17 June 2024

Choirs to celebrate unity and difference at GospelFest 2024

The Gospel Project singers will perform at GospelFest 2024. Picture: supplied.

Jenan Taylor

16 May 2024

Melbourne gospel choirs will celebrate the strengths that come from being both connected and different when they perform their favourite music soon.

GospelFest will bring together four gospel choirs, including Yarra Gospel Community Choir, at the Armadale Baptist’s Community Arts Hub.

Organisers plan to showcase gospel music that asks questions about meaning and connectedness, and that celebrates difference.

Baptist pastor the Reverend Jude Waldron said those were some of the themes people who loved the genre cried out for most.

She said GospelFest choirs had inspired audiences to clap, stomp, whoop it up, or sigh with heartfelt emotion, ever since the first production in 2018.

Read more: Learn, connect, chance to reach people better at Surrender 2024

Ms Waldron said the Community Arts Hub’s in-house choirs The Gospel Project and South of the River launched the annual performance as a collaboration effort with other Melbourne groups.

Chorale director for The Gospel Project, Ms Waldron said the choirs had wanted to learn from each other, have a forum to showcase their individual talent and have fun together.

She said audiences could expect a smorgasbord of interpretations of gospel music this year.

“There’ll be some formal performances with singing from sheet music, but there’ll also be songs that transport people to the American deep south and makes them feel like they’re in a tiny whitewashed chapel, fanning themselves in the heat,” Ms Waldron said.

Yarra Gospel Community Choir member Rosemary Kenny said her group was focused on more modern gospel music, including black protest songs.

Ms Kenny said one of the group’s current favourites was “United in Purpose” a song featuring words by civil rights activist and poet Maya Angelou.

“She wrote that if everybody did good things, the whole world would be a better place. You don’t have to do everything by yourself, you just have to do what you can. They’re great words,” Ms Kenny said.

GospelFest will take place on 21 June. To find out more see here.

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