The Gentlemen of St John's
About The Gentlemen of St John's
The Gentlemen of St. John's are a subgroup of the Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge, composed of choral and organ scholars from the main group; although the Choir of St. John's College includes men and boys, the Gentlemen of St. John's are all male adults. Their repertory mixes sacred music with lighter material, sometimes taken from the pop realm.
The Gentlemen of St. John's, or the Gents for short, were formed in the early 1970s by choral scholars -- singers whose tuition is partly paid by their work in singing at College services -- from the Choir of St. John's College. They remain part of the larger group, singing seven services a week with Andrew Nethsingha as director. The Gents number about 20 singers but often perform in smaller groups. They remain with the group only while they are enrolled as students, so part of the group's membership changes each year. Unlike the Choir of St. John's College, the music directorship rolls over as well; for the 2019-2020, the music director was Louis Watkins. The other main difference between the Gents and the Choir of St. John's lies in the area of repertory. Although both groups perform music from the core sacred music repertory of British collegiate choirs, the Gents also perform and record popular music; like the King's Singers, they perform their own arrangements of popular songs. They have performed at leading British venues, including the Royal Albert Hall and Cadogan Hall, as well as the Sydney Opera House in Australia, and they have toured Europe, the U.S., and several East and Southeast Asian countries.
The Gents have made several recordings, variously including sacred music and pop. Their first album, Mix Well, appeared in 1996 and featured such songs as the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations and Michael Jackson's Billie Jean. In 2020, the Gents released a recording of choral music by William Mathias on the Naxos label. ~ James Manheim