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Q&A: 26-year-old boss of University Gospel Choir of the Year

LEADER IN THE KINGDOM: Director of the University Gospel Choir of the Year Adeife Bamgbose (photo credit: CLO Photography)

ON 18 March, the seventh annual University Gospel Choir of the Year (UGCY) will take place at the Hippodrome in Golders Green, north London.

Organising the popular event will be no mean feat for the 26-year-old director Adeife Bamgbose and her team, who brought together over 750 Londoners after the 2011 riots to inject some positivity into communities after a tumultuous time.

Bamgbose speaks with The Voice about the contest and its mission.

Q: How did the UGCY go from an idea to a reality?

A: The founder Lorraine Wright had the idea whilst at university in 2009. She put together an enthusiastic group of volunteers that brought the idea to fruition. The idea was borne out of watching the Sister Act musical.

Lorraine's vision was to give university Gospel choirs a platform to truly showcase their abilities whilst evangelising.

The vision for UGCY has grown - we have our annual shows and have given our choirs the opportunity to feature on a host of platforms such as X-Factor, Britain's Got Talent, BBC Proms and as opening acts for Erica Campbell (Mary Mary). We have also just finished a sold out Sister Act Live Choir Tour.

Q. Do you do anything else alongside being Director of the UGCY or is it a full-time thing for you?

A: UGCY in itself is a full-time job but it's not the only thing I do. I work full-time in human resources at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and have just recently completed my MSc in Human Resources and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) qualifications at King’s College London. I am a motivational speaker at schools, a mentor to youths in and outside of my church as well as an events planner.

Q: What do you think are the elements that make-up a really good choir?

A: A good choir can portray the emotions and message behind the song in their delivery. Some choirs believe you need to have a big group to make an impact but in actual fact it’s about working with what you have. A small choir can actually make the loudest noise by purely connecting with their song.

Q: What should people expect from the finals?

Worship, beautifully-attired choirs, harmonies and a message in the songs. Overall, it is guaranteed to be a fun and electrifying night. Each year the choirs up their game and the energy is insane.

This year we have five new choirs and so it will be interesting to see the approach they take on the night. Last year we had a Kirk Franklin like performance from our 2015 winners Leicester (who are finalists this year) and the year before we had a Tasha Cobbs-like performance from our 2015 runner up, Portsmouth.

Our judges’ comments add a bit of spice to the night and you can gauge the feeling of the audience by their response to the comments. If you are a music lover, Gospel music lover, choir lover or just looking for a fun night out with family and friends, UGCY is a night not to be missed.

Q: How can choirs get ready to enter next year's competition?

A: First of all they need to head down to UGCY 2017 so they can get a feel of what the show is about. Then they need to think about their submission video and all the elements of it, from paying attention to the visuals, to sound and their presentation. These things are important, as our judges are looking for standout auditions.

To purchase tickets to the UGCY, click here.

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