Even though it’s been getting colder, the nights are now lit up with sparkly lights, and the mulled wine is back on the menu, I still haven’t been feeling that festive of late. So I decided enough was enough and that I’d have to do something about it! On Friday I visited Wesley Memorial church to watch ‘Christmas with the Oxford Gospel Choir.’
The Oxford Gospel Choir, now in their 14th year, is an unauditioned community choir who perform Gospel music in and around Oxfordshire. The choir, which has between 90 – 140 members, consists of a variety of beliefs and ages, and sing in a range of styles, from traditional and contemporary gospel to popular chart songs. They also have the auditioned Events Choir, who perform at events all over the UK.
Dressed in colourful scarves and ties, a sea of people danced onto the stage. They were accompanied by a live band which consisted of a pianist, a bassist and a drummer. The MC, Choir Secretary Sarah Hargreaves, introduced the show, and was great at stirring the crowd up to get us excited for what was to come.
The set list was a good mixture of songs, with some popular classics and some more festive tunes. First up in Set 1 was ‘Keep Moving’, followed by Tina Turner’s ‘Proud Mary,’ which really got the crowd going. The singers were brilliant and the acoustics, along with the live band, were excellent.
Up next, ‘Khumbaya’ was a beautifully-arranged piece, with notable performances from the baritones/ basses who held the piece together wonderfully with their deep voices.
My favourite piece in this set was ‘You Will Be Found,’ sung by the Events Choir. The lyrics are highly emotional, and looking around, there weren’t many dry eyes in the place. This tied in nicely with a brief talk about the charity Restore, a mental health charity that the choir are supporting this year.
Finishing the first set was ‘Joy To The World’ which was really needed to boost everyone up again before the interval.
The second set was started with ‘A Star Is Born,’ followed by ‘God is My Everything’ and an alternative arrangement of ‘Away in a Manger.’ My favourite piece in the set was the two-part‘Blinded by your Grace,’ recently popularised by Stormzy.
The choir finished with ‘Joyful Joyful,’ the Sister Act gospel classic, and an upbeat rendition of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You.’
Overall, it really was a fun and festive evening, filled with emotion and laughter. I will definitely be attending again next year as a way to get me into the Christmas spirit!