Music Tuesday, February 2nd

Herefordshire singer lands place with 'superlative vocal sextet'

Patrick Dunachie saw his big brother make the Christmas number one, then heard he secured a top spot of his own.

The former Hereford Cathedral chorister and Hereford Cathedral School pupil has won a place with double Grammy-award winning vocal ensemble, the King’s Singers.

They've commissioned more than 200 works, including landmark pieces from leading contemporary composers and commissioned arrangements of everything from jazz standards to pop chart hits, explored medieval motets and Renaissance madrigals, and encouraged young composers to write new scores.

It took a tough round of auditions spanning several months before Patrick secured his place with the King’s Singers. He'll start in September.

Confirmation of his place as first countertenor comes not long after his brother Liam, another Old Herefordian, made the coveted Christmas number one playing piano on the NHS Choir's A Bridge Over You.

"It’s surreal now to be joining them," said Patrick, who has being listening to the group’s recordings and concerts since he was young. PatDunachie

"When I was about 14, I told my English teacher that my dream job would be singing first countertenor in The King’s Singers, and so I feel really lucky that the dream has come true."

Claire Long, manager of the Kings' Singers, said: "Patrick will join this illustrious ensemble at an incredibly exciting time.

"He will play an important part in the group’s first Summer School in the US in 2017 as well as the third British Summer School just weeks later. 

"As the group was founded at King’s College (Cambridge) in 1968, it’s particularly pleasing to welcome Patrick, a former King’s choral scholar, as we head towards the 50th celebrations in 2018."

Hereford Cathedral School (HCS) headmaster Paul Smith shared the delight, saying the school was fortunate to have been able to help both Dunachie brother's develop the skills to "elevate them to the top of their profession".

Choral music is one of HCS's strengths, with yearly appearances at either Westminster Abbey or St Paul’s Cathedral.

"We now have pupils in the school who have moved to Herefordshire to benefit from the school’s outstanding reputation and the exceptional musical opportunities on offer," said Smith.

"The school is pleased that it is able to provide talented young musicians with scholarship and bursary support. I am particularly delighted that the School’s musical reputation is encouraging other schools and colleges in the county to raise their expectations for music – something that Herefordshire can be very proud of."

Patrick, now 22, joined HCS as a chorister at Hereford Cathedral and went on to receive a choral scholarship to read music at King’s College, Cambridge.

Graduating with a double first last year, he moved to Oxford where he currently sings as a Lay Clerk in Christ Church Cathedral Choir, and takes on teaching and freelance work with various choirs and consorts.

A former musical director of The King’s Men and a member of the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, he's also been a soloist at the Three Choirs Festival and BBC Proms.

• Musicians from Hereford Cathedral School will play with The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in Hereford Cathedral on 16 March. Rachel Kennedy, who has a place to read Music at Cambridge, will perform as soloist in Vivaldi’s Cello Concerto and Laurence John will perform the Saint Saens (Organ) Symphony No 3. Tickets are available from the Outback in Church Street or from the music school. Call 01432 363531 for details.

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