The King’s Singers, a classical a cappella group, began with six British singers, all of whom were choral scholars at King’s College in England in the 1960s. Since the group’s beginnings, 22 members have come in and out of the group. The current group consists of six singers: David Hurley (countertenor), Timothy Wayne-Wright (countertenor), Paul Phoenix (tenor), Philip Lawson (baritone), Christopher Gabbitas (baritone) and Jonathan Howard (bass).
Betsy Lopez, a student at WSU, came to the performance for a music class assignment. Lopez had never heard of the group prior to the concert, but said she was looking forward to the show.
“The performance was amazing!” Lopez said. “There was so much harmony, not only with the voices, but within the orchestra as well. The voices were very well orchestrated, and I could tell that they put a lot of thought into their audience. It had me in tears within the first 10 minutes.”
Lopez said she walked away with a better understanding of The King’s Singers and the Utah Symphony Orchestra.
Jacque Hoggan, who used to live in England, attended the performance with her husband. Hoggan said she’d seen the group on a Christmas DVD with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but had never seen them in person.
“We really enjoyed the evening,” she said. “We loved the blending of voices. The performance gave us a fix we need frequently when we are missing our old stomping grounds.”
The Grammy award-winning group has always been popular nationally, but has recently found a foothold of particular popularity in Utah after performing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for their 2008 Christmas show, Rejoice and Be Merry! Phoenix called Utah the group’s “home in the mountains of America.”
Mallori Carter, like Lopez, attended the concert for her music class. Carter said she’d heard of the group before, but had never seen a performance.
“I loved the performance,” Carter said. “I love listening to a cappella groups and singing. They did an amazing job. The music painted a picture for me with every song. That is hard to find in some of today’s music.”
Typically, The King’s Singers sing in the a cappella style (without instrumental accompaniment), but they also frequently perform with regional symphonies, like they did Thursday with the Utah Symphony.
“I think I gained a better appreciation for symphony music during this concert,” Carter said. “They brought the music to life for me. I originally came to the concert for my class, but I left very glad that I came.”
Alastair Hume, one of the founding members, sang with the group for 25 years. Before being replaced by current baritone Philip Lawson, he noted the importance of their group’s blending of many musical styles.
“Some say that we provide pleasurable, if detached, entertainment,” Hume said, “others that our obvious personal enjoyment expands to involve the whole audience; even more describe our concerts as a great outpouring of fundamental humanity; and then there are those who feel that the group’s recordings and concerts demonstrate that vocal music (not everybody’s cup of tea) can be enjoyed rather than endured, that ‘classical’ formats and music can be fun, not stuffy.”