When organising his upcoming mini tour “to keep things ticking over”, Lichfield was one of the first destinations that Aled Jones had in mind, in part due to the success of last year’s Cathedral show.
The Welshman is embarking on a short run of shows in May to support last year’s One Voice album, which peaked at number three in the UK chart.
In addition to the concert itself, Aled has launched a local choir competition, allowing the winning group local to each of the concerts the opportunity to perform alongside him on the night.
Aled told LichfieldLive: “The choir search was just an opportunity for choirs that maybe don’t perform in venues such as these to get up there and do it.
“We’re not looking for world class groups, what we want is passion and a love for singing. If that comes across then they’ll do it for me.
“It’s an opportunity for them to do their set, and for us to do some singing together.”
For any choirs within a 20-mile radius of Lichfield, performing at the cathedral alongside Aled will be a prize worth winning.
But for any who have yet to enter, Aled admits the ingredients for a successful choir are simple.
“Passion and enjoyment,” he said. “They should look like they’re totally immersed in the music and having a good time, because at the end of the day if you’re having a good time, chances are the audience will have a good time too. That’s the key for me.
“I’ve always loved choral music, that’s my background, and I remember as a kid having the opportunity to sing with school choirs and it being just an exciting time – and if this can spur people on to continue singing in a choral fashion, then that’s what we want.
“It’s a real opportunity to showcase a local choir.”
Aled is no stranger to Lichfield having visited as part of his role presenting BBC’s Songs of Praise, as well as performing here on his Cathedral Tour last year, when Lichfield was just one of 22 he visited.
Though that was a comparatively large tour to this upcoming set, Lichfield – and its cathedral – stood out for the singer.
“Lichfield was my best selling date and one of the most enjoyable I had on last year’s tour,” he said. “I could’ve probably sold Lichfield out about three times.
“Everyone there seemed to really enjoy and get the music, and it was such a joyous night that when we decided to do this little interim tour to keep things ticking over, this seemed like a great opportunity to get back to Lichfield.
“The cathedral were really keen to have me as well, which is half the battle!
“Having the opportunity to sing in 22 of the greatest cathedrals in Britain was a dream come true and also it spoilt me beyond all belief, because now I expect everywhere I go to have this glorious heavenly acoustic.
“Every night was so different, whereas on some of the tours I’ve done, you tend to see a stage door and if you’re lucky, a Pizza Express and you could be anywhere really. Whereas with the cathedrals it was just all so different and just really enjoyable, and Lichfield was one of the highlights.”
Following this brief run of shows, Aled is heading to Australia, before the release of a new album around Christmas time. This will be accompanied by a longer UK tour, and though details are yet to be confirmed, we can expect to see Aled in or around the region.
“Oh, I’m always in the West Midlands,” he said. “It’s a really important area for me and whatever tour I do, I always make sure that I go back there.”
Details on how choirs can enter the competition are available online.
Tickets for Aled Jones’ concert at Lichfield Cathedral on May 9 are available via the online box office.