The Singers

Patrick Dunachie

Countertenor, Joined September 2016

 

I was born in 1993 into a family of musicians and at the age of five started learning piano and singing in my local church choir, later becoming a chorister at Hereford Cathedral under Geraint Bowen. It was here that my love of singing and choral music really took hold – I developed a passion for early music in particular. In one Cathedral Choir concert, I remember hearing Robin Tyson (King’s Singer 2001-2009) as a soloist, and being fascinated by the countertenor voice. When my voice changed a few years later, I decided to give singing countertenor a go and, sure enough, my falsetto voice worked and I stuck with it!

After singing in Hereford Cathedral Choir again (this time as an alto) in my last years at school, I won a scholarship to King’s College, Cambridge, to study Music and sing in King’s College Choir under Stephen Cleobury. During three unforgettable years, I toured Asia, Australia, Europe and the USA, recorded numerous CDs, and sang in national radio and television broadcasts every year. I also enjoyed managing and directing The King’s Men – the close harmony group formed of the choral scholars at King’s. My main joy during that time, though, was to sing the daily services in one of the world’s most beautiful buildings, with its wonderful acoustic and unique ambience.

All of this encouraged me to pursue singing beyond university, and after graduating in 2015, I moved to Oxford, where I sang for a year as a Lay Clerk at Christ Church Cathedral. During this time, as well as singing in the choir, I taught at a local school, performed as a freelance soloist, and also sang in a number of groups, including Ex Cathedra, The King’s Consort, Gesualdo Six and Westminster Cathedral Choir. I found time for my other interests too, with plenty of walking in the countryside, a lot of cooking, and a good deal of graphic design work to keep me out of trouble! I was appointed to The King’s Singers in January 2016, after two tough rounds of auditions, and now feel like the luckiest chap alive. I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at concerts all over the world!

Timothy Wayne-Wright

Countertenor, Joined January 2009

 

I realised at an early age that singing was very dear to my heart. My musical journey began as a boy chorister at Chelmsford Cathedral, aged six. Surrounded by magnificent choral music and singing daily services, I was quickly hooked! This passion continued through my teenage years, and after experimenting as a baritone, I realised that being a countertenor was my real vocation. I began studying as a countertenor at Goldsmith’s College – part of the University of London – in 2001, following which I was lucky enough to gain a Vocal Scholarship for postgraduate study at Trinity College of Music in London. During this time, I was a Choral Scholar at The Royal Naval College Chapel in Greenwich, as well as singing for a number of vocal ensembles based in the UK (including Ex Cathedra Consort, Polyphony and Stile Antico), and in places of worship like The Brompton Oratory and St Paul’s Cathedral. Vocally, this was a very important time for me, and I will forever be indebted to my teacher, Timothy Travers-Brown, who worked so hard with me on vocal technique and stagecraft. In 2006, I successfully auditioned to become an Alto Lay Clerk at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. And after just two years there, I was invited to audition for The King’s Singers. I’ve now been part of this wonderful ensemble for nearly eight years. I always relish the opportunity to perform in the world’s most beautiful churches and concert halls. Certain highlights include trips to Australia, New Zealand and South America. I also thoroughly enjoy returning to London to catch up with friends, family and loved ones. A typical day at home will include many hours spent in The King’s Singers library, exercising and preparing dinners for my beautiful and patient wife, Gemma.

Julian Gregory

Tenor, Joined September 2014

 

I started my musical life at the age of six in Leicester Cathedral Choir (where my dad was Choirmaster and Organist), before moving to St John’s College, Cambridge as a chorister. Aside from the daily three-hour commitment to the choir, I soon developed a passion for the violin and piano, which drove me to apply for a music scholarship to Eton, where I spent my teenage years.

Six years later, I returned to read Music at St John’s, where I spent three of the busiest years of my life! Through daily evensong, singing lessons and directing The Gentlemen of St John’s (the choral scholars’a cappella group), I realised that singing could be a potential career path for me — scary though that seemed at the time. So instead of following the “ normal” convention of trying to get a job or internship immediately after graduating, I went on a funded exchange year to Heidelberg University in Germany. Learning German and planting myself in a completely different field (socially, geographically, linguistically and environmentally) was a great way of taking some time out and deciding what to do with myself. And in that year, I applied successfully for a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music for a Masters in Singing Performance, as well as making friends for life from all over the world —something which struck a chord with my own international background of being half English, half Japanese.

