‘Queen’s Six’ bring royal treatment

‘Queen’s Six’ bring royal treatmentBy BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

All the way from Windsor Castle in Merry England, the “Queen’s Six” male a cappella group gave a performance Monday, Oct. 22, at Burroughs High School that was perhaps the best I’ve ever heard on the Parker Performing Arts Center stage.

The group of six charming and dapper gentlemen were the Indian Wells Valley Concert Association's second performance of its latest season. The association would do well to bring the singers back for those who missed it. And for all of those who did not attend, you certainly missed something special.

When bass Simon Whiteley struck his A440 tuning fork, hummed a starting pitch and the group began singing – the first thing I noticed was that it was six singers vs. a 600-seat auditorium with nothing but a single mic placed maybe 10-15 feet away from them. What followed was nothing short of extraordinary.

Six voices became one symphony of rich, emotional, perfectly blended harmonies, with each song as unrelentingly beautiful as the one before. If the lonely mic was picking up their voices at all, it did nothing to impair the purity of their tones or the expression of their voices.

The first part of the concert, called “Royal Windsor: Then and Now,” featured early madrigals and spirituals of Thomas Morley, William Byrd and Thomas Tallis with some arrangements commissioned specifically for the Queen’s Six.

All the singers hail from the choir of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where they regularly perform church services and private and state occasions — often before the English royal family.

Joining Whiteley were countertenors Dan Brittain, and Tim Carleston, tenors Nick Madden and Dom Bland and Andrew Thompson, who they all both admiringly and begrudgingly referred to as their “Star Baritone.”

After intermission, the singers segued into several upbeat traditional English folk songs followed by more modern jazz and pop songs including Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

After hearing it was an audience member’s birthday, the singers also launched into what was probably the most beautiful rendition of “Happy Birthday” that I will ever hear.

The Six’s take on 20th-century popular music was perfectly (and often hilariously) sung, but for me, didn’t hold a candle to their mastery of Renaissance madrigals and traditional choral music. I only had enough cash on me to buy one of their CDs on the way out, but I would leap at the opportunity to hear the group perform live again.

The IWVCA has six more performances scheduled for the 2018-19 season, the next being Kenny Metcalf, a tribute to Elton John’s early years on Thursday, Nov. 15, at the Parker PAC. For more information, visit iwvca.tripod.com.

IWVCA President Julius Botelho also encourages the community to visit the site to find out what’s new about the organization that has been providing entertainment for more than 70 years. The association is offering a ride-sharing program this year for concert goers who are looking for rides and willing to offer them.

For more information, contact the association at 760-375-5600 or by email at iwvca@hotmail.com.

Story First Published: 2018-11-02