Only Boys Aloud raise the roof at Bluestone
Thirty-four young boys and teenagers from throughout West Wales have joined together at Bluestone National Park Resort’s Hive venue, near Narberth, Pembrokeshire for their first ever full rehearsal of the West branch of Only Boys Aloud.
The recent event was part of The Aloud Charity’s Only Boys Aloud project which aims to help young boys and teenagers build confidence, improve wellbeing and raise self-esteem and aspirations through singing.
The full rehearsal was the first time they had all got together after practicing in their smaller, individual choirs in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, and Ceredigion. Next month, the singers will join together with others from South and North Wales to hold a series of concerts.
“It was a ‘goosebumps’ moment when they all began singing for the first time together,” said Yvonne Buckingham, of the Bluestone Foundation.
“They were absolutely amazing considering this was the first time they’d managed to get together as one choir. Due to the pandemic they have often had to practice remotely or in smaller groups, so this was a very special moment for them all; they were a real inspiration”
Only Boys Aloud launched in West Wales in November last year, establishing new choirs in Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion, and expanded its presence in Carmarthenshire after receiving financial support from the Bluestone Foundation and Arts Council of Wales.
It offers free, weekly rehearsals to boys and young men between 11 and 19 years of age from any background and ability. It follows the success of its work in South East Wales where it launched in 2010.
Elin Llwyd, Project Manager of Only Boys Aloud, said “This was such an important moment for the boys. After months of rehearsing in their individual choirs, this was the first opportunity we’ve had to bring them all together under one roof, as one choir.
“I’m confident they will all return to their weekly rehearsals inspired from the positive effects of Sunday’s rehearsal. For many, the choir is now a major part of their social lives and that is such an integral part of what Only Boys Aloud is all about.
“We see, first hand, how OBA can make a real difference to these young boys’ lives, and the upcoming recording and concerts will be a very special experience for those taking part.”
Elin added: “But the process is just as important as the big events. The weekly rehearsals, as well as these full rehearsals, will have had such an impact on all the boys and made a real difference, and that’s why Only Boys Aloud is so important.”
The young people also enjoyed a teambuilding exercise during their visit on Sunday, with staff from Bluestone taking them on the “Adrenaline” zip wire activity within the Hive venue.
“It was great for the boys to be able to undertake the teambuilding activity together. It was such a joy to see them all bond and it only helped enrich the friendships that had already started forming. Lifelong friendships and raised confidence levels that will all be as a direct result of this project.” added Elin.
The Bluestone Foundation was launched in 2010 and has distributed over £250,000 in grants across Pembrokeshire. The Foundation strives to help people help themselves and to principally assist projects falling into economic, social, and environmental categories.
More details about the Only Aloud charity can be found at www.aloud.cymru. Information about the Bluestone Foundation can be found at www.bluestonewales.com/about-us/bluestone-foundation.