A Penarth choir raised £300 in support of Refugee Week for local charities Croeso Penarth and Sharedydd with a concert of music inspired by the recent Royal Wedding.

The concert entitled ‘United’ was staged during Refugee Week on Monday 18 June, marrying works by American and British composers, performed by Spectrum Singers. Earlier this year, the chamber choir premiered a new choral work celebrating the Vale on BBC Radio 3, as part of the Making Music’s prestigious Adopt a Composer project.

Musical director David Hutchings said: “We first performed this concert programme on the day of the Royal Wedding and it was amazing how many elements of the day were reflected in the music – from Californian blue skies and sunshine in a Beach Boys medley to a show-stopping Deep South spiritual worthy of Michael Curry. We even had a bit of McCartney to round off the evening…”

Crisis, the national charity for homeless people, was one of the charities chosen to benefit from donations marking the wedding of Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle. In line with the royal couple’s charitable causes, Croeso Penarth is working towards providing a safe home for a Syrian refugee family, whilst Sharedydd arranges temporary accommodation with volunteer hosts for those seeking asylum.

A number of Spectrum Singers’ choristers take every opportunity to raise their voices in support of refugees and asylum seekers, including singing at the annual ‘Sanctuary in the Senedd’ event.

Baritone David Bacon supports Sharedydd and the Wales-wide Nation of Sanctuary project. He said: “With so many people world-wide fleeing conflict or persecution it’s great to be able to do something, however small, to help those who come to our locality to rebuild their lives and in time contribute to our community.

“So many Members of the Welsh Assembly and Government want to do what they can to provide a welcome to those seeking sanctuary here and so I was delighted that we could help in this year’s choral invitation to our annual ‘Sanctuary in the Senedd’ awareness-raising event.”

Soprano Mary Bidnell is a professionally qualified Reiki therapist who works for the charity Healing Hands, which sends volunteer care professionals to work with people suffering from the trauma and terrible consequences of war or disaster.

“This June will be my ninth year of volunteering in Sarajevo; the need there and in other parts of Bosnia is still intense,” says Mary. “Rape or torture, extensive land mines, the loss of homes and loved ones have taken a huge toll. The physical and mental scars take a long time to heal.

“Therapies include massage, reflexology, aromatherapy and Reiki. The work is exacting, exhausting, exhilarating and incredibly rewarding. I’ve been able to help people to help themselves and have experienced such positive and encouraging results, enabling people to rebuild their lives.” 

Further information: www.spectrumsingers.org.uk

Photo: Spectrum Singers at Dyffryn Gardens