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Sad passing of Bass Chorister Wyn Goodwin

The Choristers of Caldicot Male Voice Choir were deeply saddened to hear of the death at home of its much loved Chorister, Wyndham Goodwin after a short illness on 18th September.Born in Newport on 21st February 1946 he joined British Railways at the age of 15 and served as a driver through the last days of steam until his retirement at the age of 64. Wyn was the last of the trio of bass singing railwaymen in the Choir consisted of himself, Roy Evans and John Wyson.

Wyn joined the Choir as a Bass in 1995 and served continuously for over 25 years. This achievement was recognised by the presentation made jointly by Musical Director Siȃn Hatton, Jessica Morden MP and John Griffiths SM of a commemorative lapel badge and certificate at a special presentation outside the hall at the end of June this year. Sadly this was to be Wyn’s last appearance with Choir. Because of Covid restrictions, Wyn’s last concert was at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh, Northern Ireland on March 9th 2020.

Wyn was a loyal and hard-working chorister who not only sang at many concerts over his long service but over many years was an active and committed committee member, probably best known for the long hours spent behind the bar with his fellow choristers Dave Kirton and Roger Francis.Wyn had a powerful voice and when the basses were told by the conductor to tone it down a bit, we all knew to whom it referred, but that’s part of being in a choir and often raised a laugh.

He was deeply fond and proud of the Choir and was often the first to welcome new visitors to the hall, making them feel at home and welcome. He was also extremely helpful to new choristers, helping them to blend in and feel comfortable in their new roles.Apart from the Choir,

Wyn was also an active member of the local Bowls Club and over the years, with his wife Dianne fostered many children. He leaves behind not only his wife Dianne but his son James, daughter in law, Joanne and grandson, Lewis.

The Choir offers its sincere condolences and sympathy at the sad loss of one of its most much loved chorister’s in Wyn Goodwin. Rest in Peace old friend.

The funeral will take place at Langstone Vale Crematorium on 29th September at 4-30pm. All will be welcome at the Caldicot Choir Hall in Mill Lane NP44 5DD from 5-30pm.

A selection of the many photographs taken of Wyn during the past ten years are attached. I hope they bring back fond memories of a real character. He will be missed but long remembered.

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The Choir invites you to join

Caldicot Male Voice Choir is now after the pandemic restrictions have been eased, in a position to invite men over the age of 18 to join in a wonderful hobby by singing together with over 60 other choristers in the Choir.

In the next few weeks you may see this flyer appearing over the town. Please take the time to read it. Members of the Choir will also be making appearances at the special Saturday markets in the Town Centre when you will have the opportunity to talk to choristers about what it means to be in one of Wales’ leading Choirs, right on your doorstep.

Why not just pop along to the Choir Hall in Mill Lane on any Monday or Thursday evening from 7-00pm to see and hear us? Bring your wives or partners as well. They will be very welcome. The choir hopes to see you there.

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Sad Passing of ex Chorister John Callow

The Choir was saddened last week 25th August 2021 to learn of the passing of retired chorister John Callow. John had been a long standing second tenor for over 25 years and was much liked and respected as a true gentleman. He was always among the first to welcome new choristers and help them to blend in with the choir with useful and relevant advice.

Notably for over  17 years, chorister John Callow had been diligently marking off on his little clipboard the attendance of every chorister at almost every practice and concert until he relinquished the role to Dai Gould in 2013 He has walked around the hall, sometimes despairingly but always hopeful, prior to every concert to determine which and how many choristers will be attending and whether or not they need the bus.  He always, twice a year painstakingly produced a statistical summary of attendances showing the record of every chorister. 

After over 1600 times, his town crier voice of ’55 here tonight!’ in every practice has been sorely missed (not always 55, sometimes more, sometimes less) because after all that time, John decided to put down the pen and clipboard for a well deserved rest. This unsung, but vital job carried out by John has ensured that choristers were aware of the need to attend practice and come to as many concerts as possible, large or small. 

In recognition of his contribution to the Choir, John was also the first recipient of the newly introduced ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ and was conferred as an Honorary Vice President in 2013. He retired form the Choir in 2016. Well done,  John  for your valued contribution and membership of the Choir for so many years.

Condolences and sympathy go out from the Choir to his family and friends at this sad time. The Choir sang Gwahoddiad at practice on 26th August in remembrance of a much loved chorister.

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Georgie Davies visits the new extension

John Nicholson, Ken Cooper, Leon Jones and Georgie Davies

During the pandemic lockdown, Caldicot Male Voice Choir remained busy by building a much needed extension to its Choir Hall in Mill Lane, Caldicot.
Now it’s completed, it was pleased to welcome back Georgie Davies of Griffiths Civil Construction who generously provided the materials and labour to complete the groundworks, foundations and sub floor. This was a huge contribution without which the project couldn’t have started.


