Welsh National Opera’s Singing Doctors are showing that music is the best medicine

28 March 2013

PRESS RELEASE: 9 January 2013

Singers from Welsh National Opera (WNO) are hoping their music will boost health and well-being in North Wales with their Singing Doctors project based at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

WNO's ‘doctors’: Dr Aria, Dr Diva, Dr Divo, Dr Drama, Dr Forte, Dr Keys, Dr Song, Dr Songbird and Nurse Notes, will make fortnightly visits to the Alzheimer, Mental Health and Children wards of the hospital.

The project follows on from WNO’s innovative Alzheimer project which was awarded a Certificate of Commendation by the Royal Society for Public Health Arts for its significant health outcomes. Singing Doctors builds on that project and extends its reach to diverse groups of patients and engages with people of all ages. It forms part of WNO’s three year programme of community work in North Wales.

During their rounds of the wards, waiting areas and day rooms they sing music from a range of musical genres and invite patients, visitors and staff to participate, be that vocally, instrumentally with percussion instruments or with props such as puppets. The Singing Doctors work one-to-one, in groups and offer choral sessions. This provides an opportunity for self-expression, emotional relief and entertainment at what can be a difficult time.

Singing Doctors will also visit the Macmillan Information Centre which gives practical and emotional support, as well as medical information to those affected by cancer. The ‘doctors’ will offer a Good Vibrations session which provides uplifting singing sessions for patients, family and friends who are living with, or have previously suffered from cancer.

Elizabeth Aylett (Head of Arts Therapies and Lead for Arts in Health & Wellbeing) says “This is a fantastic opportunity for the Betsi Cadwaladr health board to work with such a high calibre national arts organisation and to be part of the Wrexham counties community and education work. Taking part and having first hand experience of fun singing being performed whilst being in hospital or attending one of our healthcare venues, will be an enhancing experience and improve general wellbeing.”  

A Wrexham based carehome, Pendine Park are WNO Gold Community Champions who directly help deliver creative activities for North Wales by supporting the work of WNO's Youth and Community Department. As part of their Community Champion membership they sponsor the Singing Doctors project. Dr Diva and Dr Divo will be banishing the January blues with Pendine Park residents on 17th January 2013. 

Singing Doctors runs in Wrexham until June 2013.

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Notes to Editors
• Welsh National Opera is the national opera company for Wales. WNO is funded by the Arts Councils of Wales and England to provide large scale opera across Wales and to major cities in the English regions.

• For more information or interviews please contact Lowri Pugh-Morgan, Press Officer on 029 20635037 lowri.pugh-morgan@wno.org.uk or Daryl Jenner, Senior Press Officer on 029 20635038 or daryl.jenner@wno.org.uk

• Throughout 2011-2014, WNO is making North Wales a focus for a variety of projects aimed at creating a closer connection between the company and new audiences across the country.

• WNO’s community and education projects in North Wales are supported by the WNO Community Champions, Michael Marks Charitable Trust and BBC Children in Need Appeal
• Singing Doctors is sponsored by Pendine Park Care Organisation, Wrexham.

• Pendine Park Care Organisation and Welsh National Opera have received an investment from A&B Cymru’s CultureStep to develop their creative partnership. CultureStep is made possible by funding from the Welsh Government and the Arts Council of Wales.

• The project is a collaboration with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board`s Arts in Health & Wellbeing Programme.

For further information on this programme of work, or to get involved in any of the activities please contact:
Claire Cressey, WNO MAX Producer claire.cressey@wno.org.uk 029 2063 5061 or Elizabeth Aylett, BCUHB Arts in Health & Wellbeing Programme Manager Elizabeth.Aylett@wales.nhs.uk 01248 682567.

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