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Review by Jan Richards
Toronto ON December 16th 2018
The King's Singers: Pure Holiday Magic!
The King's Singers; Photo credit: Andy Staples
Koerner Hall, once again packed to a near-capacity and enthusiastic crowd, resounded with the signature sounds of the internationally acclaimed King's Singers a capella sextet as the end of their year-long Gold 50th Anniversary Season draws near.
In celebration of the ensemble's beginnings in 1968, the current reincarnation of the group has been on a whirlwind international tour since November of 2017 celebrating the power of music to unite us in harmony. Indeed, the group has recently launched The King's Singers Global Foundation. The initiative is a US based and authorised 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which aims to enrich the lives of musicians and non-musicians alike throughout the world through a wide range of activities, each designed to bring people together and enrich the world of music and the arts. Underscoring the project is a commitment to finding harmony in the world and engaging with individuals and communities who would otherwise have little access to the highest level of the arts.
It was fitting that the group performed Bob Chilcott's We Are with text based on Maya Angelou's The Human Family. Baritone Christopher Bruerton's uplifting voice carried the stirring missive of hope which emphasizes our similarities to one another rather than our differences throughout the hall.
The entire afternoon was indeed one of resounding joy. It began with John David's Born on a New Day. The composure of the group as it walked on stage made way for the purity of sound and refined voicing for which The King's Singers are renowned.
Master of Music by Toby Hession was for me, the high-point of the concert. Asking 'where is the 'Master of Music', the text suggests that it lies within the depths of the Soul. The ensemble's rich and varied timbres were exquisitely expressive of the poetry.
While it was the first half of the concert featuring music from The King's Singer's Grammy nominated 50th anniversary cd entitled Gold that captured deep emotions from within for me personally, it was clearly the second half of the afternoon entitled The Christmas Stocking that appeared to be what much of the audience had come for. Many had undoubtedly returned for each of the group's return engagements since it's debut concert in Koerner Hall in 2011. Indeed, the group twice emphasized that Koerner Hall is indeed one of its favourite venues within which to perform world-wide.
Countertenors Patrick Dunachie and Timothy Wayne-Wright, tenor Julian Gregory, baritones Christopher Bruerton and Christopher Gabbitas, and bass Jonathan Howard delivered! Artfully orchestrated seasonal favourites from its 2015 cd entitled Christmas Songbook were followed by poignant and later uplifting traditional favourites, The King's Singers who are indeed ambassadors of love, distributed its musical gifts to all as the afternoon came to a close with hope for 'A New Day'. And it's International tour continues...