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Gospel Choir of the Year 2015 is from London’s Hackney Empire. Since its launch in 2013, the competition has gone from strength to strength and is one of the highlights of the Songs of Praise calendar. This year is no exception, with six talented gospel choirs from across the country competing for the title and the winner’s trophy.
We’re delighted to have David Grant as our stage presenter; he knows a thing or two about successful singing, having had 14 hit singles in the UK charts, but he’ll be leaving the difficult decisions to our three judges. Fellow Songs of Praise presenter Connie Fisher, will be soaking up the atmosphere with the choirs backstage.
Our first judge, Carrie Grant, is best known for her work on the television talent contests Fame Academy and Pop Idol and is also personal voice coach to many successful pop stars.
Broadcaster, songwriter and musician Muyiwa Olarewaju will also be judging this year’s six finalists, no doubt drawing upon his experience as a singer and station director of Premier Gospel Radio.
Joining our judging panel for the first time is Sharon D. Clarke. Her career as an actress encompasses roles such as Lola Griffin in the medical drama Holby City, to the lead in many West End musicals, including originating the role of the Killer Queen in the hit musical We Will Rock You. She was also one of the judges on the BBC One talent show, Last Choir Standing.
THE BIG SING: GOSPEL VOICES
Led by Jon Rattenbury; The BIG Sing: Gospel Voices meet weekly in the Chapel of the House of St Barnabus in London’s Soho.
They are also a community choir with no auditions required. They aim to show communities that together, they really can sing. The choir is open to everyone, with enthusiasm more important than a fantastic singing voice. They pride themselves on providing a relaxed fun atmosphere to sing in and perform Pop, Motown, Soul and Gospel – all with uplifting and motivational lyrics.
BIRMINGHAM COMMUNITY GOSPEL CHOIR
BCGC are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. Maxine Brooks has been their music director from the very beginning and leads the choir alongside working full time as a nurse.
Membership is very diverse with people from all ages and backgrounds.
BCGC were finalists in the very first Songs of Praise Gospel Choir of the Year Competition held in Birmingham Town Hall in 2013.
EMMANU'-EL APOSTOLIC GOSPEL ACADEMY
EAGA are both a church choir and Leicester De’ Montfort University’s gospel choir.
They are a lively and charismatic choir with an African influenced sound.
Get Gospel were formed and led by Jules Rendell in 2011 and with only 6 members are the smallest choir to enter the competition this year.
They rehearse in Jules’s small flat in South London and sing together because of a shared love of Gospel Music.
GODALMING COMMUNITY GOSPEL CHOIR
Godalming Community Gospel Choir were formed in 2011 by Emma Sue Prince and despite their unlikely location in the Surrey commuter town of Godalming the choir thrives with a total membership of 100.
Musical Director Hermione Thomas is a regular singer at London’s 606 club and loves the challenge of bringing gospel music to Surrey.
They rehearse at the town’s Anglican parish church but have members from all denominations and none.
READING COMMUNITY GOSPEL CHOIR
Reading Community Gospel Choir is a true community choir with no auditions required - some members are experienced musicians, while others have no formal training in music but enjoy singing.
They began in October 2007 as a workshop project for Black History Month run by well-known Choir Director Colin Anderson. People from across the community attended the workshop and enjoyed the experience so much that they persuaded Colin to lead a permanent choir.
Colin was also the musical director of the winning choir from the 2013 Gospel Choir of the Year competition with the Town Hall Gospel Choir, Birmingham
|Series Producer||Matthew Napier|
|Executive Producer||Dave Stanford|