Kings Singers say they’ve been cancelled in Florida for being gay

Kings Singers say they’ve been cancelled in Florida for being gay


norman lebrecht

February 14, 2023

The group have complained that their weekend Florida concert at a fundamentalist Christian college was cancelled at two hours’ notice due to ‘”concerns” expressed about the “lifestyle” of members of our group.’

The Singers continue: ‘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 says they had performed before at Pensacola Christian College without experiencing difficulty or prejudice.


  • Jeremy Thomas says:

    How utterly stupid of the college, but what else can we expect from a private fundamentalist institution.

    I’ve long admired the King’s Singers for being champions for the power of music to break down barriers, and this must have been a horrible experience for them.

    Their response is a masterclass in taking the high road, standing up for what you believe in and doing so in a classy way.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      Right on, Jeremy!

      • SVM says:

        According to the college’s response, it sounds like their objection is that “one of the artists openly maintained a lifestyle that contradicts Scripture.”.

        I cannot imagine many ensembles being in a position to guarantee 100% compliance with Scripture on matters of each member’s “openly maintained” lifestyle.

        But I also wonder how many of the posters on this forum who quite rightly condemn the college’s absurd decision have nonetheless supported vaccine apartheid (still in force in the USA) and political boycotts based on tenuous double standards (e.g.: cancelling Russian artists)?

    • Herr Doktor says:

      Bravo, Jeremy! But let’s show little respect to Pensacola Christian College. It’s a known fact in fundamentalist Christian circles that homosexuality is contagious because it can be aerosolized when you’re in close quarters with said homosexuals. The Pensacola Christian College folks are unwilling to be in a concert hall together with the King Singers because they don’t believe in wearing masks for any reason, even to protect themselves against turning gay.

    • Jacob says:

      So, the school is stupid for standing up for what they believe but the singing group was a masterclass in taking the high road? If you want to criticize the lateness of the school response, I get that. If you criticize any body for believing what they do, then you become hypocritical. Notice, I did not criticize the content of what you may/may not believe, but the manner in which you communicate and the judgment you make without knowing all the details. Have a blessed day.

      • Jeremy Thomas says:

        Ok Jacob, let’s unpack this.

        The King’s Singers took the high ground by not overtly criticising the college for its decision, or attacking its right to make it, or even the premise on which it was based.

        My assertion was that the decision was stupid, and based on it being highly irrational: There was absolutely no risk to students, the programme was PCC-approved, and allowing an openly gay man in a group to perform on your stage doesn’t mean you are indirectly supporting homosexuality. That is my belief.

        I can tell you’re a representative of PCC, so I don’t think your reply comes from a place of objectivity. Also, “without knowing all the facts” is a redundant phrase which implies that you think you do.

        Nethertheless, if we must delve into the semantics, you make the erroneous assumption that taking the moral high ground and standing up for what you believe in were intrinsically linked in my comment, whereas they were separate values, thus both statements can be correct and not hypocritical.

        PCC were stupid. The King’s Singers were classy.

      • JP says:

        The KS had spent the day at the school giving classes and interacting with the students, after they had been there most of the day, the school cancelled the final concert. So what values exactly is it that the school is standing up for! If they had an issue they should have cancelled weeks before not half way through the engagement.
        And PS: the KS as a group are not gay only one of the members is, and the concert programme was specifically tailored to a christian audience.

    • James says:

      .. and, bravo to you for your intelligent and caring remarks !

    • William Evans says:

      Hear, hear, Mr Thomas. The cancellation shows just how (un)Christian and unloving in outlook those associated with Pensacola Christian College truly are! All strength to The King;s Singers

  • Susan Williams says:

    It’s 2023 and this BS is still going on. Truly saddened that the first news I read on Valentine’s Day is one where love and acceptance was not given, very unchristian of them.

    Glad The Kings Singers spoke up about this and I hope they still got their fee?!

    Pensacola Christian College should be boycotted by any musician that cares about the world we want to live in.

    • Cynical Bystander says:

      I’d go somewhat further and say that given its general drift the whole of America should be subject to boycott. Across the whole of the cultural divide they increasingly are the source of much of the destabilisation that now is dispersed through their gift to understanding and reason, social media.

