The King’s Singers (with Jonathan Howard, left). Photo © Frances Marshall

Until earlier this year, the British a cappella vocal ensemble The King’s Singers had become accustomed to slow evolution.

Since it was founded in 1968, the revered sextet’s line-up has changed gradually and apparently seamlessly. Its repertoire morphed gently and without controversy from an initial focus on Renaissance period and church repertoire into one that now encompasses pop, jazz, folk, spirituals and the works of avant-garde composers including John Tavener, Joe Hisaishi, Judith Bingham, Eric Whitacre, György Ligeti, Luciano Berio, Krzysztof Penderecki and Tōru Takemitsu.

Throughout, The King’s Singers appeared as serene as their sound.

Then came Pensacola.

In February 2023, a performance scheduled to take place at the Pensacola Christian College in Florida was abruptly called off two hours before the show. Pensacola Christian College released a statement saying that it had pulled the plug on the performance “upon learning that one of the artists openly maintained a lifestyle that contradicts Scripture”.

The news quickly spread around the world.

“Looking back, that event really changed the way we look at what we do and how we do it,” says bass singer Jonathan...