MC vocal ensemble to share stage with King’s Singers

Off Kilter, a vocal ensemble of 10 members of Maryville College’s Concert Choir, has been invited to perform in an open educational rehearsal in Huntsville, Ala., presented by the world-renowned King’s Singers of the United Kingdom.

“This is an incredible opportunity for the students in our music program,” said Stacey Wilner, coordinator of choral music at Maryville College and director of Off Kilter. “The King’s Singers are one of the most famous choirs in the world and since 1996 have been Prince Consort Ensemble-in-Residence at the Royal College of Music in London. They will be leaving Huntsville to go to the Mormon Tabernacle to record their latest Christmas CD.”

The King’s Singers’ performances in Alabama are being coordinated by the Huntsville Chamber Music Guild (HCMG) and its Celebrity Series. Following the educational rehearsal, the King’s Singers are expected to perform for a large audience that is also gathering to honor Dr. David B. Williams, the new president of the University of Alabama-Huntsville and a graduate of the University of Cambridge.

Wilner said that while members of other Huntsville-area vocal groups are being invited to attend the rehearsal, Off Kilter is the only group that has been invited to perform. Additionally, members have complimentary tickets to attend the concert and, dressed in their Scottish attire and seated together, will be formally introduced to the audience.

The Huntsville Chamber Music Guild is also providing complimentary accommodations for the members of Off Kilter for the evening.

“We received an invitation to attend the rehearsal and, recognizing the unique educational opportunity for our students, I contacted Dr. Wilson Luquire, president of the music guild, and asked for the moon - to see if we could have a master class with the King’s Singers since we would be driving so far to attend.

“Dr. Luquire, who has connections in Harriman and was familiar with the college through an alumnus minister in Indianapolis, asked me to send him audio files of Off Kilter performances and promised that he would do what he could.

“At this point, we know that we will be performing at the beginning of the rehearsal,” Wilner said.

In preparation for the Concert Choir’s Spring 2008 tour of Scotland, Off Kilter had already added four King’s Singers’ selections to its repertoire: “Loch Lomond,” “Blackbird,” “That Lonesome Road” and “You Are the New Day.”

According to the King’s Singers Web site, the group was formed in 1968 by six choral scholars from King’s College Cambridge and “quickly became a prominent musical force in the UK.” They have released more than 70 albums and joined forces with many famous orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Pops.

Their repertoire includes medieval, renaissance, romantic, contemporary, folk and pop pieces. Performing in concert halls all over the world, the group is “still unmatched for their musicality and sheer ability to entertain,” wrote a critic with The London Times.

To attend the educational rehearsal or evening concert, contact the Huntsville Chamber Music Guild at 256-824-6540 or hcmg@uah.edu. As long as tickets are available for the 7:30 p.m. concert, MC alumni, parents and friends can purchase them at the will call window for $15 and be sure to mention Maryville College.

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