Ulster University to play host to Sing Gospel

Yasmin Walker performs with 'Sing Gospel' in Portstewart
Yasmin Walker performs with 'Sing Gospel' in Portstewart

The Diamond Hall at the Ulster University in Coleraine will be the venue for local Community Gospel choir, Sing Gospel, when they perform the second of their two concerts on Saturday, February 1 at 7.30pm.

A packed Portstewart Baptist Church enjoyed the first concert last weekend when the choir drawn from across the north coast delivered a programme of exciting songs chosen and arranged by musical director Ian Hanna. Those attending the University can look forward to an evening of uplifting worship and praise.

'Sing Gospel' choir at Portstewart Baptist church

'Sing Gospel' choir at Portstewart Baptist church

The 90 voice choir was accompanied by keyboard maestro Ian, Josh Mahood guitar, David McCracken bass, Pete Comfort drums, Jonny Campbell-Smyth and Eleanor-Jayne McCartney on sax and Phil Tinney on trumpet.

The songs, chosen and arranged skilfully by Ian, allowed the band to complement the choir providing sensitive backing for the softer songs and power and high tempo when it was needed in upbeat numbers. The programme was a mixture of ‘Black Gospel’, modern praise and opportunity for the audience to join the choir and musicians in songs such as all-time favourite ‘How Great Thou Art’.

The upbeat numbers included Ian’s arrangement of ‘Oh Happy Day’ which connects the traditional Edwin Hawkins ‘Oh Happy Day’ with the modern version of the same title and was delivered by the choir with sopranos, altos and tenors blending together to good effect. Other upbeat numbers included ‘Glory to God’, an old Gospel Hall style song entitled ‘City of Joy’ and ‘Jerusalem’ made popular by American singers The Hoppers.

The softer worshipful songs such as ‘Ancient of Days’, ‘Light of the World’ and ‘Offering’ added variety and the harmonies played by the brass section added to the beauty of the tunes.

'Sing Gospel' choir at Portstewart Baptist church

'Sing Gospel' choir at Portstewart Baptist church

The choir were joined by new soloists Yasmin Walker and Angela Ifonlaja and the McCook duo, Warren and Hannah. Yasmin’s two songs ‘I Know’ and ‘Victors Crown’ allowed her to demonstrate the purity of her excellent voice and her versatility as a singer. Angela, a natural performer, makes singing look easy and the audience responded especially to ‘Jehovah Je’ with enthusiasm. Her highlight was her beautiful version of ‘Amazing Grace.’

Siblings, Hannah and Warren McCook, have talent in abundance and delivered a powerful version of ‘Jerusalem’ and the finale, ‘Glory to God’. Sean Boyle from Festival Productions, who handled the sound, did a terrific job in balancing choir and band ensuring a quality musical experience for the packed church which provided an ideal venue for this type of event.

Tickets for the University concert on February 1 are still available from RH Gault, Church St Ballymoney, The Causeway School of Music and Practically Perfect both on Railway Road, Coleraine. It may also be possible to purchase tickets at the door.

Angela Ifonlaja performs with 'Sing Gospel' choir in Portstewart

Angela Ifonlaja performs with 'Sing Gospel' choir in Portstewart