Kings Return delivers spine-shivering music

A cappella quartet brings lush harmonies to Helena Oct. 13 and Big Sky Oct. 14

On Stage

Kings Return, a Dallas-based a cappella quartet famous for singing in stairwells, performs Oct. 13 at The Myrna Loy in Helena and Oct. 14 at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky.

A cappella quartet Kings Return graces Warren Miller PAC stage.
A cappella quartet Kings Return graces The Myrna Loy in Helena and Warren Miller PAC stage in Big Sky.

First forming in 2016 to sing for Gabe Kunda’s graduation recital, the enthusiastic response propelled Kunda and his friends to start the quartet. Current members are Kunda, singing bass; Jamall Williams, baritone; and Vaughn Faison and J.E. McKissic, tenor. Videos of Kings Return rehearsals in a resonant stairwell went viral, getting almost 10 million hits on social media.

“We joke around that the stairwell is our fifth member,” says Williams. “People love to see it, and we really like the sound.”

They all started singing in church and went on to study music. “We’re all from music education programs, and we pull in different genres – some jazz, R&B, a little bit of classical and gospel,” he says. “We sing a little bit of everything.”

Their gorgeous rendition of an ancient Gregorian chant was hailed by as “enough to take your breath away and send a shiver down your spine.”

Their music has been recognized by NPR, Dallas Morning News and such artists as Anita Baker and Emily King.

Kings Return just put out its first album, Rove, a few weeks ago. The recording includes an original work, “Beauty,” as well as an array of songs by favorite artists –  “Overjoyed” by Stevie Wonder, “How Deep is Your Love” by the Bee Gees, and “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” by Simon & Garfunkel.

During their Montana performances, “we definitely want to create an atmosphere where people who love music can come together, take time out and enjoy it,” says Williams. “We want people to feel nostalgic, to be happy, to walk through the various emotions that are represented in the album.

“Live music has a way of speaking to people and uniting them through a shared experience,” he adds. “Joy would ultimately be what we want everyone to experience.”

While in Helena, the group will visit Central Elementary School, Intermountain Children’s Home, and will give a special thank-you recital for the Lewis and Clark County Health Department.

Helena: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13 at The Myrna Loy; concert tickets are $25 and available at 15 N. Ewing St. or online. For more information, call 406-443-0287.

Big Skty: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14 at the Warren Miller Center for the performing Arts; find tickets online.