A Grammy-winning British a cappella group has said a US Christian college cancelled a planned concert at the last minute due to “concerns related to the sexuality” of some members.
The King’s Singers said they were “deeply saddened” to have the show at Pensacola Christian College, in Florida, called off at two hours’ notice.
The university said the performance was cancelled “upon learning that one of the artists openly maintained a lifestyle that contradicts” the Bible.
It said it could not “give an implied or direct endorsement of anything that violates the Holy Scripture”.
Writing on Instagram, The King’s Singers said this was the first time one of their shows had been cancelled for reasons other than bad weather, the pandemic, or war.
“The school gave its reasons for cancellation as ‘concerns’ expressed about the ‘lifestyle’ of members of our group,” they said.
“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 singers said they had previously performed at the college, deciding to go ahead “in the knowledge that this is a fundamentalist Christian institution”.
They continued: “Our belief is that music can build a common language that allows people with different views and perspectives to come together.”
The group said it hoped that further conversation would encourage “a greater sense of love, acceptance and inclusion”, and added that it was “disappointed” to have missed out on sharing “our music and our mission of finding harmony” with the university’s 4,000-plus students.
‘Everyone is created in the image of God’
Pensacola Christian College (PCC) also shared a statement on social media, describing itself as “a religious liberal arts institution founded upon and guided by the Bible”.
The organisation’s statement said: “The college cannot knowingly give an implied or direct endorsement of anything that violates the Holy Scripture, the foundation for our sincerely held beliefs.
“At the same time, the college also recognises everyone is created in the image of God and should be afforded the dignity of kindness.
“PCC cancelled a concert with The King’s Singers upon learning that one of the artists openly maintained a lifestyle that contradicts Scripture.”
PCC also described the group as “highly talented musicians” and said they were “treated with dignity and respect when informed of the cancellation”.
The King’s Singers “stated their understanding and acceptance of the change” and were fully remunerated, it added.
Six choral scholars originally founded The King’s Singers in 1968, and the group is named after King’s College in Cambridge.
Members have changed over the years, with the current line-up featuring Patrick Dunachie, Edward Button, Julian Gregory, Chris Bruerton, Nick Ashby and Jonathan Howard.
They are currently touring in North America, with several concerts in Canada taking place this week.
The group has won two Grammy awards and an Emmy.