When you hear it, you can feel it. It’s more than just words, it’s more than just a song. It’s an experience, it’s the Harlem Gospel Choir.
Founded on January 15, 1986 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, the choir consists of men and women of all ages.
“We’re not just a choir, we don’t just sing to sing, we actually give you a feeling,” Daria Jones, a member of the choir, explained. “It’s not just a feeling we give to the audience, we embrace it ourselves.”
They embrace it every Sunday during their brunch buffet at the B.B. King Blue’s Club and Grill.
“Doors open at 12:30, they go up at about 1:30,” Ron Charles, employee at the club, said. He added that it’s so popular because it’s an “excellent show with crowd interaction and food.”
Gospel music has a wide range of meanings, but it is usually associated with religion. However, while the group does sing about God and Jesus Christ, its members believe the songs and the show are about much more than that.
“People misconstrue that what gospel music is about is religion, it’s not about religion, it’s about relationships,” Ne’Lashee’, the tour group’s musical director, explained.
It’s also about having a good time.
“Fun, they’re uplifting they’re very interactive with the crowd,“ Jojo Martinez described with a smile.
“The feeling that it gives you It feeds your soul,” Tifany Harnell added.
But the Harlem Gospel Choir does more than just make people smile. It gives back to the community through the non-profit organization, Operation Smile.
Allen Bailey, the choir’s founder, presented a check to the foundation at last week’s show. “This check represents 27 procedures on young, beautiful, little angels correcting their cleft palates.”
“We thank them so much for their support and they are really helping children all over the world,” an Operation Smile representative said.
The group also gets to travel all over the world to places like China, Finland and Iceland.
The choir has also performed for people like Nelson Mandela, Pope John Paul II and President Obama.
Members have also sang with artists like Keith Richards, Lisa Marie Presley and U2.
“No matter where you go, people really love gospel music, “ Bailey said.
And the people singing really love it too.
“It’s not about the feeling I get just from performing, it’s about the audience,” Ne’Lashee’ explained. “We get to interact with our audiences and often times people will come up to us and say I was going to commit suicide until I went to the show.”
An inspirational message they never get tired of sharing. “One thing as artists we understand is that you know every audience we are in front of is a different audience,” Ne’Lashee’ added.
They even invite audience members up on stage to sing, dance and celebrate the good times.
Be sure to check out the website to find out where the Harlem Gospel Choir will be performing next.
PRODUCED BY KIM PESTALOZZI