2010 Archive

Gwent Police Choir 41st Annual Concert- 20th November 2010

Once again St. Julian's Methodist church hosted the annual concert for the choir, and again all tickets had been sold before the day. In fact, no advertisements concerning the event had been displayed beforehand, as the tickets had been sold within 4 days of them going on sale!

As has become something of a tradition, Mrs. Gill Benson, church steward, welcomed everyone to the concert: choristers, guest artistes, invited guests and audience alike.

The choir began in usual stirring fashion with the Welsh hymn tune Rachie, following it with the gentle folk song Down by the Salley Gardens.

This year the guest artistes were a group of 9 young ladies who make up the chamber choir of the Cor Casnewydd, which comprises the main choir, a junior choir for children aged 8-11, a senior performance choir for young performers aged 12-18 and of course the chamber choir [ages 15-18] which uses advanced material and close harmony singing as well as using movement to enhance the performance. They began with Adiemus followed by Siyahamba [a piece well known to the Gwent Police choir] and finally a lovely version of the American folk song Shenandoah.

The men then took to the stage to sing 3 songs from Les Miserables - I Dreamed a Dream, Bring him Home and Do you Hear the people Sing?

For their second spot, the girls delighted everyone with music [and movement] from the musical Sister Act - Take me to Heaven, Raise your Voice [some nice comic parts here] and O Happy Day. A delightful foot-tapping selection!

It was the turn of the choir to conclude the first half by singing Rodger Appleby's arrangement of The Lord's Prayer and then a song written for the
Ty Hafan children's hospice called Another Day.

Following the interval, during which time the raffle was drawn, the choir started the second half with African Prayer and American Trilogy.

The girls then returned to sing Chattanooga Choo-Choo and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, finishing with Circle of Life from The Lion King.

The choir followed with Nirvana and All for the Best, the latter being the musical dialogue between Jesus and Judas from Godspell, a tongue-twisting song in which Rodger invited the audience to join! Rodger then did something which has also become quite a tradition - he chose a little song which the choir sang along with the audience [after we had been taught the tune of course!]. It was called 'Jilted', and was one of those songs where you had to watch the timing carefully and hold on to your melody line while the choir wove various harmonies over and around it. At first we were dubious about what the result would be, but thanks to Rodger's expert teaching, a very pleasant sound echoed around the church.

The final item of the evening was by the men and was Teena Chinn's arrangement of You Raise Me Up, followed by the perennial favourite Cwm Rhondda.

No evening like this can ever be complete without special thanks going to many people. First of all the greatest thanks must go to Rodger, the musical director of the Police Choir, and Nicola Coker, their equally superb accompanist. The girls of the Cor Casnewydd Chamber Choir, who provided some very feminine contrast to the men, were a delight to see and hear, and out thanks go to Emma Rowland [daughter of Steve Rowland, chorister in the Police Choir] who both conducted and accompanied them.

As always, our compere Mike Gough kept the evening flowing smoothly with his jokes and stories [some of them obviously police-oriented]. He is a great asset both as choir member and compere.

We were delighted to welcome special guests Chief Superintendent Ray Wise and his wife [on behalf of the Chief Constable who could not attend], also the Deputy Mayor of Newport, Cllr. Margaret Cornelious, and her husband. It was good to see Mr. David Hando and his wife with us as well. Mr. Hando always gives the choir publicity in the South Wales Argus in his column and is a regular visitor to the choir concerts.

Following presentations of bouquets to Nicola and Emma, and other gifts for Rodger and Mike, everyone joined in the singing of the Welsh National Anthem.

We subsequently learned that the sum of £259 was raised from the raffle, and money was also raised by the sale of Christmas cards bearing a photograph of the choir. It had been hoped to have the CD for sale on the night, but it will be on sale soon - contact Ron Comfort, Phil Humphreys or Bill Taylor, or visit the choirs website - www.gwent-police-choir.co.uk

At a function three days later The Chief Constable, Mr. Mick Giannasi' presented the choir with a cheque for £200, for which the choir is very grateful indeed.

Things will be a little quite now for a couple of weeks - until the New Year, when the first concert of 2011 will be given on 22nd January at the Rotary Club, St. John's, Risca Road, Newport at 7:00pm.

In the meantime, a very happy and peaceful Christmas to everyone.