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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 September 2005, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Choirboys land 500k record deal
The Choirboys
The Choirboys say they are all rock music fans
A singing trio discovered in their school choirs have landed a 500,000 deal with Universal Classics.

The Choirboys, described as a mini version of the Three Tenors, are being guided by their co-manager - the Welsh former choirboy star Aled Jones.

CJ Porter-Thaw, 11, and Patrick Aspbury and Ben Inman, both 12, spent the summer recording their debut album.

It includes both choral music like Ave Maria and interpretations of rock tunes such as Eric Clapton's Tears In Heaven.

Talent search

The recording with the English Chamber Ensemble was made under the direction of Martin Neary, former choirmaster of Westminster Abbey.

The group was formed after talent scouts visited 50 cathedrals and churches across the UK.

Porter-Thaw and Aspbury were both members of the choir at the King's School in Ely, Cambridgeshire. Inman was singing in the choir at state-run Minster School in Southwell, Nottinghamshire.

I'd tell them to shy away from all that child stardom business: all that teeth and tap shoes. Keep it real
Former child star Aled Jones
"Choir schools are a special world and they have been struggling to keep boys coming through the doors in the age of the PlayStation," said Universal Classics general manager Dickon Stainer.

"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."

The three boys have swapped their cassocks for designer suits. And they say they are all keen football fans and like rock music, particularly Green Day.

They have plenty of experience to rely on in the shape of their manager. Aled Jones, from Anglesey, is now 34 but found fame as a teenager in the mid-1980s with Walking in the Air from the animated film The Snowman.

He continues to perform and record, and also presents TV and radio shows.

Jones said: "I'm advising them and being part of their team - I've been there and done it myself.

"They are really great, fun loving lads and enjoying all this, (but) I think they've enjoyed more having a haircut and a suit than the recording process.

"First of all I'd tell them to shy away from all that child stardom business: all that teeth and tap shoes. Keep it real, I think."

Jones said the trio had great talent and natural voices and were different to other boys he heard all the time.

"It's kind of nostalgic - not that I'd go back, though," he said. "If I'd wanted to remain a choirboy I'd have had an operation!"

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