2012 Archive

1st December the last charity concert for this year, a very successful return visit to Trowbridge, over £400.00 raised for the Round Table and a lovely buffet supplied. A late journey back but well worth it. Here’s to 2013, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our followers.


The Parc Golf Club Dinner Dance

What a fantastic way to end the year, a very successful dinner dance organised by Stuart Ashdown and his lovely wife Gill. The Parc Golf Club was an excellent choice, Good food; good wine and good company was enjoyed by all. Here are some photos to brighten up the winter blues.


On the night of 17th November St. Julians Methodist Church was packed to the rafters with an audience waiting eagerly for the Gwent Police Choir to open their 43rd annual concert, and from the opening song (Rachie) to the final song (Cwm Rhondda) the audience were not disappointed.

All the favourite songs were included, ranging from spirituals to the well-loved songs from Les Miserables, Bring him Home and Do you Hear the People Sing. A new addition to the repertoire was the difficult but foot-tapping Swinging with the Saints, a combination of two songs (Swing Low Sweet Chariot and When the Saints go Marching in) sung in a variety of styles including some scat singing. Included in this variety was Rodger Appleby’s now well-known practice of slipping in ‘an extra something’ for the audience to join in. In this case the words weren’t difficult – Alleluia and that was it! The difficulty came in sorting out the various notes – not always in the right order (to a famous duo). Rodger explained that his was a vocal exercise used before practice started to get the men’s voices relaxed and ready for their songs. By the time we had finished (I was in the audience!) we wondered how the men had enough breath to go on to the songs. But it was all good fun.

We were delighted to welcome the well-known tenor-turned-baritone Mr Clive Lemon to stage. He delighted us with songs from his well-ranging repertoire which took in Welsh songs, songs from the shows and other beautiful melodies delivered in his rich, mellow voice and incomparable style. His final song – If I were a Rich Man from Fiddler on the Roof, sung with gusto and actions, brought a well-deserved standing ovation. We are delighted that Clive will be the guest artist at the February concert, also in St. Julians.

Once again we must thank compere and fellow-chorister Mike Gough who kept the audience laughing with his jokes. Mike is a wonderful asset to both the choir in both his rolls.

It is a well-known fact that the choir could not function as they do without their superb musical team – their musical director Rodger Appleby who is known throughout the county and beyond for his expertise, and Nicole Coker their accompanist who is a wonderful musician in her own right.

Following the concert a bouquet of flowers was presented to Nicola. Along with gifts to Clive, Rodger and Mike. We then concluded with the singing of the Welsh National Anthem.

We were delighted to welcome various friends to the concert, especially the Chief Constable Carmel Napier, and Davis and Mary Hando, long-standing friends of the choir.

Here’s to the 44th annual in November 2013!

Submitted by Ann Sykes, December 2012


PatThe funeral of the choir's favourite groupie took place at Christchurch church on Tuesday 16th October. The service for this lovely lady was a celebration of the joy, sparkle and vivacity she brought into the lives of family, friends and all who new her. She will be missed but never forgotten.

Here are a few photographs that we will all remember.

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The Gwent Police Choir 43rd Annual Concert will be held on November 17th at St Julian’s Methodist Church, Caerleon Road, Newport.

This very popular choir sing all over the country for charity but always return to St Julian’s Church for their annual.

This year by popular demand they have invited Mr Clive Lêmon, the well-known tenor, to be their special guest.

This concert is usually sold out well before the date, so to avoid disappointment for tickets, please ring Stuart Ashdown 01633 272883 or Phil Humphreys 01633 664163.

For information about the choir ring Ron Comfort Publicity officer on 01633 667899.


Blast from the Past

Mike WadleyImagine my surprise, when on 30th January 2012, I received an e-mail from a former member of the choir – Mike Wadley. Mike was a PC in Newport and sang in our Bass section. Mike emigrated to Australia in the early 70’s.

In 1978 he joined the Rockingham Unit of the Western Australian State Emergency Services, which is a Volunteer Organisation dealing with Natural Disasters, Severe Storms, Cyclones, Earthquakes and more recently Tsunami. He worked his way up to Unit Manager and in 1999 (photo) was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, the equivalent of our O.B.E.

Mike asked me if I could arrange for him to meet up with any member of the choir who knew him. Unfortunately quite a number of choristers who knew Mike are no longer with us. However, myself, Gerry Hopkins, Dave Green, Paul Lewis (although no longer with the choir) and Dick Sinnett, met up with Mike, his son-in-law and nephew who is a Special Constable in Cwmbran at the Newport Fugitives Club, where over the odd pint or two (talking is thirsty work) we reminisced, recalling many incidents and friends of almost 40 years ago. After 3 very enjoyable hours it was time to say farewell once more. Mike was given a Choir tie and a couple of CD’s recorded at two of our concerts.

