The choir who performed at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have revealed that their song was changed 11 times before they found the perfect arrangement. In an exclusive interview with Hello! magazine, Karen Gibson of The Kingdom Choir says that Meghan and Harry’s changes to the song 'Stand by Me' were so last-minute that they only heard the perfect performance for the first time inside St George’s Chapel, Windsor, during the marriage ceremony.
The Kingdom Choir outside Kensington Palace
"We were asked to sing Stand by Me so we put down an arrangement that was pure gospel, it was a very full-on sound, which we are used to singing," Karen explains. "Gospel music is all about the cherries on top and it’s not about stinting on anything. But we got word back that they wanted something a little less, so we did a second version which had an Etta James arrangement but again we had word back that it wasn’t right."
Eventually, after several other requests for adjustment were made, the group went to Kensington Palace to meet Meghan and Harry face-to-face. "It was quite surreal," Karen, who also tells Hello! how the Kingdom Choir will close next month's Invictus Games in Sydney, laughs. "We went to Kensington Palace and had tea and biscuits and a chat. You could see how very much in love they were just from the way they look at each other and listen to what each other says. Then we went into a few new arrangements and heard what they had to say."
In total, Karen and the Kingdom Choir – who are shortly to release their first album - made 12 versions of the song. "The day of the wedding, I knew they were going to hear the 12th version, which was our most stripped back yet," says Karen. "They hadn’t had time to hear it before because the 11th version needed tweaking so this was going to be it. None of us were nervous on the day about performing but I was nervous as to whether this would be exactly what they wanted. It felt incredible on the day."