Concert News

Concerts: August 2024

Jun 4, 2024 | Concert News



Saturday, August 3, 7:30 pm, St John Cantius Church, Chicago
Sunday, August 11, 4:00 pm, First Congregational Church, Crystal Lake, Illinois

Their program, “The Best of His Majesty’s Men”, will feature much-loved music from their past six years of concerts, and three brand new pieces written for them by Mark Nowakowski, Nicholas Lemme and Peter Kwasniewski. These new works celebrate love and beauty as told in the biblical “Song of Songs” Another highlight of this concert will be a performance of Sir John Tavener’s “Village Wedding”, originally commissioned by The Hilliard Ensemble, which evokes a Mediterranean summer afternoon with sounds from the Greek Orthodox tradition. Spanish works by Victoria, Morales and Vásquez, as well as some perennial lighter favourites, will round out the program.

In Crystal Lake, Illinois, their program will also contain additional music sung in Ukrainian and Irish.

Chicago tickets: Unreserved $40 for adults, $20 for students. They can be purchased from Ticketsource or on the door (cash/check only).

The link for Ticketsource:

Crystal Lake: Free admission. There will be a freewill offering at the end of this concert.


Richard Childress, countertenor
Matthew Dean, tenor
Joe Labozetta, baritone
Nathaniel Adams, baritone
Ian Prichard, bass

Their Chicago concerts are sponsored by the Catholic Art Institute.

“…purity of tone and impeccably smooth delivery. …their subtlety of color could not be bettered.”

Alan Artner

Chicago Tribune

“intelligent and expressive”

John Y. Lawrence

Chicago Classical Review

Concert: August 12, 2023

Jun 7, 2023 | Concert News
The critically-acclaimed vocal ensemble Majesty’s Men will once again perform at the historic and beautiful St John Cantius Church in Chicago, on Saturday, August 12, 2023 at 7:30 pm. Their program, “The Flower of Beauty”, will feature two newly-commissioned works on Marian themes: “Ave Maris Stella” by our composer-in-residence Mark Nowakowski, and “Stabat Mater” by the well-known Catholic writer and composer Peter Kwasniewski. Both composers will be present at this concert. Also featured will be several motets by the brilliant Tudor composer William Byrd, who died in 1623 and could be said to be the greatest English composer before Henry Purcell. Marian themes continue in “Ave Maris Stella” by the 15th century French composer Guillaume Dufay. There will also be several audience favorites, notably “A Cloud Enveloped Them” by Chad McCoy, which made a huge impact last year. And we will once again present the 13th-century “Seacht nDolás na Maighdine Múire”, the seven sorrows of the Virgin Mary, sung in Irish Gaelige in Chris Crilly’s beautiful arrangement. There will be a reception after the concert in the Cafe San Giovanni.


Richard Childress, countertenor
Matthew Dean, tenor
Joe Labozetta, baritone
Nathaniel Adams, baritone
Ian Prichard, bass

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After an absence of three years, the critically-acclaimed vocal ensemble His Majesty’s Men return to Chicago’s historic St John Cantius Church on Saturday, August 13 at 7:30 pm, for a program called “Hope and Renewal”. The concert will feature two new works by Mark Nowakowski (HMM’s composer-in-residence) plus a new commission from rising Chicago composer Chad McCoy. There will also be Renaissance polyphony by Tallis and Palestrina, and newer music by Howard Skempton and Javier Busto. A song from Ukraine, “Plyve Kacha”, will have its Chicago debut. And special arrangements by ex-King’s-Singer Phil Lawson, Richard Childress and Chris Crilly will round out the concert. Chris Crilly’s wonderful arrangement of the haunting 13th-century Irish song “Seacht nDolás na Maighdine Múire” will be sung in the Gaelige language.

The critically-acclaimed vocal ensemble His Majesty’s Men presents their summer concert on Saturday, August 10, at 7:30 pm in Chicago’s historic St John Cantius Church. His Majesty’s Men is an international ensemble: its five members hail from Great Britain, Chicago and the US East Coast. Since their founding in 2016, their summer concert has increasingly been recognised as a highlight in Chicago’s musical calendar. Chicago Tribune critic Alan Artner noted the ensemble’s “purity of tone and impeccably smooth delivery…their subtlety of color could not be bettered,” while Chicago classical radio WFMT recently named them to their list of “11 new local ensembles that you should know.”