      • MacroV says:

        Now, now. This college is not representative of America, or even of Florida (and I despise DeSantis and his ilk). There’s plenty of other institutions in the state that would gladly book them. But I’m curious which bit of Scripture the KS member supposedly violated.

        At least the school paid them their fee.

    • Jobim75 says:

      Some old BS just adding to new one, charming times…

    • James says:

      You stated all so well!

  • E Rand says:

    Yeah. Right.

  • James Minch says:

    Would the King’s Singers expect to be welcome to perform in Saudi Arabia?

    One could argue that it’s Pensacola Christian College’s loss but it’s their choice.

    • BillD says:

      Are you saying that Florida and Saudi Arabia are comparable? I thought the US was a liberal democracy.

      • SVM says:

        Both Florida and Saudi Arabia still have the death penalty on their statute-books. And the USA is a “democracy in name only”.

      • Music fan says:

        Florida is a geographically large state and, as many there say, you have to head South to experience the North in terms of social attitudes. Pensacola, in particular, is in a region known as “FloraBama”. The city would scarcely even exist if not for the naval base there, by far the largest driver of the local economy.

    • Sisko24 says:

      You may be correct in what you write about the college having the right to do as they wish, but my question is why did they decide this time to disallow the King’s Singers, but not the last? Weren’t they aware of their “lifestyle” when the group came previously to perform? I somehow doubt anything has truly changed since then UNLESS there is now political pressure from elsewhere. And don’t anyone try to pretend political pressure cannot be applied to private institutions by public entities. Looks as if Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law has metastasized into being a fevered, putrid state of mind. (And yes, I do know that a state of mind shouldn’t ordinarily be labeled as ‘putrid’, but the shoe fits.)

      • MWnyc says:

        I suspect that, for previous engagements, no one at Pensacola Christian College knew that anyone in The King’s Singers was gay.

        (I don’t know which current members of the group — there are reportedly two — are gay or whether they were members when the group performed at PCC previously.)

        If the King’s Singers had spent that day doing workshops and master classes with no interruption, that would indicate that PCC didn’t know even that morning that there were any gay men in the group.

        I’d guess that some student went running out after one of the workshops and told peers or parents some version of “Oh my goodness, one of those guys is a sodomite!”

    • James 429 says:

      How pedantic can you get?
      Of course you are correct, it is their choice. That doesn’t make it right. That doesn’t mean anyone else has to like it or accept it. That doesn’t mean that we all don’t get to say exactly what we think of their decision.
      Just because one has a “right” to do something doesn’t mean that they should do it.
      The choice that Pensacola made was not only the wrong choice, but a hateful choice.

  • R. Brite says:

    I’m amazed that even a handful of people downvoted the Jeremy Thomas and Susan Williams comments.

    • Alexander Hall says:

      Sadly, it happens all the time. There are even nutters (and what else can you call these people?) who downvote expressions of condolence on the death of a named artist.

  • Ludwig's Van says:

    This school is asking for a big fat lawsuit – so stay tuned!

    • Anna says:

      There won’t be any sort of lawsuit the king singer were more than compensated for their arrival

      • PR professional says:

        Being paid the fee that they were owed under contract is not being more than compensated, especially given the media storm they are now in as a direct result of the Pensacola CC decision.

        In my line of work, you get to spot the tell-tale signs of a propaganda machine. The college has one in full operation right now; a digital multi-channel crusade to pick holes, to stir up arguments and to justify their actions – all with the pungent odor of a top-fee PR firm on retainer. Comments like the above are one factor, and there is an increased level of caution with news reporting, far above and beyond what you might expect, even during a time of heightened polarization.

        There are three reasons I don’t think it’s working:

        1) The PCC decision is too hard-lined for the vast majority of people to get behind, more conservative Christians included.

        2) The King’s Singers have a massive fan base internationally, who will actively back them up.

        3) The King’s Singers’ response was incredibly well considered and left next to nothing that could be unpicked, or at least not without demonstrating further bigotry.

        I feel for the group The decision would have been hard, but having to wade through this growing garbage pile is only gonna make it tougher.

  • John P. says:

    What a huge lack of faith by the Pensacola Christian College. Being such christians, they must have placed their enormous faith in God’s ability to perform one of his miracles, muting the voices of the King Singers.
    But, apparently, Pensacola Christian College would not leave the matter in God’s hands, as God could speak in deafening silence!
    What a huge lack of faith!!!

