‘Hidden Talents’ is Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias’ integrated music project for individuals with learning disabilities. This project came to life when the lack of music provision for adults with learning difficulties within the north Wales area became evident to CGWM and musician and retired headmaster of specialist school Arfon Wyn. The project was established in 2003 with the support of Arts Council of Wales and Gwynedd Council Social Service Team.
Since then the project has become an asset to the lives of a number of adults in the area as well as being an inspiration to all involved. Under the direction of Arfon Wyn, the members meet weekly to sing and play various instruments and create their own improvised music performances often based on Welsh folk songs. Some members have invested in their own instruments to enable them to further develop their skills at home. Arfon believes very strongly in creating an integrated environment. Guest musicians, as well as students from Bangor University and Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias often join the classes to work
alongside the members.
Exciting innovations relating to the project have included visits by other art practitioners such as visual artist Mari Gwent and Dawns i Bawb dancer who worked with Arfon and the groups to create art work and dance inspired by the music. The project has recently been extended to Pwllheli and Denbighshire (through collaboration with Denbighshire Arts Services) and a Junior Hidden Talents pilot group for children established in Caernarfon.
The groups are given the opportunity to share their music with others through public performances at Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias’ concerts at Galeri Caernarfon, as well as at other centres in the community and further afiel
d. Highlights include performances at the Senedd in Cardiff as part of Arts & Business Cymru’s Arts@Senedd, the National Eisteddfod, the 2013 North Wales International Music Festival in St Asaph Cathedral, and a feature on S4C’s Welsh programme ‘Heno’. In 2013, ‘Hidden Talents’ was awarded the Bryn Terfel Foundation Wales Care Award for promoting the Arts in Social Care at the Wales Care Awards Ceremony held at Cardiff City Hall, where the groups performed.
Hidden Talents is an important part of Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias' Arts Council revenue funded programme and sessions held in Gwynedd receive some financial support through Gwynedd Council’s Strategic fund for the Arts. The Denbighshire classes are part funded through Denbighshire Council and the ACW Lottery Fund. CGWM work hard throughout the year to secure funds that enable the project to continue and develop in the future as the provision is offered free of charge to the participants.
In the past grants and donations have been received from various trust funds and other sources including the Wales Millennium Stadium Trust, HSBC, Chapman Trust, Ratcliff Foundation, Laspen trust, Davies Charity, the Trusthouse Charitable Foundation and the Watkin Jones community fund. Please contact us for further information or if you wish to support ‘Hidden Talents’.