If you're a fan (or even if you're not) of TV talent shows you might be forgiven for thinking that there was no new talent left to discover. Refreshingly, and luckily for music fans, there are still a lot of young singers who are finding their own route to fame - two such youngsters are Flo Bannigan and Bethan (Beth) Ford.
Flo and Beth are both young singers who first came to know each other when they sang together with Alfie Boe. Both Flo and Beth are big fans of Alfie Boe's classical / musical theatre repertoire and were thrilled to get the chance to sing with him in his Bring Him Home tour in 2011. The video below shows Flo, Beth and Alfie singing The Impossible Dream at the Birmingham Symphony Hall:
Flo Bannigan is a multi talented young singer who takes every opportunity she can to sing and perform; she has just finished a run in a youth production of Cats where she was the youngest principal in the company, in the role of Jellylorum. Her next project is a straight acting role in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Bethan Ford is a young singer who, somewhat unusually for a 13 year old, is mainly attracted to the classical / musical theatre genres of music, which of course is how she came to meet Flo and Alfie Boe. Although Flo has been a fan of Alfie since she was tiny, particularly the opera and Les Mis, Beth became aware of Boe when he took on the role of Jean Val Jean for the Les Mis 25th anniversary concert at the 02 in 2010. Like many others, Beth was blown away by the power of his voice. VIP concert tickets for the Bring Him Home tour followed which led to the performance on stage with Alfie and Flo.
Both Flo and Beth credit Alfie with inspiring them and as Beth says
Singing with Alfie made me realise that the stars are sometimes within reach.
Happily, the appearance in Birmingham was not the last either girl heard from Alfie. Beth was invited to meet Alfie during the interval of his concert at the Llangollen Music Festival in 2012 (she still has the Mars Bar he gave her!), and Alfie recorded a special message for Flo when he was interviewed on Radio Coventry and Warks in 2013.
Beth and Flo are continuing to reach for the stars; Flo writes as well as sings and has just released her self penned EP, Crazy World(click here for Flo's site). This is a collection of songs that she wrote and recorded last year. Even better, she has her own record label, Angry Baby.
Some of you might well be asking at this point why she isn't signed up to a major record label. Well, the answer is that she is self-releasing them on her own label because she is far too young for anyone to want to sign her seriously and she doesn't want to be signed as a 'freak show'. Luckily for us, she just likes making music and enjoys sharing what she does.
Meanwhile, Beth is enjoying singing and performing all over the Midlands. Her first choral experience came with a choir attached to the local church " Jigsaw" - Young Voices Together, and from there to other choral experiences with the renowned Birmingham based Ex Cathedra and as part of the VIAM - Voice In A Million Choir at the LG Arena and she currently sings with the Walsall Youth Choir. She has already appeared on several CD's - her first, was titled Bethan's Dream and her second is On My Own. She has also had the opportunity to record tracks at the Progress Music Academy, backed by producer Gary Hill.
One question Beth is constantly having to answer is "why don't you go on Britain's Got Talent?" The answer is" I don't want to be discovered that way, I just want people to enjoy my singing and one day I will dream the dream".
Flo and Beth would love to repeat the experience of singing with Alfie Boe - let's hope that these two uber talented young ladies get to dream the dream again.