New Community Orchestra for Caernarfon Strikes a Chord During First Meeting

New Community Orchestra for Caernarfon Strikes a Chord During First Meeting

A new instrumental ensemble for adults held in Caernarfon, the Caernarfon Community Orchestra held its very first rehearsal on Tuesday the 5th of March.

Under the direction of the cellist, Nicki Pearce from Colwyn Bay and with Steven Evans, originally from Caernarfon as répetiteur the Community Orchestra meets on Tuesday evenings from 8:00pm – 9:15pm at Theatr Seilo in Caernarfon.

Sixteen members attended the first rehearsal with another 3 joining the second week.

It has been a dream for many years for Nicki Pearce, the orchestra leader to establish an orchestra for adults. Nicki said:

“I’m thrilled that I’ve finally been able to establish a community-based orchestra here in Caernarfon for adults.”

“There are so many adult learners who have been receiving one-to-one music tuition and this is a brilliant way for them to come together and have fun through music.”

“Also it is a great way for adults who have maybe not touched their instruments for years to pick it up again and have a go in a friendly and supportive environment.”

This new venture is organised by Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias which is based at Galeri Caernarfon and provides high quality music tuition, as well as organising a variety of community events throughout Wales.

Talking about the new orchestra, the director of Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias, Meinir Llwyd recognised the need for such an ensemble in Caernarfon:

“Nicki Pearce and I had been discussing for a while the possibility of establishing an orchestra that would provide opportunities for adults to come together, to socialise and enjoy creating music.

“Steven Evans who has recently started teaching piano at the Centre, also expressed an interest in being involved.”

“It’s interesting to see that the number of adults receiving one-to-one lessons at Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias has increased over recent years, which is very good news.”

“However, we also recognised the need to provide more opportunities for the adults receiving one-to-one lessons to also take part in group tuition as well as encouraging those who may have once played an instrument – perhaps whilst they were children to take up their instruments again.”

One member that enjoyed the first rehearsal was Gwyneth M Davies from Benllech that plays Bb Cornet.

“It is only recently that I have started having lessons, though I’ve been playing for around ten years.”

“I love music – I am a keen member of the LSW Band as well as Côr Hamdden Mathias – a women’s choir that meet on a Thursday afternoon in Caernarfon.”

“To be honest I was quite nervous before the first rehearsal – not quite sure what to expect.”

“But we’ve jelled as a Group and I’ve made new friends – we’re all very supportive of each other and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.”

“The conductor Nicki Pearce is wonderful – she knows our different levels, and takes that into consideration when choosing pieces. It made me feel great that I could play the part I had.”

“I’ve also been encouraging my friends to join – they have an interest and are always asking how the rehearsals are going – I hope they’ll come and give it a go.”

One of the members who enjoyed the first rehearsal was Desmond Burton from Bangor. Desmond is an English language tutor at Bangor University and has previously taught English language overseas for almost 25 years. Desmond said:

“Regardless of your experience and level, if you think you’d enjoy playing music with others, come and join us in the Community Orchestra. Lots of us have never played in an orchestra before, so don’t be put off by the thought that everyone else will be better than you, because they probably won’t be!”

Nicki Pearce and Steven Evans were both very pleased to see such a variety of instruments. According to Steven:

“I did think that we might struggle to find woodwind and brass instrumentalists – but we had no trouble whatsoever – although we could do with some more violinists!”

Since the first rehearsal more members have now joined and a warm welcome awaits any other new members wishing to join the orchestra.

A new series of Caernarfon Community Orchestra will begin on the 9th of April.

To register and for more information members are encouraged to contact Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias (01286 685 230 /

Establishing the Caernarfon Community Orchestra

Establishing the Caernarfon Community Orchestra

Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias (Music Centre) is pleased to announce that it will be establishing a new community orchestra especially for adults.

The first rehearsal will take place at Theatr Seilo Caernarfon on the 5th of March, starting at 8:00pm.

The orchestra will be led by cellist Nicki Pearce, who has been looking forward to establishing an instrumental music group for adults for some time.

Nicki, who also teaches the cello at Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias said: “This will be a community orchestra for adults – and I would like to encourage anyone who perhaps have been receiving lessons for a few years, or perhaps those who have been playing for a while to join in the fun!”

Also joining Nicki will be Steven Evans, as a répétiteur for the orchestra.

Anyone who are interested in joining should contact Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias as soon as possible. You will need to register beforehand.

Call for Musicians

Call for Musicians

We want to hear from musicians who would be interested in delivering music sessions as part of our ‘Canfod y Gan / Discover the Song’ project which aims to bring disabled and non-disabled people together to participate in music activities. More information.

