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Marking 50 years, The King’s Singers to make Kansas appearance at Bethel

The King's Singers

The King’s Singers make the only Kansas appearance of their "Gold50" tour tonight at 7:30 in Mem Hall.

This is the third event in he 2018-19 Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts series. The King’s Singers are well-known and beloved by HBPA audiences, and are presenting the “Gold50” program to mark 50 years of the group’s existence.

The King’s Singers was born May 1, 1968, formed by six recent graduates of King’s College, Cambridge. By chance, the original vocal lineup was two countertenors, a tenor, two baritones and a bass, and the formation has never changed since.

The current members of The King’s Singers are countertenors Edward Button and Patrick Dunachie, tenor Julian Gregory, baritones Nick Ashby and Christopher Bruerton, and bass Jonathan Howard.

The group has appeared on the world’s great stages, from London’s Royal Albert Hall to the Sydney Opera House to Carnegie Hall, and has been ambassadors for musical excellence across the globe.

Among many accolades are two Grammy® Awards (2008 for Best Classical Crossover Album, Simple Gifts; 2011 for Best Choral Performance on Eric Whitacre’s Light & Gold), an Emmy® Award, and a place in Gramophone magazine’s inaugural Hall of Fame.

The King’s Singers have also been nominated for four additional Grammy® Awards, including in 2019 for their 50th-anniversary recording, Gold, in the Best Classical Compendium category. (The awards ceremony is Sunday, Feb. 10, two days before the HBPA concert.)

Their consistent love of musical diversity has fueled The King’s Singers’ commitment to creating new music.

Over 50 years, they have commissioned more than 200 works, by composers who include Luciano Berio, Gabriela Lena Frank, György Ligeti, Nico Muhly, John Rutter, Toru Takemitsu, Sir John Tavener and Eric Whitacre, as well as countless arrangements of everything from jazz standards to pop charts.

The King’s Singers’ “Gold50” program reflects the group’s half-century of musical diversity, whether ancient motets, brand new commissions or much-loved arrangements of close-harmony music from the last 50 years.

In addition to releasing the compilation album in honor of 50 years, The King’s Singers has established a U.S.-based charity, The King’s Singers Global Foundation. The group hopes to extend its impact, by way of education and commissioning new works, even further.

In the spirit of The King’s Singers’ commitment to teaching and coaching young singers, they will hold a masterclass with the Bethel College Concert Choir and Hesston College Bel Canto Singers ahead of their Feb. 12 evening performance, at noon in Memorial Hall.

Two events remain in the HBPA season. On March 5, the Berlin-based Armida Quartet performs “Mozart Exploded” at Hesston Mennonite Church, juxtaposing Mozart with contemporary composers as well as letters written by Mozart.

Wrapping up is singer/songwriter Ruth Moody and her band, April 9 in Memorial Hall. Many audiences know Moody as part of the all-female folk group The Wailin’ Jennys.

Single tickets can be purchased at either Hesston or Bethel College weekdays during regular business hours. Bethel and Hesston students receive free admission. See hesstonbethel.org for more information.

The series started in 1982 as Hesston Performing Arts, then expanded in 1998 when Hesston College joined forces with Bethel College for Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts, to present five performances by world-renowned or regionally acclaimed artists each school year.

HBPA is funded in part by the City of North Newton, Excel Industries and Hustler Turf Equipment (Hesston), the North Newton Community Foundation, the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, and media sponsor KMUW-FM 89.1 in Wichita, with additional funding from area businesses and patrons.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.