  • Westfan says:

    Consistent with Gov Death Santis’ anti-gay, pro-fascist stand. They have performed at this college before but now they can’t? They have been emboldened by the actions of their governor, who encourages this behavior. For shame!

    • Alank says:

      Total nonsense! Leftists throw around terms such as “Fascist” anytime one disagrees with their point of view. The true fascists are on the left who seek to deny freedom of speech and crush dissent wherever they find “disinformation” being disseminated. Of course they are the arbiters of truth just like the commissars in the Soviet Union. Westfan is just projecting

      • RPMS says:

        Fully agree that throwing around the term ‘fascist’ is unhelpful. But the question of how we label the Pensacola response is less important than the question of whether we think the response was defensible. I don’t. Do you?

      • Jules says:

        It’s a crap response. The king singers were loud until Florida decided they weren’t. It’s an embarrassment to Florida and to the United States.

      • Westfan says:

        Honestly, I don’t know what you are talking about, whatever it is, it is not relevant to the issue at hand, which is the cancellation of this fine group and the reason behind it.

      • Westfan says:

        I will restate that Death Santis IS anti-gay and pro-fascist- and worse. He is making it easier to act in that way in FL because he encourages it. I did not accuse the College of being pro-fascist. They are just bigoted and hypocritical. Death Santis is a dangerous man. He wants control over the FL legislature, the courts, the utility industry and private industry in his state. Remind you of someone?

  • Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide says:

    How ignorant is the “college”–oblivious to their Jesus’ injunction “judge not” and contrary to everything the gospels say? It would be best if they practiced christian charity instead of hate. I will never donate to a “school” so hate-filled.

    • Jacob says:

      So, if the Christian faith teaches that homosexuality is wrong, what is the Christian to do to avoid ‘judgment’ in your opinion? Accept it because social pressure today says to accept it? Just curious because the Gospels teach that you are not to judge as if you are better than someone else or to be vindictive, but they also teach separation from those that do wrong. So curious, how is the Christian to do that? Staying away from someone that is doing wrong according to the standard you are to live by does not equal hate. Charity (since you used the word) is also not coming into a public forum and blindly accusing without knowing what you are talking about either (speaking about the Bible which it appears you need to study more if you are going to use it to define your argument.) Thanks and have a blessed day.

  • Alank says:

    I would agree that if in fact that is the reason why the King Singers were cancelled the college would be acting ridiculous. The organization is not promoting any life style of political agenda; just serious music. One should note that cancelling and censoring conservative and religious speech on US campuses is now so common it barely warrants mentioning in the news. A sad situation of the modern university

  • AndrewB says:

    The King’s Singers merit every respect. They are ambassadors for music.
    This situation does raise questions.
    Why was the concert cancelled at only two hours notice?
    How would the college know anything about the ‘lifestyle’ of members of the group? Those are personal details surely.
    I hope that the rest of the King’s Singers tour goes fantastically well.

    • MWnyc says:

      From what I’ve seen elsewhere, it seems that sometime *that day*, someone at the school, possibly a student, somehow found out about the unholy “lifestyle” of a member of the group and word spread via email. Reportedly parents were calling the school to complain that afternoon.

      How did whoever-it-was find out? Perhaps from someplace online (maybe some blog post or something on the King’s Singers’ website mentions a boyfriend in passing?), perhaps one of the singers mentioned it in one of the student workshops that day, perhaps someone decided one of the singers looks or sounds gay. We don’t know.

  • Faithful unto the Lord says:

    The Lord God will smite these grotesque homosexuals with His rod of iron for the abomination which they have committed, and they shall not enter through his gates unto the Kingdom of Heaven

  • Thula Mhlope says:

    How sad, that Christian Love equals Hate

  • Kurt says:

    Western liberals love gassing on about equal rights until, it seems, people disagree with their values. Then those people have no rights at all. Trouble is, there’s an awful lot of them.

    • Jason Victor Serinus says:


    • James 492 says:

      Just because someone has a “right” to do something doesn’t mean the rest of the world has to like it or go along with it or approve of it or remain silent about it. I haven’t seen one comment here about taking away the College’s “right” to cancel the concert. What I do see is a lot of people expressing their opinion of that decision – which is an entirely different thing.