This extension now enables the hall to store it’s tables, including the circular tables to be used at weddings and its 200 chairs thus clearing the hall completely for other functions such as the Choir’s support for Blood donor sessions. The photographs show Georgie with Choir Chairman John Nicholson, Secretary Ken Cooper and Vice Chairman Leon Jones, the Choir’s project manager during the build.

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Back Singing Together Again

Back Singing Together!  Caldicot Male Voice Choir was delighted and thrilled to be able, with appropriate Covid-19 precautions in place to resume practices together after a 16 month absence.

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Over 50 choristers assembled to sing pieces such as Rock a my Soul, Benedictus, Anfonaf Angel, Sixteen Tons, Calon Lan, Anfonaf Angel and Cwm Rhondda for the first time together for 16 months, led by the music team of Sian Hatton, Shirley Anne James, Stephen Berry and John Nicholson.  The Choir also welcomed two new members Andrew Yearsley (Bass) and Bob Benjamin (Top tenor). Welcome both.

In a party but controlled atmosphere the Choir was presented with a celebratory cake baked by Colleen Gauntlett which was eagerly devoured by the choristers during a break in rehearsal.  It was obvious from the choristers’ faces and smiles that it was a great thrill to be back singing together again.

The photograph shows left to right:

Karl Gregory, Gareth Thomas, Leon Jones, Ken Cooper, Colleen Gauntlett, Sian Hatton, Stephen Berry, John Nicholson and Shirley-Anne James.

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South Wales Argus Publishes Presentation Article

Many thanks once again for the support of the South Wales Argus by publishing the article in Grassroots last Monday. This makes 21 published since the start of lockdown. It relates to the presentation at Caldicot Male Voice Choir of long service awards to Wyn Goodwin (25 years), Bill Nash (50 years) and Peter Heslop (50 years) by Musical Director Sian Hatton, John Griffiths SM and Jessica Morden MP.


Congratulations to Wyn, Bill and Peter for their continuous long, dedicated and loyal service to the Choir. Each was presented with a special, unique lapel badge and certificate.

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Choristers Receive Long Service Awards. Choir sings together again.

It has been nearly 15 months since Caldicot Male Voice Choir has been allowed to sing as a whole but it was thrilled to be able to sing together on 28th June outside its Choir Hall in Caldicot.

It has been a tradition in the past 12 years to present long serving choristers with a unique commemorative badge and certificate to recognise the achievement of more than 25 or 50 years’ continuous service.  Until yesterday there have been 36 recipients of the completion of 25 years and 3 recipients of 50 year awards.

It was with great delight that this list was added to with the presentation after much delay, of a 25 year award to bass chorister Wyn Goodwin and of 50 year awards to bass chorister Bill Nash and baritone Peter Heslop.  The presentations were made by Jessica Morden MP, John Griffiths SM and Musical Director Siȃn Hatton.  Also in attendance was long standing supporter and a Vice President, the Mayor of Caldicot, Jim Higginson.  Chairman John Nicholson accomplished a magnificent job as Master of Ceremonies in difficult circumstances.

The presentations not only recognise the dedication and loyalty of recipients but also demonstrate that singing in a Choir is a wonderful hobby, learning new skills and sharing common experiences, memories and friendships that can last a lifetime.

Following the ceremonies about 45 choristers gathered together outside the hall and conducted by Siȃn Hatton and accompanied by Stephen Berry the assembled Choir presented the appreciative audience with ‘Cwm Rhondda’, ‘Ar Hyd y Nos’ and ‘African Prayer’.

All participants were then invited to partake of an outdoor complimentary drink to commemorate being able to meet up after so long. A wonderfully enjoyable evening and thank goodness the rain kept away, but it was a bit chilly.

John Griffiths MS said: “It was great to see the choir back together again and doing what they do best. It’s been a difficult time during the pandemic – but the return to practice is hopefully a sign of a return to some normality. Music brings communities together – and this is very much the case with the Caldicot Male Voice Choir whose melodies are a joy to behold.”

Jessica Morden MP said: “It was fantastic to hear the choir again. They were on fine form singing together outside the Choir Hall (the envy of many choirs in South Wales) for the first time in 16 months and honour the long service and commitment of choristers Bill, Peter and Wyn who combined are celebrating 125 years of singing with the choir.”

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The Choir Hall was built 25 years ago!!

Near the Leisure Centre in Caldicot, there proudly stands a unique red brick building where, above its doorway is emblazoned the badge of Cor Meibion Caldicot and the words Choir Hall, Croeso, Welcome. Few who enter this incredible, purpose designed hall will realise the dreams and efforts of those who in 1996, 25 years ago made this unique building the home of Caldicot Male Voice Choir.

The dream was held for 28 years while a suitable plot of land should become available but it remained elusive for many years. Meanwhile practices like so many other choirs, carried on in local school halls, in particular Green Lane School.Finally land adjacent to the Leisure centre was found and the lease signed in April 1992.

