More choir concerts

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Jun 072017

After the successful 10th Anniversary Concert for the Costa Blanca Male Voice Choir, things went from strength to strength for the choir, with a near capacity audience of 500 at the prestigious Auditori Teulada for the concert hosted by CBMVC with the 80-strong Pontarddulais Choir. Although the local boys were terrified after listening to their award-winning guests during the first half, they rose to the challenge and performed so well that they received a great reception from the audience, many of whom felt they were better and seemed to enjoy their different style more than the Welsh choir. The finale of 3 songs sung by the 2 choirs together – 120 male voices on stage at the same time – was very moving, especially when they sang the Welsh national anthem and a number of red dragon flags were unfurled in the auditorium! You can view a video of the CBMVC set here.

No sooner had the accolades stopped rolling in and the press coverage died down than the choir appeared at an international choir festival in Albir, near Benidorm. They were one of 4 choirs singing on the night and after listening in awe to a 62-stong Norwegian choir, the local boys rose once again to the challenge and were complimented by members of the other choirsand their MDs on the fact that we sang entirely without music, the only choir on the evening to do so.  At the 10th Anniversary dinner for choir members and their wives at the Restaurante Cumbre, overlooking the sea, Vernon was surprised to be awarded the honour of being selected choir Member of the Year for the contribution he has made this year to the publicity and marketing role and stepping in at the last minute as Vice President.


 The final concert of the season is an entirely new departure for the choir and will take place at the Cueva de las Calalveras (the Cave of Skulls) in Benidoleig. At the time of writing, with 3 weeks still to go, all seats have been sold!

Choir and radio activities

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May 012017

After returning from our wonderful Mekong Adventure, life on the sunny Costa Blanca quickly returned to normal and Vernon’s involvement with the Costa Blanca Male Voice Choir moved up a notch when he became Publicity Officer and very soon afterwards Vice President as well!

This is a particularly busy year for the choir which is celebrating its 10th anniversary and also playing host to a visit by the prestigious Pontarddulais Male Choir on May 6. Consequently, Vernon has been busy preparing press releases, designing posters and programmes for concerts. The 10th Anniversary Concert was played in front of a packed audience in the beautiful Benitachell church (photo left) and bookings are going well for the big concert with the Welsh choir in the 600-seat Auditori Teulada on May 6. You can watch videos of the 10th Anniversary Concert on the choir’s Facebook page.

Vernon is also involved with the imminent launch of a new local radio station called Valley FM and will be presenting programmes 14 hours per week. Fortunately, these programmes will all be pre-recorded and so won’t interfere with our gardening, walks in the mountains and many other activities we are enjoying in our retirement!

Mekong Adventure

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Jan 302017

On January 5th we flew out from Heathrow airport to Hanoi, via Dubai, for the start of an amazing 3 week holiday in Vietnam and Cambodia with Viking River Cruises.

We stayed at the 5-star Sofitel Metropole Hotel in Hanoi and visited the Museum of Ethnology, the Temple of Literature, the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ where American airmen were imprisoned during the war and toured the old French quarter of the old capital of N Vietnam by electric car.


We then flew to Siem Reap in Cambodia, where we again stayed in a Sofitel hotel, the Phokeethra Royal Angkor Wat Resort. For 2 days we visited the stunning Unesco Heritage temple Angkor Wat, together with the Angkor Thom, Bantay Srei and Bayon temples. We also enjoyed meeting the children at a local school sponsored by Viking. 

On January 11th, we travelled to Kampong Cham to join our ship, Viking Mekong, for an 8-day cruise down the river Mekong. The cruise included visits to the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, the beautiful Udon monastery, where we were blessed by the monks, an ox-cart ride through the paddy fields, a cycle rickshaw ride to visit a fish farm, a sampan trip to a farm and a colourful food market and an orphanage. 

We crossed back into Vietnam near the mouth of the Mekong and transferred by coach to Saigon, now renamed Ho Chi Minh City, visiting the infamous Cu Chi tunnels, dug by the Vietcong guerillas in the 70’s. We also visited the harrowing Killing Fields of the tyrant Pol Pot and the Genocide Museum. 

Once again we stayed in the 5-star Sofitel Saigon Plaza hotel and visited some of the sights in the city – the Reunification Palace, the French-built Notre Dame cathedral and Post Office, the Chinese quarter and a lacquer factory. The busy streets of Saigon, which boasts 11m inhabitants and 8m mopeds, were decorated ready for Chinese New Year the following week.

We returned home tired by but extremely happy to have enjoyed a perfect holiday, which enabled us to see so much of the culture and people of these two Asian countries still in the process of emerging from the years of war and tyranny during the ’70s and ’80s. We took so many photos of the sights along the river and some hair-raising videos of the traffic-filled streets of the cities  that we have created a video set to music, which you can view on here on YouTube

We’ve also published another photo book of our holiday entitled “Our Mekong Adventure”