Call for Musicians

A Call for External Evaluators

Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias (CGWM) has recently secured funding from Spirit of 2012 Music Challenge Fund ( to deliver a three year programme ‘Canfod y Gân / Discover the Song’ which will bring disabled and non-disabled people (aged 16+) together to participate as equals in regular music activities with the aim of improving mental health and wellbeing.
CGWM will work in partnership with Gwynedd Council’s Learning Disabilities team who will refer individuals who have learning disabilities to the project.
We are now seeking an independent evaluator to work with us throughout the project to:

• gather evidence of its impact,
• assist with the preparation of reports to the funder,
• help us to share our learning.

For more information please see the link to the tender.

A Feast of Music: Elain Rhys & Friends

A Feast of Music: Elain Rhys & Friends

Come and enjoy an evening full of musical variety with the talented student from Bodedern, Elain Rhys, and friends.

Elain has chosen to hold this event in order to raise money for the Friends of the William Mathias Music Centre who are responsible for administrating the Bursary Fund in order to ensure that children in North Wales have access to music education of the highest standard.

Joining Elain Rhys in the concert will be Triawd Edern, Glesni Rhys, Ann Peters Jones, as well as some of the students who receive lessons at Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias.

Elain said: “It’s wonderful that my family and friends have agreed to support the Friends of CGWM charity by taking part in this special concert. I’m really looking forward for the concert.”

Triawd Edern voice ensemble consists of Elain, her sister Glesni and her friend Annest Mair Jones. It was formed in 2014, and has gained considerable success over the years, performing on Noson Lawen on S4C, as well as coming first in the National Eisteddfod in Bodedern and performing in concerts throughout North Wales.

Elain, who is a Music student at Bangor University, will also perform solo pieces on the harp and piano in the concert.

According to Elain “I have been very lucky over the years to have music teachers of the highest standard at Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias, including Elinor Bennett and Iwan Llewelyn-Jones, who have inspired me to go on and study Music at University.”

Glesni, who is 17 and is studying for her A Level has gained success as a singer. She won the Girls’ Solo for those aged under 19 at the National Eisteddfod in Cardiff last year and has also passed her Grade 8 singing exam with distinction under the direction of her mother, Ann Peters Jones. Ann is a member of the team of tutors at Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias and teaches the voice and piano.

According to Medwyn Hughes, the chairman of the Friends of CGWM, there is a great need for the Bursary Fund in order to support the musical education of children.

He said “The Friends of CGWM work hard in order to raise an ambitious sum of £5,000 each year in order to fund the Bursary. It’s wonderful to be able to support the next generation of talented musicians, but of course this wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of individuals such as Elain in order to hold fundraising events. It promises to be a fantastic evening – please come over to support!”

The concert by Elain Rhys & Friends will be held on Saturday evening 19 January 2019, 7:30pm at Ucheldre Centre, Holyhead. Tickets are £10 and are available from the Ucheldre Box Office 01407 763 361.

Cerys wins the Ben Muskett Scholarship 2018

Cerys wins the Ben Muskett Scholarship 2018

The Winner of the Ben Muskett Scholarship 2018: Cerys Edwards from Pwllglas

Cerys Edwards, a student at Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias (Ruthin branch), has been awarded this year’s scholarship from CGWM in memory of Ben Muskett. Cerys, who’s 16 years old, studies the piano with Teleri-Siân.

Cerys said, “It was a surprise to hear that I had won the Ben Muskett Scholarship. I had just performed in a concert by some of CGWM’s students and was called back to the stage to be presented with the trophy and the scholarship money.”

Congratulating Cerys, Meinir Llwyd, Director of Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias explained “Ben Muskett was an inspiring piano tutor at CGWM when he tragically died in a car accident in 2011 aged only 25. This scholarship is awarded annually to pianists under 18 years old who receive lessons at CGWM. This is our way of honouring Ben’s passion for music and teaching children and young people”

Cerys said, “Being awarded the scholarship means a great deal to me. The money will help me to buy new piano pieces that I wish to learn – including Chopin Waltzes, and Debussy Preludes as well as some jazz pieces too.”

Cerys studies music at Ysgol Brynhyfryd with Miss Llinos Williams. She started piano lessons when she was six years old with Mavis Johns, before starting lessons with Teleri-Siân in 2012.

According to Cerys, “I really enjoy coming for lessons with Teleri-Siân at CGWM and with her help, I succeeded in passing my Grade 8 piano with merit during the Summer.”

