A talented singer and choral conductor whose passion is sharing her love of music with her local community has been honoured with a top award.
Jenny Pearson is the first ever recipient of the new Pendine Arts and Community Trust Award for Music announced at the prestigious 2022 annual Welsh Music Guild awards ceremony in Cardiff.
Jenny works extensively across North Wales as a bilingual freelance singer, choral conductor, singing teacher, vocal animateur and workshop facilitator for many organisations including the pioneering Pendine Park care organisation, Welsh National Opera, National Youth Choir of Wales, Only Boys Aloud, NEW Sinfonia Voices and the NHS.
Among her most recent projects has been an NHS-backed scheme helping sufferers of Long Covid use singing exercises to improve their breathing techniques and lung strength.
Coincidentally Jenny was unable to attend the Welsh Music Guild ceremony in person as her husband of 19 years, scientist Andrew Norton, was diagnosed with Covid at the time. Jenny also subsequently caught the virus.
Both are now recovered but Jenny says she can still feel its after-effects on her throat and is using the breathing exercises she has learned during her music career to help recuperate.
Jenny, 47, is originally from Treuddyn, near Mold, but now lives in Bethesda with Andrew and their nine year old daughter, Francesca.
She was delighted when old friend and fellow musician Nia Davies Williams was able to step in and accept the award on Jenny’s behalf.
Nia, an accomplished harpist, pianist and composer, is Musician in Residence at Pendine Park’s flagship dementia care facility, Bryn Seiont Newydd, Caernarfon.
She said she was thrilled that Jenny had become the first recipient of the Pendine Arts and Community Trust Award for Music, adding: “Jenny puts in so much work in all she does and is a true advocate of all things music in North Wales. This award is richly deserved. When I heard she was the winner I could not think of anyone more perfect for it.
“Originally I was scheduled to present the award to Jenny at the ceremony but when she couldn’t make it I gladly switched roles to accept it on her behalf.
“Later I was thrilled to invite Jenny and her family to Bryn Seiont Newydd so I could officially hand it over.”
Nia recalled having been amazed by Jenny’s energy levels when she ran a musical workshop sponsored by Pendine Park at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod a few years ago.
She said: “There were so many children joining in that I don’t know how Jenny kept on top of all that was going on. But her enthusiasm for music was just infectious and all those in attendance followed her lead. It was a tremendous day. She has such a presence when she gets into the groove, making workshops fun and memorable. She is a hugely talented singer and an ideal music coach.”
Jenny has also worked with the acclaimed New Voices project of NEW Sinfonia orchestra founded by Wrexham born brothers Robert and Jonathan Guy.
The project brought together a vocal ensemble including scores of amateur singers who Jenny helped get ready to perform as part of the 50th North Wales International Music Festival in St Asaph Cathedral which runs from September 17 to October 1.
Jenny’s family, including her dad, Bryan Pearson, of Treuddyn, were over the moon to see the framed Pendine Arts and Community Trust Award for Music certificate in Jenny’s hands.
Her husband, Andrew, said: “We are all enormously proud. We have seen over the years how hard Jenny works and how much passion she puts into spreading her love of music to all ages, beginners and advanced. She selflessly gives so much to the local community that it is wonderful to see her work and her endless commitment acknowledged in this way.”
Jenny said she felt hugely honoured to receive the award.
She said: “It is not just for me but for all the people I work with who put in so much effort and bring such enthusiasm to my classes, workshops and coaching events.
“It’s also a tribute to the choirs I work with including my lovely chamber choir, Kana (the old Cornish word for sing).”
The Pendine Arts and Community Trust was established to support cultural pursuits and community activities by Pendine Park owners Mario Kreft MBE and his wife, Gill, who are making it their mission to help spread the message about the value of the arts.
Mario said: “Jenny is a true champion of music and realises how beneficial music is to the community as a whole, whether through people singing or playing an instrument, or through listening, becoming absorbed in the all-encompassing sound of music.”
He added that one reason they established the Trust and sponsoring of awards like the Welsh Music Guild one was to support the often unsung good work of arts and music organisations and individuals who bring boundless pleasure to communities.
He said: “We want to shine a light on how their work benefits social integration. Social care and the arts go hand in hand in enriching lives across the generations and promoting well-being. We are passionate about using the arts, whether visual or musical, to enrich the lives of our residents and staff alike.”
The Welsh Music Guild awards are held annually, with previous winners in different categories having included renowned names such as international pianist Llyr Williams, of Wrexham.