  • Richard Huddleston says:

    Shock, horror, religious organisation stands up for its beliefs. Wouldn’t happen in the C of E, that’s for sure.

    • Westfan says:

      But why are they ”standing up for their religious beliefs” this time and not for prior performances of the Kings Singers? I’m thinking if they don’t want any gay performers coming to their college there won’t be many performances left of any group. SMH.

  • TNVol says:

    I’ll continue to purchase King’s recordings, while respecting any venue’s ability to book or cancel performances at their own discretion. We still live in a “free world”.

  • Jason Victor Serinus says:

    The college is bowing to pressure from Gov. Ron DeSantis, he who would be God, who is fueling the culture wars in his divide and conquer scheme to snare the US Presidency. It’s a game as old as time. Thankfully, it failed in the last US election. But with election deniers in the halls of the US House of Representatives, who knows what will happen. To point to the recent Grammys, it is the adamant outness and support that the LGBTQ community is receiving from artists of stature, and the determination of classical music organizations to perform works that keep anti-LGBTQ and racist beliefs at the forefront of people’s consciousness, that is helping win over minds and hearts.

    • MWnyc says:

      No. I’m pretty certain that Gov. DeSantis himself had nothing to do with this. There wouldn’t have been time. (Remember, the KS had been doing workshops with the students that morning without incident; this entire thing happened in the space of a few hours.)

      What’s more, it seems clear that no one would have needed to put pressure on Pensacola Christian College to do this; it appears entirely consistent with their general beliefs.

    • Paul Brownsey says:

      “the determination of classical music organizations to perform works that keep anti-LGBTQ and racist beliefs at the forefront of people’s consciousness”

      Could you explain? On Friday I’m goiing to Milngavie Music Club to hear works by Beach and Brahms. How is Milngavie Music Club thereby “keep[ing] anti-LGBTQ and racist beliefs at the forefront of people’s consciousness”?

  • Jacob says:

    Its sad reading this post for multiple reasons. So many people accusing the school of hate, and using hate in their posts. I honestly do not have a ‘dog in the hunt’ when it comes to this. I do not attend the school and I do not know about the group. As a musician, I do agree that music can have a connecting effect between people, as it is its own language and I have been a part of many concert bands and choirs of mixed people. People’s choices of life or ‘lifestyles’ as the article has said are their own and as long as I am not ‘forced’ or ‘expected’ to make those beliefs my own, I have no issues. It’s the life of the individual so if they believe different than me, that is their choice. However, as a Christian, this article disappoints because if someone does not want to participate or accept something that is non-traditional, its called hate, and then people misquote or misuse Bible verses to support their side of things. I am no Bible scholar, but when people use the ‘judge not’ passage, they do not ever quote the context, or discuss other verses that go along with it. The Christian is told not to be judgmental as if they are better than others because we are not. However, we are told to be aware because there are philosophies, teachings, behaviors, actions and so on that will be brought in to try and teach different ideas/concepts that will attack the foundation of a Christians beliefs. They are also taught to be compassionate towards those that are without the faith.
    I do not like the timing the college showed, but I also do not know all the details so what I can do is hope that the college did their best to realize things that maybe they may have missed regarding the group before inviting them and causing the big stir and possibly preventing the group from performing elsewhere and giving their supporters the opportunity to take part in a concert in Northern Florida. Not that my opinion is the be-all, but felt it needed said. Hope you all have a blessed day.

    • Leganza says:

      Patently ridiculous.

      You say “However, as a Christian, this article disappoints because if someone does not want to participate or accept something that is non-traditional, its called hate,”

      The King’s Singers did not come and invite members of PCC staff to a gay orgy. Had they done so, the PCC would be well within their rights to decline to participate.

      They came to sing a concert of music. And the only reason it has been cancelled is because of the completely irrelevant sexuality of a member or members of the group. Nobody has to participate or accept anything. The decision to cancel – that is hatred, fuelled by fear. I don’t know what else to call it.

      I look forward to the PCC using a network of spy cameras to ensure that they don’t have a single gay cleaner, gay gardener, gay lecturer, no gay delivery driver or mailman; make sure they check all their suppliers so not even a tin of food for the cafeteria or packet of staples was prepared in a factory by someone gay; and better still, if they do find some gay people, why just cancel a concert? I mean, why not just shoot them?