This year the Men will premiere their first commission, from composer Mark Nowakowski, a Chicago native who teaches and composes in Ohio. He has been performed by Kronos Quartet among many others, and his music has been critically acclaimed by Gramophone magazine. He will be present in Chicago for His Majesty’s Men’s performance of his new, powerful work “Usquequo, Domine?” which he describes thus: “it is easy to fall into despair at the sight of growing confusion, the fragmentation of reason, and the loss of faith and wonder in an increasingly cynical culture. But we plea to our Creator for deliverance and strength.”

Other works in the program are by early polyphonists Dufay, Byrd and Whyte, as well as modern works by Ivan Moody, Howard Skempton and Chris Hutchings.

On 25 July, 1554, in Winchester Cathedral in England, Queen Mary Tudor married King Philip II of Spain in a ceremony of great pageantry which involved musicians from Mary’s court, known as the “Chapel Royal”, the Choir of Winchester Cathedral, and Philip’s own “Capilla Real” of singers, wind players and organists. Our concert is inspired by this historic event and contains music by Tallis, Byrd, Morales and Victoria. Some of these pieces may well have been performed in the 1554 wedding ceremony. Additional works by Pablo Casals and Javier Busto will further explore modern Spanish choral music

The five professional singers of His Majesty’s Men come together from Chicago, Great Britain and the East Coast of the USA. Last year, the Chicago Tribune’s Alan Artner wrote of of their “purity of tone and impeccably smooth delivery. Their subtlety of color could not be bettered.” Even though they are a new ensemble, the Men have already received invitations to perform from Florida and Europe.


The six professional singers of His Majesty’s Men come from Great Britain, Chicago, New York and Washington. Their wide variety of music and stylish performances combine with the great architecture of their performing spaces to make their appearances unmissable.

This concert will include works by two Spanish Renaissance masters, Bernardino de Ribera and Alonso Lobo (who died 400 years ago this year), the English Renaissance genius William Byrd, and modern music by Philip Moore, John Tavener, Bob Chilcott, John David and Kurt Bestor. A feature of tonight’s programe will be John Tavener’s “Village Wedding”, which combines Western and Eastern vocals. Audiences at last year’s debut concert were delighted. Don’t miss out this year.

The performers in this concert:

Richard Childress, countertenor
Charles Humphries, countertenor
Matthew Dean, tenor
Joe Labozetta, baritone
Jay Tuttle, bass
Michael Hawes, bass

Advanced tickets are now on sale. Only cash ticket sales on the door. His Majesty’s Men is a professional male vocal ensemble specialising in 15th to 17th century unaccompanied music as well as modern works and commissions. For this their debut concert, the five-man ensemble will perform early and modern music drawn from the rich repertoire dedicated to Our Lady, as well as from the biblical Song of Songs. The music performed will range from the early 16th century, typified by the work of Josquin des Prez, the master composer of the High Renaissance, to the British 21st century composer Howard Skempton with his beautiful minimalist setting of words from the Song of Songs. Also heard will be music by Nicolas Gombert and William Blitheman, two composers of the mid sixteenth century. British composer Ivan Moody’s Latin setting of four texts from the Song of Songs completes the program.

The ensemble is under the overall artistic direction of Richard Childress, a Chicago area native who is now a professional countertenor based in Great Britain. He was the founder of the original Chicago ensemble His Majesty’s Men , which subsequently became the choir “Bella Voce”.

The five men sing countertenor, tenor and bass, a voicing which enables the group to come close to the sound and performing pitch of early vocal music. The singers come together from Chicago, Great Britain and New York, their voices chosen to produce a rich, smooth and superlative sound which, when combined with the beauty of Chicago’s historic St John Cantius Church, will be an unmissable event.

Members: Richard Childress, countertenor;
Nathaniel Adams, tenor; Matthew Dean, tenor;
Michael Hawes, bass; Jay Tuttle, bass