Kids get a chance to show their talents

19:53, Jan 24 2013
Helena Rollins
SCREAM N' SHOUT: Oakura’s Helena Rollins, 5, gives it all she’s got during an Upbeat Glee Club session yesterday.

New Plymouth kids are experiencing their own X Factor moments through an organisation which lets them sing and dance to to their hearts' content.

Children between the ages of three and 14 are joining the Upbeat Glee Club en masse.

In the past two weeks more than 180 kids have signed up to the club, set up by husband and wife team Huw and Helen Griffiths last year.

Mrs Griffiths said it was all about having fun, making friends, and growing in confidence.

"They all want to have their own X Factor moment and this kind of gives them the chance to do that.

"We're all used to singing in front of the mirror with a hairbrush and I suppose this is the next generation's version of that."


The idea evolved after the couple set up a school choir to support their homeland, Wales, during the Rugby World Cup.

Instead of singing Welsh songs no one could understand, Mrs Griffiths taught them pop songs by Welsh natives like Tom Jones and Duffy. The group was a huge hit and, when combined with their daughter, Laura's, love of TV show Glee, it morphed into what it is today.

"They get to sing what they're hearing on the radio, which they love."

The speech and language therapist said she had come across a mixture of talent since the club began. "We've got some great dancers and knockout singers.

"Then we've got some who are just full of enthusiasm. They may not hit the right notes but they sure make up for it that way," she said.

"We've even had parents join in as well, much to the embarrassment of their children."

As well as singing and dancing, a bit of music trivia is thrown in to broaden their knowledge, while they also get the opportunity to design outfits for the likes of Lady Gaga.

To meet demand, the club has introduced sessions for 3 and 4-year-olds who were getting itchy feet watching their siblings from the sideline.

Taranaki Daily News