Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Welsh charity ships musical instruments to Patagonian schools

11:10, 9th February 2018

The Patagonia Instrument Project has sent a collection of donated musical instruments to schools and youth groups in Patagonia. They leave Cardiff today (9 February) for Puerto Madryn, where they will arrive in April, and will then be distributed across the region by the education ministry in Chubut.

The charity was formed in 2016, following the BBC National Orchestra of Wales’ tour of Chubut in 2015 celebrating the 150th anniversary of Y Waldfa, the Welsh settlement in Patagonia.

Chubut, Patagonia
Chubut, Patagonia

Since its conception two years ago, the charity has been raising funds, collecting unwanted instruments from across the UK, and working with Embassy staff in Argentina and London, as well as the Welsh association in Puerto Madryn, to achieve its aims.

Recalling the tour, during which members of the orchestra worked with over 1,000 children in a series of workshops and concerts, Chris Stock, chair of the charity and principal percussionist of BBC NOW, said: ‘Many of the schools had no musical instruments at all, even the percussion players of the INTA Youth Orchestra had only one drum each. In the Specialist Music School in Puerto Madryn the percussion tutor Jorge Ciar taught tuned percussion on a toy painted glockenspiel and there were no timpani in the whole of the Chubut Province.’

Phil Girling, charity secretary and BBC NOW percussionist, said: ‘We have constantly been in touch with the groups we are trying to support to make sure we are sending what they actually require, rather than sending instruments that are of little use. We are hoping that these instruments will result in more children learning and more employment for teachers in the province.’

The charity hopes that the musical instruments ‘will nurture the enthusiasm and excitement the BBC NOW encountered from the staff and pupils in Patagonia, helping to build on the legacy of their visit in an area that has a significant cultural and historical connection to the land and people of Wales.’


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