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Biography: Daniel Imrie

Daniel Imrie was born on 13 November 2008 in Warrington, Cheshire. When he was 1 years old, he moved to Cape Town, South Africa. From an early age, he took a great interest in music, particularly inspired by sitting on a rug at bagpipe band practice, listening to his dad singing, and watching Andre Rieu DVDs. He started violin lessons at the age of 3. Daniel’s particular interests at primary school were chess and music. He captained his school team and represented the Western Cape at county-level chess. On the way home from pipe band one day, Daniel declared to his two bagpiping parents that he had spoken to the drummers in the pipe band and they had agreed to teach him side drum (although not sure he gave them much choice). He didn’t look back and went on to compete very successfully on side drum and play in a multitude of parades with the Cape Town Highlanders Drums and Pipes. Daniel also embarked on the concept of ‘lets try everything’ at the local music school, variously testing out trumpet, clarinet, saxophone, cello, recorder, penny whistleand piano along with his love of singing, drums and violin.

When Dan’s dad picked up Daniel (age 10) from the local primary school one day, Dan started with “Guess what Dad, the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School came to visit today, sang for us and auditioned us, and I’ve decided I want to go there. There is a second audition weekend in two weeks.” What Daniel failed to mention is that the choir school boarding he was after, was located a ‘mere’ 18-hour car journey away.Suffice to say, the parents gave in to Daniel’s extreme excitement, went to the weekend, and were also blown away by the fantastic setting high in the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa, and the extremely high standard of musical and vocal training given to the youngsters. Daniel thought the wait of 8 months for the next school year to begin was an eternity. (This was a specification we made so that Daniel could finish his cub scouts Gold Wolf and compete a final time for Western Cape Chess.) Finally, Daniel joined the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir as a new boy. However, joining the choir itself requires a long training and testing program including a very high standard of sight-singing and choir techniques, with training taking place for many hours every day. Daniel completed all tests and graduated as one of the earliest in his class after 9 months. The ceremony to receive his “blues and jabot” was a very proud event. Following graduation to the‘main choir’, each member then has to learn the new songs (music and words off by heart, including many different languages) and dance routines for each weekly concert. They then need to ‘pass’ every single song, performing individually to ‘testers,’ to be allowed to perform in the concert for that week.

Daniel had a fantastic time in the Drakensberg and the memories will remain with him forever. When the boys weren’t singing or doing school work, they were running and mountain biking up and down the mountains on their doorstep, and swimming in the local rivers. They were also involved in many local and international tours (although that was slightly curtailed during the covid years).

Eventually the option of returning to the UK was put ‘on the table’ for careful consideration. As a family, we needed to make a decision about Daniel’s higher education years, as well as returning to the rest of the extended family, mainly living in the UK. Mum Sheila also had the option of a transfer to Cardiff with her current company. During the first 4 months of 2022, dad John and Daniel joined the Cape Town Welsh Choir, to help give Daniel to learn some Welsh singing, however what they discovered was far greater – the amazing friendship and bonds that form in choirs. One of the special members was Ianto Jones, who was also planning his return to Cardiff. Finally, in May 2022, the Imries moved from Cape Town to Cardiff.

Daniel is currently attending St. John’s College in St. Mellons, Cardiff. He sings in the school choir which is also the Cathedral Choir for the Metropolitan Catholic Cathedral of Cardiff, led by Jeff Howard. On a Saturday morning Danielattends the Welsh National Youth Opera, and recently performed in the Pied Piper of Hamlin. After 6 months of living in Wales, Daniel was able to compete and get into the Welsh U14 chess team. His particular sporting interest is fencing, which he started in January 2023, and has never looked back, soaking up all he can and building up some core strength in the twice a week practices. Daniel enjoys drama, chess, astronomy and badminton clubs at school. He is also still drumming for the Welsh Piping Society, the Warrington Pipe Band (we drive up for summer parades and competitions) and guesting for the Cape Town Highlanders (such as their attending in the Basel Switzerland Military Musical Tattoo in July 2022).

One of Daniel’s favourite weekly events in Cardiff is being part of the Cardiff Arms Park Choir. It has been a fantastic opportunity to enjoy interacting with new people with so much to share, and to perform and enjoy music-making. He loves being able to share the experience with his singing dad, John. Both are very grateful to Ianto Jones for bringing them into the CAPC fold.

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