Our Chairman’s words

Caerphilly Male Voice Choir would not exist without the support of our wonderful choristers. Time and time again show their commitment to the worthy causes CMVC supports. But behind what our audience sees and what members see is a team that keeps things moving and keeps the choir alive. Tony was the backbone to our choir, a clear ambassador whom for decades, worked hard to get us into some amazing venues. Not just finding and creating events with the lions clubs and round tables in Wales and across the border.
Tony would visit these venues to check them out prior to the event. Checking detail and ensuring Choristers would have facilities and be looked after. Following the events, Tony would set up afterglow in a local venue. Essentially, a wind down before getting back on the coach to return home. The afterglow on many occasions is more lively than the concerts.
Tony put many thousands of pounds in the choir fund by his fantastic negotiation skills. But the joke was he would always use the same bus. It’s an old cronky bus, so any extra funding saved on a decent coach would be straight into the choir funding. There was no toilet and the most uncomfortable back seats. It was like being on a ride at Barry Island. With only an old large bleach bottle for anyone desperate enough to use it.  About 5 years back, we opened the Coal Exchange following a massive refurbishment.  When Tony explained when was about 10, he went there to see his father singing in a concert. Yes, his father was in our choir, too. And maybe this was his inspiration.
We are so fortunate to have had someone of his calibre to help us keep the choir going.
On a personal level, Tony was a great friend both when he was in choir and when he atepped with sound advice and strong support. We were both Fellows of the same institute and both in engineering. Tony was always interested in the latest engineering technology, and we shared many stories of projects.
I will miss these conversations.
Tony managed us so well. It was a  bit like herding cats, and Tony was a consumate professional at it. Going into the detail.
Tony was so missed when he stepped away from the choir due to his health. A true gentleman and a wonderful friend to all of us.
We miss him dearly.
Our love to his family and friends.
Great memories. Thank you, Tony Howell.

John Morgan, our chairman, Thursday the 14th of March 2024.

The funeral for Tony Howell will take place on the 5th of April 2024 at Thornhill crematorium, Wenalt Chapel.

What our chairman said at Tony’s funeral:
My Name is John Morgan, and I have the honour of being the choir chairman.
Anthony or Tony, as he was to us, was, for many years, a committee member. His contribution to the running and continuation of the choir goes without question.
: Tony to us was a dear friend and a fantastic concert manager. For decades, he took the choir to many wonderful venues. An amazing fund raiser for the choir also its many causes. A true ambassador. He would jokingly stress upon us that Grey socks were part of the uniform and compulsory. So, I was going into unnecessary detail during valuable practice time. Things had to be rite. Details were very important. By doing this, he kept us on track.
: Organising us is like herding cats. Tony was a consummate professional and did this so well. Without a shadow of a doubt, we would not have a choir today without his hard work and dedication. Not just finding the venues but finding the many unforgettable afterglows. In all honesty, we do remember some of his afterglows. Others are still a bit of a blur.
: There was, however, one consistent flaw in his planning.  He would keep costs low by using his favourite coach company. And his favourite driver, who far too frequently got us lost.
The coach of Tonys preference had seen better days. For longer distances, we would, if money was in the pot and we hadn’t moaned enough, get something a little better. but never a toilet.  Part of his planning talks were to ensure the old large bleach bottle we stored, well hidden in the church was on the coach. Just in case.
One event springs to mind that clearly gave good reason to upgrade the coach. But it never happened.

Tony believed Newbury was not, so far, away, so a luxury coach was not worth the cost. And we relied on the old bleach bottle again. Just in case.
: We left as always at least three hours before we needed to. Just in case.
There were, however, many times we were glad to leave at Tony time. 

With the usual spilt refreshment and a lack of a decent suspension, until our coach started bellowing steam. So off the motorway and broken down in the middle of a housing estate.
A lady was glaring at the scruffy coach from her front room. Tony took charge, walking over to her with a large empty container.  All was well as Tony would sort everything. He always did.
Tony walked towards the house with the lady glaring directly at him. When he got close enough for her, she closed her curtains on him. Tony turned to the bus and smiled. Not at all phased by this, never phased.
His infectious smile, his humour, and his ability to communicate with people pulled us out of trouble again with the more helpful neighbour.
We are forever grateful for his help support and experienced advice. On a personal level, I enjoyed our conversations on engineering and the wonderful buildings / events we would sing in.
Ironically, the only time we did get a toilet on the coach to Cardiff. Opening the coal exchange. Tony was gutted as he caught the train in.

Tony was there some 60 years previously as a small boy with his father, a member of Caerphilly Male Voice Choir. He had a glow while he explained this to us. Maybe this was where his choral interest came from.
From concert halls to Cathedrals, Tony worked hard to raise funds for many great causes, even when out walking on weekends, he found us venues..
But above all, an inspiring friend, chorister, and mentor to all of us.
For this, we are eternally grateful.

Thank you, Tony.

John Morgan, our chairman, Thursday the 11th of April 2024.

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