‘Hidden Talents (Doniau Cudd) is our creative music project for adults who have learning disabilities. The project was established in 2003 with the support of Arts Council of Wales and Gwynedd Council Social Service Team after it was brought to our attention that once young people who have learning disabilites left school where music was an important part of their eductaion, there was very little opportunity to take part in music activity.
The project has become an important part of the lives of many adults in the area as well as being an inspiration to all involved. Under the direction of Arfon Wyn, who has worked in special schools for many years, the members meet weekly to sing and play various instruments and create their own improvised music 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 and students from Bangor University and Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias often join the classes to perform alongside the members.
The project has attracted interest from other regions of North Wales. We have delivered similar sessions for adults who have learning disabilities in Denbighshire in partnership with Denbighshire Arts Services and a few times a year we deliver music sessions in the Clwb Ni social club for people who have learning disabilities in Pwllheli.
Over the years the groups have enjoyed opportunities to work with other art practitioners including visual artist Mari Gwent and dancers from Dawns i Bawb who created art work and dance inspired by the music.
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 afield.
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 our Arts Council revenue funded programme and sessions held in Gwynedd receive some financial support through Gwynedd Council’s Strategic fund for the Arts. We work hard throughout the year to secure funds from other trusts and foundations to enable the project to continue and develop. 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’.