Wednesday, 23 December 2009

O Happy Day!


One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is to attend a service in a Black Gospel church and be swept away by the fantastic singing and spirit. I still want to do that someday, but even if I had to die now I’d be content, for I just attended the Soweto Gospel Choir performance at the Esplanade. What a wonderful two hours it was!

The attractive and colourful costumes (where can we buy those?), the energetic movements and drumbeats (where do they get all that energy from?), the soulful voices and tight harmonies, all made for a most delightful concert. The singers definitely deserved the standing ovation at the end.

Included in the evening’s repertoire were some of the best arrangements I've ever heard of familiar favourites like ‘O Happy Day’, ‘Silent Night, Holy Night’ (yes, there was a much-appreciated segment of Christmas carols in celebration of the season), as well as the indispensable classic ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ and a very uplifting rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ that could move one to tears.

The only time the performance was slightly marred was when the audience clapped along during ‘The Little Drummer Boy’. I always think the audience should clap along only when asked to by the performers, or at least when the performers themselves are clapping, and refrain from doing so otherwise. But thank goodness it wasn’t that bad—the amplified voices and drumbeats were strong enough to be heard over the audience’s handclaps.

O what a happy evening! And what an inspiration the Choir was, just in time to usher in the celebration of Christmas! Now if only we could have more uplifting choirs like them in our churches...

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