Page last updated at 07:01 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

More disabled choir singers call

Gwenllian Williams is passionate about getting everyone to realise their potential
Reasonable adjustments should be made to help the disabled

A campaign is being launched to urge people who are less able bodied to join choirs, bands and orchestras.

Singer Gwenllian Williams, from Conwy, said she realised there was a lack of opportunities for disabled people in choirs and groups.

Ms Williams, who walks with the aid of crutches and uses a wheelchair, said anyone with talent should have a go.

She said it was important that people with disabilities were encouraged to join such groups by organisers.

Ms Williams, who has released two CDs, said: "There are plenty of disabled people who can sing, and it is important that everyone has a social life."

She said she thought some choirs, and other bodies, were unaware that the law states there should be "reasonable adjustments" made to accommodate those who are less able bodied.

Ms Williams' other passion is horses
Ms Williams' other passion is horses

"I'm not saying that choirs should go to someone and say 'you are disabled, come and join'. The approach should be 'I understand you can sing, would you like to join,'" she said.

"It's a case of 'you can sing, but happen to be disabled," she added.

Ms Williams wants to find out if people with disabilities have suffered discrimination when trying to join groups.

She plans to send out questionnaires as part of her Musicability campaign to gather that information.

Cyril Lewis, 82, from Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd has been a member of the Côr y Moelwyn male voice choir for 50 years.

He has arthritis and walks with the aid of two sticks.

Embarrassing

"The boys come to get me, and look after me to make sure I don't fall," he said.

He said he enjoyed being a member of the choir and had made friends all over the world travelling to places such as Germany, Norway, Brittany, and Iceland to sing.

However on occasions he has not been able to go with the choir if the venue was somewhere where there was a lot of walking required, he said.

"I'd say to anyone to join a choir as it's somewhere for them to go.

"Anyone from the conductor down will help me, and without this I'd be stuck at home," he said.

Due to his condition, he has to sit when he sings.

"People stare sometimes and it can be embarrassing, but I don't let it get to me," he added.



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