Young singers swap Gwendraeth Valley for Cape Town
TWO Kidwelly boys are hoping to hit the high notes after being invited to sing in Cape Town.
James Oakley, aged nine of Llannon and Luke Rees, 11, will be heading to the South African city in April next year.
The lucky pair were selected as members of the Only Kids Aloud choir in May, and have now been invited to sing with the Cape Town Opera, alongside 70 other choir members from South Wales.
The event will be part of many other cultural celebrations that are planned to take place, commemorating 20 years of democracy in the Rainbow Nation.
Luke said: "I'm amazed. I can't think of anything more exciting. I'm really looking forward to singing with the opera, with African children, with the orchestra. It's so exciting."
Working in collaboration with the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, the choir was set up after the success of Musical Director, Tim Rhys Evans' Only Men Aloud.
Originally created for a one-off concert, the group, that includes boys and girls aged between nine and 13, has gone from strength to strength.
As they came together for their first rehearsal at the Millennium Centre, the children were surprised with a video message from Michael Williams — managing director of Cape Town Opera.
With Table Mountain in the background, Michael said: "There have been many months of discussion as to how we can bring the best of Wales to the world, and take the best of the world to Wales.
"So we've come up with an idea that can take you – the best of Wales — to come here.
"We would like to formally invite you to come to Cape Town as our special guests."
James said: "When I first heard I thought he was joking. Then it seemed more real and I turned to my friend and was like, wow. We are so excited."
Wales Millennium Centre has enjoyed a 10 year partnership with Cape Town Opera, since South African businessman Sir Donald Gordon donated £10 million towards the centre's development in 2003.
One of the conditions of the donation was that the centre established a relationship with a creative company in his home country.
Bet Davies from Wales Millennium Centre said "With the strong choral traditions in both Wales and South Africa, our partnership with Cape Town Opera is a perfect fit."