It’s not a bad gig for members of the sextet a capella group, “The Queen’s Six,” because not only are they based at Windsor Castle, they get to live there.
“The house comes as part of the job, so we have to live there,” said Dan Brittain, high countertenor in the group.
The singers each have homes within the castle walls so that they can be summoned by Her Majesty the Queen to perform at private and state occasions.
“It’s a real privilege and honour to be able to live there and we live there with our families as well,” said Simon Whiteley, the group’s bass.
The original six were established in 2008 for the 450th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth 1.
“About ten years ago, there was quite a lot of call for some sort of after dinner entertainment at various occasions … and we would always put together this kind of scratch group of four or six singers and it was fine but nothing more than fine and so, one of the former Lay Clerks from St. George’s decided that it would be a good idea to put together a group,” said Whiteley.
In the chapel, the six can only sing sacred music. But as the desire for secular songs at private events increased, the singers have taken creative stabs at rearranging pop tunes by Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind and Fire.
“We get a lot of audiences and people who don’t normally come to concerts and who come because of the Royal attraction but come away actually with a greater sense of what a capella music means,” said Brittain.
Two of the most notable performances for the group so far this year: Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s wedding on October 12, 2018 and then back in May, they sang for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at their nuptials.
The group marked their first visit to Canada with a single show at Toronto’s St James Cathedral Wednesday evening.