Throughout the Christmas season, there are choirs and carol concerts around every corner, in every church. And undoubtedly, when you were younger there were a couple of songs guaranteed to send you to sleep. But if there’s one choir determined to shake off the frost and lift your spirits, it has to be Brighton Goes Gospel.
Truly an uplifting and soul stirring Christmas spectacular, their most recent performance, Joy to the World at Roedean Theatre was unlike any choir I’d seen before. Admittedly, not a fan of choirs but always wishful that my own church had a gospel choir, I was excited, and they did not disappoint. Together with 145 voices, and guest singer Sharlene Hector from Basement Jaxx, the roof was lifted right off the building.
Sharlene also joined Brighton Goes Gospel for their 2014 Fringe Festival concert at Hove Town Hall, and members of the choir were very happy to be working with her once more. Choir member, Tess Wilkinson said “I’ll never forget our finale number alongside Sharlene… Together we raised the roof with our version of the Pharrell Williams song, ‘Happy’. It was an amazing feeling, seeing a 900-strong audience on their feet!”
The evening at Roedean was split into two halves, with the first being led by the workshop choir. Anyone can join the workshop group, no audition required, and their renditions of Silent Night, and Joy, along with some incredible solos, encouraged all the audience to join in and sing along.
After the intermission the performance choir, formed of a smaller group, played a special message from Maya Angelou, a poet and civil rights activist. The video encouraged people to remember they can be ‘rainbows’ in other people’s cloudy days, and coupled with the choir’s version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, more than a few audience members were choked up, myself included.
Brighton Goes Gospel is a completely inclusive community choir, celebrating values like kindness, love and sharing their passion for great music and rich harmonies. I encourage everyone to see BGG at least once, it truly was a whole room filled with joy.