2015 Archive

Dinner Dance Parc Golf Club

Once again Stuart Ashdown and Gill worked their magic on Saturday 6th December creating a wonderful evening for the choir and their ladies and friends. Attended by the majority of the choristers, our deputy musical director Allyson, Nicola our accompanist, their partners and guests including the Police Commissioner and his wife.

An excellent meal, followed by a fun bingo and prolonged raffle created a lovely atmosphere, the talented lady singer provided song and music for dancing. Not many were able to resist the dance floor and the following photographs will show what a good time was had by all.

View pictures, click here.

Submitted by Jean Comfort 12th December 2015

14th November was then date for the Gwent Police Choir’s 46th Annual Concert and, on a rainy, windy night a packed audience heard a wonderful feast of music at St. Julians Comprehensive School.

The choir began in their usual stirring manner with Do you Hear the People Sing? ] Les Miserables] and Deus Salutis [hymn tune Llef]. We were then blown away by our guest artiste Timothy Richards who enthralled everyone from his first note of his first piece Recondita Armonia from Puccini’s Tosca and Forse la Soglia from Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera. The applause was truly rapturous. Seldon have I heard such a magnificent tenor voice!

The choir then returned to sing [very aptly] Didn’t it Rain?, a spiritual arranged by the choir’s musical director Rodger Appleby followed by the foot tapping Alexander’s Ragtime Band.

Timothy sang the second two songs in his programme, Torna a Surriento [Come back to Sorrento] and E Lucevan le Stelle from Puccini’s Tosca. As before the applause was thunderous, and very well deserved.

The choir then sang their final two songs in the first half, the first a new setting of Psalm - 23 by Eric Jones and then, conducted by Alyson Jones, the choir’s deputy conductor, they sang the Tesco three-in-one, as it has been called – the American Trilogy.

For the final item of the first half Timothy returned to prove his talent not just as a straight actor but as a comedian when he sang Kleinzach from the Tales of Hoffman by Offenbach. His portrayal of a drunken man, even to a fall on the floor and great difficulty in rising – all the while singing, proved a sensation. Had anyone not realised he was acting they might have been forgiven for believing that he had indeed had one over the eight!

Following the interval the choir then resumed with Bring him Home [also from Les Miserables] and, for its first outing, Keith Christopher’s arrangement of the children’s song This Old Man [made famous in the film The Inn of the 6th Happiness]. A very difficult arrangement but the choir really did it justice.

It was Timothy’s turn again and for his first song he chose Dein ist mein ganzes Herz [You are my Heart’s Delight] by Frank Lehar and then, once more showing his talent for comedy he warned us that for the next song the spirit of Pavarotti might be in evidence! The song was O Sole Mio, and his rendition was brilliant even to the deliberate vibrato and the appearance of a large white handkerchief.

The audience loved it, and showed their appreciation.

The choir then delighted everyone with Rodger’s setting of The Lord’s Prayer and Swingin’ with the Saints.

Timothy came back for his final two pieces, and he chose the perennial favourite Nessun Dorma from Turandot by Puccini and Hafan Gobaith by Delyth Richards [Another Day], in which the choir joined in the background.

The choir then rounded off the concert by singing All for the Best from Godspell, arranged by Rodger and Arwel Humphries’ arrangement of Cwm Rhondda.

After the ending of the music thanks were given all round especially to Ian Johnson, Crime Commissioner and the many VIPs who came with him. Thanks and presentations were made to Rodger and Timothy, also to Nicola, choir accompanist, and Alyson. Everyone agreed it had been a truly magical evening, well worth braving the weather for. Reserve your tickets for December 2016!

On 20th November the choir were invited to take part in a concert at Llantarnam Abbey as part of the Voices for Hospices 2015, a world- wide event. Also taking part were Malpas Church in Wales and a former pupil of theirs, Georgia Monaghan.

The children began, years 4, 5 and 6 making up a delightful choir, by singing the modern hymn Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, then See you Again and Strong. They well deserved the applause they were given.

Then it was the turn of 16 year old Georgia [whose parents had never heard her sing until 9 months ago] and she sang St Last [Etta James], Aint no Sunshine [Bill Withers] and Addicted to You [Avicii].

