Two King’s College choir members test positive for Covid before recording

Christmas favourite Carols From King’s was thrown into jeopardy after members of the choir caught coronavirus.

The positive test forced King’s College Cambridge’s adult choristers into isolation two days before the service was due to be recorded by the BBC on Sunday.

Fortunately help was at hand from the world-renowned King’s Singers, who joined the boy choristers for the recording as scheduled – albeit from a safe distance.

The Rev Dr Stephen Cherry, Dean of King’s College, said the choir had been preparing for the broadcast for months while following strict safety protocols, making it particularly disappointing the adult choral scholars were unable to take part.

He added: “We are all hugely grateful to The King’s Singers for stepping up at the last minute. They have shown tremendous goodwill and consummate professionalism. Our young choristers also responded very positively and with real maturity to the several challenges faced in re-imagining the programme, and together they have enabled us to offer a wonderful Christmas service at extraordinarily short notice.

“In a year when so many will be spending Christmas in a way unlike any other in living memory, we were determined to do whatever we could to offer a meaningful and beautiful Christmas service.

“We’re delighted with the result of the remarkable efforts of so many people at King’s and at the BBC, and we look forward to sharing Carols From King’s with viewers across the country.”

The two choral scholars with positive test results are understood to have suffered only “mild symptoms” and, together with the choral scholars who are in precautionary self-isolation, received welfare and pastoral support from King’s College.

The six-strong King’s Singers were founded by choral scholars from King’s College in 1968 and have won countless international awards including a Grammy.

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Alan Holland, executive producer at BBC said: “Carols From King’s is a cornerstone of the BBC’s Christmas programming and we are delighted that The King’s Singers were able to join us. That significant changes were successfully made at such short notice is testament to the dedication and determination of the musicians and the teams at King’s College and the BBC.”

Carols From King’s will be broadcast on BBC Two at 5.30pm on Christmas Eve. An order of service will be available to download from King’s College from Friday, December 18 for those wishing to follow it alongside the broadcast.

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