Llinos, Cerys’ mother said: “We have been very fortunate to receive piano tutors of the highest standard over the years – my son Sion, as well as Cerys’ sister, Cathrin, have enjoyed coming for piano lessons with Teleri-Siân.”

In Year 9, Cerys won the third prize in the Years 7-9 Piano Solo Competition in the Urdd National Eisteddfod in Bridgend. She is also is a faithful member of Côr Cytgan Clwyd.

Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias (Music Centre) was established in Caernarfon in 1999 and since 2012, the music centre has also been providing music lessons on Monday evenings at Theatr Twm o’r Nant, Denbigh, and since 2017, at Capel Tabernacl, Ruthin on Wednesday evenings.

The scholarship trophy was presented to Cerys during a ‘Llwyfan Cerdd’ student concert at Pwllglas Village Hall. The concert included performances by students of all ages who receive lessons at the music centre, as well as the music centre’s junior and senior harp ensembles, Telynau Clwyd under the direction of Morwen Blythin and Dylan Cernyw.

Naturally, Cerys’ piano tutor, Teleri Siân was delighted to hear the news: “It’s always a pleasure to teach Cerys the piano at CGWM. She’s a special student who’s well on her way to being a confident, and mature musician.”

Double your donations to Hidden Talents for one week only!

Double your donations to Hidden Talents for one week only!

Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias, a charity dedicated to providing experiences in music to the public is calling for the support of the local community and businesses to help reach a fundraising target of £3,000 which will be doubled during the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2017.

Any online donations made to Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias (Music Centre) between 28th November – 5th December will be doubled and will contribute to the continuity of Hidden Talents, a programme which provides opportunities in music making for adults with disabilities from the Caernarfon area. 

The project has been held successfully for over 10 years and has become immensely important to over 30 participants who attend weekly sessions at Galeri Caernarfon.  It was established in 2003 by the Music Centre and musician Arfon Wyn with support of the Arts Council of Wales and Gwynedd Council Social Services.  Local individuals living with disabilities benefit both socially and educationally. For some participants, music offers a natural means of communication in the absence of speech. Other benefits include confidence-building and opportunities for social interaction.

Take a look at this film for a taste of what the project offers.

Musician and session leader Arfon Wyn said: “I have great satisfaction from working with ‘Hidden Talents’, we improvise together musically and have made friends for life”.  

Since 2012 the project has expanded to Pwllheli and Denbighshire and in 2013 was awarded with the Bryn Terfel Foundation Wales Care Award for promoting the Arts in Social Care.

Nia Hughes from Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias said: “The project has become a real inspiration to all involved.  The individuals who attend are given opportunities to express themselves through music, and often perform to the public in events held by Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias.  Their faces as they perform is a joy to see, which emphasises the importance of this project.  Please support if you can.”

The charity works tirelessly to secure funding of up to £14k annually towards this project.  To support Hidden Talents and help continue to enrich the lives of people living with disabilities, please donate online to Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias between 28th November – 5th December 2017. For more information, contact Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias on 01286 685 230.

A Feast of Music in Ruthin!

A Feast of Music in Ruthin!

A FEAST OF MUSIC is a special concert organised by Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias which will be held at Theatr John Ambrose, Ruthin on the 3rd of February 2018 at 7:30pm.

The concert will celebrate the fact that the Music Centre has started to provide tuition in Ruthin as part of the charities effort to expand its provision in North East Wales. The Music Centre, whose primary location is situated at Galeri Caernarfon, has been providing music tuition at Theatr Twm o’r Nant Dinbych for several years and is proud to be expanding its provision to Ruthin. 

The concert will include performances from the Music Centre’s tutors, as well as present and past students who have gone on to study at music colleges and local youth choir Côr Cytgan Clwyd. Amongst the artists performing in the concert will be Rhys Meirion, Elinor Bennett, Ann Atkinson, Alfred Barker, Glian Llwyd, Teleri Siân, Morwen Blythin, Dylan Cernyw and Kate Griffiths.

The Music Centre’s singing tutor Ann Atkinson, who also is the Director of the North Wales International Music Festival and conductor of both Côr Trelawnwyd and Côr Meibion Bro Glyndwr, is looking forward to the concert:

“I’ve been teaching for Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias since 2012 when we started to provide tuition at Theatr Twm o’r Nant, Denbigh. It’s fantastic to see the Music Centre expand its provision by offering music tuition in Ruthin too.”

“I’m looking forward to sharing the stage with other tutors as well as some of the students that I have been teaching in Denbigh who have now gone on to study the voice further in music colleges.”

