World class orchestra brings magic of Christmas to care home residents

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A world class orchestra brought the magic of Christmas alive for care home residents in Wrexham with a moving Yule Tide concert.

The talented trio from the Hallé performed a string of Christmas jingles and carols as part of an enrichment partnership with the Pendine Park care organisation.

The musical team was made up of, cellist David Petri, violinist Caroline Abbott, and oboe player and pianist Hugh McKenna.

The virtuosos spread the festive cheer at Bryn Bella care home’s Seren lounge, with classics such as Silent Night, Winter Wonderland, Away in a Manger, and Jingle Bells.

They also read out poetry and even told a few Christmas cracker jokes.

The Manchester-based orchestra which was founded in 1858 by Sir Charles Hallé has been collaborating with Pendine Park care organisation for the last 12 years. The residents, staff and musicians all dressed for the occasion, with festive jumpers, hats, and sparkly tinsel. The residents also sang and played along with instruments.

One resident, Tracy Wilde, 55, even created an illustration of a Christmas tree for the songbook that was used.

She said: “The songs are really good and they make me feel Christmassy. I enjoy doing art at Pendine and I feel very proud that my artwork was used on the songbook.”

According to artist in residence, Sarah Edwards, the concert had “brought the magic of Christmas” to Pendine Park.

She said: “The residents have been very excited about the Hallé concert and some of them are wearing their Christmas jumpers, and others are wearing a Christmas hat or a headband to get into the festive spirit.

“They’ve all been joining in and singing along and we had a little songbook produced so they could do that. Tracy Wilde one of our residents created the artwork that was used as the illustration on the songbook. Everybody gets involved and has a good time.

“The Hallé are wonderful, we really love having them come to our homes, they brought the magic of Christmas alive for our residents.

“We’ve been working with the Hallé for 12 years, they’ve become a part of Pendine Park now and are an important part of our enrichment programme. Everybody really enjoys their work.

“You really do experience the benefit of music and the hugely positive impact it has on people’s wellbeing. It’s lovely to see their eyes light up. Sometimes you see responses from people that rarely respond to anything.

Halle cellist David Petri said: “The concert is a really nice opportunity to sing some carols and some Christmas songs, to read some poems, to tell some jokes and to have a really good time.

“Very early on Pendine Park saw the value of music for residents with different needs, and how it can uplift them.

“What keeps me coming back here is that it’s the best thing that I do because it’s wonderful for me to see what music can do for people.

“Sometimes we have jam sessions where we play something and it just develops into a tune and everybody sings along or plays their instrument.

“There is something about music that evokes something in people that is innate, and that is especially the case with people who have dementia. It’s a wonderful thing to see. I can’t quite put it into words. We all have rhythm in us because we all have a heat beat.

“There is something communal about it that really brings people together.”

Pendine Park resident Glenys Roberts, 79, had a wonderful time at the concert.

The mother-of-two and grandmother-of-one who used to work at the Laura Ashley factory in Llay, said: “I think the Hallé orchestra are very good, and they encourage you to join in, so it’s just wonderful to be here amongst all these people because it makes them all so happy. I find it very uplifting. They do a lot of things like this at Pendine Park.”