George showed she has real talent and a voice that is well developed for such a young age. I am sure she will go far In her field of music.

The police choir then sang Do you hear the People Sing? Deus Salutis, American Trilogy and Didn’t it Rain? Everyone was delighted with their programme and showed their appreciation.

The children returned to open the second half with the amusing Ascot Gavotte from My Fair Lady which they sang with delightfully-plummy voices raising a lot of laughter. They then sang Broken Road and Somebody to You.

Georgia returned to sing Stand by Me [Ben E King], Dancing on my Own [Callum Scott] and I Want you Back [Jackson 5]. Once again her songs were received with great applause.

The Police choir then returned for their final set, during which they sang Psalm 23, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Swinging with the Saints, and in a change to the programme ________ followed by their final Piece Cwm Rhondda. For a finale the children and choir sang The Welsh National Anthem, in which the audience joined. It was a lovely concert and raised a good sum for St. David’s Hospice. We were told during the concert that St. David’s were going to have a 15 bed in patient facility on the Blackett Avenue site and are busily fund raising for this venture.

Submitted by Ann Sykes 30th November 2015

SUCCESSFUL VISIT TO CHELMSFORD

Over the weekend of 23rd/25th October the Police Choir enjoyed a weekend in Chelmsford as the guests of Essex Police Band and the Essex Police Choir.

We travelled up on the Friday and after settling into our hotel the choir had a rehearsal with the Essex band and choir following which we enjoyed an afterglow [normally enjoyed after the concert]. The ladies put on a splendid spread which was enjoyed by everyone. On the following day some of us went the small town of Maldon, which we enjoyed very much.

The concert was held in Chelmsford Cathedral in aid of Friends at Broomfield Hospital and Colchester Carers Centre.

The concert, was a sell-out [400 tickets were sold], began in stirring style with the band playing Horizons and the Essex police choir singing the Carpenters ’Top of the World’ with soloist Joanne Lawrence.

The main part of the concert was then introduced and compered by Mark Lawrence, chairman of the Essex police choir.

The band then played their first piece called Big Band Explosion, following which it was the turn of the Gwent police choir who began their first set with Do you Hear the people sing? From Les Miserables, Deus Salutis [sung in Welsh] and American Trilogy. This was followed by the Essex band delighting everyone with Georgia on my Mind with cornet soloist T. Jay McKenzie. The Essex Police mixed choir then took the stage for As Long as I have Music, Caccini’s Ave Maria, John Denver’s Perhaps love, and concluded with Schonberg’s Sun and Moon.

The joint choirs then gave everyone a feast of song with E. Jones’ setting of Morte Christe. This was followed by the band playing Academic Festival Overture after which the joint choirs brought the first half to a close with Verdi’s Speed your Journey.

After a brief interval the band played Glasnost, a fantasia of well-known Russian tunes including Song of the Volga Boatmen. It was the turn of the Gwent choir then to sing Rodger Appleby’s arrangement of the spiritual Didn’t it Rain and then, the first performance of the 23rd Psalm by Eric Jones. Following this, the men offered a totally different piece with their spirited singing of Alexander’s Ragtime Band.

The band then played Elsa’s Procession from Wagner’s Lohengrin before the members of the Essex choir delighted everyone with John Rutter’s version of For the Beauty of the Earth followed by Enrico Morricone’s Nella Fantasia and finally Peterson’s Hymn to Freedom.

The men of the Essex choir then joined the men of Gwent to sing the lovely hymn Gwahoddiad.

The band then gave us their final offering with Hernandez’ El Cumbanchero, a rousing foot-tapper.

The Gwent choir then gave their final set, during which they sang Swinging with the Saints, All for the Best from Godspell and finishing with their traditional piece Cwm Rhondda.

Following the farewells and presentation there was a grand climax from all who took part as the choirs began by singing M. Korb’s composition Highland Cathedral. When the choir had sung it through the band used their snare drums to set the rhythm and two pipers from the Colchester Pipe Band came from the back of the cathedral playing the piece, following which pipers, band and choirs all combined in a glorious final rendition [which made the hair on the back of my neck stand up!]

