A gospel choir in Huddersfield is hitting the right note.
As well as taking centre stage across events across the region, Huddersfield Community Gospel Choir (HCGC) also perform in schools, nursing homes and supports local charities such as Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.
The choir was established by its dedicated director Edwin Baker to bring diverse audiences together by performing uplifting and life-affirming gospel music.
The 40-strong choir grew out of a series of singing workshops led by Edwin, who has been singing gospel for over 30 years. Edwin was asked to run the workshops by Kirklees Council as part of Black History Month.
The choir members held their first meeting at the Hudawi Cultural Centre and New Directions College, in Lincoln Street. They have since moved to bigger premises in Huddersfield Mission at Lord Street to practice their vocals every week.
Said Edwin: “I ran two evening workshops and 20 people turned up to each, so there was definitely interest there.
“People just really seemed to enjoy them and they were asking if they could carry on. When we moved venues, we attracted a lot of students who would come from Huddersfield University, so our numbers just soared.
“We held our first public performance at St Paul’s Hall at the university and that also helped. So by 2010 we had enough members to form an official choir and we’ve been together ever since.”
Their mission isn’t about entering competitions to showcase their talent. They prefer to spread a positive message with community performances across the region.
“We want people to feel uplifted, cared for, loved and happy when they hear us,” said Edwin. “We want to give people opportunities to sing what they want to sing and feel really proud of the message they’re sending out.
“We love to perform for the region. It is important people feel happy when they hear us too because that’s exactly what gospel has given me over the years.”
A number of choir members have gone on to individual success. Huddersfield musician Thabo, who has just released his own EP and toured with Grammy award-winning singer Seal this year, is an HCGC alumni. Other former members have gone on to run their own choirs and become music teachers.
“It’s about giving people the chance to use their passion to help others,” said Edwin. “The choir has so many magnificent success stories and we’re incredibly proud of everyone who has been – or is – a part of the HCGC family.”
The choir welcomes new members. Anyone interested can drop by the group on Tuesdays from 7pm to 8.30pm at Huddersfield Mission or email huddzCGC@gmail.com. For more information on HCGC, visit www.hcgchoir.org.