Benjamin Ealovega ©2012
Don’t confuse the King’s Singers with the King Sisters.
“I can categorically confirm we are not sisters,” says David Hurley with a wry grin.
The King’s Singers countertenor acknowledges there have been more than a few misunderstandings with the “purely coincidental” similar names.
“Johnny Carson on more than one occasion introduced the King’s Singers as the King Sisters on ‘The Tonight Show,’ ” he adds. It happens frequently enough that the male choral ensemble has become accustomed to the mix-up.
While both groups have six members, the famous Big Band-era singing sisters from Pleasant Grove share the same last name. And the “king” in the King’s Singers’ name is “Henry VI, who founded King’s College, Cambridge, where the King’s Singers’ founding fathers were students and members of the college’s world-famous choir,” Hurley explains.
The a cappella group is a favorite of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, after performing together at the 2002 Winter Olympics and as guest artists for the 2007 “Rejoice and Be Merry” Christmas concert.
Hurley recalls several memorable aspects of their collaborations.
“First was the wonderful welcome given to us,” he says. “Second has to be singing in the Conference Center. It has to be one of the largest venues we have performed in, and to have it filled to capacity night after night was incredible. For me, though, the most memorable aspect was our farewell from the choir as we stood in front of them and they sang ‘God Be with You Till We Meet Again.’ ”
The King’s Singers have a deep appreciation of the importance of singing carols to celebrate the Christmas season.
“Growing up in the English church music tradition, music and Christmas go together in the most fundamental way,” he says. “Back home, the largest attendances in our cathedrals is for the Christmas carol services, which combine music and readings to tell the Christmas story. For the King’s Singers, we love the chance for one month of the year to bring out the fantastic Christmas repertoire, both old and new. As a musician, I do find that music is such an amazing way to communicate all the human emotions.”
Straddling the fence between serious and not-so-serious music, the King’s Singers' repertoire encompasses medieval music to Renaissance masterpieces, lieder to folk, to pop and jazz.
Accompanying this varied range of musical styles, the group includes lighthearted moments in concerts to build audience rapport and a jovial atmosphere, leading to being celebrated as “a class act with a delightfully British wit.”
“We like to take our audiences through a spectrum of emotions within our concerts,” Hurley explains. “You need to know when to be serious and when to let your hair down. That is led by the repertoire.”
However, each song performed shows off the singers’ consummate skill and their ability to draw out the emotion within the music. According to the New York Times, “Fusing forms, timbres and styles, they turn education and entertainment into art and back again.”
Other reviews have hailed the King’s Singers’ “purest tone, laser-like pitch, polished harmonies, splendid diction and phrasing.”
“We all had similar musical educations, and we also have the luxury of only singing with the King’s Singers. Many singers have to sing with lots of different groups, which means they can’t get the feel for those around them in the same way,” Hurley says to explain their reputation for excellence and heady success of briskly selling classical and pops LPs, plus frequent TV and worldwide concert appearances.
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