Bristol gospel choirs come together to perform as one
A TRIO of gospel choirs came together as one to celebrate God, hope and Christmas in a packed Bristol church.
The Easton, Westbury and Shirehampton branches of the Gospel Generation Community Choir were united in song at St Edyth's, Sea Mills.
Several hundred people smiled, clapped and sang along to a mix of soulful classics, hymns and carols.
After nine weeks of practising, the three choirs had an hour of rehearsing together before putting on their rejoiceful end-of-term show.
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Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel, Jimmy Cliff's Many Rivers to Cross and Michael Jackson's You Are Not Alone were among the numbers performed.
Addressing the audience, one of the choir leaders, Geraldine Latty, said: "We're just really delighted to be here and so delighted that you've come in to join us."
As she talked about the slavery roots of gospel music, she said: "Gospel music is about soul. That soul was born out of a place of pain and degradation and people who were treated in shameful and dehumanised ways. But, in that place of such oppression, came music from the spirit.
"You can crush a lot of things in humanity, but you cannot crush the spirit."
Choir manager Emma Smallwood said anyone is welcome to join the choirs when the new term starts in January.
"The Gospel Generation Community Choir is for absolutely anyone," she said.
"Come and join one part, or all of the choirs, and have lots of fun singing with a very friendly bunch of people.
"No previous experience is required, there are no auditions and you don't need to be able to read music.
"At the end of the next term we will have another opportunity to perform all the new songs we have learned."
The choir started seven years ago and now has more than 100 members.
Term will start again on January 15 for Westbury; January 16 for Shirehampton and January 17 for Easton.