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Gwent Police Choir Grand Annual Concert

It was a delight and a privilege to be at St. Julians Methodist Church Caerleon Road Newport on Saturday 23rd September to hear the Gwent Police Choir in full voice, with the acclaimed lyric Tenor Timothy Richards as the guest soloist.

Welcome guests attending the concert, included Cllr. David Fouweather Mayor of Newport and his wife, Paula, the Mayoress. In addition we welcomed Mr. Ian Johnston, former PCC and a great friend to the choir, and the Deputy Chief Constable representing the Chief Constable.

The choir began with a setting of Psalm 23 by Eric Jones. It was a very lovely piece with the tonal shading beautifully brought out by the more than capable Rodger Appleby their musical director. At the piano was Nicola Coker, recently retired acting Head of High Cross primary school. Following the well deserved applause, in complete contrast the choir then sang Denys Hood’s arrangement of Alexander’s Ragtime Band [Irving Berlin] with many of the audience tapping their feet along with the rhythm.

It was time then to welcome the guest artist international tenor Timothy Richards [ who is Nicola’s brother!] for his first spot. Timothy is no stranger to the choir, having been their guest artist two years before at their annual concert. His first piece was Recondita from Puccini’s Tosca, and from the very first note the audience were thrilled, knowing they were in the presence of someone who could hold them in the palm of his hand. The applause was thunderous and well deserved. Tim’s second number from The Desert Song was a lovely rendition of OneAlone.

The choir then delighted everyone with the gentle piece by Marta Keen, arranged by Jay Althouse, called Homeward Bound. This was followed by a male voice favourite, Deus Salutis.

Once again Tim took the centre spot to sing two more pieces, the first Pecche by Gaetano Errico Pennino, and the second Foese la Sogliattinse from Verdi’s Force of Destiny. His stage presence and ability to act each arrangement he sang,, drew great appreciative applause from the audience.

It was the turn of the choir to sing their final two songs in the first half, and these were Summertime from Porgy and Bess composed by George Gershwin and arranged by Mark Hayes, the second being a composite arrangement of Amen and This Little Light of Mine arranged by Alan Simmons.

To the delight of everyone Tim returned to sing some of the solo parts in an arrangement of Rogers and Hammerstein’s popular musical Oklahoma, accompanied by the choir.

The second half of the programme began with the choir singing two contrasting pieces. The first The American Trilogy [as someone once said – first sung by Elvis Presley and made famous by the choir!] This was written by M. Newbury and arranged by Alwyn Humphreys.

They followed this with a very haunting piece [I had tears in my eyes] called the Prayer of the Children, written by Kurt Bestor arranged by Andrea Klouse after seeing and hearing of the plight of the innocent children during and after the conflict in the Balkans.

Much to the delight of the audience Tim came back to sing again, this time beginning with Non ti Scordar, written by Roberto Casalino and Tizano Ferro. Then he chose a beautiful love song from Ivor Novello’s The Dancing Years, My Life Belongs to You.

The choir returned with the old children’s song This Old Man, a piece which keeps the choir well on its toes with their eyes fixed on Rodger, as it changes key and tempo all the time. This traditional song was arranged by Keith Christopher. In contrast, their second choice was the rousing Do you Hear the People Sing from Les Miserables composed by Schonberg, arranged by Ed. Lojeski.

Everyone realised they were in for a real treat as Tim introduced his son Andreas, aged 11, who sang with him a Welsh song called Anfonaf written by Robert Arwyn. After the well- deserved applause stopped, Tim sang his final piece which was the Serenade from the Student Prince by Sigmund Romberg. The audience could not let Tim go without an encore, so he delighted everyone with the tenor’s [probably] favourite piece, Nessun Dorma from Turandot [Puccini]. Tim deservedly received a standing ovation.

The choir then came on for their final group of songs which consisted of Swinging with the Saints, a compilation of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and When the Saints go Marching In [arranged by Mark Hayes]. Their second, was the gentle An Irish Blessing written and arranged by Rodger Appleby.

To round off this lovely evening the choir sang their signature song Cwm Rhondda, once more the applause was thunderous, and everyone agreed that it had been a truly splendid concert, well worth leaving the popular television programmes on a Saturday night.

I cannot leave this report without paying tribute to Rodger’s musical ability, moving from piece to piece with equal expertise. Nicola Coker is a truly inspired accompanist, especially when she accompanied her brother Tim. She well deserved the applause she received at the end of the concert.

