Wynne Evans – ambassador for Welsh National Opera’s new dementia choir

Opera singer, broadcaster and 2023 Celebrity MasterChef winner Wynne Evans has been announced as the ambassador for Welsh National Opera’s Cradle choirs.

The company’s Cradle programme provides community singing groups for people living with dementia, and offers a space for families and carers to enjoy the shared benefits of music and song on a weekly basis.

The project aims to use the skills of WNO’s professional singers and musicians to help people living with dementia to stay engaged and interested in their surroundings, while also ensuring that their carers and loved ones find relief from the day-to-day challenges associated with the illness.

WNO first launched Cradle with a community choir in spring 2019. This pilot took place in Swansea and has since expanded to choirs in Milford Haven and Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire. From Tuesday 19 September a new Cradle choir will be launched in Llanelli, in partnership with Carmarthenshire Theatres and with the help of Wynne Evans.

The singer will play a key role in raising awareness for this vital dementia support service and will also be an advocate for Cradle’s work in Welsh communities, which includes year-round associated projects with primary and secondary school children.

Wynne said: ‘I am delighted to be involved with this project. I have always been passionate about community singing and throughout my career I have seen first-hand the benefits that music and song can have on people’s mental and physical health.

‘Cradle provides such a worthwhile service to people living with dementia but also for their families and carers, so I really am thrilled to become an ambassador for this work.’

Vocal leader David Fortey and pianist Mark Jones will be leading sessions at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli across an eight-week period. During these one-hour sessions, members will sing through a range of music, from pop to folk and hymns to arias.

WNO producer Jennifer Hill said: ‘We’re delighted to be able to pilot a new Cradle choir in Llanelli. Members of our existing choirs in Milford Haven and Llandeilo tell us how much they value the companionship and fun they have singing together on a weekly basis, and so being able to further extend the reach to another area and a more urban setting is very exciting.

‘We’ve been very lucky to have support on the ground from fantastic people and organisations who are embedded in their communities and hope to be able to add to their amazing work.’

To get more information about Cradle choirs or to attend the upcoming sessions in Llanelli, email Jennifer.hill@wno.org.uk

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