Care home residents were accompanied by a world class orchestra when they sang Christmas carols to celebrate the festive season.
The Pendine Park care organisation in Wrexham has collaborated with the renowned Hallé orchestra for the past eight years, using the power of music to inspire the residents, relatives and staff alike.
Residents from several care homes came together for the Yule tide musical treat with the Manchester-based orchestra which was founded in 1858 by Sir Charles Hallé.
The partnership with the Hallé was organised by Arts & Business Cymru and is part of Pendine Park’s arts and sports programme.
According to artist in residence, Sarah Edwards, the annual Halle Christmas party is an event everybody eagerly looks forward to.
She said: “The Christmas party we hold with The Hallé is always a highlight of the Christmas period. It’s a way to engage with residents and get everyone in the Christmas spirit.
“Staff and residents have dressed in their Christmas outfits and have really enjoyed singing carols and Christmas songs. We have three members of The Hallé here playing music and leading the party.
“All the Pendine Park homes here at the Summerhill Road site are taking part and it’s been an amazing morning with lots of singing, dancing and fun.”
Ann Williams, of Bangor-on-Dee, enjoyed concert while visiting her mum, Highfield House resident Thelma Williams, 91.
She said: “It was lovely seeing residents so involved and enjoying the music and singing. Mum certainly enjoyed it and it was quite nostalgic and helped remember past Christmases.
“Mum even enjoyed conducting the musicians. It really has been a lovely occasion and it’s fabulous seeing residents involved and enjoying themselves.”
Penybryn resident Sian Walley, 45, really enjoyed singing Christmas songs.
She said: “I always like seeing the musicians from the Halle coming here. We have had a really good party and it’s been great singing all the Christmas carols.”
Oboe player and pianist Hugh McKennaalways looks forward to visiting Pendine Park.
He said: “The Christmas party is always an enjoyable event but normally on our visits throughout the year we take part in interactive music sessions with residents which are equally enjoyable.
“Music is a great way of communicating with people, particularly with those suffering dementia.
“Christmas is amazing and it’s lovely playing music for people in an intimate setting rather than on a stage.”
It was a sentiment echoed by violinist Caroline Abbott said: “I absolutely love visiting Pendine Park and playing for residents. Out of 10 the experience always scores an 11 as far as I am concerned.
“Music makes such a difference and it’s always a real pleasure to see the response it’s just wonderful.”
Cellist David Petri, who has worked with Pendine Park from the outset, added: “Visiting this wonderful place is one of the best things we do. I really enjoy playing traditional Christmas songs and seeing the reaction of residents. It’s just amazing and shows the power of music.”
The Hallé’s education director, Steve Pickett, was amazed by the musical skills of the residents.
He said: “I have watched one resident enjoying conducting the musicians and she was absolutely spot-on in terms of musical beat.
“It’s about getting everyone together and enjoying music as a group. There’s plenty of singing. The musicians enjoy the event as its intimate and it’s wonderful to see how much residents get out of it.”
Enrichment and activities co-ordinator Olivia Thomas added said: “It has been a really memorable occasion and the residents have had an absolutely brilliant time.”