THE young singers in the King's Men, who come from the famous King's College Chapel Cambridge, vary from year to year as the different students move on to further their individual careers, but they are always superb performers, writes MARGARET PATTINSON.

This choir is particularly known and respected for the unique quality of the sound it produces. This is the result of expert vocal technique and direction from Stephen Cleobury, the outgoing director of music. They are delightful communicators, both in their song performances and introductions to the music.

The King`s Men usually bring an organ scholar to play the wonderful Wilkinson organ in Kendal's St George`s Church. This provides a change of texture in the programme as well as giving the singers short rests. On this occasion no Cambridge organist was available, so Ian Pattinson, who is the organist at Lancaster Priory, was invited to play two contrasting pieces. Elgar's splendid Imperial March, written in 1897 for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, was originally an orchestral work. Using the 'orchestral' colours on this historically important 1883 organ, Ian pulled off some great dynamic contrasts and gave us some lush harmonic textures all without the modern day organist's electronic aids to registration. His second piece, Toccata Nuptiale, by Christopher Maxim was written for the wedding of two cycling enthusiasts. Here we heard the worlds of the Victorian Music Hall and French Romantic organ music meeting together, as the old popular song Daisy, Daisy was ingeniously disguised as a Toccata that proved very popular with the audience.

The music which the King's Men select for their concerts varies from the time of Henry VIII up to the present day and all is sung unaccompanied and with ingenious arrangements, often composed by present and past colleagues. Their intonation is immaculate and every word is beautifully articulated in all languages. We were treated to Latin, French, English and even Welsh (though only the Welsh speakers among the audience could officially judge the standard of the latter! It sounded very convincing to the rest of us).

The first half of the concert dwelt on sacred music of many styles, then folk songs and spirituals. The latter were arranged with magical key changes and the lovely close harmony style at which these singers excel. After the interval more intriguing arrangements appeared and they had chosen a programme to suit all tastes. It also shows what gems some of these old popular songs are, especially under the pen of expert arrangers. Though musically very difficult many of the pieces with their superb professionalism made them all sound very easy.

This was a concert which we didn't want to end. For one evening we were able to escape from worldly problems and listen to sublime music.