On a cold, blustery winter's night, 1200 people gathered in a refurbished Hobart City Hall to witness the coming of age of the ARIA-nominated Southern Gospel Choir (SGC).
Beamed around the globe via the internet, the audience for this concert grew to more than 10,000 in 32 countries. In fact, so popular was this performance that the SGC web page crashed in the hours after the concert, imploding under the weight of more than 250,000 hits.
This memorable July 2011 concert, brimful of the passion, energy and soul for the SGC is renowned, was captured on film, and has now been released on a stunning DVD, Brighter Day.
The performance, given in conjunction with the Festival of Voices, features soloists from around the country, linking multi award-winning jazz artist Kristin Berardi, the velvet-voiced Hobart singer Maria Lurighi and internationally renowned gospel pianist, singer and arranger Dr Andrew Legg (Dr Legg, soloist Amelia ‘AJ’ Johnson and choir members are pictured at today’s Friday 16 November launch).
The choir of 130 is powerfully backed by Australia's premiere soul and gospel outfit, the Very Righteous Gospel Band, featuring a wonderful rhythm section, together with an eight-piece horn section and Hammond organ.
"Together the choir and band reproduce the authentic sound of traditional and contemporary African American gospel, and produce here a concert recording that I believe surpasses all of the SGC's previous work," says choir founder and Conservatorium of Music Director Dr Legg. "The creativity, spontaneity and joy that the SGC's live audiences know so well are finally and gloriously captured here in this recording."
The SGC and the Very Righteous Gospel Band, along with Dean Stevenson and Brian Ritchie, will also star in a free family concert at MONA on Sunday 25 November from 2-5pm. The concert, Standing in the Shadows of MONA, will feature music by the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Martha and the Vandellas, Joe Cocker and the Beatles.