As we close on 2021 we wanted to reflect on some of the projects we have done this year, and we are delighted so many of you could be a part of them.
It feels a long time ago now, but we started 2021 still locked down in our houses, and delivering our music online.
During this time over 250 people from around the world joined our online Sea Shanty and Sea Songs mini-course, and 180 people joined us for online Wassailing!
In March, we sang virtually with Seth Lakeman in his song ‘How We Remember’ as part of the A Song For Us project, marking one year since England first went into lockdown. This wasn’t our only national media appearance though, as we also featured on a BBC Radio 5 Live segment about those doing good work during the lockdown. Plus one of our original Her Story songs had a snippet played on BBC Radio 2!
As the year progressed we slowly started making music in person again. We launched our Instrument Picnics, music sessions for under 5s in Okehampton and Honiton. During the summer we ran Junk Band sessions across Devon, making new music with local families. The year also saw the Devon Youth Folk Ensemble launch, for singers and players aged 13-18.
Our adult choirs and orchestras also came back together in person, firstly with some one-off events, including singing during the Sidmouth Folk Week celebrations. Finally, we returned to our regular weekly and monthly meetings from September.
In October our Folk Festival was back! Over 100 people joined us at folk music and dance events in Okehampton. We enjoyed visiting artists, dance sides, workshops, concerts and ceilidhs. Of course, we had our conker competition, and it all came with some great food and drink!
Our often less seen work with schools also resumed. Working with pupils of all ages, plus our All Together Now project connecting with S/END schools across Plymouth. Our work with a school in Barnstaple put us on a BBC Spotlight feature about Children in Need supported projects. We also started working with Care Homes again, bringing music-making to the residents.
Alongside all this, 2021 also saw Wren Music get a brand new logo and website! We’ve integrated the online element we had used during lockdown with our in-person groups, and continue to use technology to reach more people.
We continued to face challenges and uncertainty throughout the year and are grateful to our community for your support and understanding throughout this time. We expect challenges will still come in the new year, but we have lots of things in the pipeline and hope you will continue to support and join us.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us in 2021. Whether you made a donation, volunteered at our festival, helped us spruce up our office, joined one of our music groups, attended an event, saw us perform, or just told someone about us! We’d love to hear your favourite Wren memories of the year.
We wish you are happy new year and hope to make music with you in 2022!