We were taken afterwards to the police social club where we enjoyed yet another afterglow. This time the Welsh choir let their hair down in a grand sing song of all the old favourites.

We thank everyone who made it such a wonderful occasion. We extend our very grateful thanks to Norman Eastbrook, the musical director of the Essex Police choir and Nigel Cooper, director of music for the police band. As always we thank Rodger Appleby, musical director of Gwent Police Choir and Nicola Coker, their accompanist.

Also a very big thank you to Howard Hicks who organised the hotel, rooms and travel arrangements. Everything went without a hitch. Thanks, Howard!

View pictures, click here.

Submitted by Ann Sykes 5thNovember 2015

After our summer break we were privileged to appear at the opening ceremony at a prestigious function for the I.W.A.P. (International Association of Women’s Police) at St. David’s Hall in Cardiff. Also a presentation evening at the Hilton Hotel for the Police Federation.

In April we welcomed Essex Police Band, at our favourite venue St Julian’s Methodist Church, a very enjoyable night well received by an enthusiastic audience, an afterglow ‘party’ at Croesyceilog Cricket Club rounded off an excellent nights entertainment. We are looking forward to travelling to Chelmsford on October 24th for a concert with both the band and the Essex Police Choir.

Saturday 14th November 7.00p.m. at St.Julian’s Comprehensive School, Heather Road, Newport will be a great night for the choir at their 46th Annual Concert when they welcome International Welsh Tenor Timothy Richards as our guest artiste.

Timothy Richards

Timothy was born in Haverfordwest. He embarked on a career in teaching and excelled on the rugby field winning a Welsh cap. However from an early age he showed a talent for singing and acting and had a burning desire to become and opera singer. In 1994 he won two scholarships to study at the Royal Northern College of Music. Within a couple of years the young tenor was singing leading roles on some of the best stages of Europe.

He has appeared at Royal Albert Hall, the Halle, Welsh Proms, St. David’s Hall, Dresden Semperoper, Oper Leipzig, Berlin Komische Oper, Royal Danish Opera and many more. His television appearances include ‘The Three Tenors’ Rossini Stabat Mater live from the National Eisteddfod.

He is recognized as one of the leading lirico tenors in Europe and is critically acclaimed not only for his smooth tenor sound but also his dashing presence and dynamic acting on stage.

Tickets £10.00. Phil Humphreys 01633 664163. Stuart Ashdown 01633 272883 or any choir member.


IAWP Conference, St Davids Hall, Cardiff

It was a privilege for the Gwent Police Choir to be asked to provide the entertainment at the opening of the I.A.W.P. (International of Women’s Police) at St David’s Hall, Cardiff on Sunday 23rd August.

The event was certainly a prestigious occasion with a large contingent of representatives from 75 countries, as well as a number of dignitaries which included the following.

Dr Peter Beck, Lord Lieutenant for South Glamorgan
Councillor Dilwar Ali, Deputy Lord Mayor of Cardiff
Madame Claude Deburaux, past Honary Frnch Consul for Wales
Group Captain Kevin Bailey, RAF Provost Marshall.

Members from I.W.A.P

Jane Townsley President of IWAP
Deb Freidl, Executive Director of IWAP
Mrs Angie Holt, Chair IWAP Board of Trustees
Julieann Brunzell, IWAP Heritage Award Winner
Cindy Shain & Linda Mayberry, Joint Chair of the IWAP Scholarship Committee.
Additional Superintendent Victoria Yengkhom , Manipur Police Department India IAWP Scholar.
Assistant Superintendent Deemathi Periyapperuma, Sri Lanka Police, IAWP Scholar
Tina Martin,Founder BAWP & IWAP in UK
Tamia Dow, Chaplain, IAWP

Constabulary Guests and Representatives

Ms Sophie Howe, Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for South Wales Police
Peter Vaughan, Chief Constable, South Wales Police
Nikki Holland, Assistant Chief Constable, South Wales Police
Lian James, assistant Chief Constable, Dyfed Powys Police
Jeff Farrar Chief Constable, Gwent Police
Mark Polin, Chief Constable, North Wales Police
Dee Collins T/ Chief Constable, President British Association for Women in Policing.

