New director takes over at Kings of Herts
- Credit: Archant
A prize-winning classical composer has been selected as the next chorus director of the Kings of Herts male barbershop harmony club.
Richard Miller, who takes over in January, has been awarded £1,000 to finance his studies for a new composition to be premiered by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s New Music group in autumn 2017.
Said Kings’ chairman, Alan Bonham: “It’s a big ‘Well done, Richard!’ from us. The announcement came after we had selected him but it certainly underlines our view that he is a talent to be reckoned with.
“Choosing him was quite a departure because, unlike most candidates, this will be his first time in charge of a barbershop chorus, but we were impressed by his confidence, his musical expertise, his understanding of harmonic structures.”
Richard is just 22 and was chosen ahead of two short-listed older rivals. Retiring chorus director Roger Chantrelle said: “He is certainly among the youngest ever to take charge of a barbershop chorus but he has a mature presence which will serve him well.”
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Roger, in two stints, served the Kings of Herts for 11 years and at its recent variety concert in Harpenden was praised on stage for his major contribution. He has been a respected figure on the national barbershop scene for 37 years, including acting as a judge at UK championships.
Richard, who lives in north London, holds other principal roles with a choir, an orchestra and musical ensemble. He has also sung a cappella barbershop harmony in a quartet and performed with friends in Liverpool, one of whom went on to found Proper Sound, a prize-winning quartet who have made BBC appearances.
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A Liverpudlian by birth, he won Liverpool Philharmonic’s second Christopher Brooks Composition Prize against opposition from composers aged 18 to 30 across the North West. Currently studying towards a Master’s degree at the Royal College of Music, he describes one of the elements of his classical composing as “lush, close harmony” - a defining characteristic of barbershop chorus singing.
He will lead the 35-strong Kings’ club into the UK championships in the spring and is looking forward to the challenge after sampling two rehearsal nights.
Richard said: “They clearly love the genre of music that they’re singing and I would like to build upon this type of repertoire and encourage new members along - particularly of the younger generation.”
Men of all ages interested in attending a practice session in Harpenden are invited to email John Lough at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.