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Culture: Aled’s coming home

Aled Jones
Aled Jones

Singer and TV and radio presenter Aled Jones brings his show to The Apex as part of this year’s Bury St Edmunds Festival

He’s been in the spotlight for 30 years and has sung in the world’s greatest concert halls and now Aled Jones is ‘coming home’ to Bury St Edmunds.

It is slightly odd to hear the Welshman describe the Suffolk town as home but he has fond memories of various performances there, including as a 13-year-old choirboy at a concert in St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

He also presented the BBC show Songs of Praise from the iconic landmark and counts himself lucky to know the town.

“I am lucky to have had this long association with Bury St Edmunds and am really excited to be part of this year’s festival,” he said.

Thanks to modern technology, Aled’s show sees him enjoying duets with his 15-year-old self and he brings this unique concert to The Apex as part of this year’s Bury St Edmunds Festival.

He will also be joined on stage for part of the show by Bury’s own Voice Squad who will sing with him.

“I’m really looking forward to this, incorporating local singers into the show.”

During the show, the 47-year-old Aled sings live while his teenage self appears on a big screen behind him and ‘together’ they sing the songs from his last three albums, the One Voice trilogy.

“It was weird to start with and the first time I did it was at the Royal Albert Hall,” explained Aled.

“My legs were shaking in case I missed my cue to sing, but it is a really unique thing to do thanks to technology, which is a wonderful thing.

“The show is a mix of folk, uplifting songs and hymns. If it’s a good song, I want to sing it,” he said.

Performing live is something Aled has always enjoyed doing.

“It’s in my blood and as I get older I appreciate it a lot more.

“I’ve always done it and it is a very precious thing.

“I am so lucky to do something I love doing.”

He has performed in the world’s greatest concert halls, including Sydney Opera House and the Royal Albert Hall, but said the smaller venues, like The Apex, make it easier to create an atmosphere.

“I feel more connected with people in the smaller venues and I like to do that,” he explained.

He also admits to still feeling nervous after all these years of performing live.

“It’s a step into the unknown so I always get nervous, but I love the thrill of it, the adrenaline rush.”

Aled will be forever remembered as one of the world’s most successful boy sopranos, joining Bangor Cathedral choir at the age of nine and becoming lead soloist there.

He made his professional debut aged just 12, performing the role of the Angel in Handel’s Oratorio Jeptha on BBC2 and BBC Radio 3.

His touching rendition of Walking In The Air from the 1985 animated tale The Snowman made him a household name and set him on the road to global success.

Awarded the MBE in 2013, a year later he became a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.

He has made 30 albums and has sold a staggering eight million records worldwide, admitting now to wanting to take his music out to the regions.

“In Australia I will be doing a churches tour and the idea of taking music to local regions is bringing me back to Bury St Edmunds.”

Success hasn’t just been confined to music as he has enjoyed presenting jobs on television, including the long-running Sunday teatime BBC favourite, Songs of Praise, and various radio shows.

“I’m looking forward to coming back to Bury. It’s an evening of music making and laughs and we’ll all have a really great time,” he promised.

“I’ll be hanging around afterwards too so people can come and say hello.”

Aled Jones, May 19, The Apex, Bury St Edmunds. Call 01284 758000, visit theapex.co.uk or buryfestival.co.uk

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