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Gospel choir goes global

NEWFOUND FAME: The Kingdom Choir, above, has been inundated with requests since its performance at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

ONE UK GOSPEL outfit is basking in the spotlight after performing a rendition of Ben E. King’s Stand By Me at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Kingdom Choir also became the first ever gospel choir to perform at a British royal wedding in performing at Windsor Castle on May 19 – and have amassed a new legion of British and international fans in the process.

One video of the choir’s performance on YouTube has now had more than three million views, adding to the millions of viewers on social media alongside the some two billion across the globe who watched live.

Karen Gibson, founder and director of the choir, got a taste of the reaction she will experience in the months to come following the performance.

She recalled: “Some of us went off for interviews. When we were going to the interviews I realised how big this thing was. We could barely walk two steps without an agent or journalist asking can we have an interview or the public asking for a photograph.”

Since that day Gibson and members of the choir have been inundated with worldwide media requests. Some media, such as leading black women’s website Essence, have praised the hairstyles and clothing worn by the choir.

Gibson said: “We understood that this was a world stage and we couldn’t just wrap up in any old thing.

“I had decided that I was not going to do robes.

“We knew that this was no ordinary event and that we were going to be representing several communities.

“But first and foremost we were representing God.”

She added: “We brought on the services of my wonderful friend Jeanette Young.

“She’s styled me before and I her trust implicitly. She did a good job.”

Following the invitation to sing at the wedding of the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex – after Gibson got over the shock – the choir had just two rehearsals, plus run throughs at the church and for the BBC.

The choir also met the royal couple before the wedding and sang for them.

On the day of the wedding, they travelled to Windsor by police escort.

The arrangement of Stand By Me was created by fellow choir director Mark De Lisser. Respected gospel singer Paul Lee sang the lead.

Gibson, 54, a longstanding Christian, has found the newfound fame overwhelming.

“It’s lovely but very odd. A few weeks ago none of this was happening – I was just Karen Gibson – and now all kinds of things are being said the world over. It’s a lot to process.”

However, one part of Gibson tells her she shouldn’t be surprised by what’s happened, having had many prophesies spoken over her life stating she would minister to the world.

“Things have been said to me over my life that pointed to this moment – and now I’m surprised, as well as understanding. I shouldn’t be surprised, but it feels very odd.

“I’m very grateful, I’m not complaining. I just have to learn how to process this.”

Gibson, who has previously performed in front of leading dignitaries including Pope John Paul II and The Queen, viewed the task as a unique God-given assignment.

GLOBAL HIT: Karen Gibson, right, and another choir member at Windsor Castle

“It’s given us a bigger platform to do what we love to do, which is to invite people into an encounter with God. It’s given gospel music a bigger platform.

“You’d be surprised how many people don’t know gospel music, don’t know where to find it and don’t know they are allowed to sing it as well.

“I think it will inspire people. I’m hoping this will impact the gospel scene for good. We want people to know who God is.”

Expect to see Karen and the Kingdom Choir do numerous live performances, plus, in forthcoming months a single Look Up is due to be released. It will be followed by an album.

However, when all is said and done though, the Kingdom Choir sang at the wedding ceremony of one of the world’s most high profile couples.

Karen’s view on them? “They are a lovely couple. I say they are powerful, they have a real heart to do good in the world and they have a platform to make sure it happens.”

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