a Euphonium solo (Paul Griffiths).  This last piece, meaning ‘New Life’ is a world wide premiere by a Brass band and was written by the composer Darren Bartlett for the christening of his nephews.  ‘The Choir then rejoined the proceedings by opening its second performance with Protheroe’s arrangement  Laudamus, sung in Welsh, romantic Spanish style melody Juanita, You Raise me up made famous by Westlife, a new Queen addition to the programme, ‘Somebody to Love‘ arranged by accompanist John Nicholson, conducted by Shirley Ann James and Freddie Mercury’s solo part sung by Siân Hatton.  Tommy Hole then took the solo part of closing song, O Gymru which tells of the virtues of living in Wales and of being Welsh.


The Silver band then re-entered to give spirited performances of Festival arrangement, Light Walk and An Evening Prayer before being joined by the choir to give a fabulous joint rendition of Welsh hymn ‘Gwahoddiad’ (English ‘Invitation’) before the band closed with Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral.  Both the Michelmersh Silver Band and the Caldicot Male Voice Choir left the audience in no doubt that they had been privileged to have been part of an incredible festival of the sounds of Brass and Voice.


Choir chairman Leon Jones was delighted to make a presentation of a commemorative 50th Anniversary slate plaque and anniversary choir tie to a surprised Adam Smith, chairman of the Michelmersh Silver Band.


Following the concert, members of the choir and the band retired to the nearby Tudor Swan Inn (now the Romsey Conservative Club), facing the statue of Lord Palmerston, born in the town, for a traditional ‘Afterglow’ where the choir continued to enthusiastically entertain the  public with its vociferous, impromptu choral singing.  A plaque outside states that two of Cromwell’s soldiers were hanged from the wrought iron sign support above the door.  When cries of  ‘On the bus, on the bus’  were made, choristers made a hasty retreat in case they fell to the same fate.


Many, many thanks to the Michelmersh Silver Band and all of its supporters for the wonderful welcome, refreshments and hospitality and we hope to meet up with you again at the earliest opportunity.




To find out more about the Michelmersh Silver Band, please click on the link Michelmersh Silver Band”



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Fundraising Cycle Ride

On Sunday, August 19th 2012, a number of choir members, friends and supporters intend to raise funds for the choir’s 50th Anniversary in 2013 by riding the 55 mile Taff Trail from Brecon to Cardiff.







  • 8:00am – meet at Choir Hall
  • 8:15am – mini-buses to Brecon
  • 9:45am – arrive Brecon
  • 10:00am – start ride
  • 12:00pm – rest / food break
  • 2:00pm – rest / food break
  • 4:00pm – arrive Cardiff Bay
  • 5:00pm – bus back to Caldicot
  • 5:45pm – riders to congregate at Jubilee Way car park
  • 6:00pm – arrive at Choir Hall
  • 6:30pm – BBQ and entertainment at the Choir Hall


Currently we have 29 people who are interested in this challenge, but do feel free to get involved even if you don’t intend to ride. We need support staff to arrange and co-ordinate the logistics of the event.


The following choristers have confirmed their intention to ride:

  • Leon Jones
  • Graham Hughes
  • Tony Griffiths
  • Robert Brown
  • Alyn Dawe
  • Karl Gregory
  • Anthony Howells
  • Ron Powell
  • Stephen Davies
  • Grahame Morton
  • Ron Griffiths


The above choristers have all pledged to raise sponsorship for the choir funds.


  • There will also be a further 18 friends of the choir who will be partaking in the ride and collecting sponsorship for the 50th Anniversary in 2013.
  • A number of choristers and supporters have also pledged their support for the ride and will be supporting the riders on the journey as medics, mechanics, food and drink providers etc. Other choristers and supporters will be driving mini-buses, vans for the bikes and providing the BBQ and entertainment.
  • Practice runs have been organised and some riders have taken advantage of these which will be going on until the week before the actual ride. These are detailed below:


Practice Runs (Meet at Choir Hall)
  • Sunday, 3rd June (5pm) – Caldicot-Llanvair Discoed-Magor-Caldicot (20 miles)
  • Sunday, 10th June (5pm) – Caldicot-Sudbrook-Shirenewton-Caldicot (15 miles)
  • Sunday, 17th June (5pm) – Caldicot-Wentwood-Carrow Hill-Caldicot (18 miles)
  • Sunday, 24th June (10:30am) – Caldicot-Redwick-Llanwern-Pencoed-Caldicot (25 miles)
  • Saturday, 30th June (10:30am) – Forest of Dean Cycleway (24 miles)
  • Sunday, 8th July (9:30am) – Strawberry Line (Yatton-Cheddar-Yatton) (30 miles)
  • Sunday, 15th July (10:30am) – Caldicot-New Passage (Avonmouth)-Caldicot (30 miles)
  • Sunday, 22nd July (8:30am) – Brecon-Pontsticill Reservoir-Brecon (Taff Trail) (30 miles)
  • Sunday, 29th July (10:30am) – Caldicot-Sudbrook-Mounton-Chepstow-Shirenewton-Llanvair Discoed-Caldicot (27 miles)
  • Sunday, 5th August (9:30am) – Pontypool-Blaenavon-Pontypool
  • Sunday, 12th August (9:30am) – Llanfoist-Brynmawr-Llanfoist


Please keep an eye on this post as more details will be included as we get closer to the day.


Details of the route can be found on the Sustrans website: Taff Trail Route

Also on Facebook: Cycle Ride





Bike Ride T-Shirt design



For cyclists and supporters – please let us know if you would like a commemorative T-shirt as soon as possible so we can judge on numbers and sizes for ordering – the price for each will be £7-50.

