2018 Archive

49th ANNUAL CONCERT FOR GWENT POLICE CHOIR

20th October saw an almost-full St. Julians Methodist Church gather for the anticipated annual concert, and not one in the audience were disappointed. The programme was delightful, very varied and had people quiet and subdued in some parts while tapping their feet and smiling in others.

The programme began with a lovely version of Psalm 23 which was originally composed by Eric Jones as a test piece for the male voice competition in 2008. In total contrast they sang a rousing setting of a medley of songs from Rogers and Hammerstein’s musical Oklahoma. This setting was arranged by the choir’s musical director, Rodger Appleby. Their third piece in this section was the haunting Bring Him Home from Les Miserables.

It was time to introduce the first of the soloists for the evening, the young and charming Ffion Edwards who delighted everyone with two well-known songs – Hello Young Lovers from The King and I, and O mio Babbino Caro from Puccini’s opera Gianni Schicci. The rousing applause she received for her exquisite voice and winsome personality was well deserved.

The choir then returned with the well-known aria Nessun Dorma, also by Puccini, followed by the writer’s favourite Arfonaf Angel [Guardian Angel] by Robat Arwyn. This was sung partly in Welsh and partly in English. Both the words and the harmony were very haunting and I felt very emotional. Judging by the reception from the audience, I was not alone in my feelings.

We were then treated to one of the most powerful and touching songs ever to come from a musical show – Maria, from West Side Story. George Watkins, the young man who sang it used his glorious voice to perfection as he whispered some of the notes – which were still audible to us – and thrilled us with the intensity and power demonstrated in the same song.

The treats had not finished, because Ffion joined George to sing the lovely duet La Ci Darem La Mano [Give me your hand, my dearest] by Mozart. The two voices blended magnificently and they well deserved the applause they received.

The choir then returned to finish the first half by singing another haunting piece ‘Homeward Bound’ by Marta Keen and the one-time favourite male solo Nirvana, giving a very atmospheric treatment by the choir.

The second half of the concert opened with the first public performance [for the choir] of a spiritual called Wade in the Water arranged by Mark Hayes. Their second piece was the popular ballad from a few years back Softly as I Leave You by A. de Vita and H. Shaper arranged by Alan Simmons. For their third piece the choir sang another Robat Arwyn piece called Lux Aeterna – a beautiful setting made even more special by the inclusion of Alyson Jones, the choir’s deputy conductor, [and who also took the podium for another of the choir’s musical offerings] as soloist. Her lovely voice blended in with those of the choristers to make a unique sound.

George Watkins was welcomed back for his second set, and he certainly did not disappoint. He chose two modern musicals to display his vocal versatility – Music of the Night from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, and Stars from Schonberg and Kretzmar [Les Miserables].

The choir then returned for the well-known Welsh Hymn Deus Salutis and contrasted this with the bright and breezy Alexander’s Ragtime Band composed by Irving Berlin.

Yet another delight came when Ffion Edwards took to the stage with her delightful Poor Wandering One from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. Then George joined Ffion and as they did in the first half, they sang a delightful duet – Tonight, from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. I am sure, and I think everyone in the church felt the same way, that these two young singers with such glorious voices will go far in the field of classical and stage music. They deserve to reach a very wide field indeed, and it was a sheer delight to listen to them.

To conclude the concert the choir sang their final two pieces, another lovely Welsh hymn Gwahoddiad [Invitation] and then the three-in-one offering, the American Trilogy.

It was lovely to see the whole musical team with the choir that evening – Rodger Appleby, the musical director, as always guiding the choir expertly through some quite challenging pieces. He was accompanied as always by the regular accompanist Nicola Coker whose piano accompaniments were always spot on in spite of some of the piano part being as challenging as the singing. The deputy conductor Alyson Jones showed her twin talents, both as vocalist and also as conductor for one of the choir’s songs. The choir’s deputy accompanist, Ceri Gifford-Berry, was also there, as one of the pieces required four hands on the piano! That was a real tour-de-force – just marvellous.

The applause that thundered round the church at the end of the concert was testimony in itself to the feelings of the audience, and each presentation made to soloists, conductors and accompanists drew forth even more applause.

We are delighted to say that even though there have been many changes in the make-up of the choir during their 49 years, there was still one founder member present at the concert, baritone Gerry Hopkins and we were further delighted to see his wife Lorna in the audience. She hasn’t been well lately, so it was great to see her there for this occasion. We are also happy to make the announcement that in 2019 the choir will celebrate its Golden Anniversary with a special Gala Concert next year. As yet no specific plans but WATCH THIS SPACE!!

