We reach hundreds of people each year across Devon. For 40 years we have brought together people from all walks of life, building new communities with music. We welcome everyone, working hard to reach people who may not have the same opportunities as others.
Our expertise and understanding of people, education and music means we offer an inclusive but tailored approach. Our team of professional musicians are experts in voice and instruments, and they are trained in community music. The musicians write and arrange folk music to be accessible to the group they are working with. All our musicians can work with everyone, so they may be rehearsing with an adult choir for a concert one day, and songwriting with children in an SEN/D school the next. The sessions will be different, but the level of inclusivity and musical creativity will be the same. And all our work is equally important.
We provide an opportunity for everyone to have music in their lives. We help people become active music creators rather than passive music consumers.
We make music with children in their early years, go into schools and colleges, work with children with physical and learning disabilities, looked after children and teenagers. Work with young people can range from trying out new ways to make sound, or writing songs about a curriculum topic, through to expert tuition in vocal and instrumental folk techniques in the Devon Youth Folk Ensemble.
Our adult choirs and orchestra have no auditions because we believe music, and making music, is for everyone. Members do not need to read music or have any musical background to feel part of the group. And everyone gets the opportunity to perform.
We reach people at all points of life and it’s never too late to start making music. We make music with older adults in care homes. We listen to their stories and help them share the songs and music they loved throughout their life.
Our focus is on folk and traditional music. Collecting, preserving, reviving and sharing. We believe feeling connected with your cultural heritage is important to knowing who we are and contributing to self-confidence. By having confidence in ourselves, we can be excited to explore the similarities and differences with others and be part of the evolving living tradition.
Believing in a ‘living tradition’ does not just mean singing old songs and playing old tunes. We use folk techniques and traditional song models to add to the folk cannon, writing the lives of people today into the folk songs of tomorrow.
Over the decades, Wren Music has nurtured connections with international partners across Europe (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Sardinia, Latvia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria), in Newfoundland and South Africa. The more we travel the better we understand English traditional folk songs and music through sharing and comparing with others.
Wren Music is deeply embedded in English folk music. We have a special relationship with the Baring-Gould Folk Song Collection, which inspired the launch of our annual folk festival back in 1999. This important collection was made by Revd. Sabine Baring-Gould, in Devon and Cornwall in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. We have made the Baring-Gould Folk Song Collection available via the EFDSS Full English online archive.
We have additional information for funders available here.