On the evening of Santes Dwynwen Day I received a very welcomed phone call from Peryn inviting me to perform at Penucheldre after their harpist for the event had fallen ill. My connection with Ensemble Cymru began 10 years ago when I completed my year 10 school work experience with them so it was wonderful to reconnect with Ensemble Cymru having now established a career as a musician!
On Wednesday 26th I travelled over to Holyhead for Penucheldre’s Dwynwen event. I spent half an hour chatting to residents whilst setting up the harp, answering their questions about how on earth I carry such an instrument around with me and getting to know their stories!
Each of the residents had brought with them a picture of a loved one or an item that represented a special memory as well as a story to share. I particularly enjoyed the emphasis on getting to know the residents and listening to what they wanted to share and how I could link my music to this. I played love songs by Lionel Richie and Elvis Presley with one particular resident providing the vocals for me! Of course I also wanted to include some welsh music such as Calon Lan and Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn and played Romeo and Juliet’s theme to celebrate the theme of love.
The music was alternated with discussion, there were stories of happy memories, some not so happy memories as well as thoughts and reflections on the theme of love. At the end of the session I was requested to play some ABBA so we ended on a fun note with some Dancing Queen! The event was really heart warming and I felt like all residents responded very positively to the music as well as the chance to share stories. The residents are also looking forward to future visits by Ensemble Cymru including a St David’s Day event in the near future. Diolch Ensemble Cymru!
About Penucheldre: “Penucheldre is an extra care housing scheme. The facility provides housing, support and care services for people over 60 years of age.”
We are grateful to the National Lottery distributed by the Arts Council of Wales; and the Gwendoline and Margaret Davies Charity for their support and the many wonderful individuals who continue to contribute so generously to our activities.
Find out more about Bethan on her website: www.bethanharpist.com