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Monday, July 9, 2012

Singing sixth-formers' first CD goes on sale

A SCHOOL choir whose first appearance was cancelled at the last minute but went on to win international acclaim have their first CD on sale.

The Ysgol Dinas Bran Male Ensemble was formed with just six members early last year specifically to enter a choral competition in South Wales.

But when the contest was scrapped at the last moment because of a lack of interest from anyone apart from the Llangollen sixth-formers themselves,  they decided to stay together anyway to see what the future might hold for them.

According to Dinas Bran’s head of music and the choir’s mentor Aled Phillips, that was a good decision because the young singers, who specialise in performing contemporary songs in a traditional way, have since gone from strength to strength.

Now with a total of 24 members aged 17 and 18 – some of whom have left school but still remain part of the group – the ensemble reached the national final of the Music for Youth competition in Birmingham last summer, winning the senior choir award.

Last November, they were just one of four school choirs selected from across the UK to sing at the School Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall, and in February this year they did well in the Choir of the Year Competition in Buxton, Derbyshire.

But as far as the rugby-loving lads were concerned, their best gig came a month later when they were picked to provide the pre-match entertainment at the Wales v France Grand Slam decider in Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

In May this year the Dinas Bran choir was invited to perform in Germany and sang before the kick-off of the German FA Cup match in Berlin as part of a three-day programme of appearances in the country.

Shortly afterwards they were back in school in Llangollen to record their first CD with a specialist company.

Featuring an 11-strong selection of songs including hits from Kings of Leon, East 17 and Coldplay, this went on sale for the first time, priced at £10, at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.

The ensemble could be heard singing live at the festival when they took to the stage during the first day’s Peace Message performance.

Mentor Aled Phillips said: “The choir was formed less than 18 months ago specifically to take part in the competition which never happened.

“We’d rehearsed for six weeks and as we didn’t want to waste all that effort we decided to keep going and I’m very glad we did because the success we’ve had since then has been just phenomenal.

“At the moment we’re waiting to hear if we’ve been chosen to sing at the Royal albert Hall again and, meantime, we have a concert with internationally renowned opera singer David Kempster, who is a former Dinas Bran pupil, at Chirk Parish Church on July 14.

“We also have the chance of performing in a number of national competitions this year, although we don’t yet know the exact details. “

He added:  “We are still looking for the big breakthrough in the same way that the Fron Choir made it.

“What we really need is some radio airplay so the right people can hear us sing.”



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