Who we are

We are a charitable organisation which helps charities and organisations, locally and afar. We sing at our own concerts, concerts in aid of charities and at weddings and other fee paying events. Our professional musical team consists of a Musical Director and two Accompanists . Our aim is to delight and inspire our audiences so if you have ideas on how to improve our concert programmes then Contact Us

In March, 1988, a group of eighteen men already experienced in performing in male voice choirs formed the new Chepstow Male Voice Choir. They were supported and led by Pam Morgan, herself experienced as an accompanist and a conductor with male voice choirs. The first accompanist for the new choir was Elaine Rigby, now Elaine Mathews. She remained with the choir until leaving to form and lead the Chepstow Youth Choir.

Singing for their own pleasure comes naturally to choristers, but how much better it is to make and take the many opportunities of sharing our enthusiasm with others. Apart from practising for two hours on two evenings each week for 47 weeks a year, the choir performs an average of 14 concerts each year and at roughly 8 weddings and corporate events. In addition, of course, there are events like the annual Remembrance Service, too. All of this choir’s concerts with the exception of the Annual Concert and the Christmas Concert are performed for charity, and in the 25 years of its existence, the choir has helped to raise a total in excess of £400,000 for local and national charities all over the United Kingdom.

The choir’s inaugural concert came in that same year at St. Mary’s Priory Church in Chepstow. Throughout its existence, the choir has upheld the tradition of giving pleasure to others through the medium of song.

Including Pam Morgan, in its twenty years of history the choir has been led by five Musical Directors. Pam served for nearly 11 years until her sudden and untimely death late in 1999.

Mike Evans, who at the same time led the Cheddar Male Voice Choir, took over after a gap of several months when the choir managed to fulfil its programme obligations with some eminent guest conductors. Mike retired to West Wales after two years and was succeeded by Brian Howard. Brian’s background was impressive both in the musical world of choirs, male and mixed, but also in the field of wind bands. As well as conducting in both spheres, he is also a skilled arranger and composer.

Among his other claims to fame are the fact that he served in the Household Cavalry Mounted Band and was a State Trumpeter. His wide experience has enhanced and developed the unique character of the Chepstow choir’s singing qualities. Brian came to the choir, as a favour, to conduct just one concert – the Christmas concert of 2002. He must have enjoyed the experience as he then stayed for another six years retiring after the 2008 Christmas event.

Brian was succeeded by Karl Daymond, a Chepstow resident now, but hailing from Neath, who was a well-known and successful operatic baritone of more than twenty years experience.

In September 2011 Karl stepped down in order to give more time to his other musical pursuits. He was succeeded by Elaine Matthews. Elaine had been accompanist for the choir in its early days and had returned to the choir as Deputy Musical Director

The choir travels extensively in the UK, visiting Scotland twice in recent years, as well as London, Sussex, Dorset, West Midlands, Hampshire, Yorkshire and many other venues beyond local boundaries.

Singing provides an international passport where the common language is music and tours have been undertaken to the USA; Canada; France; Holland, Spain and South Africa. Choirs from the USA; Australia and France have been hosted and entertained in Chepstow. In particular, the Chepstow choir has a very strong link and affinity with Les Chanteurs Pyreneen de Tarbes, a unique French male voice choir from the Midi-Pyrenees region of France. Alternate visits are exchanged about every three or four years and as well as a great deal of top class singing there is a huge amount of laughter to be heard.

We welcome visitors to our rehearsals and the visitors book reads like a register for the United Nations. Recordings of the choir on tape and CD have reached every continent in the world, though we are not yet sure about the Antarctic. Our most recent CD "A Celebration" is arguably our best ever and can be ordered from our Secretary.

In giving concerts in the UK it has been a privilege to sing with a number of bands and choirs including the bands of the Grenadier and Welsh Guards; the Richard Williams Singers; the Reading Phoenix Choir and other male voice choirs including Cheddar; Tonna; Porthcawl and Morlais. The Chepstow Choir has also competed against many other choirs in eisteddfodau and other competitions and has recorded major successes along the way. Other memorable events have been as participants in the ‘1000 voice’ event at the Royal Albert Hall, and in 2009 the 500-voice charity concert at St.David’s Hall in Cardiff.

In 2016 the national Eisteddfod was in Monmouthshire and as part of the build-up we sang in concert with Caldicot amd Monmouth Male Voice Choirs in Caldicot Castle with media stars Wynne Evans and Alex Jones

Frank Jones succeeded Elaine when she retired in 2015. Frank stood down in June 2016. The Assistant MD, top tenor and soloist Richard Fry assumed command as Acting Musical Director in June 2016.

The choristers have also experienced the joys and hair-tingling experience of singing in the wonderful acoustics of such buildings as Wells Cathedral, Bristol Cathedral, the magnificent cathedral of Torrevieja in Spain, Worcester cathedral and memorably in York Minster on our way to a weekend of two concerts in North Yorkshire and in the mighty interior of the Cathedral of St. John in s’Hertogenbosch in Holland.

Chepstow Male Voice renewed the presence of male choral singing in Chepstow which had lapsed during World War II. It may be unique in the true tradition of male choirs in Wales in that it draws its members not only from established residents of the immediate locality but also includes men from further west in South Wales who came eastwards with the opening of Llanwern steelworks. Other members are drawn from the other side of the River Wye from the Forest of Dean which has its own long tradition of male voice choirs and wind bands. This amalgam of voices has given this choir a distinctive tone and balance as well as a feature frequently commented upon by audiences, a clarity of diction.

St Pauls Cathedral, Peterborough Cathedral and Blackburn Cathedral have been added to our growing list of memorable venues.

© Chepstow Male Voice Choir 2012-2019

 

Registered Charity 701201