Welsh celebrities including film star Rhys Ifans are helping to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a pioneering project that’s transforming disadvantaged children’s lives through the power of music.

More than 500 youngsters aged five to 11 years of age have been learning to make music completely free of charge thanks to Codi’r Tô (Raising the Roof), a community regeneration project working with pupils at Ysgol Maesincla in Caernarfon and Ysgol Glancegin in Bangor.

Among those who’ve already recorded videos to wish the project happy birthday are legendary Welsh pop star Dewi Pws Morris, radio and TV presenter Huw Stephens, weather presenters Alex Humphreys and Derek Brockway aka Weatherman Walking along with Twin Town actor Llyr Ifans, who’s also brother of Rhys Ifans..

The scheme – the only one of its kind in Wales – has been inspired by the El Sistema teaching method developed in Venezuela to provide opportunities for youngsters from deprived areas to play music, helping them become a positive force in their community.

Over the years the charity as extended its reach to offer community work in their after school clubs

The milestone anniversary is also being marked with two concerts at Galeri Caernarfon and Pontio in Bangor.

First up will be the one starring pupils of Ysgol Maesincla at Galeri at 1pm on Thursday, May 23, followed by the performance of the young musicians from Ysgol Glancegin in Theatr Bryn Terfel at Pontio at 1pm on Thursday, June 6.

With the rehearsals in full swing, the hall and corridors of Ysgol Maesincla reverberated to the sound of the Imperial March, a piece of music by American composer John Williams for the Star Wars films.

Eight-year-old Harri Williams concentrated hard while playing the timpani drums.

He said: “You have to hit the drum hard in order to make the right sound and in the right place but I enjoy it a lot. I’ve also had lessons on the cornet.”

Also having a blast was Mari Williams, nine, who described playing the tenor horn as “enjoyable”.

“I enjoy it, playing the horn isn’t very difficult and I enjoy the performing. I’m looking forward to the concert,” she said.

Codi’r Tô manager Rhys Roberts said the concerts are just one part of the 10th anniversary celebrations.

He said: “We have been collecting short videos from various celebrities wishing Codi’r Tô a Happy Birthday. So far Dewi Pws Morris and Llyr Ifans have sent their greetings and we’re expecting many more.

“Meanwhile, eight pupils have been chosen to attend the Side by Side music camp, part of El Sistema, meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden. This is a huge event, it’s the world’s largest gathering of its kind.

“Our growing programme of community activities helps us to spread the joy of music even further.

“School holiday clubs, parent and toddler classes and ensemble bands and concerts introduce local people to Welsh music culture, and each other.

“By having fun and making music together Codi’r Tô celebrates the power of music to create change in our communities.”

Taking a short break at Ysgol Maesincla, community  co-ordinator Sion Emlyn said: “We encourage pupils to believe in their own abilities and recognise their own potential, to raise levels of confidence, aspiration, pride and happiness.

“They also make connections with the families and the neighbourhood surrounding the schools by bringing live music to the community and giving opportunities for the pupils to perform in public.

“It is a community development project that aims to improve the lives of individuals and families, by working in primary schools to give new experiences through musical tutoring.

“There is also an opportunity for former pupils of both schools to enjoy playing with an after-school band.”

Tutor Bari Gwilliam feels that Codi’r Tô project is very valuable and that the use of music to develop an individual’s skills is incredibly effective, and also conducive to bringing the local community together.

Bari said: “Pupils develop life skills such as problem solving, creativity, decision making, self-discipline, leadership skills and perseverance.

“They foster social skills, co-operation, group work, respect for others, communicate and make new friends.

“Codi’r Tô is designed to support the schools to raise educational levels of attainment. Improving focusing, listening, following instructions, language development, numeracy, attendance and educational outcomes.”

He added some of the children who have learned to play an instrument since 2014 with the project have continued playing.

While celebrating this milestone is important,  Rhys and the Codi’r Tô board are also planning for the future.

“Over the past year, Codi’r Tô has conducted a thrilling Samba workshop with every primary school across Gwynedd, bringing vibrant rhythms and joyful music to energise and inspire every year five pupil in the county.

“It’s important as we reach our 10 years to move forward and reflect on our journey and learn from the paths we took and set the compass and plan our route for the next 10 years

“We are currently working on a long term three to five year project idea to develop Codi’r Tô in the future and to highlight Codi’r Tô, the only El Sistema project in Wales, as a project of international importance.

Rhys added “We are also keen to hear from volunteers interested in supporting our music sessions in schools and our community after school clubs.

“Our long term vision for the project will require volunteer support  and our team of professional music leaders will be able to provide guidance and   development of high quality and positive volunteering opportunities.

“As part of our 10 years we are working with Creadigol, design to undertake are-brand to take the company on its journey to the next 10 years.”

The Codi’r Tô project is a registered charity and is backed by various organisations including  Welsh Government Taith Fund, the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund, Cyngor Gwynedd, National Lottery Community Fund, Thomas Howell Education Fund,  Garfield Weston, Moondance Foundation, and Postcode Community Trust as well as Ysgol Maesincla and Ysgol Glancegin.