Choir’s debut with royal composer

A new community choir from a housing estate in North Wales is preparing for its debut at a top international music festival – conducted by a royal composer.

The choir from the Peulwys estate, above Old Colwyn, will be performing at the North Wales International Music Festival, in St Asaph Cathedral.

They will be under the baton of the chart-topping Dr Paul Mealor who was propelled to global fame thanks to the sensational Royal wedding anthem he wrote for Prince William and Kate Middleton.

He also wrote the music for the Military Wives’ Christmas Number One and the title song for the follow-up album, In Your Dreams, which knocked rocker Bruce Springsteen off top spot.

The choir is made up of children and adults and they will be performing both of the Military Wives’ hits on the Thursday night of the festival that’s being held from September 22 to September 29.

Like the Military Wives, many of them have never sung publicly before and they face a race against time to be ready for the big night.

Seeing whether the Peulwys Community Choir could perform there with Dr Mealor was the brainchild of Andrew Bowden, the chief executive of housing association Cartrefi Conwy.

He approached the festival’s artistic director, Ann Atkinson, who thought it was a “wonderful and inspirational” way of helping to celebrate the event’s 40th anniversary.

The dream is being made a reality thanks to the Arts and Business Cymru organisation through their Culture Step programme and contractors G Purchase Construction Ltd, who have embarked on a £4 million improvement project on the estate.

The Peulwys singers will be joined at the festival by Dr Mealor’s own choir from Aberdeen University.

Dr Mealor, who was born in St Asaph and raised in Connah’s Quay, said: “It’s a brilliant idea. Ever since the Military Wives people just want to sing together.

“There is nothing better for bringing people together than choral music which creates a unique camaraderie – it’s a magical thing.

“The acoustic at St Asaph Cathedral is beautiful so it is going to be a really special evening.

“It’s going to be fantastic for North Wales, for the festival and the choir members from the Peulwys community who will I am sure get a lot out of the experience.”

Excitement is already building on the estate and weekly rehearsals are held at the local primary school, Ysgol Tan y Marian.

The sessions are being taken by headteacher Rhian Jones and Tim Healy, the head of music at the nearby high school, Ysgol Bryn Elian.

Rhian said: “This is a very exciting and ambitious project and it’s great in terms of bringing the community together in a very enjoyable and rewarding way. There is a great deal of enthusiasm.”

Choir member Jason Lawley, 42, was “volunteered” by his daughter, Chloe, nine, and he’s loving every minute of it – even though he’s never sung in a choir before.

He said: “I think it’s brilliant. It’s getting the community together as well in one group, and everyone’s enjoying it. It’s something good to do for the community.”

The choir is a family affair for Vince Trethouen-Haycox, the Community Caretaker based on the Peulwys estate.

Vince, his wife, Lisa, and two of their three children, Sam, nine, and Dulcie, 12, are all enthusiastic choristers.

He said: “We just thought it would be a fantastic idea to get involved – it’s something to do as a family.”

“Being able to perform in St Asaph Cathedral with Paul Mealor sounds fantastic, it will be a great achievement.”

Son Sam added: “I think it’s really good because you get to make new friends with the people who come. I’m looking forward to singing in cathedral.”

It was music to the ears of Andrew Bowden, the Chief Executive of Cartrefi Conwy, who came up with the idea.

He said: “Our mission at Cartrefi Conwy is to create communities to be proud of and the Peulwys choir will do just that.

“There has been an on-going transformation of the estate since we took over responsibility for housing from Conwy County Borough Council in 2008

“The performance at the North Wales International Music Festival will be an unforgettable experience for everybody concerned.”

Ann Atkinson was equally enthusiastic and said: “Reaching out to the community is important to us at the festival so that we can make music accessible to a whole new audience.

“We believe the opportunity to perform at the festival will generate a real sense of pride and achievement that will last a lifetime.”

Terry Phipps, G Purchase Construction Ltd’s Client Services Manager, said they were also delighted to be involved.

He said: “We’ve always as a company contributed to the community and we like to help in any way we can.

“Our work here involves improving the fabric of the estate and we believe an inspirational project like this will leave a positive legacy.”

It was a message echoed by Cath More, the North Wales Manager of Arts and Business Cymru.

She said: “A&B Cymru are delighted to be a part of this fantastic community partnership creating a community engagement choir within the Peulwys estate.

“To support the development of this project G.Purchase Construction and North Wales International Music Festival have received investment from A&B Cymru’s CultureStep to develop their creative partnership. CultureStep is made possible by funding from the Welsh Government and the Arts Council of Wales.”

Anyone interested in joining the Peulwys Community Choir or if you would like more information on the choir  then please contact the communications team at Cartrefi Conwy on 01492 805503 or email

To book tickets for the concert at the North Wales International Music Festival, from September 22-29,   contact the Brown Paper Tickets Box Office Number on 0800 411 8881. For more information go to or ring the Festival office on
01745 584508.

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