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London community gospel choir marks 30 year milestone

INSPIRATIONAL: Bazil Meade (centre), one of the co founders of LCGC and current choir members

WHO WOULD have thought that when the London Community Gospel Choir (LCGC) was formed amidst controversy in 1982, it would still be in existence spreading a gospel message through music thirty years later?

Co-founded by Lawrence Johnson, Delroy Powell and Bazil Meade, LCGC was Britain’s first black community gospel choir to be comprised of singers from a range of black Pentecostal churches.

Back in the day, it was only the most talented singers and musicians who were prepared to defy their pastors and overlook the criticism from fellow Christians to be part of a choir that was determined to take gospel music beyond the four walls of the church.

LCGC struck a chord with young Christians at the time, because when they made their first public appearance at Kensington Temple in 1982, the church was packed to capacity. It was meant to be a one-off performance, but due to the great public interest, the then 120 strong choir decided to make a go of it.

Fast forward to 2012, and there’s no doubt that LCGC have made a huge impact not only on the UK’s black church community, but internationally too. The choir might be small, and better known by for performing alongside chart topping music stars but there’s no doubt that LCGC have been ambassadors for UK gospel.

PIONEERS

The choir has performed throughout the world in front of dignitaries such as Nelson Mandela. During it’s early years LCGC helped pave the way for gospel artists to get paid work as session singers (there is still dispute as to whether this is a good or bad thing), pioneered the teaching of gospel in schools, helped train gospel singing tutors and became one of the few UK acts that were able to make a living touring and performing gospel it in front of mainstream audiences.

LCGC has also served as a training ground for numerous singers and musicians, many of whom are now successful choir directors or gospel artists in their own right, such as Mark Beswick, John Fisher, Howard Francis, Noel Robinson, Charlene Hector, Tracey Campbell, Vernetta Lynch (a member of MOBO nominated groupV9), Mica Paris and Ronnie Jordan.

The choir, under its long serving director Bazil Meade, have a whole range of initiatives planned for their 30th anniversary year and have set themselves 30 goals that they want to achieve by August 2013.

These include creating an LCGC documentary to air on TV, producing LCGC karaoke tracks, providing fresh water for children in Uganda, singing in 30 unusual places throughout the world and holding a 30th anniversary party at Ronnie Scott’s, one of London’s most famous music venues.

They recently performed at the BBC Proms and are due to hold a choir festival in 2012.

LCGC provide a great example of what can be achieved when Christian artists use music to spread the gospel. Not only do they bring hope, but pave the way for others. Here’s wishing LCGC another 30 years.

For more details please visit www.lcgc.org.uk

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