Dai was There – 1972

1972 commenced with a concert on January 5th at Spencer Works Llanwern, singing at the retired employee’s Dinner. It was an enjoyable evening especially as many choristers were able to meet up with former colleagues from the steelworks.

Minutes from a Committee meeting on 14th February noted the Choir funds stood at a healthy £178.28. This was after paying an outstanding bill to Paddy Dolan of £50 for transport. On the 3rd of March the Choir gave a concert in Underwood Social Club, Llanmartin. There was a double bonus resulting from this concert as the Club gave most of the proceeds as a donation to the Choir and also several of the Club members turned up at the next rehearsal to join the ranks.

On the 24th March 1972, the Choir made it’s first visit to Manchester. The invitation came by way of chorister Haydon Davies who’s brother Ivor was the Minister at a Church in Timpery in Manchester. The concert was to be on the Saturday night but the Choir decided to make it a weekend trip (no wives!) and so left on the Friday morning with plans to visit Salford Rugby League Club that evening after checking in to our hotel. Welsh rugby star David Watkins had recently ‘gone north’ to play for Salford and had arranged for seats to watch the Friday evening match and for the boys to entertain in the clubhouse afterwards.

In the morning everyone was at their pre-arranged pick up points on time and off we set, eagerly looking forward to the weekend and to the evening’s entertainment in Salford. Due to other commitments Paddy Dolan was unable to supply the transport and so a bus was booked from Mr Larcombe. Unfortunately, the driver was very reluctant to exceed 35 miles per hour and also stopped for several breaks, one of which lasted over an hour while the brakes, which were binding, cooled down!

The result was that we arrived at Salford just after the game ended, and to find the reserved seats in the Clubhouse all taken by thirsty fans. Not to be outdone of a memory of home, David Watkins, his wife and several of their friends joined the Choir in the car park where they were given a mini concert of Welsh songs.

The Choir then moved to the Queen’s Hotel in Manchester’s Piccadilly area. The cost was £3.25 per night for B&B. There followed an all night session in the resident’s lounge with few Choristers retiring to their rooms before 4.00am. Even so everyone made it for breakfast at 9.00am where one ashen faced individual (it wasn’t me) sat at his table and was immediately given a fresh pint of beer. When presented with his full English breakfast he looked sickly at his beer, thought for a moment and said weakly “I can’t face this I’m afraid” and promptly downed his pint and gave away his breakfast.

There are only a handful left who were on that first trip to Manchester but I’m sure they will recollect singing ‘We are Climbing Jacobs Ladder’ whilst marking time on the escalator in Lewis’s department store, and Roy Clements and Bunny Hooper going out from the hotel in search of a bag of chips at 2.30am and amazingly returning half an hour later with not a bag but a shoe ox full! The serious part of the weekend came with a concert on the Saturday evening at the Church in Timperly with Mrs Anne Sykes as the soloist. The Choir returned home on the Sunday morning, again at a very slow pace.

There is no record of the date but early in 1972 Miss Joyce Bellinger, from Newport, became the Accompanist and John Evans (Teacher) was appointed Deputy Conductor.

Concerts for 1972 included:-

  • March 3rd – Underwood Social Club
  • March 25th – Manchester
  • April 29th – Pontllanfraith
  • May 8th – Stewarts & Lloyds, Newport
  • June 8th – Thornbury Social Club
  • July 24th – Severn View Club, Caldicot
  • August 26th – Shaftesbury Park, Newport (photograph on display in Choir Hall)
  • September 28th – Severn Bridge Club, Chepstow
  • October 26th – Labour Club, Caldicot
  • December 1st – Almondsbury Parish Church

In May the position of Public Relations Officer was created for the first time and Haydon Davies was appointed to the post.

The Choir entered the Kington Eisteddfod in midsummer and once again came away with the first prize. This was the third year running for the Choir to win at Kington. The test pieces for the Miner’s Eisteddfod in the Autumn was ‘The Viking Song’ and own choice of traditional folk song. Many choristers wanted to enter but Ralph Hodges decided the Choir were not sufficiently prepared.

The Annual General Meeting was held at Green Lane School on the 23rd October. Some points of note were as follows:-

  • Voice Tests introduced for the first time.
  • The amount of Welsh songs to be increased.
  • Membership was recorded at 75.

Election of Officers and Committee

  • Chairman – Doug Beynham (re-elected)
  • Secretary – Vic Edwards (re-elected)
  • Treasurer -Terry Trollope
  • P.R.O. – Haydon Davies
  • Committee – Dewi Llewellyn, John Lewis, Ray Smith, Jack Williams, Dave Scott, Terry Davies, Dave Gould, Mervyn Evans, David Stocker, John Evans, Alan Rowles.
  • Vice Chairman – Colin Jones
  • Asst. Treasurer – Chris O’Conner
  • Minute Secretary – Vince Lewis

From Dave Gould’s Choir History – ‘Dai was There’


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