Musical magic earns national acclaim for North Wales community choir

A community choir from a housing estate conducted by royal composer Paul Mealor who wrote the Military Wives’ hits has won national acclaim.

The choir from Parc Peulwys and surrounding communities in Llysfaen, near Colwyn Bay, earned a rousing reception when they made their debut at the prestigious North Wales International Musical Festival, in St Asaph, last year.

Now the pioneering project has been recognised by the Arts and Business Cymru organisation.

It was highly commended at a glittering ceremony at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff.

The sell-out concert at St Asaph Cathedral was an unforgettable experience for the choir – most of whom had never sung publicly before – that was made up of children and adults.

It was also a memorable occasion for the St Asaph-born conductor and composer, Prof Paul Mealor, who returned to the cathedral where he himself was a chorister as a boy.

Prof Mealor shot to world-wide fame thanks to the Royal wedding anthem he wrote for Prince William and Kate Middleton. Now, he’s also written a special lullaby for their son, Prince George of Cambridge.

He also wrote the music for the Military Wives’ two chart topping hits, Wherever You Are and In Your Dreams, which were both sung by the Peulwys Community Choir.

The choir was the brainchild of Andrew Bowden, the Chief Executive of housing association Cartrefi Conwy, who have embarked on a £4 million improvement programme on the estate.

With the help of the festival’s Artistic Director Ann Atkinson, the dream became a reality with funding from contractors G Purchase Construction Ltd and Arts and Business Cymru through their Culture Step Programme.

Prof Paul Mealor said: “This was a brilliant project and their performance was fantastic, this is what real music making is all about.

“I am delighted their achievement has been recognised by Arts and Business Cymru.”

Prof Mealor will also have an important role at this year’s event and has been made a Vice President of the festival.

He is writing special choral work to celebrate the Prince of Wales’s 65th birthday which will be premiered at the festival in September.

It has been commissioned jointly by the festival – which is supported by the Welsh Arts Council – and London-based Holywell Music, one of Europe’s leading harp suppliers.

The Prince’s first official harpist, international star Catrin Finch, and the current royal harpist, Hannah Stone, will both accompany the performance.

The premiere will be one of many highlights to be provided by a stellar line-up that also includes the Swingle Singers, virtuoso pianist Peter Donohoe, historical performance ensemble, La Serenissima and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

News of the accolade was music to the ears of Cartrefi Conwy Chief Executive Andrew Bowden.

He said: “I am so proud that this fantastic effort has been given the recognition it deserves.

“This project sums up what Cartrefi Conwy is all about because our mission statement is about creating communities to be proud of.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Jeff Bell, Group Commercial Director of G Purchase Construction Ltd.

He said: “It’s been wonderful. This is exactly what we have been looking for to support in local communities, bringing people of all ages together.

“It’s the local people who have delivered this – they have done themselves proud and made us very proud. We’re just lucky to be associated with this project.”

Ann Atkinson added: “It was very, very emotional after working with them and seeing how they developed and how they got used to singing in harmony and reading the music.

“To see them get up on stage and perform like that is absolutely amazing. It was utterly remarkable. and the recognition from Arts and Business Cymru is the icing on the cake.”

For more information about this year’s festival and how to buy tickets go to:

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