Congratulations to Dowlais Chorister Robbie Johnson and his lovely wife Carol Ann (Nee Harris).

Robbie Johnson wedding

Words by Carl Llewellyn

The wedding of chorister Robbie Johnson to long time partner and loyal choir supporter Carole Ann Harris on Saturday 5th September 2015 took place at Cyfarthfa Castle, with the marriage ceremony taking place in the original room of Mr Crawshay. Robbie and his best man Jim Clifford awaited the arrival of Carole Ann. She was given away by long time friend Mike Thomas (Former chorister and son of second tenor Dai ‘Fire’ Thomas).

The bride’s entrance musical choice was Handel’s “Arrival of the Queen of Sheba”, a bright and lively classic organ musical item. The bride like all brides looked radiant on the day in her ivory wedding dress. The Matron of honour was Jeannette Clifford assisted by Deborah Prince (wife of Anthony Prince, second tenor) who carried a square cushion of flowers where the wedding rings rested.
During the ceremony Carl Llewellyn, a friend to Carole Ann and Robbie and fellow Dowlais Chorister read:-

The Apache Wedding Blessing

Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for each other.

Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be the warmth for each other.

Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you.

Go now to your dwelling place, to enter into the days of your life together.

And may your days, be good upon the earth.

Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often what brought you together.

Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves.

When Frustration, difficulties and fear assail your relationship,
as they threaten all relationships at one time or another,
remember to focus on what is right between you,
not on the part which seems wrong.

In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives, remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there.

And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.
Following the civil ceremony the bridal couple signed the wedding register, whilst the song “Love Changes Everything” by Michael Ball was played.
When congratulations were extended by the Registrar, Carole Ann and Robbie left the room as man and wife to the music of Bach’s ‘Organ Concerto in C major, BWV 595.’ It was a natural choice due to Carole Ann’s love of Bach’s music.
As Mr and Mrs Johnson left the wedding room they were led into the library where a pleasant surprise awaited them. The choir’s Musical Director Darya Brill-Williams and some of the choristers of the Dowlais Male Choir greeted the couple with song, the first musical item being ‘This is the Moment’, a favourite of both Carole Ann and Robbie. They didn’t expect such a musical surprise and there is no greater respect that one chorister can give to another than sing at his wedding. Other pieces sung were  ‘Let It Be Me’, ‘Rachie’ and ‘Calon Lan.’ It was an emotional moment felt by both Carole Ann and Robbie as it was the climax to their wedding celrebrations. Before the wedding party and guests departed Cyfarthfa Castle, Keith Morgan (on behalf of the choir) congratulated Mr and Mrs Johnson.
There were photographs taken by John Kinsley, who is no stranger to the choir. John was engaged on previous occasions to photograph the choir for their official photographs.
After wedding photographs were taken, Carole Ann and Robbie were driven to the wedding reception at Merthyr Tydfil Golf Club (Cilsanws) in a replica 1934 Ford with paintwork of cream and black, with champagne and chocolates provided. When the couple left Cyfarthfa Castle runners who participated in the Roman Run waved to Carole Ann and Robbie as they ran passed the wedding car.
On arrival at the Reception guests were given wine with a strawberry in their glasses, once the wedding party had composed themselves Bride and Groom and their guests sat down to a wedding meal, where Bestman Jim Clifford called upon Carl Llewellyn to say Grace:-

Lets us bow our heads together for Grace
We have gathered here today to congratulate and support two very special friends, Carole Ann and Robbie, whose love and commitment to each other has continued through the passage of time. We thank God for their present state of health and their devotion to each other. We, here this afternoon, have been grateful to be part of their nuptials, and to share in their wedding repast. May the meal we are about to partake be a symbol, as when Jesus broke the bread and gave it to his disciples saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Henceforth, this afternoon as we dine, it will be in remembrance of the friendship we all share with Carole Ann and Robbie.

