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September 3, 2005

Choirboys sign £500k record deal

We’ve had boy bands – now here is the world’s first choirboy band. CJ Porter-Thaw, 11, and his 12-year-old bandmates Patrick Aspbury and Ben Inman are a mini version of The Three Tenors. The trio were discovered singing in their school choirs. Now they are set for stardom after being signed by record giant Universal Classics, the label behind Jamie Cullum and Luciano Pavarotti.

The Choirboys, as they are known, have just recorded their debut album. Universal are investing £500,000 in turning the trio into chart stars. The boys are being guided by their manager – the original choirboy, Aled Jones. CJ, Patrick and Ben have ditched traditional cassocks in favour of trendy designer suits. And their ultimate aim is to make choirboys cool.

Universal Classics general manager Dickon Stainer said: “Choir schools are a special world and they have been struggling to keep boys coming through the doors in the age of the PlayStation. “We think this group will have a huge impact on people’s perceptions of choristers and choir schools. We think they will reach the pop charts.”

He added: “We auditioned hundreds of boys and these are the three best singers we could find in the whole country. “Unlike a pop group, where looks, style and personality are given as much priority as musical ability, these boys have been picked on one criterion alone - their voices.”

Talent scouts scoured 50 cathedrals and churches across the country. CJ and Patrick were both discovered singing in the famous choir at the King’s School in Ely, Cambs. Ben is a pupil at state-run Minster School in Southwell, Notts, and is one of only 10 choristers out of its 2,000 pupils.

He admitted: “We get a little bit bullied because we wear these dresses. People pull our ties because of it. So it’s a mission of faith for us to get choirboys jazzed up. “We’ve been given our own personal hair stylist and clothes stylist and we’ve all got new haircuts. Mine was really choirboyish before but now it’s ruffled up and it looks cool.” The boys are all into rock music, with Green Day a particular favourite, and are keen football fans. They have spent their summer holidays recording their debut album with the English Chamber Ensemble under the direction of Martin Neary, former choirmaster of Westminster Abbey.

The album will be made up mostly of traditional choral music such as Allegri’s Miserere and Bach’s Ave Maria. Popular favourites such as Eric Clapton’s Tears In Heaven and the theme tunes to Mr Bean and The Vicar of Dibley are included too. The Hollies classic He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother is also on the album – but has been changed to He Isn’t Heavy, He’s My Brother in the interests of good grammar.

Posted by acapnews at September 3, 2005 12:14 AM