Betws Community Choir performed with the Gemini Choir in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the Goldstar Awards Ceremony at the Senedd in Cardiff on St David’s Day. Betws Community Choir was invited to perform, to sing and celebrate this innovative cultural collaboration project in the presence of the First Minister:
“I am delighted to send my first St David’s Day greetings as First Minister of Wales to everyone for March 1st and I welcome the celebrations taking place across the world for Wales’ National Day… We look forward to welcoming the world to Wales during 2010. I wish you all a happy St David’s Day. Dydd Gwyl Dewi hapus i bawb!”
Betws Community Choir performed both Welsh and Ethiopian Songs, with short film inserts as part of the concert showing the Gemini Choir performing Ar Lan Yr Mor, which was one of their favourite songs.
The link between Valley and Vale Community Arts and the Ethiopian Gemini Trust started in 2003; 3 young people aged 16-18 from South Wales had the opportunity to go with 2 film for development workers from Valley and Vale to work with Gem and Gemini Youth to make a short film together ‘Youth in Focus’. It was a unique opportunity for young people from very different cultures to come together and share their stories, interests and skills. The film looked at issues that affect teenagers both in Wales and Ethiopia.
In October 2009, with the support of the Goldstar Cultural Exchange Fund, we sent our Community Choir facilitator Laura Bradshaw to Addis Ababa to work with the Ethiopian Gemini Trust, a charity supporting families with twins in Ethiopia. The aim of this trip was to set up a Gemini Community Choir, working with musicians from the Gemini Trust, and linking up with the Betws Community Choir in the Garw Valley.
Valley and Vale has a reputation for using creative arts to release potential and change lives, it prioritises working with young people and communities who are marginalised, vulnerable and at risk. The Ethiopian Gemini Trust also invests in its young people, and runs an innovative/ground breaking youth programme. Set up in 1987 to save and support twins born to needy families in Addis Ababa, Gemini directly helps over 2,000 families in the most deprived parts of Addis Ababa, which is over 11,000 people. On a daily basis over 300 young people come to Gemini to take part in community arts activities, dance, music, drama, film making. Following on from the success of Youth in Focus, Valley and Vale were invited to run animation workshops with Gem Art artists and young film makers, all beneficiaries of the Ethiopian Gemini Trust.
Valley and Vale Community Arts and the Ethiopian Gemini Trust are committed to working together, to develop our link, and to continue to promote respect and understanding between different countries and cultures.
For more information contact Alex Bowen, Director, Valley and Vale Community Arts [email protected]. 01656 729246