On May 7th 2019, to round off the phenomenally successful and life-affirming International Concert Series,Millfield School welcomed the fabulous King’s Singers to the Johnson Hall– a venue that would not normally host such a pre-eminent ensemble. Indeed, a comment was made that our Johnson Hallis amongst the finest acoustics in which they have had the pleasure of performing and may, in the future, host a recording by the ensemble.
Countertenors Patrick Dunachie & Edward Button, Tenor Julian Gregory, Baritones Christopher Bruerton & Nick Ashby and Bass Jonathan Howard, created and maintained an atmosphere of exhilarating entertainment throughout their performances of music from the 14thcentury to the Beatles. Kicking off this amazing evening of music, was a harmonically sublime performance of A Prayer of King Henry VI,a prayer written in the 14thCentury for Henry VI, the founding father of King’s College, Cambridge, and set to music by Henry Ley. Moving on from this was a performance of the work We Are, written by a former King’s Singer, Bob Chilcott. A commission by Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu was also performed, the Handmade Proverbs, sung with precision and emotion. Two arrangements of Lennon & McCartney songs And I Love Her and Honey Pie were the penultimate offerings of the first half, followed by an unashamedly enthusiastic and entertaining rendition of a King’s Singers classic Masterpiece, a work that aims to showcase the entirety of Western Classical Music in less than ten minutes.
The second half of the programme began with another commission, this time by choral composer-extraordinaire John Rutter, his Be Not Afeard rang gloriously throughout the Johnson Hall. Nico Muhly’s A Finer Music came next, and what fine music it was, sung with what seemed like effortless clarity. To round-off an already remarkable concert, the King’s Singers treated the audience to TheParty Bag, pulling out a selection of wondrous offerings including another Beatles tune and much more!
With such a distinguished vocal ensemble gracing our concert hall, it came as no surprise to anyone that the entire room was filled. All who attended were surely inspired by the sheer vocal excellence and flexibility of styles in which the ensemble could sing. A once-in-a-lifetime experience would possibly not even do justice to the experience that was had that evening.