Considered one of the preeminent vocal groups in the country, the Harlem Gospel Choir has long been celebrated as ambassadors of African-American music and culture. Regularly touring around the world—performing in numerous countries including China, Poland, Serbia, Morocco and Australia—the choir has logged millions of miles sharing its message of love and faith, and has a reputation for turning any room into a hand-clapping, foot-stomping celebration of life.
Founded on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in 1986 by front-man and MC Allen Bailey, the choir, which boasts up to 65 members, ages 17-70, though only nine members generally tour, brings together blues, jazz, gospel, soul and spirituals to create an extraordinary musical tapestry with songs of faith, strength, hardship, praise and jubilation.
Over the years, the choir has collaborated and performed with such artists as Jimmy Cliff, U2, Diana Ross, Madonna, Josh Groban, Harry Belafonte, Sinead O’Connor and the Chieftains. They have also performed for Nelson Mandela, Elton John, Paul McCartney and Pope John Paul II and they’ve been featured on a variety of TV shows including The Colbert Report, Good Morning America and The Today Show.
The Harlem Gospel Choir’s performances are inspirational, dynamic and participatory affairs, full of joy, spirit, soul and a “good message.” The individual singers all bring unique qualities and strengths to the choir and together the group creates soaring melodies, spirit-lifting rhythms and rich harmonies. Accompanied by keyboards and drums, the choir has a world-wide reputation for stirring up the energy of a room, getting everyone on their feet, celebrating and singing along with songs of hope, joy and praise.
The Harlem Gospel Choir performs on Thursday, March 31, at the Carriage House Theatre.