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If you’d have told me 5 years ago that I would be handing out song books for people to join in with my singing, I’d have left the Planet! My classical hat remained firmly in place until one afternoon when I was about to die on stage for the first time in my career.


It was my first day working for Age Concern entertaining the older people in the day centre in Tregaron. They sat in their lounge after lunch, half of them drifting off, the other half keenly awaiting entertainment. As I began singing, the half who were awake either began to drift off too, or looked thoroughly bored and uninterested. Delyth, one of the day care assistants saved the day by dragging out some old Welsh song sheets from the cupboard and handing them round. 


Enjoying the Song book at TregaranA miracle took place, I simply could not believe it. People became instantly engaged. The ones who were asleep (I thought) sat up for a song book and looked through with keen interest for a song they wanted to sing not hear. 

I only knew two or three of the melodies, but managed to busk the others with Delyth’s help and then I quickly learnt the other songs on the sheet with a Welsh neighbour. I knew getting my own songbook together was going to be a huge asset with the various Day Centres I'd been booked for. 




Singalong with Amanda's Song book at TregaranAs I began to get more work form Arts Care working with EMI (Elderly Mental Illness) and younger people with mental health problems too, I discovered that song books have their place and without doubt, I’d found that place! But where my singing in hotels and private functions was concerned, I was to be pleasantly surprised one evening with the Royal British Legion. They’d asked me for an hour’s entertainment after one of their dinners. For reasons best known only to my intuition, I decided to hand these song books out around their tables. 

Everyone had a fabulous time singing along in Welsh and English to tunes young and old - all 146 of them! (I mean 146 tunes not people.) It’s certainly not something I would encourage in all my gigs but in the right place, it goes down a storm and I wouldn’t be able to recommend it strongly enough in a similar position.
Feedback - from Dave Smith. Secretary, Lampeter Branch, The Royal British Legion 

"In March 2007 I was asked to organise a Dinner for the members of the Lampeter Branch of the Royal British Legion and their guests and Amanda was engaged to play for us during Dinner and to entertain us afterwards. 

The entertainment was a huge success, due mainly to Amanda’s songbooks. Containing a wide variety of songs, ranging from old favourites to modern standards and hymns to pop music, the books contained something for everyone. Songs from the 40’s and 50’s were particularly popular with our party but I am sure that every age group would enjoy themselves. 

Amanda is a talented singer and musician who was very popular with everyone at our function, all the more so because she involved us all through her brilliant songbooks".
 
Feedback - from John the Driver. Bryntirion Resource Centre 
Song Book time at the Ffostrasol Arms"Amanda has been visiting Bryntirion Resource Centre, on a regular basis for the last three years. Her visits are always eagerly awaited by residents, Day Centre clients, (and Martin) alike. 
Amanda’s effervescent personality and ready wit soon has everyone joining in with her repertoire of old and new favourites. Her enthusiasm is infectious and everyone wants to contribute their own ‘party piece’. Amanda is as unstinting with her time as she is with her talent, and her audience is reluctant to let her go before the last song is sung - just one more!  Song no.34 in Amanda’s songbook is ‘You Are My Sunshine’ and Amanda certainly brings a ray of sunshine to Bryntirion with her visits. I know that I will be driving the clients home still singing to their front doors."
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