I received an e-mail after his arrival back in Australia. He wore the Choir tie to an Emergency Services function and it raised several enquiries, some thought it was a regimental tie.

Mike is hoping to return to the UK in 2014 and has asked for practice and concerts dates whilst he will be here. We will be keeping in touch. If there are any ex choristers out there who remember Mike, you can contact me on 01633 664163 for his details

Phil Humphreys
Chairman
Gwent Police Choir

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Fugitives

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Since the above article two old photos have come to light, taken January 1970. Most of the members can be traced, however, can anyone help with the missing names?

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Back Row L - R
?, ?, L Webb, P Rich, M Lambert, A Thomas, K Leverson, T Barnes

Middle Row
J Evans, P Badham, P Simms, D Askmill, G Hopkins, S Isaacs, M Wadley, B Winter, G Hughes

Front Row
L Jones, B Clarke, D Lewis. T O'Connell, P Chappel, D Dyer, M Hartree, R Ellis

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Back Row L - R
A Procter, R Vaughan, ?, ?, P Rich, L Webb, M Lambert, A Thomas, K Stanley, T Barnes, K Leverson

Middle Row
J Evans, G Harris, P Simms, P Badham, ?, D Lewis, S Isaacs, H Yeoman, B Winter, M Wasley, G Hughes, G Jones, M Hartree

Front Row
R Osbourne, R Richards, B Clarke, B Bosustow, W Farley (Chief Constable), T O'Connell, R Ellis, V Mugford, P Chappel, D Dyer, Young Hartree (boy soloist)


On 19th October the police choir made their two-yearly journey to St. Mary’s Church in Usk to give a concert for church funds. It was, as always, a delightful concert with the choir singing a wide range of musical items ranging from hymns, spirituals and other kinds of music in between, starting with Rachie and finishing with Cwm Rhondda.

We were delighted to welcome back, after a spell of ill health, Don Martin in the tenor section, also doubling as soloist for the evening. The other soloist was the musical director who played two lovely piano pieces, one of them his own composition.

During the evening Happy Birthday was sung to Alf Ellis, also one of the choir’s tenors, who would be eighty-four the following day.

Following the concert, the choir and friends adjourned to the Conservative Club in Usk where sandwiches and nibbles had been prepared. Everyone said it had been a grand night.

Submitted by Ann Sykes, 29th October 2012

It was on one of those rare occasions this year – a dry evening! – when the Gwent Police Choir joined with the ladies choir Allegra in a concert at Chepstow Comprehensive School on Saturday 13th October. The hall was nearly full for the charity concert in aid of The Royal Masonic Trust for Boys and Girls. The men began with their traditional opening pieces – Rachie, Bring Him Home [Les Miserables} and Do you Hear the people sing? from the same show.

It was the turn of the ladies to take the stage then to sing their opening three numbers – a somewhat amusing version of the Tragedy of Macbeth [sung a capella], then Adiemus and Razzle Dazzle. This choir are to be congratulated on some difficult music during the evening, as they were only formed in 2011. Their conductor, Emma Rowland [daughter of Steve, in the police choir] was unable to be present that evening as she had very recently given birth to her first child. The name of the choir is Allegra – which means cheerful and lively and they certainly lived up to their name as the evening proceeded.

Following their first spot the Police Choir resumed with Nirvana, When Love Comes Tricklin’ Down [a spiritual] and the American Trilogy.

During the interval the raffle was drawn and then the ladies returned to sing the Queen Medley, Say a Little Prayer and a song composed by Emma herself as a tribute to Wales called There’s a Place.

The men then resumed with their final songs – the very difficult and foot tapping Swinging with the Saints, followed by You Raise me Up and the very popular Cwm Rhondda.

The ladies brought the evening to a close with Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, the rousing Rhythm of Life and john Rutter’s lovely blessing The Lord Bless You and Keep You.

Many thanks must go to the deputy conductor who kept the ladies on their toes and the gentleman who looked after the sound system to enable the choir to have an accompaniment when no-one was at the piano.

Thanks must also go to the two people who are responsible for the music of the Police Choir, Rodger Appleby musical director and Nicola Coker accompanist.

Following the end of the concert flowers and gifts were given to those who had played prominent parts in making the evening such a success, and we were told that even though the final total had not been recorded, it would seem that around £1,000 had been raised. This is a splendid total for a very worthy charity.

Submitted by Ann Sykes, 29th October 2012

The Gwent Police Choir is well into their Autumn/Winter programme. A very successful fund raising at St Hilda’s Church Griffithstown on Saturday 29th September was thoroughly enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience. Ann Sykes accompanied by Rodger Appleby gave a spirited and very enjoyable performance.

