By Katie Potzick
February 22, 2010
I have gotten e-mails from the Student Government Association about student tickets for concerts at the Kentucky Center for the Arts many times in the past, but have never felt persuaded to buy them until the Soweto Gospel Choir decided to stop in Louisville. The Soweto Gospel Choir is a group of 26 South African singers who perform gospel and contemporary songs, along with dancing and drumming. They have performed for Nelson Mandela, played alongside the likes of Bono and Peter Gabriel, and have won two Grammys. After noticing these accomplishments, I realized that $10 was a cheap price to pay for music of this caliber and I decided to attend the concert.
As the concert began, I wasn’t expecting the colorful whirlwind that took the stage. Dressed in vibrant African costumes, the choir members not only sang, but danced, twirled, kicked and played percussion. The constant movement kept all eyes on the stage. Even the very young children in front of me in the audience watched in silence. The first half of the concert was traditional church music. There were also a few surprises, such as Bob Marley’s “One Love.”
After several songs, there was a confusing intermission in which I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to leave. A few audience members did leave the Kentucky Center. However, I was happy I stayed when I saw that the choir came back to play some English favorites. I enjoyed the songs that I knew the words to, such as “Oh Happy Day,” “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
I felt that the atmosphere in the auditorium was very moving and almost church-like. Throughout the show, people shouted out “Sing it girl!” or “Amen!” It was a very powerful concert.
The choir was made up of 15 men and 10 women. Both the men and women performed their own numbers, as well as songs together. At one point the men set up a table and played percussion with plates, forks and cups. Throughout the show I was amazed at how talented the members were. Their voices melded together perfectly and their rhythm was spot on. I felt that they definitely deserved the standing ovation they received at the end. If they ever come back to Louisville, I will be first in line to buy another ticket.