Universally acclaimed for 50 years, The King’s Singers thrilled the Harris Theater audience Thursday night with their magical mix of early Renaissance and liturgical music with folk and present day popular song. This wonderful a cappella choral ensemble of six men infused each piece with heartfelt enthusiasm and an almost boyish, fresh scrubbed charm, no matter their individual ages, and capped the evening off with both ancient and modern Christmas music and a rousing Jingle Bells.
Perhaps the best adjective for this group is Joyful, from their smiling, single-file,purposeful entrance, books in hand, to their equally happy and smiling exit after two hours of beautiful song, looking as if they will just continue their singing and camaraderie back in their dressing room. Their voices-always two countertenors, a tenor, two baritones and a bass-blend in harmony to produce a pure, yet rich sound, that fills any hall with warmth and spirit. It was obvious that these men-John Howard, Julian, Gregory, Patrick Dunachie, Timothy Wayne-Wright, Christopher Bruerton, and Christopher Gabbitas love what they do. And it was perfectly on display in their close harmony, stirringly soulful performance of the traditional folk classic, Shenandoah.
An added treat was getting to meet these wonderful men backstage after the concert, courtesy of my dear friend Ken Fischer, President Emeritus of the University of Michigan’s University Musical Society. Thanks Johnny, Julian, Chris, Tim, Chris, and Patrick! You all SHINE!
In the group’s own words, The King’s Singers originally formed in 1968 as six former Choral Scholars from King’s College at Cambridge University. Throughout its history,the group has been defined by its attention to the purity of its sound, which aims to serve the music we’re singing above all else, and also by the unprecedented diversity of its repertoire – ranging from the early European Renaissance all the way through to the rich web of today’s popular music. Each of those first six members and all twenty singers since have crucially shared a passion for music and its power to move people. In one way or another, singing has been an essential part of each of our lives. Many of us sang as boy trebles in cathedrals and churches across England (and further afield) from a very early age, although our combined musical experiences extend much further – at least as far as musical theatre, opera and, of course, collegiate a cappella singing, if not beyond. Whether we anticipated that we’d sing in a small ensemble like The King’s Singers for a living or not, we each share the belief that singing in harmony has an incredible ability to bring people together. There is such an amazing variety of music from throughout the ages and all over the world for us to celebrate, all of which can move us and broaden our horizons, both as singers and listeners. As King’s Singers,our mission is help people find harmony with each other by learning about each other and uniting through song. It’s been amazing to travel all over the world as part of this fiftieth anniversary season and to meet people who share our vision for a brighter future through the powerof coming together in song. We are so pleased to be performing at the Harris Theater this December, right in the heart of Chicago, a city that throbs with music of all kinds and where we know our cause already has extraordinary support.
In this 50th year of the group’s founding they have produced an anniversary album, “GOLD”, which has recently been nominated for a Grammy.
If you love music, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t, you have the opportunity to see this remarkable ensemble again near Chicago at Wheaton College on Friday, February15, 2019.
More information about The King Singers