The prestigious Celtic Manor was the venue for The Police Federation National Forum on 3rd October. The choir were honoured to have been asked to perform a number of their favourite songs receiving a very warm welcome.

Saturday 13th October back to fund raising for the Masonic Society at Chepstow Comprehensive School.


A very warm welcome to our three new members.

Michael Stephens and Fred Wellington – 1st Tenors and Dave Arnold – 2nd Tenor.


17th November, the choir call this their Big Night, the Annual Concert at St Julian’s Methodist Church on Caerleon Road, Newport has been completely sold out for the last three years. The special guest artiste this year is the well known tenor Clive Lemon. If you want tickets ring Stewart Ashdown 01633 272883 or Phil Humphries 01633 664163

The ladies and friends of the choir are able to dress up in their finery for the Annual Dinner Dance which this year will be held at the Parc Golf Club on the 24th November.

December 1st a return visit to Trowbridge for a charity concert organised by the Round Table.

If you are looking for a new hobby you will find a welcome at the Gwent Police Headquarters Croesyceiliog on Monday & Thursdays at 7.30p.m. you don’t need to belong to the police force or have experience, just come along and enjoy.

To book the choir ring Concert Secretary - Roy Berry 01633 793076
For information about the choir ring PR - Ron Comfort 01633 667899


This inspired poem was composed by Frances Hicks who's husband Howard sings in the baritone section of the choir.

Pride of Gwent

The Gwent police male voice choir
Are really quite unique
Their head and shoulders above the rest
For they have a great technique.

Accompanied by Nicola
A most talented lady for sure
The ivory’s seem to come alive
The sound produced is pure.

Mr Appleby in his white tuxedo
Conducts his men in song
He explains the origin of each piece
When he turns to address the throng.

If you think you know the tune
And the words come to your lips
I’ve just one thing to say to you
Please try to resist.

With dedication in their hearts
Sincerity and fun
Each section of this mighty choir
Stands out, yet sing as one.

The melodies of voices strong
The roof is always lifted
The gentleness of sweet refrain
This choir is truly gifted.

Just like the captain on the bridge
As if Cape Horn to round
Roger steers his valiant crew
And we hear their joyful sound.


GWENT POLICE CHOIR NEWS

The choir, musical director Rodger Appleby and accompanist Nicola Coker now take a well deserved break during July and August.

Their last concert, at United Reform Church Newent in Gloucestershire, was one of many the choir perform for charity in different parts of the country. During the last six months, they travelled to Cornwall accompanied by wives and friends, a great social weekend, incorporating a very successful charity concert. A coach trip to Kidderminster almost ended in disaster, when the M50 was closed leaving the driver to find a different and longer route, however it all ended happily and the concert a great success.

The Memorial Hall at Usk hosted the choir for a concert in aid of Breast Cancer Wales, a charity close to the heart of the choir. A number of concerts also took place in local venues, all concerts are for charity.

They still have a few vacant dates for 2013, to book this excellent choir, contact Concert Secretary Roy Berry 01633 793076.

An important date for your diary is the choirs Annual Concert on Saturday 17th November. This will be held at St. Julian’s Methodist Church, Caerleon Road, Newport. This has sold out well before the date for the last three years, so book your tickets early.

New members are always welcome, four new choristers have joined in the last twelve months, wives, families and friends of choristers enjoy many social events particularly the dinner dance at the end of the year giving the ladies a chance to don their finery and waltz the night away.

Their practise nights at the Police Headquarters, Croesyceiliog are Thursdays at 7.30p.m. during the summer and Monday & Thursday the rest of the year.

If you are interested (you don’t have to be a member of the Police Force, just enjoy singing) how about coming along and sitting in on one or two practise nights. Singing is a great way to start new friendships and enjoy the camaraderie that belonging to a group brings.

For further details contact press officer Ron Comfort 01633 667899.

Submitted by Jean Comfort, posted 15th August 2012

GRAND COMBINED CONCERT 10th May 2012

Another superb concert was held at Bassaleg Comprehensive School featuring High Cross Primary Choir and Orchestra and Bassaleg School Choir and Year 9 group with their invited guests the Gwent Police Choir. This was the 5th time the Police Choir had joined with the youngsters for what proved to be yet another feast of music, as the past four concerts had been. The main difference was that the weather [which had been threatening rain] came out bright and pleasant, in total contrast to previous visits when we have been ‘treated’ to downpours of rain.

After an introductory welcome the police choir began with the stirring hymn tune Rachie followed by Rodger Appleby’s arrangement of the Spiritual Didn’t it Rain? To conclude their first spot the men then sang When Love Came Trickalin’ Down.

