On Saturday the 11th of June, 2016 the annual Go Gospel Choir Competition was held at the heritage listed His Majesty’s Theatre, with seven gospel choirs competing for the $5,000 first prize.
With the night set to kick off at 6pm, crowds of people flocked to fill up the main lobby and narrow corridors of this historic venue fairly quickly; eager to get their seats, cheer for their favorite choir and to take part in what was expected to be a magical night.
As soon as the rows were filled and people seated, at 6pm on the dot the theatre lights were shut off and the main stage illuminated capturing the audience’s attention almost instantly setting a mood of anticipation, excitement and wonder.
Then into the spotlight appeared the first presenter of the night Claudia Kalambo who introduced herself and the special guest judges Vanessa Philips (All City Hip Hop Show presenter on RTR 92.1FM), Mahali Selepe (a double award nominee and voice competition runner up who sang at the London Olympics concert) and Perth’s most experienced performer and highly acclaimed voice coach, Marnie Kent.
Claudia was soon joined on stage by her co MC Manu Ranga who had a spectacular entrance and was quite the comedian with his hysterical jokes and bold dance moves. Together Claudia and Manu introduced the choirs that would be performing and battling for the championship trophy.
The seven participating choirs where Thornlie Youth Choir, Wayv, WAAPA Gospel Choir, Carradine Choir, Born to Sing, Acapella Praise and The South African Gospel Choir. One after another, each team showcased two gospel songs each, blowing away the audience in the first half of the night,
Once all the choirs had performed an intermission took place for the judges to decide which choirs would place in the top four. This also gave an opportunity for the audience to use the restrooms, stretch their legs and get refreshments from the bar.
After the intermission the presenters announced the winners of the Facebook competition, called “The People’s Choir” which saw Thornlie Youth Choir take out the title for most likes on Facebook.
Then it was down to business! The top four choirs were announced, which comprised of Thornlie Youth Choir, WAAPA Gospel Choir, Wayv and Acapella Praise.
Each choir had to showcase one final Gospel song to impress the judges. It was obvious that the bar was raised and it was game on as one by one the top four competed for the championship trophy and the grand prize of $5000.00.
WAAPA impressed with a hair rising set, Wayv – the youngest group showcased their raw talent and love for gospel songs, while Acapella Praise took us on a beautiful journey but it was Thornlie Youth Choir that brought the house down with their dynamite medley of gospel tunes and a use of prop to symbolize church on fire.
After a huge audience drumroll of stomping feet the MC’s announced Thornlie Youth Choir as the winners of Go Gospel 2016.
It was a massive surprise for Thornlie Youth Choir as it was the first time they had entered the competition. It was truly a David and Goliath sort of story. Desiree D’souza, member of the Thornlie Youth Choir said, “It was a surreal experience, we still cannot believe that we beat the WAAPA choir, who are pretty much professionals.”
The many hard work and late night practices were definitely worth it for the choir members as relationships were strengthened and talents developed.
Desiree said, “The few weeks leading up to the competition were filled with extra and longer rehearsals, often resulting in some of us making some sacrifices. The main positive that came from all our rehearsing and preparing was not only our progressing readiness but also our bond as a choir grew stronger.”
Many of the choir members are currently also active participants of the youth group at Sacred Heart Parish, Thornlie.
Sacred Heart Youth leader, Travis said, “As a youth leader, I found it particularly exciting that members from our youth ministry are expanding out and succeeding at a larger scale. Incredibly proud, I was overcome with joy that the group won, and through spreading the word of the gospel”.
The Thornlie Youth Choir comprised of Aaron Figredo, Luke Figredo, Fierra Surrao, Joshua Louis, Monica de Brito Pereira, Desiree D’Souza, Kayla Francis, Shania D’Souza, Marcus Figredo, Isabella de Brito Pereira, Marissa Figredo, Daniel Jackson, Alysha Curran, Jasmine Scott, Dayna Francis and choir-master, Sandy Louis.
Will Thornlie Youth Choir defend their title in 2017? Or will we see other choirs from the Archdiocese ready to challenge them for the crown? Let’s wait and see.
Does your church choir or band and/or Gospel choir have what it takes to win the contest next year? Western Australia Choirs interested in taking part in this event can register by sending an email on email@example.com or by sending a message on the GoGospel Facebook page or visit http://www.gogospel.com.au/.
Written by Jonathon Kavanagh & Vincent Haber