About Only Boys Aloud
Formed in March 2010 by it’s father choir Only Men Aloud, OBA is designed to encourage 14-19 year old young men in South Wales to effect some positive change in their lives.
After initial investment in the scheme by the Welsh Government’s and most significantly by Principality Building
Society, the scheme was launched in Merthyr Tydfil Rugby Club for a one-off performance at the National Eisteddfod when over 140 boys performed as part of the first ever Only Boys Aloud performance. Such was the success of that initial concert that Principality Building Society agreed to become OBA’s principal business sponsor in order that the scheme could continue. Further investment was secured from Valleys Heart and Soul initiative and Arts and Business Cymru, together with additional support from Redrow Homes, John Lewis and Cranes Music and we haven’t looked back!
In the two and a half years since it’s inception, OBA has engaged hundreds of teenage lads with singing in Wales’ most famous musical export, the Welsh Male Choir and felt enormous, life-changing results. Levels of confidence, performance, concentration, social-skills, musicality, vocal technique has all seen huge improvement as a direct impact of the scheme and the resulting choir is a very special one.
OBA is completely free of charge to it’s members and our policy of not auditioning is central to the choir’s ethos of inclusion and accessibility as is our method of having different local groups, rehearsing mostly in rugby clubs, right across the valleys region. This not only ensures that attending rehearsals is easier but sees a sense of local identity and pride that will impact on the individual communities we work in.
2012 was an extraordinary year for OBA when it fought off tens of thousands of competitors to take third place on Britain’s Got Talent. Subsequent interest in OBA has been at an all time high with OBA and it’s performance of Calon Lân both ‘trending’ worldwide on twitter and the self-same performance receiving over four million hits on YouTube to date.
The increased and international platform for OBA created by BGT has meant that recording industry giants Sony offered the boys an recording deal and their eponymous debut album was released in November 2012. Calon Lân went into the number one position on the iTunes classical singles chart and the boys’ developing an impressive list of TV and Radio credits to boot, including This Morning, Songs of Praise, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Celebrity Christmas Special and the X Factor Final.
Despite the apparent commercial success of OBA, we remain committed to our mission of inspiring teenagers from the Valleys to aspire for something good. Because of the sheer scale of the group, it is very costly to run and to that end, OBA is now a major part of the work of the Aloud Charity that we may fundraise the significant sums required to ensure the scheme can continue. To see the boys loving their moment in the spotlight is truly thrilling but Only Boys Aloud is about something much deeper than the fleeting nature of fame, it is about belief in future generations to uphold our traditions that they may continue with pride, vitality and strength-we are certainly proud of everything the boys have achieved and we hope you are too.
A background to Only Men Aloud
Only Men Aloud was formed in January 2000 to breathe some young life into what has become an ageing tradition - the Welsh Male Choir.
12 years on and the choir is thriving, proving that this oldest of traditions is still as relevant today as it was in the 1800's. This tradition must ensure that it moves with the times and earns its place at the centre of Welsh cultural life, instead of relying on it's reputation alone.
In the summer of 2008 Only Men Aloud was voted ‘Britain's Favourite Choir' by the British public at the end of a 6-month televised competition to be BBC 1's ‘Last Choir Standing'. Being seen by over 7 million people every week on a prime-time TV show raised the choirs'profile from being a very busy choir turning out high quality music for a relatively small audience, to a group with a national profile and a new huge fanbase. A bidding war between all four major record labels ensued.
Since winning the title of Britain's Favourite Choir, the choir has released 3 albums. The first-self titled album went gold in the first week of sales and the second, ‘Band of Brothers', went straight to the top of the classical charts and won a Classical Brit Award for the best album of 2009. On their four National UK tours, the choir have sold out some of the biggest and most impressive venues in the country and have an exciting calendar of national and international touring coming up, having already visited the USA 3 times.
The new OBA choirs are in line for a host of similar experiences with and without their father choir, OMA. If you're onboard, hold on to your hats - it's going to be a great ride!