Sponsors

Mr John Craven, Taser-Sponsor of Opening ceremony
Natalie Villett,Taser - Sponsor of Opening ceremony
Elizabeth Filkin CBE- Vodaphone, Sponsor of the Annual Awards Luncheon
Andrew Dunnett- Director of the Vodaphone Foundation,Sponsors of the Annual Luncheon
Mr Steve White, Chair of Police Police Federation of England and Wales-Sponsors of the Parade of Nations

Also

Monteserrat Pina Martinez, president, European Network of Policewoman
Mr Ian Potter,President of National Association of Retired Police Officers
C/Supt Irene Curtis, President Police Superintendent’s Association of England & Wales
Mr Nigel Green Chair of the Association of Special Constabulary Chief Officers.
Debi Potter, Unison
Barbara Wilding, Retired Chief Constable South Wales Police
Pauline Clare, Retired Chief Constable Lancashire Police
Jan Berry, Retired Chair Police Federation of England and Wales
Margaret Shorter, 1st Vice President of IWAP

An audience of some 620 people saw the event start at 9am , this was an early commencement for the choir ,to allow for travelling and sound check this involved the choir setting off from Police HQ in Cwmbran at 7.30 am ,hence members having to rise at 5.30 or 6pm.! I daresay there were members asleep by min afternoon including myself.

The singing of the Welsh and English national anthems opened the ceremony, featuring top female vocalist Samantha Spragg and backed by the Police Choir. After a number opening speeches the choir, most ably conducted by Musical director Rodger Appleby and accompanied by Nicola Coker, sang the first half of their numbers: ‘Do You Hear The People Sing’, ’Deus Salutis’ and ‘American Trilogy’

In the second half of the choirs performance a similar Welsh theme ran through the selection of numbers these being ‘Gwahoddiad’, ‘Swinging with Saints’ and ‘Cwm Rhondda’. Rodger Appleby announced a timely warning to the audience before ‘Swinging With The Saints’ , ‘If you don’t find yourselves tapping and clapping to this number, please check your pulses!’, he needn’t have worried as there was a resounding response at the end of number as well as the completion of our set.

The feed back to the choir’s performance was both praise worthy, and emphatic, and safe to say that without exemption, everybody enjoyed it.

It was certainly a great honour for the choir to be invited to perform at the 53rd Annual IAWP conference and most members agreed that we would be only to willing to perform again at any future conferences.

The choir would like to thank the IWAP for their hospitality and appreciation and wish them every success in the future.

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The audience approximately 620 people were certainly enthusiastic.

Submitted by Howard Hicks 1st September 2015

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of one of our members, John Tinker. John had been a member of our Top Tenor Section for the past 23 years. Always smiling, John was a popular member of the Choir. He will be sadly missed by all.

Our thoughts and sympathies go out to his wife Barbara and all the family. His funeral will take place at Gwent Crematorium 3.30pm on Monday 24th August 2015.

End of an era. Sadly due to failing health, two of our members, Brian Spanswick and Bill Taylor have reluctantly tendered their resignations. Both Brian and Bill have been members of the choir for the past 28 years. The choir was a big part of their lives and they have both said how much they will miss the camaraderie.

Our thanks to them both for their loyal support and best wishes for the future.

Phil Humphreys
Chairman


Gwent Police Choir travelled to Marden just outside Hereford on Saturday 13th June to give a fund raising concert in aid of the appeal [forgive the pun!] for the bells and bell tower renovations.

The choir began with their traditional opening items – Do you Hear the People Sing? [Les Miserables] and Mansel Thomas’ arrangement of Deus Salutis.

A full church were then treated to local soloist Brad Langston who delighted us with If I can’t Love Her from the musical version of Beauty and the Beast [the song did not feature in the Disney film version] and A Little Bit of Earth from The Secret Garden.

Following the choir’s next three songs [Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Didn’t it Rain? And Rodger Appleby’s setting of The Lord’s Prayer Rodger delighted everyone with his expertise on the piano, playing Debussy’s Arabesque and his own composition Autumn. The choir then concluded the first half with Morte Christe and Nirvana.

