Gospel Choir Workshop
On 22 January, the members of Christ’s Hospital Gospel Choir were led in an inspirational workshop by London-based Keynotes Gospel Choir, led by Charles Dada, a singer and recording artist who has performed with the likes of Stormzy and Ed Sheeran. He was joined by vocalists Mary-Rita Odusanya and Tayo Adebajo, alongside pianist Jeremiah Elongama.
The afternoon started with an uplifting warm-up, before the choir received guidance on harmony, performance, vocal health and solo singing, and learnt new repertoire in sectional and combined rehearsals. Special mentions go to Zaph (DG/Year 12) and Kobi (GR/Year 13) for bravely and publicly exploring their vocal ranges, and to Danielle (03/Year 8), the youngest and only junior pupil to attend the workshop. These pupils in particular epitomised Charles’s valuable advice to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway!’.
These, and many more encouraging words, were shared during a Q&A session with the group. Megan (GE/Year 11) asked for advice on how to ‘mesh’ as a group with many new singers, while Alfiena (GR/Year 13) asked how to approach gospel performances in a more formal environment. Keynotes were steadfast in their belief that gospel music must centre around the principles of ‘unity, togetherness and hope’ and that the pupils must have the self-belief to perform with freedom:
‘If you feel restricted, it’s not gospel’.
‘You all have natural gifts; you just need a little more inspiration’.
‘The problem is not that they can’t do it, but that they don’t believe.’
By the end of the workshop, the pupils had all been taken well and truly out of their comfort zones, and, having displayed admirable resilience, were able to perform with a newfound confidence. Despite having intended to spend just the afternoon with us, Keynotes were so impressed by our pupils that they joined us for tea and offered to direct the Gospel Choir’s performance in evening Chapel. Suffice to say, the performance was a worthy culmination of everybody’s hard work.
Thank you to Gospel Choir leaders, Zoe (GR/Year 13), Jennifer (GR/Year 13), Elizabeth (DG/Year 12) and Zaph (DG/Year 12) for hosting our guests and for their accomplished direction of this student-led group. We look forward to welcoming Keynotes back to CH in the future.