Only Men Aloud was formed in 2000 with the goal of injecting “new blood” into the Welsh male choir tradition. The group’s repertoire is eclectic, ranging from Welsh folk songs and hymns to musicals and opera, from barbershop and swing to pop. The choir became famous when it won the BBC’s Last Choir Standing in the summer of 2008. Only Men Aloud was honored to perform in the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony and has also appeared at the Royal Variety Performance.
Birmingham Citadel Band was involved in the first concert of the tour, at Symphony Hall in Birmingham. As the show drew to a close, the distant sound of a Salvation Army band could be heard before the stage doors opened and the band marched in, playing Christmas Joy (Erik Leidzén). The band accompanied Choirboy of the Year Jack Topping (recently the youngest artist to sign for Decca Records) and Only Men Aloud in festive arrangements of Away in a Manger and Joy to the World, before leading the audience in the packed hall in two verses of Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.
Following the concert the band moved out onto the ICC concourse as people made their way through the December night. Many hundreds stayed to listen to the band play carols and Christmas marches such as Christmas Praise and The Carollers. Their was audible disappointment when the band “called it a day” after 10pm.