The King’s Singers endure ‘travel chaos’ ahead of Williamsburg concert

The Grammy Award-winning a cappella group from England have crisscrossed America during their holiday tour but saved their final shows for Norfolk and Williamsburg this weekend.

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The King’s Singers perform in Milwaukee, Wisc. (Courtesy of Hal Leonard)

The Grammy Award-winning a cappella ensemble The King’s Singers have an international reputation and a strong worldwide following so they are no strangers to travel.

The renowned group from England has been performing across the pond this month while crisscrossing the United States. But the holiday season has included a few travel setbacks for the group.

After visiting eight different states and a quick jaunt through Canada, two of the final shows of the tour will be this weekend in Virginia before the finale in Washington, D.C.

Music lovers in Hampton Roads will get to enjoy the King’s Singers on Friday, Dec. 16, at Sacred Heart Church in Norfolk starting at 8 p.m. The group then travels to Williamsburg on Saturday, Dec. 17, where they will perform at Williamsburg Presbyterian Church at 8 p.m.

Virginia Arts Festival is presenting both shows and tickets are still available.

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(Courtesy of KingsSingers.com)

“It is wonderful to have Britain’s most famous a cappella ensemble performing their Christmas concert in Norfolk and Williamsburg,” Virginia Arts Festival director Rob Cross said.

“In addition to their amazing voices and the beautiful music they perform, the members of the group are funny, very entertaining and enjoy interacting with audience members. This is a great concert for the entire family.”

The King’s Singers, an all-male sextet, will perform selections from their new album “Christmas Songbook,” featuring a mix of traditional carols and modern-day classics with a hint of swing.

While they regularly perform all across Europe, this North American tour started with a show in New York City on Nov. 30 but not after some warm-up flights for the group’s newest member, Patrick Dunachie.

Before he could join the rest of the group in the States to kick off the tour, the 23-year-old Dunachie had to fly from London to Milan, Italy and then back to London in the same day in order to make his New York connecting flight.

“A quirk of the ticketing system meant I had to start my journey in Milan,” Dunachie wrote on the group’s website.

“The upside of this slightly bizarre journey was the chance to revise the music of our Christmas Songbook program, which we will be taking all around North America.”

After their first show in New York, they traveled and performed in New Jersey, Indiana, South Carolina, New Mexico, Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan and then Toronto and Quebec.

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Following a cross-country flight and a show in Santa Fe, N.M., the group arrived in Texas and had to get an early start in Houston so they could fly to Wisconsin. But their first flight was delayed because of snowstorms and they missed their connecting flight.

They ended up taking a long drive to Wausau, Wisc. and arrived at the Grand Theater concert hall just 30 minutes before that show started.

“Cutting it rather fine, but actually we’re used to these kinds of logistical things going wrong,” tenor Julian Gregory said.

“We kept calm and carried on as normal. Glad to report that the concert went really well in spite of the travel chaos.”

The group will be performing in Richmond Thursday night before the weekend shows in Norfolk and Williamsburg. The finale for the three-week U.S. tour is in Washington, D.C. on Sunday — their fourth show in as many nights.

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Julian Gregory of the King’s Singers boasts his UK passport at the Houston airport. (Courtesy photo)

If a packed concert schedule was not enough, the group has also been streaming additional performances during the tour through the live video option on their Facebook page.

Tis’ the season … to be performing. And this group would not have it any other way.

“Christmas tours are always special,” baritone Christopher Gabbitas said.

“Everybody wants to have a good time and be happy at this time of year, so you’re singing to an audience full of excitement and anticipation.”

After a short break for Christmas, they start touring again in Europe on Jan. 15 before heading to South Africa in February.

The King’s Singers, which originally formed in 1968, with origins in cathedral singing, won the Grammy for Best Crossover Album in 2009 with their “Simple Gifts,” and another Grammy followed in 2012.

For more information or to have your recent trip highlighted in our travel section, email travel editor Aaron Gray at aaron@localvoicemedia.com.