Following a highly successful UK Christmas tour, the celebrated male vocal ensemble Only Men Aloud take in Horsham’s Capitol on June 10 as they spread their wings.
As baritone Niall Allen explains: “Christmas is always a very busy time for us, and then the spring tour is usually just Wales.
“This year, for the first time, our spring tour has gone UK wide. We have got England and Scotland and Wales in our 30 dates.”
Since winning BBC’s Last Choir Standing in 2008, the Classical Brit award-winning Welsh vocal phenomenon has enjoyed huge success selling hundreds of thousands of albums and offering numerous standout live performances including the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“It all started 14 years ago,” Niall says, “and there are a couple of the boys left that were in at the very start. I joined just after they came to national prominence through the Last Choir Standing thing. I was a bit of a glory hunter!
“It was great. I had just left university. It was that horrible problem of thinking ‘What am I going to do?’ and then I joined, which was great. It meant putting off getting a real job.”
Now they perform in a slightly-different format.
“When the guys were in Last Choir Standing, there were about 20 in the choir, but with the rise in popularity came a lot more time commitments, a lot more being away from home, which the guys with families couldn’t commit to. And so we lost the odd member here and there.
“Then last summer, Tim, the musical director, took the decision to go down from 16 to eight. We were getting invites to go abroad and perform, and then when people realised they would have to be paying for 16 hotel rooms and travel for 16, they were losing interest. And so Tim took the decision to go down to eight, which is much more manageable. It has been great. We have had a few trips to America and other invitations. Instead of having to have a coach, we can travel around the country in two cars.”
For their 2015 On The Road Tour, they’ve also got an album to match, appropriately called Only Men Aloud On The Road, another chance to show their versatility.
“There is nothing we don’t do, from the traditional Welsh hymns and folk songs where the choral traditions started, to a lot of pop and opera and some classical music along the way. There is nothing we haven’t attempted, some of it more successfully than others, but really, that’s one of the things I have enjoyed most, the sheer range of music that we do.
“Our musical director has a very clear vision of what he wants, and usually his will prevails. He asks our opinions, but really this is his baby. He set it all up 14 years ago, and he has proved that he knows better than anyone what will work.
“I am just really enjoying it all,” says Niall. “It’s lovely to be busy almost all year round, which we are very grateful to the fans for, grateful to the people that come to see our concerts. We are fully aware that coming out of a reality-TV show, fame could be a fleeting moment for lots of people and then you are back to your day job. But we are very lucky. It is coming up for seven or eight years now, and we are getting busier and busier. This is the first time we have gone to Horsham. It is great to be going to different places still.”
Tickets on 01403 750220 or www.thecapitolhorsham.com.