The King's Singers
Type: Concert
Date: Thursday 21 June 2012

David Hurley countertenor
Timothy Wayne-Wright countertenor
Paul Phoenix tenor
Christopher Bruerton baritone
Christopher Gabbitas baritone
Jonathan Howard bass

Royal Rhymes and Rounds


The King’s Singers were formed in 1968, when the original six members were choral scholars at King’s College, Cambridge where Sir David Willcocks was Director of Music. It had long been the ambition of The Shaldon Festival to engage The King’s Singers and on Thursday 21st June, they gave their first ever performance in St Peter’s to a packed church. The coming of world-renowned musicians raises very high expectations among audiences, with the consequent risk of disappointment, but we should not have worried. Their performance was superb.

The programme for the evening comprised Royal Rhymes and Rounds, pieces newly selected in celebration of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The collation explores music influenced by the Royal Court throughout the last 500 years. Starting with works for (and in some cases by) Henry VIII, the programme covered the Elizabethan Triumphs of Oriana by composers such as Gibbons and Dowland; a very Victorian selection of dedicatory works by Elgar, Parry and Stainer; choral arrangements from the opera Gloriana by Benjamin Britten composed for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II ; and a new piece specially commissioned by the King’s Singers from Paul Drayton: A Rough Guide to the Royal Succession. Subtitled It’s just one damned king after another, the 10 minute piece celebrates our royal heritage in a comic musical romp that has the Anglo-Saxons droning in plainsong, Henry V setting off to Normandie in a rousing Agincourt Song and Elizabeth II celebrated with a rousing cockney knees up! The composer was in the audience and received delighted applause when he took a bow.

The King’s Singers Shaldon concert demonstrated the very best of their trademark qualities: pin-sharp intonation, impeccable vocal blend, flawless articulation of the text and incisive timing. Their singing appears effortless, as if it is the most natural thing in the world to sing six part harmonies of great intricacy, range over five centuries of musical tradition and develop a relaxed and playful rapport with the audience that included such one liners as “If you know this song – don’t join in ". Above all, The King’s Singers are consummate entertainers: a highly-professional act with a delightfully British wit, demonstrating that acapella vocal music (not everybody's cup of tea) is to be enjoyed rather than endured, that "classical" formats and music can be hugely entertaining – and not at all stuffy.

Roger Kirk

Parking Map for St Peter's Church, Shaldon


St Peter’s Church, Bridge Road, Shaldon, TQ14 0DB


1. Long Stay Public Carpark ½ mile from the church, reached through the village or off the A379 coast road to Torquay, postcode TQ14 0HP – 381 spaces, “pay & display” during the day but free after 6.00pm. Allow 15 minutes for the blue walking route shown.
2. Short Stay Public Carpark, opposite the church, postcode TQ14 0BP – 48 spaces, “pay & display” subject to a short stay 4 hour limit during the day but free after 6.00pm.
3. Extra parking – limited space adjoining the recreation ground reached from Ringmore Road but with easy pedestrian access to the Church along the estuary embankment. If using this area, please park “tidily” to maximise the usable space; this area is only available for parking as a special arrangement for the Festival.


Please telephone Malcolm Watson on 01626 873492 if you need help with letting someone alight at the church and/or need seating space for a wheelchair. In addition, there are a very few parking spaces close to the church which we can reserve for those with mobility difficulties on a first come, first served, basis.