There is new hope for freelance musicians and singers in Wales whose livelihoods have been decimated by the current pandemic.
Two Welsh music charities have joined forces to raise funds to support performers, composers and music practitioners to work with their local communities through music. With funds raised Ensemble Cymru and Mid Wales Opera hope with the help of local singers and musicians to put music back into the heart of Wales’ communities.
Effective community schools make thoughtful use of school assets to improve the lives of children and families in the local community. They work in partnership with local groups and organisations in enterprising and creative ways. They seek to address gaps in local sport, cultural or care provision.
Ensemble Cymru, Resident Ensemble at Bangor University and Venue Cymru (Llandudno), is the leading chamber music performing group in Wales. It has a core membership of 20 instrumentalists and singers. Established as a charity in 2002, its mission is to champion Wales’ heritage and contemporary chamber music culture alongside chamber music from across the world to audiences in Wales and internationally.
During 2019-20, Ensemble Cymru toured Wales
During its 2017-2018 Season, Ensemble Cymru toured with Mid Wales Opera in their production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and with OPRA Cymru on its award-winning production of Wythnos yng Nghymru Fydd by Gareth Glyn and Mererid Hopwood. The Ensemble performed with internationally celebrated French harpist Isabelle Moretti at the International Harp Festival in Caernarfon and undertook two national tours in the culmination of a two-year project of chamber music featuring the harp co-curated by the Ensemble’s principal harpist, Anne Denholm (Royal Harpist) and its Artistic Director, Peryn Clement-Evans.
Ensemble Cymru are excited to have been accepted again to be part of this year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge! The Big Give is a national match-funding scheme that runs every December, providing over 9,500 charities with a fundraising platform and a chance to showcase their work.
In September 2019, a trio of Peryn Clement-Evans (clarinet), Nicola Pearce (cello) and Richard Ormond (piano) started an initial week-long residency with students from across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. Alongside Lynne Plowman they led three composition workshops for 400 GCSE and A level students.
One of the highlights of our tour in the autumn was our visit to the Blind Veterans Centre in north Wales. The centre in Llandudno is where blind veterans or veterans with sight impairment are given respite, training and rehabilitation and where they can be asessed and given support. The building on the outskirts of Llandudno was built back at the beginning of the last century by the Forresters’ family as a convalescence home for shale miners, but is now Blind Veterans UK’s newest centre.
Back in the summer, one of the distinctive experiences we had whilst preparing for our “Octet” tour was a visit to the home of Ann Thomas, Cefn Ydfa; the subject of the Welsh folk song, Bugeilio’r Gwenith Gwyn (Shepherding the White Wheat).