WESTERLY — The Chorus of Westerly will kick off its 61st concert season Saturday with a concert by one of the most acclaimed a cappella vocal ensembles of all time.

The King’s Singers, who have performed thousands of concerts in over 50 countries around the globe, return to the George Kent Performance Hall to perform a concert called "GOLD," a celebration of the singers’ 50 seasons of vocal music-making. The performance will  feature music from eras ranging from the Renaissance to the Beatles. 

The King’s Singers have received hundreds of glowing reviews from the world’s greatest musical publications, multiple Grammy Awards, an Emmy, and a place in Gramophone magazine’s inaugural Hall of Fame. 

Founded in 1968, the original six singers were choral scholars who had recently graduated from King’s College, Cambridge, where they sang and studied with Sir David Willcocks. Coincidentally, Willcocks was also an early mentor and teacher of Chorus of Westerly founder George Kent in the 1960s. Much of the chorus’s performance offerings, education, and artistic structure have been directly influenced by Willcocks. 

The initial ensemble of The King’s Singers had been singing together under a different name prior to their London debut on May 1, 1968, when they gave a concert in Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre. For that first concert, their vocal makeup was, by chance, two countertenors, a tenor, two baritones, and a bass. Over the next 50 years, and continuing to this day, the group has never wavered from this formation. The current members are Patrick Dunachie and Edward Button, countertenors; Julian Gregory, tenor; Christopher Bruerton and Nick Ashby, baritones; and Jonathan Howard, bass.

Traditional choral repertoire ran in the veins of the founders as the initial ensemble comprised former members of the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. However, what distinguished The King’s Singers in the early years was their musical versatility. They became weekly fixtures on prime-time television, celebrating popular music never usually touched by choral ensembles. The group now regularly performs at venues from London’s Royal Albert Hall to the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall to the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

The concert is part of the chorus’s annual Kent Hall Masters Series. The King’s Singers headlined the series for the first time in 2013.

— Nancy Burns-Fusaro

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