Only Kids Aloud to visit Cape Town next spring

70 youngsters, recently selected for Wales Millennium Centre/Only Kids Aloud choir, have been invited to sing with Cape Town Opera in South Africa next April, during cultural celebrations to mark 20 years of democracy in the Rainbow Nation.  Michael Williams, Managing Director of Cape Town Opera, surprised the young choir members with this invitation as they came together for the first time for rehearsals at Wales Millennium Centre on Wednesday (28 August 2013). 

Speaking via video message, with Table Mountain in the background, Michael Williams, accompanied by two singers from Cape Town Opera, congratulated the young singers on being selected for the choir after making it through a tough two stage audition process. By complete surprise he then invited the youngsters to perform alongside at Cape Town Opera in The Artscape Theatre Centre, near Cape Town’s waterfront next spring.

“Cape Town Opera and Wales Millennium Centre have had a close relationship over the years – we love your theatre,” said Michael Williams in his video message. “Now, we need to talk about our next collaboration. There have been many months of discussion as to how we can bring the best of Wales to the world, and take the best of the world to Wales. So we’ve come up with an idea that can take you – of course, the best of Wales – to come here…We would like to formally invite you to come to Cape Town as our special guests.”

The invitation was received with screams of delight from the talented young choir who were gathered with their parents at Wales Millennium Centre ahead of their first rehearsal. It was also the first time the children, aged between 9 and 13 and selected following country-wide auditions in May, were able to meet one another.

Wales Millennium Centre has enjoyed a 10 year partnership with Cape Town Opera, since South Africa businessman Sir Donald Gordon donated £10m towards the Centre’s development in 2003. One of the conditions of the donation was that the Centre established a relationship with a creative company in his home country. Bet Davies from Wales Millennium Centre said “With the strong choral traditions in both Wales and South Africa, our partnership with Cape Town Opera is a perfect fit.”

Tom Kendall, a member of the children’s choir from Aberystwyth said “I did not expect this amazing news when I came to our first rehearsal this morning. I’ve always wanted to go to South Africa and really can’t wait. ”

The idea behind the Wales Millennium Centre/Only Kids Aloud Choir came about in 2011 when Wales Millennium Centre collaborated withOnly Men Aloud’s Musical Director, Tim Rhys Evans, to form a pan- Wales children’s choir. The original aim was to perform in a one-off concert ofThe Symphony of a Thousand Voices, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, at the Centre, with one of the world’s most prominent conductors, Maestro Valery Gergiev and his world renowned Mariinsky Opera company from St Petersburg. The 2012 choir subsequently received an invitation from Maestro Gergiev himself to perform in the prestigious Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg last March, ahead of their performance at Wales Millennium Centre in April. The icing on the cake was then to sing in Danny Boyle’s unforgettable opening ceremony of London 2012.

Equally exciting plans for the new chorus following their four day summer school rehearsals this month are taking shape and will be announced over the coming months.