Only Boys Aloud make dream come true for care home resident Margaret
A long held dream came true for a beaming Margaret Matthews when internationally famous choir Only Boys Aloud sang their hearts out for residents of a Merthyr Tydfil care home.
Margaret, 74, made a special wish to see a Welsh choir perform live and her hopes became reality when members of the Merthyr and Tredegar branches of Only Boys Aloud gave a rousing performance at Greenhill Manor Care Home, Pentrebach, Merthyr Tydfil.
A delighted Margaret did not just get to see them perform but she had the chance to meet the choir members, have her photo taken with them and sing along with the boys too.
Margaret is a resident of Regency House Care Home, Cardiff, owned by Hallmark care organisation which also runs Greenhill Manor.
The visit came about because of the Home for Christmas project devised by Only Boys Aloud founder Tim Rhys-Evans MBE.
In conjunction with Care Forum Wales, they have been staging their rehearsals in the care homes with residents and staff for several weeks leading up to a seasonal concert. The project was launched at the Wales Care Awards in Cardiff.
Greenhill customer relationship manager Mitchell Minney said: “Hallmark has a policy of asking residents to make a wish every year. They write down their wish and as an organisation we do our best to make as many of those wishes come true as possible. Margaret’s wish had been to see a choir perform live and we’re thrilled that we were able to make her dream come true.”
Margaret was one of two residents from Regency House who joined the overjoyed inhabitants of Greenhill Manor Care Home for the evening to see Only Boys Aloud perform a very special Christmas concert.
“It was just brilliant,” added Mitchell. “I’ve been here eight years and I’ve never seen anything like it. Our residents were singing and dancing. They were joyous and the boys were fantastic with them, mingling and chatting with the residents of their own accord. If they were older I’d offer them all jobs!”
The choir was led by Only Boys Aloud team leaders Michelle Diamond and Paul Rothwell whose hearts swelled with pride at the reception they received.
Michelle, a teacher in Rhymney, said: “It was just such an inspiring and heart-warming evening. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house, especially when the boys were singing Calon Lân. It was incredibly moving.”
The concert was part of a ‘Home for Christmas’ series of events was organised via Care Forum Wales, which represents more than 450 care homes, nursing homes and other independent health and social care providers across Wales.
It arranged for the Only Boys Aloud choirs to perform at a number of facilities throughout the principality, including Greenhill Manor.
From Silent Night to White Christmas, a bi-lingual Oh Come All ye Faithful, and the choir’s moving original composition Try Again, there was a festive spirit throughout the night, which was also attended by Merthyr MP Gerald Jones. His young nephew, Jack Jones, also joined in the music, playing electric guitar with the choir for some of the numbers.
Michelle said: “Only Boys Aloud has achieved so much since its formation, from singing at the war graves in Ypres, Belgium, just a few weeks ago, to Britain’s Got Talent and even performing on a cruise ship. Those were massive occasions for us, but these more intimate concerts are just as special.
“Through rehearsing there over recent week’s the boys have got to know Greenhill Manor’s residents and staff personally and made good friends, so performing for them was really significant and stirred the emotions of every member of the choir.
“We could see in people’s eyes – residents, their families, Greenhill Manor staff and our choir members – how much the night meant to them. It will be an occasion we’ll all remember for years to come.”
One resident of the younger persons’ facility at Greenhill Manor was determined not to miss the occasion no matter what. Lisa James had been out on a group visit to Winter Wonderland and made it back just in time to join in some of the final sing-a-long numbers.
“She was determined,” said Mitchell. “I met her in the corridor on her way back and she yelled at me to move out of the way as she wheeled her wheelchair into the main hall, then did a reverse turn right into the centre of the choir before she started singing along with them.”
Michelle added: “It was incredible to watch, but she was superb. She knows all the words to their songs and the choir call her their ‘superfan’. They were thrilled she made it back in time.”
Mario Kreft MBE, the chair of Care Forum Wales, said: “We are delighted to be able to support this excellent, world renowned young choir which now has branches all over Wales.
“They epitomise the extremely high standard of young singing and musical talent we have in our country. It is a privilege to be able to offer them a platform on which to perform. And of course the joy they bring to hundreds of care home residents is immense. We thank them tremendously for all the hard work they put in to organising these events.”
The Only Boys Aloud organisation became world renowned after appearing on television’s Britain’s Got Talent 2012 in which they finished third. It was founded by artistic director Tim Rhys-Evans and now encompasses more than 200 boys aged from 13-19 in 14 choirs across Wales. For more information visit: http://www.aloud.cymru
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