Jesus, stand beside them on this day of days,
That in happy wedlock, they may live always
Join their hands together and make their hearts one;
Guard the troth now plighted and their life begun.

Therefore may the preparation of the food and beverages we about to partake, be blessed as the occasion is blessed with Wedding Bliss.
After the wedding meal Bestman Jim Clifford delivered his speech, recognising his 53 years close friendship with Robbie. He then called the groom to speak followed by an unprecedented address by the Bride Carole Ann Johnson. Both expressed sincere and heartfelt thanks to all those friends who had given advice and assistance during their wedding preparations. Other guests congratulated Carole Ann and Robbie, including David Thomas (Dai Fire), former chorister Cliff Williams and Michelle Grainger-Mead, the grand-daughter of their next-door neighbour Margaret Grainger. And of course Carl Llewellyn, who was totally unprepared with his notes on the table!
Carl started by mentioning he’d known the couple separately, and also knew them as a couple which had given him a closer association with both of them. Carl reminded the guests that Carole Ann had three identities; she was known as Ann Harries, Carole Ann Harries and Carole Harries, but she will now be known as Carole Ann Johnson.
Carl mentioned the story about a little girl attending a wedding for the first time. A little girl whispered to her mother, “Why is the bride dressed in white?” The mother replied, “because white is the colour of happiness, and today is the happiest day of her life”. The child thought about this for a moment then said, “So why is the groom wearing black?”. Carl finished by saying “Thank God the Groom is dressed in grey today!”.
Carl concluded his speech by referring to the 1945 film called ‘Carve her Name with Pride’ starring Virginia McKenna. The film depicted the life of heroine Violette Szabo and in the film there is a poem, which Carl thought would be appropriate for this occasion. It describes the special love that exists between two people:
The life that I have is all that I have,
And the life that I have is yours.
The love that I have of the life that I have,
Is yours and yours and yours.
A sleep I shall have, a rest I shall have,
And death will be but a pause.
For the years I shall have in the long green grass                                                                                                                                                                    Will be yours and yours and yours.

Carole Ann presented bouquets of flowers to Matron of Honour Janette Clifford, Deborah Prince, Sue Thomas, Margaret Granger and Gretta Llewellyn in recognition of their involvement. Robbie and Carole Ann presented best man Jim Clifford, Mike Thomas, Antony Prince and Carl Llewellyn in appreciation of their support. Mr and Mrs Johnson reiterated their thankfulness and kindness to all their friends for their friendship, loyalty and sincere congratulations.
There were eight Dowlais Mae Choir choristers invited to the wedding, five of whom were accompanied by their wives. Len Haggett, Carl Llewellyn, Philip Adams, Peter Rosser and Anthony Prince, with three other choristers David Thomas, Roy Bailey and Richard Cole. John Francis, Nigel Santos, Annette and Clive Moore attended the evening soiree.

Congratulations to Carole Ann and Robbie on the occasion of their wedding and to end this diatribe I will reiterate the lyrics of the song that meant so muchto  Carole Ann and Robbie (sung by the choir after the wedding ceremony):

This is the moment! This is the day,
When I send all my doubts and demons on their way!

Every endeavour, I have made ever,
Is coming into play, is here and now today!

This is the moment, this is the time,
When the momentum and the moment are in rhyme!

Give me this moment, this precious chance,
I’ll gather up my past and make some sense at last!

This is the moment, when all I’ve done,
All of the dreaming, scheming and screaming become one!                                                                                                                                              This is the day, just see it shine,
When all I’ve lived for becomes mine!

For all these years, I’ve faced the world alone,
And now the time has come to prove to them I’ve made it on my own!

This is the moment, my final test
Destiny beckoned, I never reckoned second best!                                                                                                                                                                        I won’t look down, I must not fall!
This is the moment, the sweetest moment of them all!

This is the moment! Damn all the odds!
This day, or never, I’ll sit forever with the gods!                                                                                                                                                                 When I look back, I will always recall,
Moment for moment, this was the moment,
The greatest moment of them all!

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