Wonder Wagon transports musical

The wonders of Wrexham and music have been  prescribed  to schoolchildren and residents of a care home by Dr Song.

Youngsters from the town’s Victoria CP School joined with residents of Pendine Park’s Hillbury House  care home for the performance by the musician – otherwise known as composer Stacey Blythe.

The bi-lingual hands-on event, in the home’s chapel, was part of Welsh National Opera’s Wonder Wagon  initiative, part of the WNO’s Singing Doctors project.

Pendine Park is a Gold Community champion for its  support of Welsh National Opera and its ground-breaking three year community project in Wrexham.

Photos of the residents and youngers, posing in picture frames, will go on display in the town later this year  as part of the project.

Stacey, who brought along her harp, accordion and a host of instruments for the residents to play, said: “These sessions are some of the most special workshops that I have been involved in. I am constantly surprised by the reaction for the residents – the power of music to move them is so beautiful.

“I find there is a special interaction between the residents at the sessions – people are very surprising with the music they can create together,” added Stacey.

The youngsters, aged six and seven from the school’s Year Two, spent time with the WNO’s  Singing Doctors Project Manager Ruth Evans to try out different instruments, dress up, wear masks and to talk about the Wonders of Wrexham, before posing for photos.

Then they joined the elderly residents to create a musical work  together, under the guidance of Dr Song, playing instruments such as drums, tambourines and even triangles. And two Victoria  CP school pupils  Millie and Vilas, both celebrating turning  seven, were serenaded by the residents with a performance of Happy Birthday.

Annice Thomas, 80, said she loved taking part in the event. “Music is essential to the people of Wales,” she said. “I used to do recitation when I was younger and I’ve really enjoyed taking part in this. I was able to try Stacey’s harp, and I’ve never done anything like that before.

And for self-styled Queen of the Triangle Selina Jenks, 83, it was a trip back to her younger days, when she took part in amateur pantos, sang  and tap-danced, in shows in Wrexham.

She said: “This is good fun, these sessions are so enjoyable, you can’t beat making music together – and it is lovely to see the children here as well.”

Sarah Edwards, Pendine Park’s artist in residence, said:” These workshops are very fulfilling for those who live at the home, and enriching for their lives. We know making music is very popular with the residents.

“Both the residents and the children had their photos taken within the picture frames, and they were asked to suggest their own wonders of Wrexham. One resident said St Giles (which is one of the seven Wonders of Wales) while another said she was the  Wonder of Wrexham herself!”

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