Updated: Jul 4, 2022
The Cumberland Kings and friends Ali Angus, right, and Cathy Stainer.
The Kings of Herts enjoyed an unusual and memorable sing-out in Redbourn’s historic Cumberland Garden.
A dramatic change in the weather - grey clouds and a brisk wind ousting recent glorious sunshine - affected the public’s attendance level but the audience showed their admiration for around 20 varied numbers in a 45-minute set.
Chorus secretary Drew McKenzie thanked the Kings “for a job well done to a small but appreciative audience. And thanks to Ken Smith and Alan Hooke for doubling up on the MD and MC duties.”
The Kings were the first of several acts supporting a fund-raising day for the garden, organised by the Friends of the High Street as part of a Gigs in the Gardens programme.
The walled garden, which links to the high street, dates back to around 1745 as part of Cumberland House, a grand Georgian building said to have been built by the Duke of Cumberland as a hunting lodge.
It has had a number of owners including the Central Electricity Generating Board and the National Grid. Currently it is occupied by an event planning company.
The garden was donated to the Parish of Redbourn in 2007.
A former car park entrance has been used for filming, including an exterior prison scene for television’s Judge John Deed.
On this occasion the garden was the scene for a memorable moment in Kings’ history as well.
The male voice harmony barbershop chorus invited two female singers, Ali Angus and Cathy Stainer, to join them for the fourth sing-out of the year.
“They have been rehearsing with us recently and I feel that not only did they make a fine contribution but they added to the quality of the performance,” said chairman Mike Rose.
Drew McKenzie added: “Both Ali and Cathy are hugely accomplished, each with 30-plus years of singing experience and the Kings are very lucky to have them singing with us.”
Ali and Cathy have previously joined the chorus in a pre-Covid sing-out in Dunstable billed as Kings of Herts and Friends.