Category: Basses

Stephen Connolly, bass (1987 – 2010)

Stephen, having been a fan of the King’s Singers in his teenage years, is somewhat shocked to find himself part of the very same group, and to being a member for well over a decade. He was born in Yorkshire, and began his musical life in the choir of Leeds Parish Church, where he sang both boy chorister and bass Lay Clerk (not at the same time!). On leaving school he moved “south” to London and accepted a scholarship at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he studied singing with Rudolf Piernay. Before officially finishing his studies, he jumped at a chance to audition with his “old time idols”, the King’s Singers, and jumped even higher when he was offered the job! Still yearning for the delights of his native Yorkshire – Tetley’s Bitter (beer!) and Yorkshire Pudding (not beer!), he now lives in Devon. His free time is spent at home with his family, but now and again he finds the odd hour to indulge himself in his solitary hobby of fly fishing (for trout, not flies!).

With the King's Singers:

Guest appearances:

Singing outside the King's Singers

Colin Mason, bass (1982-1987)

Colin Mason took over for Brian Kay in 1982. He had been working for two and a half years in a Lay Clerkship in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle where he combined chapel duties with freelance work. In 1987, Colin moved to Vienna where he lives with his lovely Austrian wife, Uli, whom he met when she was a member of the Wiener Blockfloten ensemble, with whom the King's Singers toured Europe in 1984. Colin converted himself into a high baritone and sings with a number of early music ensembles and the Vienna Radio Choir.

As Bob Chilcott relates, "He brought with him a deep knowledge of the early music repertoire and introduced the rest of the King's Singers to a whole area of music which we had never explored before." His influence resulted in two EMI recordings of works by Lassus, territory usually explored by specialist ensembles.

With the King's Singers:

Guest appearances:

Brian Kay, bass (1968-1982)

Brian Kay, The King's Singers original bass and now BBC commentator, has a couple of noteworthy albums to announce:

The Crucifixion by John Stainer, on Chandos Records, catalogue no: CHAN9551. It features the BBC Singers (Philip and Bob used to sing with them!), in one of Brian's choirs, The Leith Hill Festival Singers, accompanied on the organ by Margaret Phillips. The tenor soloist is Martin Hill, a former King's Choral Scholar, and the bass soloist is Michael George, a former King's chorister. It's a fabulous recording. Brian has been conductor of the LHMF since 1996.

Music to Hear, featuring The Cheltenham Bach Choir conducted by Brian Kay. It includes John Rutter's BIRTHDAY MADRIGALS (commissioned by Brian and this choir in honor of George Shearing's 70th birthday) and also a delightful cycle of Shakespeare settings by George Shearing himself. It's on SOMM Recordings (catalogue number SOMMCD 207); their telephone number is 44 (0)181 398 1586 and fax 44 (0)181 339 0981.

For the BBC, he writes and presents over 100 radio programs a year, including a regular Saturday night slot on National Radio 4 called 'Music in Mind'.

As a conductor he works regularly with the 200-voice Huddersfield Choral Society and the 100-voice Cheltenham Bach Choir – he did, also with the 30-voice Cecilian Singers of Leicester until last year when he handed over that choir to ex-King's Singer Jeremy Jackman. Brian guest-conducts many choirs and orchestras around the UK and is principal guest conductor of the Harrogate Choral Society.

Brian is the founder-chairman and president of the ABCD (The Association of British Choral Directors), Chairman of the Young Persons Concert Foundation and President of the Stars Organization for Spastics. Brian is married to the soprano Gillian Fisher. Together they provided the voices of Papageno and Papagena in the Hollywood movie of "Amadeus".

With the King's Singers:

Guest appearances:

Behind the scenes: