For half a century, The King’s Singers have been enchanting crowds with their eclectic mix of choral work.
The six-member British vocal group will celebrate that milestone with a stop on the Gold Tour at Viterbo University at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Fine Arts Center.
The King’s Singers were established in May 1968, formed by six recently graduated choral scholars from King’s College, Cambridge. Their vocal line-up was two countertenors, a tenor, two baritones and a bass, and the group has never wavered from this formation since.
The King’s Singers have been on prime-time television and welcomed on the world’s great stages from London’s Royal Albert Hall to the Opera House in Sydney. The group has won two Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, and a place in Gramophone magazine’s inaugural Hall of Fame.
This love of diversity has always fueled The King’s Singers’ commitment to creating new music. They have commissioned works by of great composers including Luciano Berio, György Ligeti, Toru Takemitsu and Eric Whitacre resulting in concerts that touch on a panoply of different styles and genres.
“The most important thing about the group is the variety,” bass singer Jonathan Howard said. “There is so much you can do with human voices.”
The Gold Tour charts a journey through the music that has defined The King’s Singers so far, from Renaissance and romantic music to art song, and also includes three arrangements of popular Beatles songs meant specifically for the group. November also marks the worldwide release of “GOLD,” a three-disc album with 60 tracks divided across three themes of close harmony, spiritual and secular.
Howard has been with the group since the summer of 2010 when he was invited to audition. The chance to perform, travel the world and the sheer variety of the music the group sings have made the past seven years a great experience, he said.
The tour will highlight some of the great stages in the world from London to Beijing to Sydney and Rome. But the Upper Midwest is also a favorite of the group, and a stop at Viterbo was a natural fit, Howard said.
“There are so many highlights of this tour,” he said. “It is very, very lovely.”
Because of the all the places they have been invited to, he said he feels like ambassadors of singing to the world. And things never get dull as the group is always performing something a little different at each concert.
“It is great being part of a group that gets to travel all over the world,” Howard said. “I am really, really grateful for the opportunities to make music and perform for audiences.”