The Suspicious Cheese Lords, also known as Suscipe Quæso Domine, is a male a cappella ensemble based in Washington, D.C.. SCL is a wholly autonomous, professional ensemble and a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to stimulate interest in early music throughout the metropolitan Washington area and beyond. Secondarily, SCL has established a reputation for researching, recording, and promoting previously unrecorded works of Renaissance composers.
From 1998 to present, the Cheese Lords served as artists in residence at Mount St. Sepulchre Franciscan Monastery, the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, DC. The Cheese Lords assisted in developing "An Evening at the Tabard Inn," an event for the Smithsonian Institution's Resident Associates program, for which the group provided music contemporary to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and related to the theme of pilgrimage. The group has twice performed for the National Gallery of Art's Concert Series--a Christmas concert in 2005 and a November 2006 program of Flemish Renaissance composers to accompany NGA's exhibit Prayers and Portraits: Unfolding the Netherlandish Diptych.
The Lords' other performance venues have included Washington National Cathedral, the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, the Cathedral of St. Thomas More (Arlington, Virginia), the Old Presbyterian Meeting House (Alexandria, Virginia), Christendom College (Front Royal, Virginia), and XM Satellite Radio's Live Performance Studio. SCL's concerts are regularly broadcast on the Vox channel of XM Satellite Radio.
In 2006 the Suspicious Cheese Lords won a Washington Area Music Award for Best Choral Group. In 2005 they won Best New Artist and received two other nominations.
The Suspicious Cheese Lords' name is derived from the title of the Tallis motet Suscipe quæso Domine. In the process of "translating" the title, an early Lord observed that "suscipe" looked rather like "suspicious," "quæso" was close to the queso, the Spanish word for "cheese," and "Domine" is legitimately Latin for "Lord." Hence, "Suspicious Cheese Lord"—which in time became adopted as the group's name. While the whimsical name has served to draw attention to the group, it belies the group's decidedly serious musical sensibilities.