The Hodge Foundation’s support, which began in 2017, helped the Aloud charity to focus on work with young people in disadvantaged areas. Tim Rhys-Evans, Founder of Only Boys Aloud, created a song-writing project which took place on the Gurnos Estate in Merthyr Tydfil. Teenagers worked with Grammy Award-winning Amy Wadge to create and record a new song which not only developed new skills, but was an extraordinary experience that increased the boys’ aspirations for life.
Two things inform the work the Aloud Charity does through OBA: one is a belief in the culturally important role of male choirs in Wales – traditionally bringing communities together in times of hardship or celebration. The second and perhaps even more crucial is a desire to ensure that the young men of Wales are encouraged to be ambitious for their future and are equipped with the life skills to fulfil their potential.
Only Boys Aloud is made up of some 230 boys attending choirs across Wales, from Holyhead to Cwmbran, Crosshands to Wrexham. Led by experienced professional choral leaders, every week during term time these local choirs meet. Their doors are always open to new members – there is no charge and no audition. From seasoned singers to those who’ve never tried it before, any boy between the ages of 11 and 19 can join. The charity works hard to secure the most extraordinary performance opportunities for the boys – from launching a cruise ship, to performing for the members of the Royal Family, from singing in front of thousands on a festival stage, to launching the Homeless World Cup in Cardiff. From weekly rehearsals to bringing all 230 boys together for large-scale performances, what matters to Aloud is equality of access and quality of experience: these two drivers are behind everything Aloud does in OBA.
Rachel Dominy, Chief Executive, said “The generous support from the Hodge Foundation has enabled OBA to continue to grow and thrive, extending even more opportunities to even more boys across Wales”.
An OBA alumni said: “The most unforgettable 6 years…The opportunities I had from the age of 12 were incredible, unique and formative both personally and musically and helped shape me into the person I am today.”
The Only Kids Aloud Chorus is a pan-Wales choral initiative for boys and girls aged 9-11, administrated and run by the Aloud Charity.
Initially formed in 2010, the Chorus was relaunched in 2018 following support from the Hodge Foundation, culminating in a performance at BBC Wales’ Proms in the Park at Colwyn Bay. After another series of nationwide auditions last Spring, the 90-strong 2019/20 Chorus are currently in rehearsals for a series of high-profile concerts and performances over the coming months.
The Hodge Foundation also supports the Aloud Charity’s school-based work through its Aloud in the Classroom Project. This aims to give teachers the necessary skills and confidence to make singing a regular classroom activity and a pilot project at White Rose Primary School, New Tredegar was delighted to receive the royal seal of approval with a visit from HRH The Prince of Wales & the Duchess of Cornwall.