Norfolk musician Ian Hytch is taking on epic challenge for Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing this Sunday, when he aims to play the piano for 12 hours non-stop. Here, the 81-year-old explains why
This Sunday, well-known pianist and composer from Norwich, Ian Hytch will be embarking on his second epic fundraising adventure for a Norfolk social enterprise. The 81-year-old has pledged to play the piano for 12 hours non-stop to raise essential funds for Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing. The musical challenge will take place in the Music Room at the Assembly House on Theatre Street in Norwich.
Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing is a Norfolk social enterprise that provides mood-boosting, therapeutic miniature donkey visits to people in care homes, hospitals, schools and a range of other group and residential settings. Ian is aiming to raise funds to enable the organisation to support even more people through its valuable work.
Ian was formerly the conductor of the Wymondham Symphony Orchestra and the Sillars Orchestra and has been composing music for more than 70 years. One of his compositions, Minidonk Walk, was inspired by his previous fundraising challenge for Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing, an 80 mile walk along the Norfolk coast in his 80th year.
On October 8, 2023, Ian will be playing the resident Steinway grand piano in the beautiful Georgian Music Room at the Assembly House. He will be joined during the 12-hour challenge by a range of musicians including his wife Jan Hytch on the cornet, Sarah McPherson, the founder and managing director of Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing, on the cello, Liz Marjoram on the violin and singer Zoe Clare Ramsden who will also be performing with her choir Broadland Voices.
‘Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing is a wonderful organisation that brings smiles to people of all ages,’ says Ian. ‘I’ve seen firsthand how the gentle touch of a donkey can bring joy or comfort to people who have life-limiting conditions, from elderly people with dementia to children with special educational needs or disabilities. I hope the piano play will raise lots of money to enable Sarah and her team to continue their work for many years to come. I’m extremely grateful to Richard Hughes and the Assembly House team for allowing us to hold the event in the stunning surroundings of the Music Room.’
The Piano Play is free to attend with donations requested for Miniature Donkeys for Wellbeing. Light refreshments will be available to purchase in the Music Room throughout the day. Booking is not necessary.
‘Spending time with animals brings genuine therapeutic benefits and moments of pure joy to people living with complex disabilities and conditions such as dementia; even those people who are largely considered to be ‘locked-in’, says Sarah McPherson, who will be bringing some of the MiniDonks herd along to the event. ‘It’s our mission to bring a touch of Minidonk magic to as many people and communities as possible.’
Ian Hytch’s 12-hour Piano Play will take place in the Music Room at the Assembly House on Theatre Street in Norwich, on Sunday October 8, from 8.30am to 8.30pm. Sarah McPherson will be bringing some of the MiniDonks herd along to the event between 11am and 3pm. To book a Minidonks visit, make a donation, find out about volunteering or how to get involved with sponsorship or fundraising visit minidonks.org.uk or email email@example.com
Featured images supplied by Plain Speaking PR