      All this pearl clutching from religious fantasists about their “rights” to be cruel and vindictive…. I think they should pick their college up and move it to Saudi Arabia where they’ll fit right in: all the conservative oppression you could possibly dream of, PLUS just as much hypocrisy!

      The Catholic Church has railed against homosexuality for decades – and behind closed doors we know exactly what they are like. Why would we expect the PCC to be any different? Bigotry alongside undoubted hypocrisy.

    • Tom Phillips says:

      You are in a cult and unable to see it.

    • EagleArts says:

      Jesus, protect me from your followers!

      You know what, one singer had a few photos on his Instagram page with his boyfriend/husband. Very normal, non sexual, non political photos. Someone found or was made aware of them and started this hateful, shameful witch hunt. Another display of Fundamentalist Christian “love”. Being gay is not a sin, and gay love isn’t either, but acting in a hateful, hurtful and discriminatory manner is! Good day!

  • Florestan says:

    I have followed the Kings Singers for over forty years now, and not once have I ever thought about the sexuality of any of their members. Their musical artistry speaks for itself and should be the only concern of the public.

    If this stupid little backwater school is so nosy as to peer into the bedrooms of everyone who sets foot on their muddy soil, then they have no reason to pretend to be a seat of learning of any kind . . . except for their veneration of Old Testament bloodlust or the Gospel according to DeSantis.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    Since they are getting paid for the cancellation they should do a free concert across the street.

  • Tiredofitall says:

    As we enter another US presidential cycle, we can expect more of this type of story, especially from a state like Florida under the despicable Ron DeSantis.

    Fasten your seat belts…if you thought you’ve seen politicians exploit race, religion, sexual orientation, and education to further their ambitions, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. I know my people.

    As a US citizen, I’m truly sorry that such a renowned group such as the Kings Singers was the victim of American bigotry.

  • Pat says:

    How on earth are they going to check the sexual preferences of all visiting artists in the future?

  • MMcGrath says:

    Sickos abound in Florida. Fascists, too. Glad the group is nevertheless proceeding with their tour.

  • Wahlberliner says:

    I trust that if Pensacola Christian College really believes in adherence to scriptural truth, it doesn’t have any divorced people on its payroll. Jesus explicitly condemns divorce in Matthew 19, but has nothing whatsoever to say about homosexuality.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Clearly they hadn’t been following American politics closely.

  • Zack Chadwick says:

    Imagine still thinking being gay is a lifestyle choice in 2023 LOL.
    How sad. I hope The Kings Singers enjoy the rest of their tour.

  • MacroV says:

    Only now? I’d be surprised if the group ever had a member whose lifestyle didn’t “violate Scripture.”

    I wonder if that’s going to be a new euphemism, like “Hiking the Appalachian Trail.” (you probably need to know South Carolina politics to get that one).

  • Edgar says:

    The further north one gets in Florida, the deeper south it becomes….

    • Eric says:

      Yep, located on the redneck riviera, right next to the even more retarded Alabama.

      • Tom Phillips says:

        After the former Slaves were freed they should have been repatriated to the North. Once that happened, I would have absolutely no problem with allowing the old Confederacy to secede. In fact we’d be a much more politically, socially, and culturally advanced country if that had occurred.

    • Margaret Koscielny says:

      Particularly NW Florida, known for xenophobia, racism, and suspicion of folks from the next county over.

  • Mr. Ron says:

    They are more famous than Pensacola Christian College.

  • Margaret Koscielny says:

    I’ve long held the impression from observation of responses to gay men by supposedly straight men, that an over-reaction to gayness is a sign of insecurity of their own sexuality.

    Without knowing who made a complaint, it’s hard to know if this was an instance of over-reaction by someone, or just plain stupidity
    in reading Scripture. To my knowledge, Jesus loved everyone and forgave everyone by dying on the Cross, so it is tragic when a church-sponsored institution passes judge ment on people based on sheer prejudice.

    It is not something that happens only in Florida, it is something which has gained momentum every since the disaster of the election for President in 2016. The School should be ashamed of its judgements.

  • Novagerio says:

    Fundamentalism, here’s the major problem.

  • Alias123 says:

    Unfortunately, and of greater concern, this college will kick out students who identify as homosexual or are even suspected of being homosexual. At least the members of the King’s Singers will not be kicked out of the group for being homosexual.