Following the interval during which the raffle was drawn, the choir sang the American Trilogy and the haunting Prayer of the Children.

Brad was welcomed back and delighted everyone with Bring Him Home from Les Miserables and a song called Thirty Foot Trailer which he told everyone he had to learn for an examination. From what we heard he should pass with flying colours!

The choir then took centre spot to sing Rodger’s arrangement of the Beatles song I Will and Swinging with the Saints.

We then heard Brad’s final contribution to the evening when he sang Your Song by Elton John, accompanying himself on the piano and then the one comic song from Les Miserables - Master of the House, during which he showed a real aptitude for comedy. Quite rightly he received great applause for his performance [and at the end of the concert presented a bouquet of flowers to his accompanist].

The choir then concluded with their final two items, All for the Best from Godspell and Cwm Rhondda.

Following the concert everyone was treated to strawberries and cream and then we adjourned to one of the local hostelries for a splendid afterglow where the choir proved once again they had plenty of breath and plenty of songs left. We were delighted to have some friends from the Hereford Rail male choir joining us for this occasion.

Submitted by Ann Sykes 23rdJune 2015

After the summer recess, the choir have quite a few concerts and are eagerly looking forward to their visit to Chelmsford on the 24th October to sing with Essex Police Choir and Essex Police Band.

The Annual concert on 14th November will be a splendid night as the world famous operatic tenor Timothy Richards will be the guest artist.

To round off the year, the dinner dance on the 1st December is already being organized by Vice Chairman Stuart Ashdown. If the past years are anything to go by it will be a cracking night.

TWO FIRST CLASS CONCERTS

On two consecutive weeks Gwent Police choir gave two splendid concerts. The first was at St. Julians Methodist church on April 18th when the guest artists were the Essex Police Band.

The choir began with their usual opening song – Do you Hear the People sing, and followed this with two more songs in complete contrast – Deus Salutis to the Welsh tune Llef, and Alexander’s Ragtime Band.

The band then took centre stage to play five contrasting pieces – Academy Fanfare, March from Variety, the rousing Sabre Dance and, as a tribute to their Welsh hosts - from the Celtic Suite, the lullaby Suo-Gan and March of the Men of Harlech.

The choir brought the first half to a close with a variety of songs which included I Will, Rodger Appleby’s arrangement of The Lord’s Prayer, Didn’t it Rain and the ever-popular Nirvana.

After the internal the choir then launched into the American Trilogy followed by the haunting Prayer of the Children and the modern ballad Softly as I Leave You.

The band then came back to play another five pieces, Come Follow the Band, Cry me a River during which there was a beautiful cornet solo, the Pink Panther, given a humorous interpretation on the triangle, then O Magnus Mysterium and to conclude the samba El Cumbanchero.

The choir took the final spot with Swinging with the Saints, All for the Best and their traditional final song – the hymn Cwm Rhondda.

The final piece of the evening was the lovely Morte Christe during which the band played and the choir sung, conducted by both conductors. Everyone agreed that it had been a truly marvellous concert and well deserving of the terrific applause.

Following the end of the concert we adjourned to the Croesyceiliog Cricket Club for the afterglow where we were joined by members of the band, raising our voices in song and looking forward to our return visit to Chelmsford as guests of the Police Band later in the year.

The second concert, held on the following Saturday, had the choir travelling to Trowbridge for their concert which they hold in this town every two years. This was held at the United Church Trowbridge and featured the choir with local young soloists.

The choir began with their usual opening programme which led to the first of the youngsters – Cecelia Berry and Marvin Elder of Christchurch Primary School Bradford on Avon who played a piano duet - Noona’s Romanian Rhapsody. Marvin, who is 11 years old recently achieved a pass mark of 141 marks out of a total of 150 in his grade 5 piano. As well as playing the piano, Cecelia who is 8 years old also plays the violin and is a member of the Superstrings residencies in Devizes, plays in West Wiltshire intermediate strings and sings in several choirs each week. They were a delight to listen to and well deserved their applause.

