The tales of Swansea Jack, a black retriever who lived in the coastal town of Swansea, Wales, are legendary. This brave dog is credited with saving the lives of 27 swimmers in his short seven-year life. Now almost eighty years later, artist Richard Higlet has come up with a fitting tribute to this brave canine - a special song dedicated to him, sung by dogs.
Richard, who was commissioned by a charity to come up with a project for the Swansea Festival of Arts and Music, started auditioning for the canine choir in early August.
Over thirty eager canines were tested for their ability to 'sing' (howl?) on demand to human music. The final choir 'dream' team of eight is a fine mix of different breeds, and includes a German Shepherd, two Shihtzus, a Collie, a Jack Russell, a Basset Hound and even a Bichon Frise, called Hollywood!
Last Tuesday, the group assembled in a recording studio to film and record 'A Song for Jack'. In order to warm up their vocal cords, all choir members were asked to practice their howling, whining and panting separately. When ready, they came together behind a group microphone and collectively 'sang' to music, played at sounds and frequencies that they could hear and respond to.
The lead singers of the group were Ava, the German Shepherd, who howled soulfully to Edward's (the Basset Hound) loud booming voice. On the other hand, the two Shihtzus experienced a bad case of stage fright and didn't 'sing' a single note.
They will get a second chance though, for the choir is scheduled to give a 'live' performance at the National Waterfront Museum on October 5th - We have no doubt the event will be sold-out!
Meanwhile, ' A Song for Jack', will be re-mixed with classical symphonic music, and played along with the video footage in the exhibition halls of the Swansea Festival. No word yet on whether the CD/ DVD will be available for sale to the general public.
Sources: Swansea.co.uk, Dailymail.co.uk