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Hockering man's classical boy band joy

PUBLISHED: 09:11 13 April 2009 | UPDATED: 15:10 07 July 2010

The Hockering man who beat 55,000 others to become the latest member of award-winning classical boy band Blake thanks to the power of the internet told the Times it is his dream come true.

The Hockering man who beat 55,000 others to become the latest member of award-winning classical boy band Blake thanks to the power of the internet told the Times it is his dream come true.

Humphrey Berney put his details on social networking site Twitter and just three days later was asked to join the group who sang for Shirley Bassey at her 70th birthday party and supported Katherine Jenkins on her tour.

The quartet's version of Swing Low was also chosen as the official anthem of the England rugby team for the 2007 World Cup.

Mr Berney, better known in the group as Barney, said he had seen Blake perform at Twickenham before a match and thought how lucky they were. Now he is one of them.

He joined after baritone Dominic Tighe announced that he was leaving the group to return to his acting career just before their maiden tour. And it's been a real roller-coaster ride for 28-year-old Mr Berney, who has been singing at venues all over the country since.

The group, who came together through Facebook, continued with their use of social networking websites, by recruiting the solo tenor through rival site Twitter.

Mr Berney, who has previously worked with soprano Hayley Westenra and the Glyndebourne Opera, said: “It's been an amazing, exciting time for me and I still have to pinch myself to make sure that it is all real. I was jumping in at the deep end and it was their first UK headline tour. But the time with the three other members made me feel very at home and they have been exceptionally welcoming,” he said. “It just feels so comfortable now and feels like I have been doing it for years. “

He said the response from Blake fans had also been very welcoming and he, along with fellow members Ollie Baines, Stephen Bowman and Jules Knight, whose father lives at Burnham Market, had all been sent Easter gifts by female admirers.

“For me, signing autographs and having pictures taken has been fun… it has been a really fantastic experience.”

Fans in Norfolk will have a chance to see the boys sing live on July 19 when they appear at the King's Lynn Festival. “We are very excited about that date and we have already planned our Norfolk weekend. We are coming up on the Friday night and going to the beach on Saturday and I will show the other chaps in the group the beauty of Norfolk; it will be like a mini summer holiday,” said Mr Berney.

His love of music goes back to his time as a pupil at Taverham Hall School and Gresham's School at Holt, singing in both choirs. As well as his solo work, he has worked with opera companies so he has always mixed solo and group work. His family home is Hockering House where his brother Oliver still lives.

“Harmony is the sound of Blake and we sing everything, from negro-spirituals, acapella and pop, including Snow Patrol and Chasing Cars.”

The group's self-titled debut album, which featured covers of popular classical songs and film themes, won the Album of the Year Award at the Classical Brits in 2008.

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