Harlem Gospel Choir taking Ulster by storm

The Harlem Gospel Choir
The Harlem Gospel Choir

The world-renowned Harlem Gospel Choir is set to sweep its powerful vocals around the Province over Easter.

Performing contemporary gospel with a touch of jazz and blues, the Harlem Gospel Choir - which has performed alongside U2’s Bono, Diana Ross, The Gorillaz, Andre Rieu, Damon Albarn, Pharrell Williams and Jamie XX - is now set to wow audiences in Omagh, Londonderry, Ballymena and Lisburn.

Choir manager Anna Bailie said nine singers and two musicians are now on tour in Northern Ireland.

She said the total number of members in the choir was “around 60”.

“We are very popular and we are the only group which has a regular ticketed gospel branch every Sunday in Time Square (New York),” she said.

“We have been doing that every Sunday without fail for 15 years.”

She added that members were all “professional singers who really look after their voices”.

“The singers we have here are in their 20s. This is a hectic schedule and we would not be travelling with people who would not be physically up to it.

“It is a hectic schedule and that is why they are resting now and I am talking to you.”

Ms Bailie said choir members are “very fortunate” because they have so much regular work that “every concert is a rehearsal for the next one”.

“Although when we are touring and bringing in new material, we have dedicated rehearsals for that,” she added.

“Lately in New York we have been doing concerts of Adele music which have been selling out. It has been very, very popular.

“As a surprise, we have an Adele song from the new album for the audience in Northern Ireland.

“In fact there are a few surprises in every concert - and that is just one of them,” 
she said.

She added that concerts in Northern Ireland are “amazing”.

Ms Bailie said that members of the Harlem Gospel Choir were the only American musicians to travel to Ireland for planned concerts after the September 11 atrocities because “the Harlem Gospel Choir never cancels a performance”.

Last night the choir performed in Theatre at the Mill, Newtownabbey.

Tomorrow night the choir will perform in Strule Arts Centre, Omagh; on Easter Sunday they will perform in the Millennium Forum in Londonderry; on March 29 they will perform in The Marketplace Theatre in Armagh; on March 30 in the Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena; and on March 31 in the Island Arts Centre in Lisburn.

Tickets can still be purchased at each venue’s box office.