The T-shirt is of excellent cotton quality and will have the choir logo on the front left breast and the bike ride design on the back of the shirt.


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Barrie Hammett’s Band Shifts Caldicot


Our social nights get better and better! On Saturday night, the choir hall saw and heard ten talented musicians and four superb vocalists, led by the multi talented Andrew Harding, of Barrie Hammett’s Swingshift Band play a fantastic range of music.  The live mix of the trumpet, horn, trombone, saxophone, keyboard and drums of  a big band sound in our accoustically designed choir hall soon had us captivated and enthralled by the fabulous mix of music and dance.  Those who weren’t there missed a truly enjoyable blend of not just the swing sounds of Benny Goodman but a mixture of superbly played iconic classics from the worlds of rock, jazz, pop that soon had us mesmerized.


The chatter stopped and the drinks were put down as the band opened with ‘Mac the Knife’, ‘Just haven’t met you yet’, ‘Miss Jones and I’, ‘Music to Watch Girls By’ followed immaculately by the memory stirrring Georgie Fame classic ‘Yeah,  Yeah’.  On came incredible female vocalist Stephanie in her ‘Tiffany gloves from Aldi’s and precariously  balanced on her 6 inch high heels to sing ‘Crazy little thing called love’ and ‘I just wanna make love to you’ to every man in the audience.  Dream on!


After time for a few drinks and more chat while listening to music from the sixties (remember them, lads), the band reappeared to a mind blowing re-enactment of the New York Blues Brothers.  Faithful to the sights and sounds of “Joliet” Jake and  Elwood Blues the band gave a rivetting mix of soul blended with rock and jazz in true Blues Brothers styles of ‘Everybody needs somebody to Love” ‘Gimme Some o’ lovin’, ‘Hold On’, ‘Minnie  the Moocher’ ‘Sweet Soul Music’, ‘Soul Man’ and ‘Papa gotta brand new bag’ among others. Unforgettably awesome!


The final part of their performance got most onto their feet (all those who were able) with iconic classics from the sixties, seventies and eightees.  From ‘ Burn, baby burn’, A little bit of Monica’ (requested for Denise Stocker), the Bee-Gees ‘You should be Dancing’, to the invitaton from Tom Jones to ‘Leave Your Hat On (fortunately nobody took it up), Elvis and ‘Burning Love’, ‘Play that Funky Music’ from Wild Cherry, Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’, ‘Dancing in the Street’, ‘Let’s stick together’, Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’ with everyone on their feet and finally to loud shouts of ‘More, More’ the band finished with ‘Mustang Sally’.  Not all recorded here, the band played well over thirty hits from all modern eras and styles.



Barrie Hammett’s Swingshift Band has been booked for our New Year celebrations and when the word goes around Caldicot of Saturday’s performance, this will be a sell-out.

During the evening we celebrated organiser Mark Stocker’s Mum’s Birthday and the fund raising raffle run by Kath MacArthur and Denise Stocker was enthusiastically presented by Mark.   Many thanks to those who donated prizes.  Once again, many thanks to Dai, Wyn and Roger at the bar and to the choristers who collected glasses, set out the hall and cleared up afterwards.


For our next major Social Night on Saturday 22nd September, the Choir Hall will host ‘The World’s Leading Tom Jones Tribute Artist’ and all funds raised will help support the choir during its 50 year anniversary programme next year.




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Rocked! But not to sleep!

Well, they promised they would rock us – and they certainly did!


On Saturday 3rd March 2012, to the opening sounds of Barcelona, the Queen Tribute Band ‘They Will Rock You’ appeared at the Choir Hall and certainly gave a packed house of over 150 Queen fans a night to remember.  For over two hours, starting with One Vision the extremely talented group powered their way almost non-stop through a medley of Queen songs to numb our ears and bring us rockin’ to our feet.


Working their way through a whole range of Queen classics such as Fat Bottomed Girls, Killer Queen, You’re My Best Friend, Don’t Stop Me Now, It’s a Kind of Magic, Somebody to Love, Crazy Little Thing Called Love and many more, they seemingly finished, like most Queen Tribute Bands, with Bohemian Rhapsody, during which Jason and Alyn Dawe appeared in their best Sunday vests as Freddie Mercury.  We weren’t fooled for a minute after Jason’s moustache fell off and he lost his teeth!  Wasn’t wearing Lycra pants either!


Following continuous shouts of More! More! the group re-appeared to follow up with another half hour of mind blowin’ music, including We Are the Champions, Killer Queen, Another One Bites the Dust and an unforgettable Radio Ga Ga, with raucous audience participation.  To echos of God Save the Queen, at close to midnight, the nerve jangled audience made their way into the cold night with the sounds of ‘Who wants to live forever’ ringing in their ears until the early hours of Sunday morning!  What a night!



Many thanks to 2nd Bass chorister Ron Powell for bringing this group to the Choir Hall and for introducing so many new comers to our hall.  Ron personally sold about 100 tickets to make arguably the best attended  Tribute Band social night we’ve held so far.  The proceeds from these evenings will help fund the events planned for our 50th Anniversary celebrations next year so please give them your full support.


Once again, many thanks to Sue Cooper and other ladies for organising the raffle, to all those volunteers who worked behind the bar throughout the whole evening (Dave, Roger, Wyn, James, Kevin and Ann) and not forgetting those who set up on Saturday morning and cleaned the hall on Sunday.




Photos taken by Lyn and Leon (from upstairs)




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