Submitted November 24th 2018 by Ann Sykes

We are currently looking to book concerts and events for 2019 .There has been a great deal of interest in the Gwent Police Choir performing at various concerts.

Those concerts that have already been confirmed are as follows:

23rd March 2019, this is a Gala Golden Anniversary Concert , to celebrate 50 years of formation of Gwent Police Choir , this will, hopefully, be a grand affair. We have already booked Timothy Richards who is a renowned leading tenor recognised throughout Europe. Other acts are also being booked for this concert.

5th April 2019, see's The Gwent Police Choir appearing at ,The Memorial Hall ,Usk This is on behalf of a very worthwhile charity, 'The Rhiannon Jade Smith Memorial Trust' all proceeds from the concert will help fund the charity. Again it is envisaged that other artistes will be performing.

16th May 2019, The Gwent Police Choir have been invited to sing at a concert at 'Blackwood Miners Institute' they will be performing with 'The Blackwood Musical Theatre Society' . This has the promise of being a fantastic evening of music and song.

We have also been approached by The Rotary Club to sing at Bradford Upon Avon, The Linden Singers to perform at a St David’s Day Concert, details of these have yet to finalised but will appear here on the web site once agreed.

We look forward to receiving your support at any of concerts, and of course if any gentlemen would like to join the choir, we would certainly give you a warm welcome .You don't have to be a police officer or even a retired officer. We practice every Monday and Thursday evenings at Croesyceiliog Cricket and Rugby Club ,Cwmbran. Please contact our Secretary ,Chris Lewis for further details , 01633 867339 or 07971827955.

Celebrations

Congratulations to our Musical Director Rodger Appleby and his wife Sue on their Golden Wedding anniversary.

Rodger and Sue Appleby

Also celebrating their Golden Wedding are Bob Daniels and his wife Lynne. Bob is a long standing stalwart of the choir.

Bob and Lynne Daniels

Farewell to a top gentleman.

Tim

Tim Turner and his friend John Hart were introduced to the choir in April 1991 by Steve Taylor, for four years they sang under the baton of Brian Taylor (Steve’s brother) with Eileen Bosustow as accompanist.

Under the auspices of Rodger and Nicola Coker he continued to be a great asset to the top tenor section.

He and his late wife Pat enjoyed all the trips and tours to sing with other choirs both home and abroad, also the many social trips and dinner dances especially the ‘afterglows’.

Tim hardly ever missed practise nights or concerts and was proud to receive his 25 year service tie two years ago.

A true gentleman he will be sadly missed by both the choir and his family.

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Submitted April 23th 2018 by John and Sue Hart

The choir are anticipating a visit from Bruchsal Police Choir on Saturday 12th of May, 7.30p.m. at St. Hilda’s Church, Griffithstown.

Cwmbran and Bruchsal have been twinned for a number of years with many visits from The Friends of the Bruchsal Society to Germany. This is the first visit of this prestigious choir and we hope both their visit and the concert will be a great success. Tickets can be purchased from The Congress Theatre, Cwmbran at £5.00

Submitted April 23th 2018

After a busy 2017 the choir welcomed a well deserved Christmas break, they are now in full rehearsal for 2018 preparing for a number of concerts both local and countrywide.

After many years practise at Police Headquarters in Croesyceiliog, due to uncertainty of the future of the building the committee felt it was time to move out in to the community. They have now moved to Croesyceiliog Cricket and Rugby club and have had a very warm welcome from members. This is now their new home on Monday and Thursday evenings at 7.30p.m. the venue will also be used to entertain visiting choirs and for their own regular social functions.

If you are thinking of raising money for charity or good causes they are always ready to help, a few dates are still available for 2018, you can call our Concert Secretary Howard Hicks on 01633 527159 or 07984971763.

As always new members are always welcome, no voice test or interview just come along on any practise night and see if it is for you, maybe a pint in the bar afterwards to meet the ‘boys’.

For more information ring Colin Bartlett 01633 660999.

October 1928 – February 2018

Alf

The choir are sad to announce the death of a well loved member. Alf Ellis joined the choir in 1996 and until recent ill health was a stalwart of the tenor section.

Alf held many committee posts during his time with us, always diligent and conscientious. From his seat near the door at practise he always greeted and welcomed members as they arrived. On coach trips or pub visits and especially at the concert afterglows he loved to start the singing.

Unfortunately declining health meant he could no longer attend rehearsals and was disappointed that he missed the last dinner dance. Alf loved these occasions causing much laugher with his ‘Irish Bingo’ he also loved to dance so here’s a photo of him tripping the light fantastic.

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Submitted March 10th 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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