Britain’s Got Talent stars ready for Sheffield stage

C�r Glanaethwy play Sheffield City Hall next month - tickets are now on sale.
C�r Glanaethwy play Sheffield City Hall next month - tickets are now on sale.

Fresh from wowing millions of TV viewers, Côr Glanaethwy are heading out on tour to show they really do have talent.

The 160-strong Welsh choir group was a big hit on TV talent show Britain’s Got Talent earlier this year – eventually finishing third.

And now the group are bringing their sounds to venues up and down the country, including a show at Sheffield City Hall.

Cefin Roberts, the choir’s musical director, says: “All the members of Côr Glanaethwy are excited about the tour.

“Choir rehearsals have been doubled for the coming weeks and I am already working on the script to what promises to be a thoroughly entertaining evening.”

Cefin first set up the performing arts school Ysgol Glanaethwy with his wife Rhian back in 1990 – and it has already won a string of awards.

A school spokeswoman said: “In their first year, the school won two competitions at the National Eisteddfod, as well as winning top awards at the Music For Youth Festival and the Barclays Music Festival in the South Bank in London.

“Since then they have travelled to Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, Ukraine, Ireland, Scotland and England, and in 2010 they represented Wales at the 2010 World Choir Games in China and came home with two gold awards and one silver award.”

But it was the performances of the school’s big choir – a combination of its senior, junior and adult choirs – in front of judges such as music mogul Simon Cowell on Britain’s Got Talent which really raised their profile, leading to the national tour to mark the school’s 25th anniversary.

Cefin says: “We decided to go for Britain’s Got Talent because we are celebrating 25 years.

“My wife was keen on it, because we had a good balance of male and female voices and I thought ‘we’ll all go’.

“Simon Cowell was looking for something different and I thought we ticked some of those boxes if we took a big choir.

“A week before I had cold feet – I thought he’d never pay for us all and it’s one of those programmes where not all choirs have a good experience. Plus, with young children, you have to be careful how you protect them from some aspects of competition which can be quite cruel.”

However, the response from the judges and audience was anything but cruel.

After their audition, where they performed Benedictus, Cowell told them: I always wanted a great choir to win the show. I could be looking at one of the winners now. Cefin I salute you.””

And comedian and fellow judge David Walliams said: “It felt like I was being welcomed into heaven.”

Cefin says: “We have a responsibility as music teachers to protect children from negativity – I was very relieved the feedback was so positive. The feedback and support from the public has also been incredible.”

He puts the choir’s success down to its level of showmanship.

“I think it’s because we have always been strong on entertainment as a choir,” he says, “I don’t think on Britain’s Got Talent they are looking for technical excellence, but people who will entertain them.”

“I think it’s mostly the passion we put in that the audience like – they can see these people like music.”

For now though, all the passion is being put towards the tour, which kicks off in Nottingham later this month – some 130 singers are hitting the road, although shows are restricted to weekends due to many of the performers still being in school.

Cefin says: “The show will be a variety of the children’s choir, the senior choir – it will be a mixture.

They will be broken up into different ensembles, so it will be a variety of music and we’ll finish with the whole massed choir.”

Côr Glanaethwy play Sheffield City Hall on Sunday, October 18. For tickets, priced from £17.50, visit www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk