March 28, 2023

Pensacola Christian College in Florida canceled a performance of the Grammy-winning a cappella group The King’s Singers just hours before they were scheduled to go on stage, citing the “lifestyle” of one its members.

“The college cannot knowingly give an implied or direct endorsement of anything that violates the Holy Scripture,” wrote PCC in a statement posted to Twitter Monday.

“PCC canceled a concert with The King’s Singers upon learning that one of the artists openly maintained a lifestyle that contradicts Scripture,” the school added, saying that the musicians were treated with “dignity and respect” when they were informed that the show would not go on.

The group responded with their own statement, writing on Twitter that they were “deeply saddened” by the decision to cancel their performance just two hours before the slated start time, and alleging that the sexual orientation of group members was the reason behind the abrupt cancellation.

“The school gave its reason for cancellation as ‘concerns’ expressed about the ‘lifestyle’ of members of our group,” The King’s Singers wrote. “It has become clear to us, from a flood of correspondence from students and members of the public, that these concerns related to the sexuality of members of our group.”

The group said that they know Pensacola Christian College is a “fundamentalist Christian institution,” but that they had performed there before, and were not expecting there to be issues surrounding their booking — an outcome they said they were “disappointed” by.

“Our belief is that music can build a common language that allows people with different views and perspectives to come together,” they wrote.

“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,” added the group, going on to say that they hoped the conversations arising from this would “encourage a greater sense of love, acceptance and inclusion.”

The King's Singers
The King’s Singers attend the 61st Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles, California. 

Rich Fury/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Supporters immediately flooded the replies on the tweet, expressing both positive messages for the group, and frustration at the situation.

“I’m so sorry to hear this. The only silver lining…many more folks are now learning about your music. So…that’s good for us,” wrote one user.

“Pensacola Christian College: The School Proudly Without Music,” joked another.

The tweet even prompted a response from Florida state Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, who wrote about the King’s Singers: “We appreciate you so much, so sorry this happened.”

The King’s Singers are currently on tour through June, with an upcoming stop in Canada, before returning to Europe. They have garnered four total Grammy nominations, including one win in 2009 in the best classical crossover album category for their album “Simple Gifts.”

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