by Rebecca Hannant
A gospel choir featuring singers from Holderness has reached the finals of a BBC Songs of Praise competition.
Hull-based G Choir has members from across East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire – but its origins can be traced back to Hornsea.
Helen Garnett, choir coordinator, said: “I lived in Hornsea for many years, and I went to school in Hornsea. I started my first gospel choir in Hornsea called Hot Gospel in 2003. We did quite a few gigs in Hornsea too at the United Reformed Church.
“When I started the choir in Hornsea, it was just after I had lost my dad. My dad and I shared this love for singing in harmony, and I just thought it would be an amazing tribute to him.
“I moved to Barrow upon Humber, so Hot Gospel sadly ended. I then formed another choir, and we have got some of the original members in G Choir who are in the choir. I owe a lot of what I am doing now to that original choir.”
The group now perform gigs across the county, and the members’ dedication to the choir has seen them land their second finalist position in the Songs of Praise Gospel Choir of the Year competition, having been a runner-up previously. In the finals the group performed alongside four other choirs, from Belfast and Birmingham.
On the day, 27 of the 32 members performed. As part of the competition, which has already been filmed in Manchester, the choir performed two songs in front of judges Gareth Malone, Guvna B and Mica Paris – Blessing of Abraham by popular gospel artist Donald Lawrence, and the hymn What a Friend we Have in Jesus.
Both performances will be televised on January 17 and 25, with the winner being announced on January 25. The winners will receive £2,500 and a trophy.
Helen added: “The judges find it hard to pick a winner because all the choirs are of a similar standard. Although there is a competitive element in it, it is not about winning. We’re all gospel choirs and we are all doing it for a similar purpose.”
The choir, which is always on the lookout for new members, perform a range of songs by contemporary gospel artists such as Kirk Franklin, Donald Lawrence and Rich Smallwood, as well as feelgood popular songs such as Fix You by Coldplay, and Something Inside So Strong by Labi Siffre.
Helen said: “We never get anything but raising the roof when performing. It is interactive and about getting everyone singing and dancing. It just charges people up.”
The group accepts any new members from the age of 17 to 55, and it is actively recruiting more men. For more information, visit the G Choir Facebook page.