Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Sunday, 17 August 2008 16:44 UK

Canines 'sing' in tribute to Jack

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Three of the hopefuls sing along to Bob Dylan, Happy Birthday and Hooray for Hollywood

Canine crooners have auditioned to take part in a special choir which will pay musical tribute to legendary dog hero Swansea Jack.

The black retriever became a local hero in the 1930s for rescuing drowning swimmers from Swansea's docks.

Once formed the canine choir will create and and perform a new song in celebration of the hero. 'A Song For Jack' will also be transcribed.

Judges auditioned dogs at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea on Sunday.

The dogs which auditioned all start singing after hearing a piece of music or a direct command.

Grace Davies who helped to organise the auditions said they had seen some "cracking diva dogs".

"It has been loads of fun," she added.

"We've had one called Zac, a border collie who starts singing when he hears Happy Birthday and another called Hollywood who sings along to Hooray for Hollywood.

"Angus the Jack Russell was also fantastic. He sings along to Bob Dylan."

Hollywood the singing Bichon Frise
When he would do something really good we would sing 'Hooray for Hollywood' and he would join in
Linda Griffiths on her dog Hollywood

The project is the brainchild of Cardiff-based artist Richard Higlett who said the canine choir will perform a special concert outside the National Waterfront Museum with accompaniment from local musicians.

"Dogs sing together instinctively as part of a pack, their sense of community," he said.

"In Swansea there are so many breeds with different characters and voices and all have a relationship, like us, with the place in which they live.

"I felt it a fitting homage to Swansea Jack whose instinct was to be a hero. It is also about fun, a celebration."

He added that he expected the recoding session to be "very chaotic".

"We are going into the recording studio on 8 September and then the performance is a one off at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea on 5 October."

Linda Griffiths, from Llanelli and the owner of Hollywood the Bichon Frise, said they discovered his singing talents when training him.

"When he would do something really good we would sing 'Hooray for Hollywood' and he would join in.

"I would be over the moon for him if he got into the choir because he has a lovely nature."

Angus the Jack Russell, singing
Angus the Jack Russell starts singing when he hears Bob Dylan

The project has been commissioned by Locws International as part of Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts.

Born in 1930 Swansea Jack hit the headlines the following year when he rescued a swimmer from the docks.

Legend has it that he went on to save 27 people from drowning over seven years.

In 1936 he was named the 'Bravest Dog of the Year' by the London Star newspaper and was awarded two bronze medals by the National Canine Defence League.

A monument paid for by public subscription stands on Swansea promenade .

Some people believe the nickname Jacks, given to natives of the city, derives from the dog.




SEE ALSO
Hero dog's canine choir tribute
10 Jul 08 |  South West Wales
Guide dog leads chapel's singing
14 Jun 07 |  South West Wales
Dog's tricks are 'better than TV'
27 Feb 08 |  West Midlands

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