In the summer of 1967, we were at Hale Park – the country residence of one of our early supporters, David Booth Jones – singing as part of a residency there. Our first recording from 1965 (under the unwieldy name ‘Schola Cantorum Pro Musica Profana in Cantabridgiense’), had put us on the radar of the great Sir Neville Marriner and his Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. This connection had led to the relationship with David Booth Jones, who had booked the Academy for a concert in Hale Park. During our residency there in 1967, we enjoyed expansive days of relaxed rehearsal in beautiful surroundings, and in the background David was planning our next step. It was to be a momentous one – a concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, no less, at which we and Simon Preston would join forces with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. For us, of course, it was that magical occasion, the London début, that meant we had to find a name for the group. In the run-up to the QEH concert, we decided to go along to Argo Records to see Mike Bremner, a friendly contact since our days in King’s College Choir. Even at this stage our repertoire covered a wide field of musical tastes and Mike suggested we use two names — The King’s Singers for the more serious stuff and The King’s Swingers for pop. We went away to consider it; and we decided that The King’s Singers would do for a start.
The QEH concert happened on the 1st May 1968, and went marvellously well. It was followed by a champagne reception in the foyer, a late dinner at a Kensington hotel, and then a get-together at the flat in Westminster that Brian Kay and Martin Lane shared at the time. We sat up most of the night talking excitedly, drinking lots, and waiting in fear and trembling for the early editions of the newspapers. Eventually the suspense proved insupportable and several of us drove down to Fleet Street to snatch the papers hot from the presses. The reviews were distinctly encouraging, and we were elated.
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