By Carl Llewellyn

On Wednesday, 20th May 2015 at 14:00 the funeral service of Derek Powell was held at St. Margaret’s Church, Gilfach, Bargoed. The officiating minister was the Reverend Gary Powell, assisted by Carolyn Corbin.

The family must have been pleased to have seen so many people attend the funeral service, dedicated to the life of Derek Powell. The bible reading and prayers were read by the Reverend Gary Powell and Carolyn Corbin.

The Dowlais Male Choir were represented by 29 choristers. Two of those - Peter Evans and Colin Marshallsea acted as bearers. They visited Derek on a number of occasions and their visits were appreciate d by Derek’s family. As a gesture, the family invited Peter and Colin, both loyal choristers and friends to join the chosen bearers. The Dowlais Male Choir combined with some members of the Bargoed Male Choir in the singing of the first verse of each congregational hymn, Morte Criste and Gwahoddiad, ending with Gwahoddiad with the rousing ‘Amens’. It was an emotional moment when a recording of the Dowlais Male choir was played eulogising the Reverend Eli Jenkins Prayer  ‘Sunset Poem’ to Troyte’s Chant.

Family tributes were given by three of Derek’s grandchildren - Meg, Sara and Matthew, who gave a moving acknowledgment of the love and respect they felt towards their grandfather. Derek’s other grandchild Siwan listened to her sister and her cousin’s praise for their grandfather, who equally loved each of his four grandchildren. No better accolade could have been delivered so sympathetically. Also it was a brave decision by Derek’s daughter Amanda to speak about her father and gave a humorous account of his life as her father.

When the funeral service ended the cortège left St Margaret’s Church and took Derek on a journey to his final resting place, Bedwellty Cemetery, where he was to be buried with his beloved Diana. Words were spoken by the Reverend Gary Powell at the grave side, with both choirs and the mourners who managed to attend the cemetery joining together in the singing of one of Wales’ most famous hymns, “Calon Lan”. The translated words give a synopsis of the important attributes in life:

I don’t ask for a luxurious life, the world’s gold or its fine pearls: I ask for a happy heart, an honest heart, a pure heart. Chorus: A pure heart is full of goodness, More lovely than the pretty lily: Only a pure heart can sing – Sing day and night.

As a choir we extend our condolences to Derek’s children, Amanda, David and their spouses, to Derek’s grandchildren  Meg, Sara, Siwan and Matthew, also Derek’s brother, sister and the rest of family.

Knowing Derek’s love of male voice singing it is a fitting closure to conclude with the words of a well known piece of music titled  “God’s Choir”. Words and Music by Ray Overholt.

I heard the angels sing, ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ A mighty chorus way up high.

I heard the angels sing, ‘Praise the name of Jesus’, Singing in God’s choir in the sky.

I heard a thousand trumpets sounding out His glory – telling the story how He came to earth to die;            

I heard a million voices praise the name of Jesus, Singing in God’s choir in the sky.
I heard the glorious song coming out of heaven, The sweetest music ever heard;

I heard a mighty song sung by all the angels, My soul thrilled at every loving word.

I heard …


I fell down on my knees when that chorus ended, They shouted out a glad Amen;

I fell down on my knees, prayed that when in heaven I would hear that choir once again.

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