What followed was an inspirational year at the Academy, opening up my mind to what it might actually be like to become a professional solo singer. Then, in the summer of 2014, while I was singing in the Opera Chorus at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, I got a phone-call from Johnny, inviting me to audition for The King’s Singers. I was offered the place in the group after the audition and my stomach dropped. I knew at that point that nothing would ever be the same again. I’m thrilled that everything worked out how it did: my time in the group so far has been truly fantastic and I can’t wait to see what new personal challenges and adventures lie ahead!<

Christopher Bruerton

Baritone, Joined January 2012

 

It all started in December 1994. I was taken to the Anglican service of Nine Lessons and Carols at Christchurch Cathedral and as the choir processed down the aisle, I whispered to Mum and Dad, ‘I want to be in that choir.’Then in 2010, after fifteen years in that very cathedral choir, I moved to England to pursue my lifetime ambition of becoming a professional singer, as well as being closer to my British girlfriend. I had been teaching and conducting choirs at Burnside High School, where I had also been as a student, but I got to the point where I felt that if I didn’t give singing a go then I’d always regret it. A dream of combining my love of singing and travelling soon became a reality, little more than year after taking the long flight over from New Zealand.

I have loved every moment since making my debut with The King’s Singers. I am so fortunate to have been able to sing in world renowned concert halls from New York to Sydney to Beijing and everywhere in between. But I get the biggest buzz from being able to pass on my experiences to the next generation of musicians through the workshops we give across the world. There is no greater joy for me than seeing others making their first steps in a cappella and ensemble singing.

Joining The King’s Singers has given me the opportunity to travel all over the world and sing in places I once only dreamed of. And for a humble Kiwi, it is more than I could ever have imagined. Here’s to many more years living the dream! And, with a Marriage in the Cotswolds and a Blessing in Christchurch, New Zealand to organise, the 2016-17 season promises to be an exciting one both home and away.

Christopher Gabbitas

Baritone, Joined February 2004

 

As I approach thirteen years of singing with The King’s Singers, I still feel incredibly fortunate that I get to make music with such a well-loved and highly respected ensemble. Although I now find myself the group’s longest-serving member, the spirit of each of my former colleagues lives on in the experience they’ve passed down through the years, and I find myself quoting them all the time! I began singing aged eight in the ancient cathedral in Rochester, Kent, moving on to take up a music scholarship at Uppingham School and then a Choral Scholarship to St John’s College, Cambridge, where I read law. (My legal training means that, apparently, I can occasionally be argumentative.) Postgraduate legal studies followed, along with a brief lay-clerk position at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. Having swapped the life of a lawyer for a life on the road back in 2004, there are not many corners of the world left to explore, but I still marvel at the power of music to break down barriers of language and culture. Wherever we go, we sing to audiences who just want to enjoy the human voice in all its forms, and we are always delighted to perform repertoire from around the world to provoke contrasting emotions, to educate and to entertain. Highlights of my time with The King’s Singers include performing in diverse venues – ranging from the world’s great concert halls to the tiniest of ancient churches – and being awarded a Grammy. When we’re in the air, I’m most often to be found reading the latest issue of Private Eye or Decanter Magazine. I am very lucky to enjoy the constant support of my beloved family, including my darling wife and three young daughters at home in Sussex, and there is nothing I enjoy more than returning home after a tour to open a bottle of wine (preferably classified Bordeaux) and enjoy a home-cooked meal.

Jonathan Howard

Bass, Joined September 2010

 

It might surprise you to know that I never intended to become a musician. Yes, I sang incessantly as a child – although without any professional training – but I applied to be a choral scholar at New College, Oxford – where I actually read Classics – only because I heard an old wives’ tale that getting one could improve your chances of getting an academic place. So it’s funny how life can take you by surprise. As I get ready for my seventh season as a King’s Singer, I’m starting to understand how intrinsic my joy in making music is. I still love the thrill of performing new repertoire – whether it’s half a millennium or half a week old. I thrive on the quest for musical excellence. But my greatest ambition is still – always –that audiences are innately moved when we perform. I want us to prove that choral and a cappella music is even more relevant now than it’s ever been. And as the group gets ready to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2018, I’m thrilled to show how choral and a cappella music is anything but stagnating in the past. I know it can speak more excitingly and more profoundly than ever to audiences today. After a few years away, I now live back in Oxford, and the bad habits I’ve cultivated in my spare time sadly haven’t yet died. I’m still an incessant traveller, bouncing across the globe whenever there’s a free minute and ever finding new bars, coffee shops and restaurants to become my makeshift office. I’m still a sucker for spicy food, avocados, martinis and unaffordable fashion. And I still wake up every morning with bated breath to get stuck into a new cryptic crossword. Some things never change.

 
 

History

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