Sunny Days are Ahead…
I can’t believe I’m still sitting at my desk at home writing this. It’s the fourth newsletter we’ve prepared remotely since the first lockdown began over a year ago.
But it feels like we have reached a genuine turning-point this Spring. Although our calendar at The Aloud Charity has remained surprisingly full through 2020, we are so excited to be planning real-life rehearsals again for our members.
Singing was one of the first activities to be banned in the UK, and has been one of the last to return. But finally we have had permission to organise outdoor rehearsals for members of Only Boys Aloud this summer! There will be restrictions of course, but we will be together. Who knows, we might even be able to welcome you back as audiences soon. We’ve missed you all so much.
We have an awful lot to look forward to.
In the meantime, here are a few good news stories for you to enjoy (quite a few actually – we’ve been a busy bunch!).
Gyda chariad mawr,
Hannah & The Aloud Team x
Hello! Here’s our latest news.
#1 Introducing ‘Aloud in Conversation’
This new project is one of our lockdown initiatives to provide members of Only Boys Aloud with something different and original to listen to. We think it’s important to offer variety in our weekly rehearsals, and our Aloud in Conversation Series compliments this ethos perfectly.
About once a month through 2021, we are hosting hour-long, live interviews with some incredibly interesting and inspirational guests, including our Youth Ambassador Callum Scott Howells, fellow ex-OBA member Tom Hier, and Ambassadors Sir Bryn Terfel and Rebecca Evans.
Our carefully selected speakers are brilliant role models for our young members, and have provided a unique insight into their early lives, their experiences of being in OBA, and what led them to where they are in their careers today.
In the first three episodes we found out what it’s like to dance in the West End, the highlights of being President of a Students’ Union, and how it really felt to sing in the BGT Final!
So far we have held 4 Conversation sessions, and can’t wait for the next!
#2 Japanese Singing Project
In Spring 2020, Only Boys Aloud were planning a visit to Japan to perform, following a new partnership between Wales Arts International, Arts Council Wales, The British Council and the Japanese Embassy.
Although the trip was cancelled, we were determined to keep the planned singing project alive. We were delighted to take part in a virtual choral project with three children’s choirs 6000 miles away in Kitakyushu, Kumamoto and Oita.
Watch the coverage below, or visit the BBC website here.
Boys from OBA participated in weekly rehearsals with the Japanese choirs who learnt the rousing Welsh song ‘Calon Lân’, taught by our fantastic Aloud Choir Leaders.
As a Thank You in the final sharing, the OBA choir performed the recent classic Anfonaf Angel (I’ll Send an Angel) written by Robat Arwyn and Hywel Gwynfryn.
We were so pleased that this important cultural exchange and sharing of Welsh Art was still able to take place. We can’t wait to see how this partnership develops – fingers crossed for a trip to Japan soon!
Only Boys Aloud performing Anfonaf Angel – あなたに天使を as part of the project
#3 Aloud’s New Recruits!
Firstly, we’re very excited to announce our new CEO, Carys Wynne Morgan. We had an incredibly strong field of candidates and Carys shone through! Carys said “I am delighted to be taking on this role at such a crucial time in the arts sector in Wales. The Aloud Charity’s aims are close to my heart both personally and professionally and I am excited to be able to join the team to lead them in the next phase of their journey.” We are looking forward to Carys starting later this year. Read more here.
Secondly, please officially welcome our Chair of Trustees, Ian Rees to the team. Ian started with Aloud in February, and has been busy getting to know the team. Ian said “Choral music means a great deal to me and I am committed to work to continue providing musical, and life, experiences to the young singers that benefit from the work of Aloud.” Read more here.
And last, but by no means least, we were over the moon when the great Sir Bryn Terfel agreed to represent The Aloud Charity as our newest Ambassador! The Grammy, Classical Brit and Gramophone Award winner is also a an international Welsh bass-baritone and has performed in all the great opera houses and concert halls of the world. Read more in our blog here.
#4 Everyone Aloud!
This year, to celebrate St David’s Day on 1st March, we decided to do something a little bit different. What better way to celebrate the occasion by holding a mass singalong of iconic Welsh songs, and all alongside the legendary Sir Bryn Terfel (our new Ambassador!)?
We invited members of the public to join us for our first ever virtual mass choir, as we performed the traditional folk song ‘Sospan Fach’ and the Max Boyce hits ‘Up & Under’ and ‘Hymns & Arias’.
We were thrilled to receive over 100 videos from across the world, including recordings from the USA, Japan and The Netherlands! Another huge thank you to everybody who took part in this special project.
You can catch the final performance here:
#5 Fundraising Buddies!
We are so excited to have had a flurry of community fundraising initiatives taking place recently – it must be all the recent sunshine putting a spring in your step!
First up we had Marathon Maestro Rhys, who created his own 26 mile route around Cardiff to raise money for Aloud! He had never run a marathon before and absolutely smashed his fundraising target, raising over £500 for our work.
Then we had our Challenge Champion Samuel, who tested his fitness with 4 fitness goals over 4 days – 100 sit-ups, press-ups, squats and stair climbs! Rather you than us Sam! (It looks like his little brother was getting involved too by the look of this picture… Very cute.) Sam raised a wonderful £115 for Aloud – a fantastic achievement.
Huge congratulations to you both boys, and thank you so much for your support.
Supporting The Aloud Charity
We are so grateful to our friends, funders and supporters from around the world who continue to support us through this difficult time. Knowing you are by our side has given us the determination to come out of this pandemic with more passion and ambition than ever before.
If you’ve enjoyed listening to our online performances and reading about our lockdown activities, please consider giving a regular donation or joining our Calon Membership Scheme. A donation of any size makes a genuine difference to how we can engage with young people in Wales.
Here are some other ways you may be able to help:
- Shop using Amazon Smile or PayPal Donate (and generate free donations!)
- Share our stories and videos with friends and family, and help raise awareness of our work.
- Consider volunteering with us and being part of the action! We’re always on the look-out for Community Leaders to support our rehearsals. Find out more.
- Get in touch and say hello!
Until next time…
Diolch yn fawr bawb. x