Three of Ann’s past students will be taking part in the concert – Tesni Jones and Lisa Davies who have gone on to study the voice in the Royal Northern College of Music and Steffan Davies who now studies Music and Welsh at Bangor University.

According to one of the Music Centre’s piano tutors, Teleri-Siân, who lives in Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd, Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias is working hard to develop its centre in Ruthin. She said:

“We have started by offering piano, singing, violin and theory lessons in Ruthin for children and adults, but we intend to expand the provision to include lessons on a variety of other instruments so it’s important that people contact us to express their interest. We will also continue to develop our provision of group activities during the next months.

“This special night of music on the 3rd of February will help to raise awareness that lessons are now available in Ruthin. Come and enjoy the feast of music!”

The Camau Cerdd (Steps in Music) project – music groups for young children has been held in Denbigh in partnership with Menter Iaith Sir Ddinbych and Denbighshire Arts Service for several years. A group for children aged between 6 months and 3 years old is held at 1:45pm at the Hwb in Denbigh and a group for children between 4 – 7 years old at Theatr Twm o’r Nant after school on Mondays.

Tickets for the concert ‘A Feast of Music’ to be held at Theatr John Ambrose on the 3rd of February at 7:30pm are now available from Siop Elfair, Ruthin and from Siop Clwyd, Denbigh. The ticket prices are £7, £6 (pensioners), £3 (children).

Music Memories to start in Bethesda & Deiniolen

Music Memories to start in Bethesda & Deiniolen

Since November 2016, Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias has been holding music sessions for older in Gellilydan and Awel y Coleg, Y Bala, led by Nia Davies Williams. Children from the local primary schools have also been taking part in Camau Cerdd sessions (Steps in Music) with Marie-Claire Howorth before joining the older generation to sing and enjoy music activities.

Since being commissioned by Gwynedd Council’s Community Arts Unit, the sessions have helped older people in rural communities come together to meet new people and enjoy music as well as raise confidence.

We’re very pleased to announce that sessions will begin in Deiniolen and Bethesda at the end of October. They are open for all older people who enjoy music to come for a cup of tea and a song. Sessions in Bethesda will begin October 27, 10:30 – 11:30 in Neuadd Ogwen, and every other week from there. Similarly, sessions i Deiniolen will begin on October 27 at 14:00 – 15:00 in Tŷ Elidir. A cup of tea will be available after each session and the local primary schools will join in the Spring 2018.

Take a look at this film for a taste of the Bala and Gellilydan activities. For further information, contact us on 01286 685 230

CGWM Chamber Choir: A welcome to new members!!

CGWM Chamber Choir: A welcome to new members!!

The Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias Chamber Choir took part in a concert at St Asaph Cathedral on Sunday the 24th of September as part of the Welsh National Opera Community Chorus and performed the Welsh premier of Oliver Tarney and Paul Mealor’s Magnificats.

“This was a great experience for the choir to be part of the WNO chorus and to sing in such a stunning location as St Asaph Cathedral” said Jenny Pearson, the choir’s conductor.

Jenny Pearson has been leading the Choir for almost a decade, and under her direction, the choir has experienced many successes, including taking part in a cultural exchange project with the Incantanti Choir from Switzerland only last year.

Some of the more ambitious and most successful performances given by the choir in recent years include: Bach Magnificat, Handel’s Zadok the Priest, Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine and Mozart’s Requiem.

Many of the choir members have gone on to sing with the National Youth Choir of Wales, WNO Youth Opera, and on to renowned conservatoires.

With several of the choir members having moved on to universities and conservatoires in September, the choir is now very eager to appeal to new members to join the team.

The choir is open to singers between 12 – 25 years of age, and Jenny Pearson is eager to emphasise that past experience of singing in choirs is not necessary in order to join:

“Côr Siambr CGWM is open to all – regardless of experience, you don’t need to be receiving singing lessons, and there’s no audition. If your child is a music geek of any sort, they’ll love it! Being a part of the choir is also of benefit for those receiving instrumental lessons – helping with aural and sight-reading skills and their knowledge of music theory.”

The first rehearsal in the series will be held for free, on Thursday the 5th of October between 4:45 – 6:00pm, at SP3, Galeri Caernarfon.

This first free rehearsal is a great opportunity for children who wish to have a taste of being a part of the choir before registering for the series, as well as having an opportunity to have an informal chat with Jenny. To register for the free taster rehearsal and to learn more about the CGWM Chamber Choir, contact 01286 685 230

Let’s stay in touch!

Let’s stay in touch!

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