By Albert Dankwa
March 24, 2014
Perhaps people arriving to witness the Soweto Gospel Choir in action were misinformed. What the audience was subjected to on that chilly February night was anything but a gospel choir.
What was delivered instead was a show that rocked the stage of the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts. Literally.
The night was a celebration of Black History Month dedicated to Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. Not one member of the choir showed any sign of exhaustion. Over twenty numbers were performed; many songs included choreography that demanded extensive physical work.
Subtle lighting changes servedas transitions and bridges during and after some of the numbers. Execution seemed seamless as choir members bounced from bongos, to keyboard and microphone.
The cast had dance moves to accompany their voices. The only time the energy mitigated was during renditions of “This Little Light of Mine” and Bob Marley’s “One Love.” At times the performance mirrored stage plays as the ensemble playfully engaged in witty banter within and between songs effectively giving certain members time to gather themselves or change attire. Aside from the sole intermission, every other break was masterfully crafted in a way that never took away from the momentum that was set at the inception of the performance.
Though it was a collective effort, each member of the choir appeared to be the show stealer, manifesting the presence of each individual and the overall power of gospel.
The choir nearly outnumbered the available microphones three to one yet, it did not matter. Most of the group didn’t even need a microphone and used it only when interacting with the audience or during extended solos.
An audience member stood up and took to the aisle and began dancing along to the music, it was then that the collective effort of the choir truly flourished. The man was joined by other audience members mesmerized by the show being put before them. This turned out to be the tip of the iceberg as ultimately the entire audience came to their feet dancing and adding to the high energy in the hall.
One would be hard pressed to find a bone to pick with the Soweto Gospel Choir; the group made it evident why they won two Grammy awards on 2007 and 2008.
One lucky woman won a raffle which awarded a signed poster of the choir.
To simply put it, this is one show you don’t want to miss if you ever have an opportunity to experience it.