There’s a certain beauty in the harmonizing of many voices together to the tune and beat of one unitary song. I saw it from beginning to end when I attended Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir’s last concert performance of Soul Gospel.
Beginning with two songs by Kirk Franklin and proceeding with well-known tunes such as, “Have a Talk with God” by Stevie Wonder, Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir ensured their first set of the night dazzled. Artistic director, Gail Suderman was on the piano and she provided excellent commentary for each song performed and made note to all the audience members that everyone should feel free to dance, sing along, or clap whenever they felt “the Spirit moving”. The choir members themselves embodied this suggestion. Some of the women would be raising their hands, others would be grooving their hips, and no one was afraid to be looking out of place.
In fact, while most choirs have a specific order by height for which members are supposed to stand on the risers, this is not the case for Good Noise. Regardless of height, age, or ethnicity, the order looked randomized. Each individual choir member brought their own flavor to the collective performance and given that this concert was about soul gospel, I definitely appreciated the special energy in the room that was created from the get-go.
After the first set, White Rock Children’s Choir took the stage and performed 4 songs. The last one, “Dubula”, was a notable one because of the unique tune it carried and its origin all the way from South Africa. During the short intermission, I took a careful look around Christ Church Cathedral where the concert was being held and marveled at the beautiful stained glass of the building. Given that the Cathedral is currently under construction and completely boarded up from the outside, it was easy for me to second guess whether or not I was at the right location for the concert. Luckily, helpful ushers were ready to direct any confused passerby.
The guest artist for the night was Dawn Pemberton. Pemberton is a soul-jazz vocalist who recently released her debut album, Say Somethin. Having grown up in Vancouver, she studied voice and piano as a youth, then pursued a Bachelors in Jazz Studies at Capilano University. From her solo set, my favorite had to be the song, “Shine” by John Stephens because the entire audience was invited to sing with her during the chorus. Wrapping up the solo set, Pemberton did another with Good Noise. The final set of the entire night brought together Pemberton, Good Noise, White Rock, and the audience.
As I mentioned, there is a certain beauty when a multitude of voices are unified in the singing of one song. There is great power and strength exuded, enough to give me chills. Soul Gospel reminded me of how much I love choir music and the appreciation I feel for those singers who can joyfully fulfill a small part without pushing to be noticed in the entire whole.
Written By Christine Kim