The High Cross Orchestra took to the stage then with I’ll Stand by You and Don’t Stop Believing. The Bassaleg School choir then took the centre spot with four songs – California Dreaming, Edelweiss, Shine Jesus Shine and Hey Soul Sister. There was a great contrast between the quieter Edelweiss and the very exuberant Hey Soul Sister, and credit must go to their choir mistress who brought so much out of the youngsters.

Then it was the turn of the police choir who sang two songs from Les Miserables – Bring him Home and Do you hear the people sing?

Following this the High Cross Choir sang six items – Every Journey, It’s good to be Me, Sun Arise, Thank You God, Happiness is Not and Lazy Days. As with Bassaleg choir, this choir were joyful and threw themselves heart and soul into their music.

Once again the police choir entertained with a very haunting arrangement of Summertime [Porgy and Bess] with its truly lovely piano accompaniment played superbly as always by the choir’s accompanist, Nicola Coker who is also Deputy Head of High Cross Junior school. Their second song was also a fairly new song called Swinging with the Saints, a combination of Swing Low Sweet Chariot [not usually sung with gusto in Wales!] and When the Saints go Marching In. It was beautifully sung and conducted, as always, with his usual expertise, by Rodger Appleby, the musical director of the choir.

Following the choir’s third spot the Bassaleg year 9 Group delighted us with Don’t Stop Believing and Defying Gravity. Once again a truly talented group under the baton of a young man who has kept the group together in regular rehearsals and also conducted them very well indeed.

The police choir rounded off the evening with the Tesco 3-for-1 offer [as Rodger calls it] - the American Trilogy, followed by Cwm Rhondda.

Following the results of the raffle the closing remarks were made by the Chairman of Governors and a combined item by all choirs from the youngest member to the most senior in the police choir took the stage to sing ‘No Wars will stop us Singing’ which rightly drew a standing ovation and a request for it to be sung again.

So much negative press has been recorded about the habits of some youngsters, but this concert proved that there are plenty of young people pursuing good goals and working hard for them. If they keep up with their music in years to come the future of choirs and musicians in this part of Wales is definitely assured.

Thank you to every one of you who made the evening such a memorable one, not forgetting our compere for the evening, Mike Gough from the police choir, who, with his fund of stories and patter, kept the changeovers going smoothly as always. Thank you Mike – we don’t know what we would do without you!

Submitted by Ann Sykes, posted 19th May 2012

Looe weekend trip 27th April - 29th April 2012

It was with something approaching trepidation that the Gwent Police Choir along with wives and guests, started out on 27th April for a weekend in Looe, Cornwall. Trepidation because nobody needs to be reminded of April’s weather! True to form, as we set out at 10.00 am it was raining! But when we crossed the Severn Bridge the rain eased and the sky brightened slightly. By the time we crossed the Tamar Bridge the sun was bright and the weather warm. And it stayed that way until we came home on Sunday 29th when the weather reverted back to its ‘April’ self.

Once again we stayed at the Hannafore Point Hotel – a lovely place which overlooked a magnificent view of the bay. Those who felt energetic enough took a walk down to the town itself but most decided on a taxi ride back!

On the Saturday some of the choir took a trip to Polperro where they fell into step with TV celebrity Richard Madeley [and there are photographs to prove it!] In the evening the choir joined their hosts, Bodmin Town Band, at Looe School where the choir have sung before. The Police Choir were on top form especially when they sang unaccompanied the very haunting arrangement of Shenandoah and one of the newest additions to their repertoire, a combination of When the Saints Go Marching In and Swing Low Sweet Chariot. The combination is called ‘Swinging with the Saints’, during which the choir treated everyone to some scat singing [very difficult to do!]

Bodmin Town Band were excellent and their soloists truly remarkable. We were introduced to their youngest member, 10 year old Jessica whose mother played one of the solos. It is a tribute to the band that they have overcome a great disaster when their rehearsal venue containing all their instruments, music and uniforms were destroyed in an arson attack. Now everything has been replaced [and the culprits caught].

To bring a delightful programme to a close the choir and the band joined in a ‘Last Night of the Proms’ Cornwall style with all four flags waving madly [Welsh, English, Irish and of course Cornish]. The reason for the Irish flag was the compere for the night who broadcasts on Radio Cornwall originated from Londonderry but has been living in Cornwall for quite a few years.

To close the evening all together, Danny Gill – long standing friend of many of the choristers stood to conduct Trelawney and asked if any of the ladies would like to join the choir. Four of the wives did, and Trelawney raised the roof!

The afterglow was held back at the Hannafore Point when members of the band, choristers and guests gathered together for pasties, Cornish scones with jam & cream and of course liquid refreshment, during which favourite songs were sung and enjoyed and new friendships made.

View photos

Submitted by Ann Sykes, posted 19th May 2012

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