By Carl Llewellyn

On Saturday 8th September 2016, the choir was engaged to sing at the wedding ceremony of John Collins and Kathryn French at St Donat’s Castle in the Vale of Glamorgan. The day started quite dull but the sun did eventually appear. Those choir members who traveled by car were already seated on chairs specifically provided for the choir, and when the coach arrived the other choristers took their seats. The choir’s musical director Darya Brill-Williams and accompanist Michael Jones were already in attendance.

The wedding planner secured the courtyard for the wedding nuptials, with the Dowlais Male Choir, guitarist vocalist and violinist adding to the musical ambiance of the occasion. If the weather had been inclement, arrangements were in place for the ceremony to be held in the Bradenstoke Hall.

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The Choir entertained the wedding guests before the wedding ceremony, the repertoire consisting of Welsh hymns and traditional arias, with lighter musical items also included. The ceremony was conducted by a Celebrant, namely Sue. A Celebrant is a conductor of weddings for the British Humanist Association.

The Celebrant invited the wedding guests to join with the choir in singing the well known and loved hymn, “Cwm Rhondda” to the chorus of “Bread of Heaven” (English version). The Master of Ceremonies, in his traditional attire, accompanied the Bride’s mother to her seat, followed by the bridesmaids and then the Bride, who was escorted by her father to the Choir singing “Va Pensiero” (Verdi’s Speed your Journey).

During the ceremony the bride and groom declared their love for each other, admitting there was chemistry from their first meeting.

It was easy to see how proud Kathryn’s father Carl French felt as he walked her down the path, to present his daughter to her future husband, and like all brides Kathryn looked radiant and beautiful. Both Bride and Groom seem to have everything for a bright future: youth, beauty  and intelligence.

A family member was called upon to read a poem; its words appropriate for the event. A soloist, accompanied with her guitar sang a song by the Manic Street Preachers, ably assisted by a violinist; it was a romantic touch to the occasion. The guest list included a number of friends from the medical profession, due to John being a maxillo facial surgeon and Kathryn a dentist.

When the wedding nuptials had concluded, John and Kathryn, plus the wedding party left the courtyard for a photo shoot and some social interaction with their guests, with the choir singing “Let It Be Me”, a song appropriate for the happy occasion.

While the wedding party were enjoying refreshments on the terrace with a view of the sea, the Choir were kindly provided with a selection of sandwiches and crisps, which were gratefully received.

After a short break, the Choir was requested to entertain the Bride and Groom’s guests on the lawn adjacent to the castle, looking out to the sea with spectacular views; an ideal setting for photographs and social interaction.

After the Choir had finished their selection of lighter musical items, it was time to depart, leaving the Bride and Groom with their guests to enjoy the rest of day proceedings.

The Choir was delighted to have been chosen to take part in John and Kathryn’s special day and thank them for the invitation.

I’ve added some sentiments for the happy couple, words taken from an Apache Prayer:

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

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

Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other.

Now you are two persons, but there are three lives before you: his life, her life and your life together.

Go now to your dwelling place to enter into your days together.

And may all your days, be good and long upon the Earth.

“Gan ddymuno iddynt y gorau o iechyd, hapusrwydd a bywyd hir gyda’i gilydd.”

Wishing them the very best of health, happiness and along life together.

In 1945 there was a film called “Carve Her Name with Pride” starring Virginia McKenna and the film depicted the life of heroine Violette Szabo. I think the following words are appropriate for an occasion such as this; 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

Are yours and yours and yours.


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