St Columba Celtic Male Voice Choir -Steve Burstow
Started in the 1960’s under the baton of Ivan Kessell, the choir unfortunately disbanded in 2011. Conductors included Phillipa Old, M Trethewy, Clifford Strongman, Derek Rule, Tony Tournoff and Kathryn Parkin. Accompanists were Carrie Mills, Lilah Bassett and Margaret Callaway.
The choir travelled widely; to Canada, Ireland and Wales where they sang with other local choirs and gave concerts. There was also a special relationship with the Bedfordshire Police Choir, which included members of the former Luton Girl’s Choir (though no longer girls) and we exchanged several visits between Luton and Cornwall.
The choir had an eclectic repertoire including songs from the shows and in other languages and many Cornish songs, some in the native tongue. As with most male voice choirs, many Cornish songs were sung in pubs in the afterglow of concerts. The Choir was also represented more than once at the Festival of Cornish choirs held at the Albert Hall. A memorable event occurred at a concert on 20th January 1980 at St Mawgan Chapel when the pulpit collapsed.
One of the songs featured One of the songs in Cornish featured by the choir was the anthem “Bro Goth Agan Tasow“
The Lords Prayer
Home From The Sea
The White Rose (Soloist John Moore)
Cornwall I Love Thee
Hail To The Homeland
- Let there be music
- As long as I have music
- A feast of singing (recorded in the Ship Inn Wadebridge – typical “afterglow” performances.)
The poem below was penned by Margaret Murdoch and published in the Reader’s Digest.
WHEN THE STARS BEGIN TO FALL
“The time has come”, the Chairman said,” for us to make a start”.
And so they sang “March on” with zest – they knew it well by heart
With happy lilt and warlike beat the sang their last refrain
And then a little pause before they started off again
The second item was announced, the baton poised and ready
The choir full of confidence, their diction clear and steady
And thus, they reassemble, some on the rostrum go
While others take a manly place on either side below.
“Our Carrie” at the organ sat and played the opening notes
The singers ceased to cough away the tickle from their throats
A silence settled in the church and eager expectation,
For “My Lord what a morning” which proved the dissipation
To give their very best this night, you saw they were intent
And all went well until the floorboards more than creaked and bent
A chasm right down to the ground had suddenly appeared
And even further down than this each chorister had feared
The pulpit stood, the stairs remained, tho’ all that’s in between
Had dropped and taken our lads as well; as if they’d never been.
Only the basses on the left, the tenors on the right
The seconds and the baritones had disappeared from sight.
Excitement rose as the timbers split, and Ivan quite bereft
Was wondering how he’d make the night with just those he had left
And we, the wives who sat behind and laughed with laughter free
Scarce hardly knew if from that night we all might widows be
“Don’t be cross” was one of the songs that Philippa sang with her usual flair
But you can’t be cross with a body of men who are no longer there
You can’t be cross – the listeners knew they didn’t go down for fun
Or purposely commotion cause or the structural damage done
A little aid from those around and they were up once more
And tho’ perhaps they had sustained some fright and bruises sore
They soon were found elsewhere to stand – in fact you’d hardly know
That just a little while before they’d fallen down below
We’re sorry for St Mawgan folk who have repairs to do
We’re sorry if our songsters found they had a scratch or two
But it was said when all was done and things put back to right
We’ve never heard St Columba sing as well as they did that night.
(“When the stars begin to fall” is a line from “My Lord what a morning”)
And a salute to St Columba Celtic from John Bennallick 2010
St Columba Choir 2010
A choir of valiant men, audiences demand they sing and sing again.
Churches and village greens, town halls and harbour quay,
Cathedral, hospice, old people’s homes
We sing with gusto and with glee.
Invites come from near and far, we go by coach, we go by car.
Sharing in wedding celebrations, family bereavements for sad relations.
Always helping a charitable cause, encores demanded, echoes of applause.
For President who better could we pick?
The Boy from Bude – Ray Shaddick.
Vices Adrian Brewer and Barry Kinsman to support
Both respected men of good report.
Pearce, Jago, Truscott, Stephens, Webster, Nash and Ball
from our county town of Bodmin, faithful one and all.
Stephens, Eastlake, Jackson, Goudge, Hodge and Dunn,
St Austell boys find that singing’s rather fun.
From Redruth way Margetts, Edge and Hughes
worthy men that any choir would choose.
Newquay gives us Morris, George and Spring,
whenever help is needed they certainly can sing.
Wadebridge chaps as always are certainly a boon,
they rarely miss a practice, Herrick, Lang and Moon.
No need for singers from Camelford or Lerryn,
not with Burstow and Tredinnick, joining us from Perran.
Nicholls, Ford and Lake, far from being least
stalwarts all, strong men from Newlyn East.
Docwra, Simpson, two Trenouths come from Padstow way,
all enjoy their singing as if ‘twas the first of May.
Archer, Bennallick, Brenton, Ball, all simple countrymen,
A contingent from the farming parish of St Wenn.
Juszczak, Gregory, Rodliffe, Carter, Old and May,
come from St Columba’s town, where the Silver Ball they play.
From the badlands of Rejerrah, we have our choir marshall,
Wilson Delbridge, sometimes he’s quite impartial.
What would we do without our Margaret from Mount Hawke,
she tackles any music and makes the keyboard talk.
One choir member stands up all the time and waves his arms about
We are allowed no music – he cannot do without.
From his lofty podium he looks down from above
He’s Tony our MD and has all our respect and love.