We couldn’t quite believe we’d eventually reached 1st May 1978 – the day of our tenth anniversary concert. This was to be the first time we had performed on our own at the Royal Festival Hall, and for the past few weeks we had been phoning the box office almost every day to discover whether anyone was coming to see us. On the great day we learnt that the concert was a sell-out. We looked forward to meeting our friends – all 3,000 of them! – and were intensely relieved that Nigel’s voice, which had totally vanished the previous week, had happily come home again. During the morning we combined a rehearsal with sound-balance tests for EMI and the BBC, both of whom were to record the concert. This was followed by a press conference on the platform and a seemingly endless photo session. After a longish rest in the afternoon we were all set – bright as paint, and with legs curiously lacking in muscle tone.
The audience gave us a marvellous reception and the concert passed like a dream. At the end of the first half we were intercepted as we were about to leave the platform by Bill Cotton, Controller of BBC TV, who in turn introduced Sir John Read, Charman of EMI International. After saying a few very flattering words about the King’s Singers, Sir John presented each of us with a gold disc ‘to celebrate ten record breaking years’. The concert ended with the sound of 3,000 voices singing ‘Happy Birthday’ – a quite devastating moment. This was, of course, also the occasion of Alastair’s farewell o the group, so the evening was a heady mixture of triumph and sadness.
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