After the choir had sung their next three songs we were to be delighted with the powerful and awesome talent of mezzo soprano Katey Rylands of St. Laurence School in Bradford on Avon. Her rich, mature voice was shown to its excellent advantage when she sang Ombra ma Fu [Handel’s Largo] and the haunting Prayer by David Guion, a fitting piece for this day which marked the 110th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign in World War 1. We understand that Katey has been selected to join the Cathedral choir in Wells.

After the internal the choir returned with Morte Christe and Didn’t it Rain.

This was followed by yet another very talented youngster, Charlotte Atkins of St. Laurence school Bradford on Avon. She delighted everyone with the Andante movement of Klengel’s Cello Concertino. Seldom have I heard such mastery of the cello, and in one so young. It certainly means that the musical future in this part of the world is well assured.

The choir then resumed with three more songs and then we were delighted to have Katey Rylands to sing Elgar’s Where Corals Lie and Tchaikovsky’s None but the Lonely Heart – sung in Russian! She was given a standing ovation for her performance and was persuaded to sing an encore.

Finally the choir concluded the evening with All for the Best and Cwm Rhondda, and after the concert one local gentleman was heard to say ‘Boy, these Welshmen sure can sing!’

We were then taken to the local Golf Club for a great afterglow during which [following lubrication] the choir proved they weren’t out of breath or out of song either, and lifted their voices in song after song. Everyone agreed it had been a terrific evening.

Submitted by Ann Sykes 28thApril 2015

The choir had a very busy March with three concerts in as many weeks. The first at St Dingat’s church in Dingestow, near Monmouth. On a cold night the choir soon warmed everyone up with their traditional programme comprising foot tappers like Alexander’s Ragtime Band and Swinging with the Saints interspersed with slower more quiet pieces like Bring Him Home from Les Miserables, Rodger Appleby, the choir’s MD showed another string to his bow when he played two Debussy classics and later two of his own compositions – Autumn, in memory of his late sister Pam, and Provence, a piano illustration of places where he had enjoyed many holidays.

The second concert at St John the Baptist Church, Risca Road Newport, on Friday 13th March, the choir were joined by Clytha Primary School choir led by Jo Davies and Jade Jones accompanied by Mrs Martell. Everyone was delighted with the children’s singing; hopefully some of them will go on to sing as adults. Proceeds from this concert will go to Cwtsh, the recently opened community arts centre and library at the Handpost on Stow Hill.

The third concert was Friday 20th March at St Thomas’ Church Maesglas for the Church funds. Once again the choir’s programme delighted an appreciative audience. On Saturday 18th April the choir welcome Essex Police Band. With over thirty players this prestigious band perform a broad range of music to appeal to all tastes.

With future trips to Trowbridge, Monmouth, Hereford, Cardiff and Chelmsford plus local venues, joining Gwent Police Choir is a great way to make new friends and enjoy the pleasure of singing. No need to be in the force, no experience needed, just come along to our practice nights at Police Headquarters Croesyceilog on Mondays at 7:30 pm and you will be made very welcome.

Our guest artist at our Annual concert in November this year will be world renowned tenor Tim Richards.

For further information ring Ron Comfort on 01633 667899

Submitted by Ann Sykes and Jean Comfort 25thMarch 2015

It is with deep regret that we announce the death of one of our choristers.

Mike Gough joined the choir in 1996 and was a valued member of our Baritone section.

As an ex- Cwmbran councillor, Mike was well known in the Torfaen area, people trusted him for his integrity and honesty. His social life apart from the choir was his association with Cwmbran RFC as both player and supporter.

His funeral was attended by over 200 people that included many members of the choir; he was described by his son as a true family man and a fitting epitaph – “When it’s all over, it’s not about who you were, it’s whether you made a difference”.

As compere of many of our concerts he regaled the audience and his fellow choristers with witty jokes and entertaining stories. He will be greatly missed.

Mike Gough


It was music all the way on a very cold night – 31st January, when two choirs and a soloist gathered together in a fully-packed church [Christchurch] to raise money for two very worthy charities – Teenage Cancer Trust and Night Shelter Association Newport.

