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Amazed and made over by the risen Lord

17 April 2015

Jonathan TSANG

"Electrifying": Tracey Campbell and Yolanda Antonio, with the Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir behind, directed by Clarence Hunte

"Electrifying": Tracey Campbell and Yolanda Antonio, with the Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir behind, directed by Clarence Hunte

THE Western Church has always been strong on Lent, weak on Easter. A feeling of lethargy, or, in the case of the clergy, exhaustion, seems to take over at the end of Easter Day.

There was no hint of that in the Jazz Café in Camden on the following evening, Easter Monday. A packed venue listened to an electrifying performance of The Resurrection, a gospel-music account of the days after the crucifixion, by the Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir and guest soloists.

The piece was a compilation of new compositions and old favourites transformed almost beyond recognition. The Emmaus pair (Kathy Wilkinson Mcleish and Sophie Harriot) busked over the top of the old spiritual "Were You There?" in an arrangement by one of the choir's directors, Alison Beck. A little later, there was an upbeat rescue of "Amazing Grace" ("so amazing, so amazing, yeah, yeah, yeah . . .").

Perhaps the most moving number was "Make Me Over", a duet between Tracey Campbell, who played Jesus, and Yolanda Antonio as St Peter, which began as a heartfelt confession and ended with a triumphant affirmation of Christ's transforming power. It would have been an altar call, had it been that kind of event.

The soloists were in the spotlight, but their performances were underpinned by the 20-strong choir, who combined discipline and exuberance in equal measure, as did the band.

 

The Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir takes part in a gospel eucharist at St James's, Piccadilly, on the second Sunday of every month, at 6 p.m., and in a gospel mass at the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, London W1, on the last Sunday of the month, at 6.15 p.m. Congregational participation is encouraged.

A shortened (and sanitised) version of The Resurrection, called Easter Glory, was on Radio 2 on Easter Day, and can be heard on BBC iPlayer for another three weeks.

www.soulsanctuarygospel.com

 

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