Only Men Aloud seek singers for new children's choir

Only Boys Aloud on a train to Ebbw Vale
Image caption Younger children - both girls and boys - will get the chance to emulate the success of Only Boys Aloud

The man in charge of Only Men Aloud is launching a new children's choir open to boys and girls.

Only Kids Aloud will perform with Russian's Mariinsky Opera at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, next April.

Auditions for nine to 13-year-olds will be held throughout Wales next week.

Choir musical director Tim Rhys-Evans said: "This is a chance for children from all across the country to experience and be involved in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

It follows the success of Only Boys Aloud, a choir made up of teenage boys from the south Wales valleys.

The new choir will appear with the orchestra, chorus and soloists of the Mariinsky Opera, formerly known as the Kirov.

They will join forces for a performance of Mahler's Symphony No 8 - Symphony of a Thousand - at the Wales Millennium Centre on 1 April next year.

Talent search

The successful singers will be coached by members of Only Men Aloud in the months leading up to the performance.

"This is a unique opportunity for children right across Wales, from all backgrounds, to be involved in an extraordinary project with one of the most prominent international conductors and orchestras in the world," said Mr Rhys-Evans.

"They will have the opportunity to perform on one of the finest international stages in the Donald Gordon Theatre at Wales Millennium Centre, which is one of my favourite venues.

"Building on the success of Only Boys Aloud, this is a chance for children from all across the country to experience and be involved in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Only Men Aloud have become one of Wales' most popular musical attractions since winning the BBC TV talent show Last Choir Standing in 2008.

Image caption Tim Rhys-Evans wants to inspire a new generation of singers

Mr Rhys-Evans formed the choir in Cardiff as a means of inspiring younger men to follow the Welsh choral tradition.

Following its success, Only Boys Aloud was launched, a 200-strong choir of teenage boys aged 14 to 19 from across the south Wales valleys.

The boys' choir was created to perform at the 2010 National Eisteddfod in Ebbw Vale but continues courtesy of a three-year sponsorship deal with a building society.

Auditions for the new children's choir begin on Monday in Colwyn Bay and Llandudno; moving on Tuesday to Caernarfon; Wednesday in Aberystwyth and Builth Wells; Thursday in Carmarthen and Swansea; and ending on Friday in Cardiff Bay.

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