Singing doctors Diva and Divo are a musical tonic at Wrexham care home

It was just what the doctors ordered.

Two top performers from Welsh National Opera gave an intimate performance just for the residents of Pendine Park care homes.

Doctors Diva and Divo – alias the “singing doctors” Zoe Milton Brown and David Graham – gave show-stopping performances in four one hour shows for residents of the care groups’ Bryn Bella, Bodlondeb, Penybryn, Cae Bryn and Hillbury homes.

The award winning care organisation is a Gold Community champion for their support of Welsh National Opera and its ground-breaking three year community project in Wrexham.

The homes also regularly welcome the Hallé orchestra as visitors.

Pendine Park’s artist in residence Sarah Edwards explained: “We thought this WNO project would translate well for our residents. We are very proud to be Gold Community Champions and have supported WNO in its ‘Nine Stories High’ project in Wrexham.

“The therapeutic values of music are well documented and it’s wonderful for some of the relatives to witness how it brings a smile to the faces of our residents.”

WNO corporate development officer, Catrin Joy said: “A group of our artistes have visited Wrexham Maelor Hospital singing to patients in a whole range of situations and it’s gone really, really well.”

WNO also plan community outreach projects in Caia Park this spring. “Last year we concentrated on the story of Wrexham and this year we are concentrating on the voice. The third year is in development and will bring together lots of little projects to show the Wonders of Wrexham,” said Catrin.

WNO’s Singing Doctors residency at the hospital will run until June. The project aims to use music to boost the health, well-being, sense of expression and community amongst residents, patients, visitors and staff, in hospitals and homes.

Soprano Zoë Milton-Brown (Dr Diva) was born in South Wales and graduated from Christ’s College, Cambridge, where she was a choral scholar.

She studied singing with Italian soprano Iris dell’Acqua before winning an entrance scholarship to the Royal Northern College of Music.

She has performed in masterclasses in London and Vienna as well as being invited to appear in concerts and masterclasses in the Festival International d’Eté de Nice.

But at Pendine Park she was melting the heart of Highfield resident John Galley, formerly of Hoole, Chester.

John, who has MS, worked at Castrol in Stanlow for 30 years. “The music was very good, really professional and I really enjoyed it,” he said.

Senior care practitioner Tracy Green, who organises the Music Therapy at Pendine Park, was delighted that the residents had been given such a “wonderful musical tonic”.

She said: “The residents gain real pleasure and enjoyment out of music and it’s just fantastic that world class singers from WNO have come to support our projects to enrich people’s lives with disabilities through the medium of music .”

Songs from The Student Prince and West Side Story were also sparking memories for residents Joanne Davies and Eileen Lewis who were singing along with the handsome Dr Divo.

Tenor David Douglas was born in Ayrshire and trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow and the Royal Northern College of Music. He has worked with companies as diverse as Buxton Opera Festival, Phoenix Opera, and Opera Engine.

“At the hospital we sang for patients in the Alzheimer’s ward, the cancer recovery ward, the mental health unit and the children’s ward. It was a really lovely experience,” he said.

More than 60 Pendine residents got the chance to listen and take part in the WNO workshop sessions.

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