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Opera goes on the buses

Published: 10/03/2017

Local school children got serenaded when they travelled to school on Friday morning. Students at the Alun School in Mold witnessed an operatic “flash mob” on their commute to school. Also along for the ride, and supporting the initiative, were Welsh Government Economy Secretary Ken Skates and members and officers of Flintshire County Council. Welsh Government has funded the ‘Opera on the buses’ project through its ground-breaking Fusion programme. The aim of the programme is to empower and encourage people to take an active part in the arts, culture and heritage, and to highlight that taking part in cultural activity can boost skills, engagement, self-esteem and aspiration. Flintshire Communities First worked with Flintshire County Council’s cultural service and other cultural organisations to develop an innovative programme of activities, which were delivered in communities and venues across the county. The concept of “Opera on Buses” is to inspire pupils with a “flash mob” style performance by professional opera singers, delivered as part of the everyday bus journey to school. Pupils then had an opportunity to learn more about opera in a series of fun and engaging workshops at school, run by the opera singers themselves. This innovative project has been delivered in partnership with the organisation CânSing and Welsh National Opera. Flintshire County Council Cabinet Member for Education and Youth, Councillor Chris Bithell, said: “This novel way of engaging young people will hopefully raise their awareness of a genre of music that is perhaps not so familiar to them. The workshops which followed the “flash mob” enabled them to explore opera music and demystify it a little.” Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, said: “I am proud Wales is taking the lead in breaking down barriers to culture and making our heritage more accessible and enjoyable for all. From supporting young people at school, to helping adults gain skills through volunteering, our Fusion Programme is finding new opportunities to engage people who would not normally give culture and heritage a go. “I am delighted we will be extending our Fusion programme into the next financial year. Last year over 1,500 people participated in Fusion programme activities across Wales, with 500 of those taking part in courses or achieving a new skill or qualification. Flintshire is one of ten areas in Wales participating. INFO: Fusion: Creating Opportunities through Culture is an innovative programme using the arts, culture and heritage to support some of Wales’ most disadvantaged communities. It supports local authorities and community and cultural organisations to find new and exciting cultural opportunities, to help improve confidence, skills, attainment and employability. Flintshire is one of ten participants in the programme in 2016-17. The Programme will continue in 2017-18. Further information about the programme can be found on the website: