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Young Voices at Sheffield Arena - VIDEO AND PICTURES

YOUNG Voices is back in Sheffield - with more than 12,000 school kids from across the region taking part in the three-night event at Sheffield Arena.

The Young Voices company has just begun a 14-date UK tour which gives school pupils aged eight to 13 the opportunity to sing alongside big names in the music industry.

Classical singing group All Angels and soloist Vivi Brown are touring with the company this Christmas, following in the footsteps of legends Cliff Richard, Kathryn Jenkins, Joss Stone and Lemar.

"This is such a great event and a great opportunity for kids to get involved in music on a grand scale," said Ben Lewis, director of Young Voices.

"I founded the company along with my dad and brother 13 years ago and it's maintained its popularity. The kids love getting involved and singing in the shows, the teachers love being a part of it and teaching them all the songs in the months running up to the tour and the parents love coming to watch the performances.

"The final performance in an arena like this is an amazing experience for everyone."

A total of 4,000 children will perform in each of the three shows at Sheffield Arena which kick off the tour this week before the company travels on to venues including the O2 and the Royal Albert Hall in London next month.

"We had to add an extra night in Sheffield this year because of the demand," Ben added.

"We've got different schools performing every night and some of them are being coached in from as far as 50 and 60 miles away. It's amazing and we're completely sold out."

The two-hour show features a variety of musical styles including pop, classical, hip-hop and disco and is an interactive experience for the children as they sing and dance along with the acts on the main stage.

Ben said his family was inspired to start the company by all the choral music that is such a big part of his Welsh heritage.

"Choirs are making a comeback in England as they're starting to become cool again," Ben added.

"A lot of work goes into the shows from the schools point of view as they work with the kids on learning the songs and all the lyrics.

"The kids reward at the end of it all is getting to sing in arenas like this with big artists like the ones we've been lucky enough to attract."

Young Voices finishes its run in Sheffield tonight with a final performance at the Arena.

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