Arts Council of Wales | All the World, One Smile

All the World, One Smile

10 July, the Friday of the 2010 Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.

After an exciting week, feet were beginning to ache and bones were getting a bit weary for those involved in staging this wonderful annual event. But this Friday was different; this Friday an Olympic Inspire Mark Project had to be staged and completed. Mervyn Cousins wrote a song to express one of the Olympic and Eisteddfod’s aims and objectives – to inspire others – and many groups contributed their take on The Smile.

All the World, One SmileGroups from North Wales Young Carers, Rhyl Kids Fun Club, Dynamic, the Filipino Community, and Rhosymedre School were all represented; they were children and young people who have faced challenges due to health, bullying, abuse, social and economic deprivation or disability in North Wales.

They were joined by the Open Arts Community Choir, Belfast, who themselves faced challenges due to disability and have showcased their talents previously on the BBC’s ‘Last Choir Standing,’ children from St. Matthews Catholic Primary School in Liverpool and children from Tir Morfa School in Rhyl.

Nerves were jangling and all were ready for the first performance. The groups each took their turns and encouraged the audience to join in the final performance of the song. The reception they received was hugely encouraging; they then spotted Blake and Natasha Marsh who were due to perform in the evening concert but who had arrived early especially to see the second performance!

There was much excitement at their appearance and they were spurred on to even greater heights. And there was more to come; they performed the song on the main Pavilion stage in front of 2000 people. They were given a standing ovation and all were presented with certificates by Alex Pascall OBE, former Chairman of the Notting Hill Carnival. A day that had started with tired feet and bones suddenly didn’t seem so tiring after all; far from it – it was uplifting, and inspiring.

The project has now been developed with five more groups, and plans are now underway for ‘All the World, One Smile, All the Way to 2012’.

All the World, One SmileThe cultural experience offered as part of ‘All the World…’ aimed to be liberating and life-enhancing. This has left a lasting legacy; firstly through direct outcomes and memories from the day itself. Real inspiration was evident, both from performers and from the audience. Llangollen has in the past inspired thousands of performers to greater artistic heights, and now an extra set of communities has been given the same opportunities.

The Eisteddfod itself – and its regular supporters - have also been inspired in a new and hugely important way. It is also hoped that the experience has ‘sown seeds’ for similar Eisteddfod days in the future. A project during 2011 and 2012 has been planned following the experiences of 2009 and 2010.

Moreover, the project is well on the way to achieving a target of a 25% increase in general attendance at the event from disabled people and minority communities over the period 2009 to 2012. This part of the Eisteddfod’s work is crucial and the Olympic ideals and values can continue to spur on the organisation in the future.

Back to the Inspire Mark page

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