The host choir was the Gwent Police choir who welcomed Hereford Rail Male Voice Choir, and their MC Tony Bailey introduced them by saying that although they are called Hereford Rail male choir the only railway employee among them was unable to be there that night, so there were no railway employees present just as there are no longer any serving policemen in the Gwent Police choir [retired officers and friends now].

Hereford began with a piece usually associated with the police choir – Rachie, sung this time in English. This was first written in 1878 and was arranged for the choir by Alwyn Humphreys who has now been asked to be Vice President of the choir. Their second piece was a spiritual, My Lord what a Morning sung unaccompanied, and then Gwahoddiad – once again associated with the police choir and also sung in English. Their final piece in this set was a medley of WW1 songs which we all joined in with gusto.

Hereford Rail Choir

Hereford Rail Male Voice Choir

It was time for a change now, and Rodger Appleby, M.D. of the police choir, introduced Charlotte Davies who had been one of his pupils in Croesyceiliog school and who had taken the role of Eponine when Roger produced the scholars’ performance of Les Miserables – a performance which would have put many professionals to shame! Her first choice was Not for the Life of Me from Thoroughly Modern Millie and her second was Is this Something from The Wiz. Charlotte is a young lady who will go far in the field of music.

Back to the men again and the police choir began with their customary Do you Hear the People Sing? from Les Miserables. They followed this with Mansel Thomas’ arrangement of Deus Salutis and then a foot tapping version of Alexander’s Ragtime Band. In contrast they then sung Didn’t it Rain – a look back at Noah and the flood. They finished the set with the American Trilogy, which Rodger dedicated to Mike Gough, chorister and compere, who had died very recently, and this was his favourite song. We were very sorry to lose Mike – he was one of those characters who will be sadly missed both as choir member and raconteur.

Following this both choirs assembled to sing Speed Your Journey [Nabucco] under the baton of Rodger Appleby.

Following the interval we learned that Hereford choir would be celebrating their 20th anniversary in March and recording a CD. Their MC also explained the reason for the naming of the choir – they rehearse in the Railway club where, it is said, the room is free and the beer is cheap!

It was Hereford’s turn again and they introduced their second selection of songs with You’ll Never Walk Alone from Carousel, then the contrasting Calm is the Sea arranged by John Guard. They followed this with the Anthem from Chess then delighted us with Can you Feel the Love Tonight from The Lion King. Here we were treated to a lovely solo from Bradley, one of the younger choristers. Their final piece was also a medley – a tribute to the late Matt Monro, during which they sang Portrait of my Love, Softly as I leave You and Walk Away.

Charlotte came back to sing two more songs –a very haunting arrangement of Autumn Leaves and then, as Rodger said afterwards, a true tour de force in music. The song was The Girl in Apartment 4G in which the singer says she is not allowed pets but has to contend with an opera singer in the apartment below and a scat singer in the one above. During the song Charlotte moved from narrator to scat singer and opera singer in the space of a couple of minutes. The audience were mesmerized.

The police choir then came on for their final set, beginning with one of our favourites, Nirvana and then This Nearly was Mine from South Pacific. The emotional Prayer of the Children followed and, in total contrast another foot tapper, Swinging with the Saints. Their final piece was the piece with which they always conclude – Cwm Rhondda.

Once again the two choirs combined to sing, this time under the baton of Derek Gough, MD of the Hereford choir, and they gave a glorious rendering of Morte Christe.

Thanks must go to Derek Gough, Hereford’s MD, as well as Rodger and also the accompanists Cath Evans and Sandra Gale for Hereford and Nicola Coker for the police choir. Without these ladies and gentlemen we would not have the choirs.

Following the end of the concert it was announced that £1,000 had been raised, which meant £500 for both charities. The Mayor of Newport, who was present with the Mayoress, presented both cheques to representatives from the Teenage Cancer Trust and Newport Night Shelter Association.

The evening concluded with the singing of the two National Anthems, following which the choirs went to Ponthir Village Hall for a grand afterglow. Thanks were expressed to Hereford for coming and adding to the afterglow by singing, both choral and solo, and Hereford responded by thanking the police choir for their hospitality and the ladies for the buffet provided.

Submitted by Ann Sykes 6thFebruary 2015

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