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. From that point, I spent months learning the hundreds of pieces that I had to know to begin my time in the group that same September. Since then, my short time in the group has already taken me all over the world, singing for tens of thousands of people, and enabling me to make so many friends as I go. I am now in my second year as a King’s Singer, and am lucky enough to be in this position as the group celebrates its fiftieth birthday. This ‘GOLD’ year, as we’re calling it, is proving to be something very special, and we’re taking amazing music to many amazing places. I can’t wait to see you along the way!

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 nine years. I always relish the opportunity to perform in some of the world’s most beautiful churches and concert halls – certain highlights include trips to New Zealand, Australia 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 working through King’s Singers admin and also catching up with my beautiful and patient wife Gemma, not to mention spending time with my darling son, Harry.

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 Choir, Cambridge, as a boy chorister. Aside from the daily three-hour commitment to Choir, I soon developed a passion for the violin and piano, which drove me to apply for a music scholarship to Eton College, where I happily spent my teenage years.

Six years later, I returned to St John’s to read Music, and experienced three of the busiest years of my life! Through daily choir commitments, singing lessons and directing The Gentlemen of St John’s (the choral scholars’ a cappella group), I realised that singing could become a potential career path for me — scary though that seemed at the time. So instead of following the seemingly normal convention around me of trying to get a job or internship immediately after graduating, I went on a funded exchange year to Heidelberg University in Germany. Intensively 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. That year, I ended up applying successfully for a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music for a Masters in Vocal Performance, and making some friends for life from all over the world — something which struck a chord with my own international background, being half English, half Japanese.

What followed was a highly inspirational year at the Academy, opening up my mind to many of the various art forms and states of mind that a professional solo singer might encounter. 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 — a rather different proposition to my solo career at the time. I was offered the tenor position immediately after the audition and my stomach dropped. I knew at that point that nothing would ever be the same again!

I’m so glad everything has worked out this way; my three years so far in the group have been a wonderful whirlwind and I eagerly await the challenges and adventures that 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, having been an audience member for the 40th Anniversary, being in the group as it celebrates 50 years is more than I could ever have imagined. Add to that  being a newly married man… I really am living the dream!

Christopher Gabbitas

Baritone, Joined February 2004

 

As we approach our 50th Anniversary, nobody is more surprised than I that I’m the sole KS survivor of the 40th Anniversary celebrations back in 2008, but I’ve enjoyed the arrival of each new colleague and am viewing next year with extreme excitement!

It’s been an incredible 14 years since I was appointed to the group, following a period working as a lawyer in London, and over 1,500 concerts later a lot has happened – not least marrying Stephanie and helping to bring three wonderful daughters into the world. Although I miss them terribly as we tour around the world, the homecomings are still very special and I’ve been very fortunate to work at the very top of the choral profession for well over a decade now.Alongside the performances have come memorable education experiences, and I’ve found it rewarding to work at some of the world’s top universities assisting in their choral development – including at my alma mater, Cambridge.

When the concerts, broadcasts, rehearsals, media work and education is done, I like nothing better than to go home, open a bottle of wine, cook some food and relax with the family in rural Sussex.

Jonathan Howard

Bass, Joined September 2010

 

I’ve always been more of a dreamer than a pragmatist. My time at school (initially at the German School in London, and then at Christ’s Hospital, an extraordinary charitable foundation in West Sussex where my parents taught and we therefore lived) was defined by its business: more subjects than were necessary, more instruments than were sustainable; and more activities than could be squeezed into any normal timetable. University was no better. As a Classics undergraduate at New College in Oxford University, I was famous for my inability to say no to anything, no matter how many late nights or early starts that meant. There were hundreds of non-compulsory hours in plays, in musicals, playing sports, in societies, in clubs and in pubs (what else would you expect from an English university). So how have things changed, now that I’m 30 and well into my eighth season as a King’s Singer? (Let’s not forget my intervening year in advertising, by the way.) I’m still disastrously bad at saying no. Nights at home or on the road are rarely free. Lie-ins are even rarer. I’m always busy, conjuring up new ideas about what we can do to spread the joy of music, and to celebrate how diverse and exciting our cultural landscape is today. What’s new? I’m more relentless than ever in my search for new luggage, new sunglasses, and new shoes. I’m evangelical about cryptic crosswords, spin classes and poké (it’s Hawaiian – Google it). I have an encyclopaedic knowledge of flight timetables, and I’ve recently developed a love for backgammon. I now live just off Brick Lane in Shoreditch in East London, and I couldn’t be happier (although I wouldn’t say no to a loft in New York or a house overlooking the Pacific in Malibu). And even though I spend most of my life on the road, I’m still obsessed with travel and seeing as much of the world as possible. It’s such a blessing to have a job that takes me everywhere. I am certain that there’s never been a more exciting time to be one of The King’s Singers, as the group celebrates its 50th anniversary and tours the globe – and I feel so privileged to be part of shaping our future.

 
 
History

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