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9 March 2023, 10:08 | Updated: 9 March 2023, 15:18
After cancelling the a cappella ensemble’s concert, the Florida college said it cannot endorse “anything that violates the Holy Scripture”.
The King’s Singers announced on 13 February that Pensacola Christian College in Florida had cancelled the ensemble’s scheduled performance on Saturday 11 February just two hours before it was scheduled to begin.
In a statement posted to social media, the leading vocal group said they were “deeply saddened” by the cancellation.
The school’s justification for the cancellation, the singers added, was to do with “concerns” around the “lifestyle” of the group’s members.
“It has become clear to us,” the singers added after several members of the public and students at the college contacted them regarding the cancellation, “that these concerns related to the sexuality of members of our group”.
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“We have performed at Pensacola Christian College before and we entered into the engagement in the knowledge that this is a fundamentalist Christian institution,” the group added in its statement. “Our belief is that music can build a common language that allows people with different views and perspectives to come together.
“This is the first time that anything other than bad weather, the pandemic or war has caused a concert cancellation in our 55-year history. We are disappointed not to have been able to share our music and our mission of finding harmony with over 4000 students of the college and the wider Pensacola community.
“We hope that any conversations that follow might encourage a greater sense of love, acceptance and inclusion.”
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The King’s Singers will continue their North American tour this week in Canada, and said they “look forward to seeing our friends in northern Florida again soon, in a context where we’re celebrated for who we are, as well as for the music we make”.
Sharing information here about the short-notice cancellation of our recent concert in Florida: pic.twitter.com/J8RxfN2147— The King's Singers (@kingssingers) February 13, 2023
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Following the singers’ statement, they have received messages of support and solidarity from fellow musicians, including organist Anna Lapwood, composer Christopher Tin, mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly, and Westminster Abbey organist and master of the choristers, Andrew Nethsingha.
Baritone Roderick Williams called their statement “a masterclass in dignified restraint”.
This is a masterclass in dignified restraint. You represent the very best of us; the KS have been The role model for so many of us for all of those decades. I’m not alone when I say we are inordinately proud of you. Go share the love with your glorious singing, guys.— Roderick Williams (@RGCWbaritone) February 14, 2023
Pensacola Christian College later responded, posting a statement of its own to social media in which it stated: “The college cannot knowingly give an implied or direct endorsement of anything that violates the Holy Scripture.
“PCC canceled a concert with The King’s Singers upon learning that one of the artists openly maintained a lifestyle that contradicts Scripture. The highly talented musicians were treated with dignity and respect when informed of the cancellation.
“The artists stated their understanding and acceptance of the change and were given full remuneration.”