Last month, 34 young boys and teenagers from all over West Wales came together at Bluestone National Park Resort’s Hive venue, near Narberth, Pembrokeshire for their first ever full rehearsal of the West branch of Only Boys Aloud.
After practicing in smaller, individual choirs in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, this full rehearsal was the first time OBA West boys had sang together as a regional choir! This month, the singers will join in harmony with OBA’s South and North Wales choirs to prepare for our 10th Anniversary Gala concerts in July.
Yvonne Buckingham from the Bluestone Foundation said,
“It was a ‘goosebumps’ moment when they all began singing for the first time together. They were absolutely amazing considering this was the first time they’d managed to get together as one choir. Due to the pandemic they have often had to practice remotely or in smaller groups, so this was a very special moment for them all; they were a real inspiration.”
We expanded Only Boys Aloud’s reach last November by launching in West Wales. Having received financial support from the Bluestone Foundation and Arts Council of Wales, we were able to establish new choirs in Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion and expand our presence in Carmarthenshire.
Elin Llwyd, OBA West’s Project Manager said,
“This was such an important moment for the boys. After months of rehearsing in their individual choirs, this was the first opportunity we’ve had to bring them all together under one roof, as one choir. I’m confident they will all return to their weekly rehearsals inspired from the positive effects of Sunday’s rehearsal. For many, the choir is now a major part of their social lives and that is such an integral part of what Only Boys Aloud is all about.
“We see, first hand, how OBA can make a real difference to these young boys’ lives, and the upcoming recording and concerts will be a very special experience for those taking part.”
Elin added: “The process is just as important as the big events. The weekly rehearsals, as well as these full rehearsals, has such an impact on all the boys and makes a real difference. That’s why Only Boys Aloud is so important.”
The young people also enjoyed a team-building exercise during their visit, with staff from Bluestone taking them on the “Adrenaline” zip wire activity within the Hive venue.
Elin went on to explain the social benefits that comes along with OBA:
“It was great for the boys to be able to undertake in the team-building activity together. It was such a joy to see them all bond and it only helped enrich the friendships that had already started forming. Lifelong friendships and raised confidence levels that will all be a direct result of this project.”
The Bluestone Foundation was launched in 2010 and has distributed over £250,000 in grants across Pembrokeshire. The Foundation strives to help people help themselves and to principally assist projects falling into economic, social, and environmental categories.
Thank you to Bluestone for their continued support. We cannot wait for what’s next in store for the West boys. Make sure you follow our socials to keep up to date!