Gospel Music and Christmas
Gospel choirs come into their own at Christmas time: the energy and the positive joy which radiates from gospel music at all times is perfect for the season. And Christmas is perhaps the only time of year when Christian ministry, in musical form, is welcomed enthusiastically in all corners of the secular world: department stores, office parties, street corners. A gospel choir which isn’t working flat out at Christmas time is missing a trick.
So it’s long been a priority of ours to record and publish two of our favourite seasonal songs as a Christmas single.
Silent Night is over 200 years old and according to Time Magazine is the world’s most popular Christmas song, twice as popular as the world’s second favourite, Joy To The World (this puts Silent Night even further ahead of White Christmas, Jingle Bells, et al). Joseph Mohr’s lyrics are prayerful simplicity itself, and Soul Sanctuary co-founder Tracey Jane Campbell, together with fellow British gospeller Clinton Jordan, have set a new melody to a beautiful latin groove. This version of Silent Night is perhaps our favourite seasonal song, and in this recording our featured soloist is Tracey herself, who without warning to anyone broke into whistling in the middle of recording with us.
O Come Emmanuel
On our B-side is another Soul Sanctuary Christmas topper, the Clark Sisters’ (actually Twinkie Clark’s) extraordinary arrangement in a cappella harmony of Oh Come Emmanuel, which began life as fourteenth century French plainchant. Medieval polyphony meets Detroit gospel! This recording features soloing by Magdalena Supel.
Gospel Nine Lesson and Carols: A Soulful Proclamation
Two years ago, two of our singers who are also experienced wordsmiths, Erica Jarnes and Chenoa Bradshaw, produced the script for our Gospel Nine Lessons and Carols: A Soulful Proclamation, our modern Christmas oratorio, eighteen Advent and Christmas songs, including Silent Night and Oh Come Emmanuel, interpolated by text from the King James and Word On The Street bible translations.
Christmas songs, especially when sung gospel-style, are great. But they only really come alive when united with the narratives which gave rise to them.
Hear the modern Christmas Oratorio at St James's Church, Piccadilly at 7.30pm on Friday 15th December 2017.
Tickets available between £10 and £15.