Following the concert, presentations were made to Tim, Rodger, Nicola and Alyson Jones, the choir’s deputy conductor. Watch this space for news, early next year, of the date and arrangements for the 49th annual concert.

Submitted by Ann Sykes, October 2017

The funeral took place of Christine Humphreys the wife of our chairman Phil at Bassaleg Church on 22nd June. The choir sang two of her favourite songs and at her request the congregation wore brightly coloured clothes. Chris was an invaluable asset to GPC as she did much of the administration work behind the scenes making sure that concerts ran smoothly. Chris will be greatly missed by all who new her and never forgotten by all who loved her.

Chris and Phil

Congratulations to former chorister Bill Taylor and his wife Phyllis who celebrated their Diamond Wedding on 17th June 2017.

Visit from ‘Down Under’

A surprise visitor to the concert at St. Julian’s & Aaron Church in Newport on 19th May was Mike Wadley a former member of the choir. Although he has lived in Australia since the early 1970’s Mike has returned a number of times to visit family and friends, the last time was January 2012 when he contacted Phil Humphreys and was able to meet up with a few choristers that he sang with. With his wife Pat and family he thoroughly enjoyed the concert, Pat took a photo of him with the choir, and he is standing behind Phil. This month he and his family are returning to Australia, we wish them a safe journey.

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Gwent police choir latest news

It’s very satisfying for a choir to show the fruits of their well rehearsed practice nights at concerts. The choir have been very busy raising funds for various charities this year.

In February we travelled to Trowbridge to raise funds for the Bradford-on Avon branch of the Rotary. Joined by a group of talented young musicians an excellent evening’s entertainment was enjoyed by a capacity audience.

Later that month at Pontypool College we joined a mass choir night to support the Mayor’s charities.

Later that month at Pontypool College we joined a mass choir night to support the Mayor’s charities. Last year the choir spent a very enjoyable weekend as guests of the Flint Ladies Choir in North Wales, the end of April saw us welcome the ladies on a return visit, joining us for a charity concert at St. Hilda’s Church Griffithstown, they wowed a sell out audience with their exuberant programme. Over £1.000 was raised by a first class event that was organised by The Silver Bells who are fundraisers for St. David’s Hospice.

Last week we returned to a regular yearly event at New Inn, Pontypool again a well supported evening fundraising for Christian Aid.

19th May will find us at St. Julian and Aaron Church, Heather Road, Newport helping to raise funds for the Church.

A pleasant lunchtime task at the end of May will be to sing at Holy Trinity Church, Christchurch at a wedding. The son of one of our long standing choristers Tim Turner, is delighted that we will be enhancing the ceremony with our singing.

The rest of the year is also busy, but if you would like to book us for a concert ring Dave Wybrant 01633 674405.

New members are always welcome, no audition and you do not have to be a member of the force.

For information ring Ron Comfort 01633 667899.

'The Flint Ladies Choir'

'The Flint Ladies Choir'

GWENT POLICE CHOIR ANNUAL CONCERT

Saturday 4th February the choir travelled to Trowbridge to support Bradford on Avon Rotary Club in their fundraising year. The venue was Holy Trinity Church Trowbridge where supported by four young musicians from the prestigious Wiltshire Rural School of Music, they sang to a capacity audience. During the evening their chairman Phil Humphreys took the opportunity to present long service ties to two choristers Tim Turner and John Hart, these stalwarts of the choir had each been members for twenty-five years and hope to carry on for many more.

The afterglow at Trowbridge Golf Club was thoroughly enjoyed and the well earned beverage ensured another spontaneous sing-along.

Choir Trowbridge

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On Saturday 18th February the choir are singing at Pontypool College Blaendare Road for a mass choir concert. Other male voice choirs taking part are Cwmbran, Pontnewydd, Blaenavon and Garndiffaith Gleemen. A further treat will be musicians from Gwent Music Support Services.

To obtain more information or for tickets ring Chris Slade 01495 742578 or any members of the choirs taking part.

Gwent Police Choir rehearses on Mondays and Thursdays at Police Headquarters, Croesyceiliog. If you are interested in joining them just go along, no audition and no previous experience necessary. Ring Ron Comfort 01633 667899. To book the choir Ring Concert Secretary Dave Wybrant 01633 674405.

Presentation of Ties

Choir Trobridge

John Hart, Tim Turner and Phil Humphreys

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