March 16th, 2011

A little inspirational music from Aled Jones

Here’s something to relieve the gloom.

Many years ago I watched a documentary entitled “The Treble.” It was about Welsh boy soprano Aled Jones and the crisis he faced on the brink of puberty with an imminent change of voice looming. Only a kid, and about to become a has-been!

I’ve never been a big fan of boy sopranos, but there was something very special about Aled, and his story stuck with me all these years. Here’s a clip from the original documentary and you might see what I mean:

Well, a great many years have passed, and Aled is a 40-year-old married man with two children.

And he’s still singing, although he sounds a wee bit different:

11 Responses to “A little inspirational music from Aled Jones”

  1. LAG Says:

    Is there something particularly British about choral singing? (He’s Welsh so I didn’t want to say English, but I hope that conveys my question.)

    Or maybe it’s European since the Germans and French and even Russians do this, but I don’t know of any similar sort of effort in Africa or Asia–something that may just betray my ignorance on this topic.

  2. Kurt Says:

    I was a boy soprano many years ago (I’m more than four years older than Aled Jones), and my voice was unusual enough for me to be chosen for several solos with choral groups in school and for several parts in musicals with both amateur and semi-professional companies.

    After my voice changed (not really until my sophomore year of high school), I didn’t know what to do with singing, and I pretty much gave up on it for about ten years until I took some voice lessons. My voice teacher thought I might have some potential as a counter-tenor, and he had me try singing several English lute songs of the sort Aled Jones is singing in the first clip. The whole counter-tenor thing seemed rather odd to me, though, and so I never really pursued it or tried to develop it.

    A few years later, I developed more of an interest in it, but then the next voice teacher I worked with didn’t know what to do with it. I often think I should try doing something with singing again, but the last time I took lessons, I often got discouraged that what came so easily to me when I was young was so much more perplexing years later.

  3. Oblio Says:

    Never too late, Kurt. It sounds like you are well rested. I had some of the same experience. I quit singing at about 13 and didn’t pick it up again until I was 33. I’m sure you would be welcome at plenty of good church choirs: tenors are always in demand, and if you have some counter-tenor notes, every choir can use help up there.

  4. Ron Says:

    I like the getaway idea. Too much bad news and the radioactive plume will be over southern CA on Friday. And yes, that tax thing is breathing down my neck. Time to head to a luxury resort at the beach and watch the full moonrise over the ocean on Saturday. Heading out at noon on Thursday and coming back on Monday. Nothing like a suite with a fireplace and a big marble bathroom for some much needed R&R after a dreary winter.

    Oh, BTW, when I was in 10th grade, I sang second bass in a choir. Now, I just sing in the shower.

  5. raincityjazz Says:

    A remix, I guess you’d call it, of Aled singing a duet with his younger self. Beautiful, and perfectly matched voices, you could say.

  6. Beverly Says:

    Neo, this has naught to do with singing, but I thought the Neocon Nation might be interested in this.

    Michio Kaku is the “expert” that ABC has been quoting as their Nuclear Authority. He’s been on TV quite a bit this week, and they Never mention his affiliations.

    His inflammatory, panic-inciting assessment that the Japanese reactors are “very close to the point of no return!!!” was headlined this evening on the Drudge Report.

    A bit about theoretical physicist Michio Kaku:

    “Kaku has publicly stated his concerns over matters including the human cause of global warming, nuclear armament, nuclear power, and the general misuse of science.[6]

    “He was critical of the Cassini-Huygens space probe because of the 72 pounds of plutonium contained in the craft for use by its radioisotope thermoelectric generator. Conscious of the possibility of casualties if the probe’s fuel were dispersed into the environment during a malfunction and crash as the probe was making a ‘sling-shot’ maneuver around earth, Kaku publicly criticized NASA’s risk assessment.[7] . . .

    “Kaku credits his anti-nuclear war position to programs he heard on the Pacifica Radio [uber-Leftist] network, during his student years in California. It was during this period that he made the decision to turn away from a career developing the next generation of nuclear weapons in association with Teller and focused on research, teaching, writing and media. Kaku joined with others such as Helen Caldicott, Jonathan Schell, Peace Action, and was instrumental in building a global anti-nuclear weapons movement that arose in the 1980s, during the administration of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

    “Kaku was a board member of Peace Action and on the board of radio station WBAI-FM [uber-Leftist] in New York City where he originated his long running program, Explorations, that focused on the issues of science, war, peace and the environment.”

    He’s not just a leader of the No Nukes movement, he’s hardcore. None of this is mentioned by any of the TV “news” shows that use him.

    I saw him on NYC news breathlessly equating Chernobyl with Three Mile Island (latter? Zero casualties, neither deaths nor injuries nor any radiation poisoning, nor any increase in cancers). And he’s beating the drum that Japan will be Much Worse! than Chernobyl.

    Just so ya know. If you see this guy on the “news.”

    Oh, and re the Cassini probe? I had the chance to interview some of the rocket scientists involved with that mission (long story): they scoffed at the amateurs’ concerns and said you could slam a diesel locomotive into the probe at top speed and still not rupture the container. They considered the chance that the probe would create a radiation hazard to be vanishingly small, not least because the great majority of its trajectory would be over the oceans. And because it was a tiny reactor, NOT a “bomb.”

  7. Beverly Says:

    One more thing: Kaku’s claim to be in favor of deep space exploration is specious: the only source of power adequate to the task, once you’re in deep space and far from the Sun, is the very RTG he was huffing about on the Cassini probe. Which, by the way, performed flawlessly.

  8. LondonTrader Says:

    Charlotte Church is another well known example of the Welsh choral tradition; Tom Jones too.

  9. waltj Says:

    I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but I love choral singing. Handel was the master, J.S. Bach and Haydn nearly as good. I’d like to hear Aled Jones sing “Messiah” or “The Creation”

  10. texexec Says:

    I sang in my H.S. acapella choir (you had to try out to be in it) and sang solos while in my church choir. I also love choral singing and “The Creation” is music that is about as beautiful as can enter your ears.

    I had a high baritone voice so spent a lot of my time straining to sing tenor because all choirs needed them so much.

  11. expat Says:

    I love choral music, but I think the boys choirs work best in a magnificent cathedral. Everything seems to be reaching upward together.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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