OPERA singer Sean Ruane has seen the children’s choirs set up by his production company take centre stage at the Rugby League World Cup.

The Bacup-born former St Theodore’s student’s Chant Productions has been enlisted to provide a lively opener for crowds at no fewer than 10 venues for the tournament.

And the young singers have already gone down a storm at packed opening games in Hull, Warrington and Rochdale.

Each choir, made up of local schoolchildren, has also provided backing vocals for seasoned singers performing the national anthems – which has resulted in them having to get their tongues around the Maori phrasings for the New Zealand version.

His company has been involved in creating the official soundtrack for the anthems used at the World Cup and Sean is in talks with the Rugby Football League about creating a ‘legacy project’, which could lead to similar future schemes.

And two young proteges, Dan McDwyer and Stuart Orme, were given the chance to perform with Gethin Jones at the opening ceremony in Cardiff last weekend.

Sean said: “We are giving young people the opportunity to perform on a world stage and the reaction has been absolutely phenomenal.”

Sean also paid tribute to the work of his strategic director Wil Woan and vocal director Sally Johnson in getting their young charges ready for the performances.

Vocal coaches have been teaching the youngsters how to sing phonetically, in much the same way as opera singers prepare.

Another of Chant’s choirs, this time 200-strong, will line up to perform before the England v Ireland tussle at Huddersfield on Saturday, with further dates pencilled in right up to the final at Old Trafford on November 30.