A period of four years of intensive fund raising began and with the help of substantial grants from the Foundation of Sport and Arts and the National Lottery, sufficient funds were in place by September 1995.

Many hours were also spent with Community Design Gwent and Sarah James, the architect before the plans and design were eventually approved by Monmouthshire County Council. The final contract to build was awarded to Messrs. White Brothers and Speed of Newport and the first turf was dug on January 16th 1996 in heavy snow.

Many were involved in realising the dream but special mention must be made, not least of Secretary Islwyn Watkins, Treasurer Mervyn Roberts and President Richard Evans. The hall was finally opened during a weekend of celebration from 20th to 22nd September 1996 by Dr Terry James culminating in a Four Choir Concert on the Sunday including not only Caldicot, but choirs from Risca, Cwmbran and Blaenavon.

The hall has seen many changes in the last 25 years including two extensions and a mezzanine floor to hold office space and the library due largely to the efforts of chorister Leon Jones. It has its own fully licenced bar and state of the art sound and projection systems.

With a seating capacity of up to 200 people, it is open by arrangement to benefit the local community for not least wedding suppers, charity events and concerts, live TV showings of Wales Rugby matches, social events and corporate business events and has recently hosted the working of charities such as The Welsh Blood Transfusion Service, Mind and Caldicot Food Bank.

There is no doubt that the building of the Choir Hall in Caldicot after so many years of dreaming, planning and construction has furthered the culture of Welsh Male Choral singing and has provided an essential asset to the Caldicot Community.

The Choir looks forward to the ending of Covid-19 restrictions so that it and the local community can once again enjoy the marvellous building that is Caldicot Choir Hall.

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Caldicot Choir Remembers Zulu King

A tribute article of King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulu Nation following his death on 12th March was published in the South Wales Argus Grassroots section on 22nd March. Caldicot Male Voice Choir sang for him at the special pageant at Brecon Barracks on July 21st 2019 to mark the reconciliation of the UK with the Zulu Nation after the Zulu War of 1879.

Photos by Colleen Gauntlett

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On July 21st 2019 Caldicot Male Voice Choir was privileged to be invited to take part in a special pageant at Brecon Barracks to celebrate the reconciliation between the United Kingdom and the Zulu Nation of the ‘Zulu War’ of 1879.

This war was infamous for the Battle of Isandhlwana where over 1400 British troops were killed and for the defence of Rorke’s Drift by 24th Regiment of Foot South Wales Borderers later the same day.

Caldicot Male Voice Choir has sung on a number of occasions for Royalty but none more unusual than this occasion to perform for King Goodwill Zwelithini, the King of the Zulu Nation alongside his bodyguard of Zulu warriors and accompanied by the Band of the Royal Welsh Regiment conducted by Major Dennis Burton. In attendance were his wives, Princes and Princesses. At the Beating Retreat Ceremony, the Choir sang the three National Anthems of the Nations involved, Mae hen wlad fy Nhadau, N’kosi Sikeleli Africa and God Save the Queen.

Sadly we have just learned of the passing of King Goodwill in hospital in Nataal, South Africa on 12th March at the age of 72. It is believed that he died from diabetes related complications.

The Choir will remember meeting him at this special occasion for many years and a similar photograph to the one above is proudly hanging from the wall of the Choir Hall. The Choir has passed on its condolences and sympathy to his family and the Zulu Nation. 

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Choristers share the same birthday

Today, 9th January 2021 is a double birthday celebration in Caldicot Male Voice Choir. Bill Nash celebrates his 98th birthday today and shares it with 73 year old 2nd Tenor Mike Thurman. On behalf of the Choir may I wish them both a very happy birthday.

Bill’s celebration of his 98th birthday today surely must make him the oldest male voice chorister in Wales, if not the U.K. still actively and regularly singing.

Jo Barnes of the South Wales Argus has been kind enough to print my article and photos of Bill in a full page spread yesterday Friday 8th January

Until Corona virus restrictions were imposed, bottom bass Bill would make 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. I’m told that he still enthusiastically practices his song parts from his living room and is looking forward to returning to the Choir hall practices as soon as the Choir is able to practice again. We are all looking forward to that day.


Bill was born in Llanharan in 1923 to later sing, at the age of 14 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 over 80 years of male choral singing, sung in every section of a male voice choir. An incredible, probably unequalled record.

One of the many highlights of his almost 50 years in Caldicot Male Voice Choir 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 in May 2018.

Bill was 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 the Annual Concert in April 2014.

In 2019 Bill was awarded a tribute plaque and made an honorary member of the prestigious D M Davis Welsh Male Voice Choir of Jackson Ohio, USA and this was presented to him at his home in July 2020.

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 Choir would be interested to learn of any chorister who is of Bill’s age or older who is still active as a singer in any Welsh Male Voice Choir

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