The King’s Singers reflected on love and its forms


The King Singers are Nick Ashby (baritone), Patrick Dunachie (countertenor), Christopher Bruerton (baritone), Edward Button (countertenor), Julian Gregory (tenor) and Jonathon Howard (bass).

Meg Grice

The King’s Singers made an appearance on Valentine’s Day at Stephen’s Auditorium, but there was more to this concert than the typical a cappella style seen in America’s popular culture.

The a cappella group’s repertoire consisted of music from the Renaissance all the way up to the 21st century. Being Valentine’s Day, the selections reflected love of nostalgia, past, present, unrequited and reappearance. As an all-male group, the members consist of two counter-tenors, a tenor, two baritones and one bass.

Specific composers in the program included Johannes Brahms, Clément Jannequin, Simon & Garfunkel, Jean Sibelius and Randy Newman, with songs such as “When She Loved Me,” “Somewhere Beyond the Sea,” “I Love My Love,” and “Danny Boy.” These choices took the audience on a listening tour around Europe, with some additions from the West and Asia.

Audience reactions were positive and interactive. The singers made jokes with the attendees and even acted out a love song humorous in nature. The group received a standing ovation after the final piece, “I Can’t Sit Down,” from an audience of over 1,000.

After the singers attempted to leave the stage (twice) despite the ongoing applause, the six men returned with the Iowa Statesmen in tow. This surprise was not listed in the program. The King’s Singers had done a workshop with the students earlier that day. For the true finale, both ensembles performed “Ave Maria” by Franz Biebl.

“I loved the unity of their voices, and there is nothing more beautiful than the human voice,” said Ann Sokolowski, of Des Moines. “Each of their individual talents were on display.”

Though the group has been to Ames six times since 1983, current Iowa State Center Executive Director Tammy Koolbeck had never seen them in person until that night.

“To hear their voices in a purely acoustical performance was amazing,” Koolbeck said.

Janet Alcorn, a lecturer of voice at Iowa State, sat in on the master class with the Iowa Statesman that afternoon. She said the Iowa Statesmen responded well to critiques from The King’s Singers.

When asked about the guest a cappella group, Alcorn noted their variety and diction as an ensemble.

“I am a voice teacher, so we’ve stolen a lot of the techniques they use to be so clear,” Alcorn said.

According to The King’s Singers website, they will be making more stops around the United States before continuing their tour in Europe, Russia and Hong Kong.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to correct information regarding the compositions performed. The Iowa State Daily regrets previous errors.