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Virginia, USA

Well, here it is. My final KS ‘blog, 15 years after I was appointed and just about 15 years since my first concert, on 5 February 2004 in the beautiful Opera House in Bordeaux. This may be a longer post than usual, so bear with me…

I was terrified before that first performance, and justifiably so. You can never truly know what it’s like to join a group like The King’s Singers, unless you’re in the position of standing on-stage and facing your first audience. I was pretty frightened – and that continued for the first few months, until I settled in and felt at home. Fortunately enough, I had colleagues who had so much collective experience, and I was a willing student, so I found my feet pretty swiftly and haven’t looked back since. When I think about my current approach to choral music and ensemble singing, honed through almost 2,000 performances and nearly 40 recordings, it’s obvious that I’ve taken wisdom from each of my colleagues and I feel rich with the knowledge I’ve gained. From my first group of colleagues, Phil taught me so much about chords, balance and blend. Steve taught me a great deal about matching tone at the bottom end of the group, Paul helped me to come out from behind the choir stalls and really “engage” an audience, and David’s programming skills and poise were hugely beneficial. Robin was efficiency personified, as well as adding in a healthy dose of cynicism on the road!

All in all, I’ve been very lucky to have had such great colleagues. On the day of that first concert, I received a fax (a fax!!!) from Gabriel Crouch, my predecessor. I still have it – and it reads as follows:

“Have a good time tonight! You’ll remember the thrill of your first show forever, so make sure you breath in the warmth from the audience, and revel in the experience of singing amongst such wonderful musicians. I wish you the best of luck tonight, and all happiness in your new career!”

Well, I never did forget how that first concert felt, and I HAVE had much happiness in my KS career – both on and off-stage. I met my darling wife, Stephanie, at a concert in Lexington KY, and we now have three beautiful daughters (who will get to see a lot more of Daddy from next year!). I’ve performed in the finest halls, churches and arenas around the world, recorded wonderful music, travelled extensively, and made friends in more countries than I ever thought I’d visit in one lifetime. And it’s been topped off this month with my third Grammy Award nomination in a decade. Being inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame will always remain a true honour. I’m so proud of all we have achieved during my time; truly, I couldn’t have asked for anything more in a professional singing career.

Now it’s time to take all that knowledge and pass it on, to students and other singers, and I’m excited about the two big projects I have next year and beyond: the professorship at the University of Redlands, California, which sees the start of a brand new Master’s degree in music and business, and my final audition for the position of Artistic Director of the Phoenix Chorale, a stunning choral ensemble based in Arizona. Conducting and education are my new focus, and I hope to be able to spread musical joy through these new avenues, for many years to come.

Lastly, some words of thanks:

We’ve been privileged to work with some wonderful management and agencies throughout my time with the KS. Erika Esslinger, Claire Long and Stephanie Reiss in particular have managed us in various territories with great skill and devotion, and a whole network of local agents have been part of our wider team across the world – including Denise Petriccione in Italy, Karin Taidal in Scandinavia, Philippe Maillard in France, and Stephan Brekelmans in the Netherlands and all at Music Productions – have worked tirelessly for us for many years. Also, Steve Long at Signum Records has provided the most amazing home for our recording projects, along with our master engineer Mike Hatch and various producers, chief amongst them Adrian Peacock and our very own Nigel Short KS. Thanks to ALL who have put so much into our career during my time.

To Stephanie, my three girls and my wider family – I couldn’t have done this without your unstinting support and love; it’s been so tough to handle the long absences, and I can’t wait to spend a lot more time with you, starting on 23 December! I love you all xxx

Finally, to all those who have been in the audience over the past 15 years, thank YOU for your support and love of the group. It’s impossible to know how many people have been touched by our music, but I reckon I’ve probably sung to over 1.5 million people, in aggregate, and that’s an amazing feeling. Thank you for everything.

So, although I’m definitely not Jon Bon Jovi, but to quote him anyway, I’d love to think that “I’ve seen a million faces, and I’ve rocked them all!”

If you’d like to, please keep in touch with my future projects (and come to visit performances!)  through Facebook.

Thanks for reading, God bless, and Merry Christmas all!

*mic drop*

Chris G is leaving the building.

 
 
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