Home » General » Choirs Shake Off ‘Boring’ Tag

Not very long ago I was one of those people who disliked gospel music choirs. I remember walking away from a choral gospel music competition at the Harare International Conference Centre after being invited by a friend. The reason was simply that I could not withstand a group of people standing stiffly in front of the congregation going through intricate notations and voice projections that very few related to.

It was boring and especially after hearing one preacher saying such type of choirs were “dead”.

But I must also hasten to say that my attitude towards gospel music choirs has drastically changed in the last few years. And it seems singing together is no longer as old fashioned as some might want to think.

All of a sudden, large worship groups have become vibrant and are claiming a stake in Christian entertainment.

Their popularity has risen in the last few years, not only among the Christian community, but also beyond the confines of the church.

Individual bands in gospel music are slowly losing grip, with all attention now focused on choral groups that are attracting thousands of fans to their shows.

Long viewed simply as praise and worship teams, gospel choirs are now shaking off this tag by using various styles and skills which appeal to many.

But the rise of such church choirs has not spared them from accusations that they are commercialising praise and worship by holding shows outside the church environs.

While this view might be correct with regards to some gospel choirs, many that I know charge for their shows to enable them to record their projects, especially live recordings.

At the same time, I do not see why gospel choirs should not use talents among their members to make money by holding shows outside the church system.

After all, the singers need to make a living and if they can attract thousands of people, like what they are doing now, why not live off the musical talent.

Why should a gospel music choir not charge a promoter performance fees when these are people who spend hours and sometimes all-night sessions practicing?

Whatever the arguments, gospel choirs are gaining popularity in Zimbabwe. My observation is that the days of solo artists are slowly coming to an end as people take choirs seriously.

But what is really making the gospel music choirs tick?

I think the answer lies in their ability to fuse traditional Zimbabwean gospel music beats with genres from other countries, especially Western gospel music.

One such church choir which has managed to expertly do that is the sensational United Family International Church Choir which has risen to stardom over a surprisingly short space of time.

No one ever imagined that the choir, formed in the last few years, could get five nominations in the Zimbabwe Music Awards 2014 and go on to win in two categories.

The UFIC praise and worship team is actually an epitome of the revolution taking place in church choir music in Zimbabwe.

Within a short space period of time, the group has managed to record more than five live Ds, all catering for different audiences and genres.

At the Zima awards 2014, the choir scooped two awards in the Best Contemporary Choral Music with its live D album “Divine Solutions Volume 2”.

The choir also won the Best DuoGroup of the Year Award with another live D recording “We are Family Volume 1”.

Its latest live D offering “Revival Songs”, which has 15 songs, is already shaking the gospel music landscape.

Another choral group that has been making waves on the gospel music scene is Zimpraise.

The choir, made up of singers from various denominations, has been able to attract full houses during its live D recordings and other shows.

The ZAOGA Braeside Christian Centre International choir, a newcomer on the scene, also made history by recording its first album at 7 Arts Theatre before a full house.

As if not to be outdone, the Family of God Church choir weighed in with their own recording at the end of last year which attracted a lot of attention.

Another addition to the dominance of church choirs is Minister Michael Mahendere’s Direct Worship which has so far recorded two live Ds – Getting Personal with God 1 and Getting Personal with God 2.

Chitungwiza Harmony Singers, which has been collecting awards both at home and abroad, is still doing well and has many followers.

Celebration Choir is also still in the game and attracting both church members and outsiders to its shows.

Other newly established church choirs that changing the landscape include Purple Pride Family, Zimworship Choir and Anointed Praise in Zimbabwe.

There are numerous gospel music choirs scattered across the country which are doing quite well in their communities.

With this trend, it will not be surprising to have a totally changed gospel music scene in Zimbabwe in the next few

years where church choirs totally dominate.

Source : The Herald

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