Megan Wenham and Harriet Dunlop talk to Louise Channon about BGG and being a community hero
As the Christmas season fast approaches it is obvious none of us will have the usual festivities and traditions we look forward to all year long, as COVID and lockdowns seem to be a never ending cycle of new rules and restrictions.
All is not lost though, as we caught up with Louise Cannon, the Creative Director and Producer of Brighton Goes Gospel to talk about their “the all sing and dancing” 20th anniversary.
Earlier this year the choir embarked on their biggest challenge yet through recording a new song and creating their own documentary to highlight the best times over the years, all within the challenges of lockdown to ensure they can still spread light this Christmas.
“The idea of the documentary is to cover 20 years of our journey. It will cover footage from previous shows, photographs, artwork, interviews, and the people who have been a part of our journey. We just want to spread a bit more joy, especially this year where it is a lot more needed. We are just doing what we normally do just on a much wider scale.”
The documentary called “More Than Just Singing” also covers today’s matters too and in their own way they will be paying tribute to Black Lives Matter and the NHS.
“Gospel means good news and some people really need that right now. The beauty of gospel music is that it does cover a broad spectrum and people can make it whatever they need it to be for them.
“Even though we are a gospel choir we are not all religious, we are welcome to all religions and non-religious people. The reason we come together is love of gospel music and is all for different reasons.”
Louise’s hard work has not gone unnoticed, and she has been presented with the “Make A Difference Heroes Award” in recognition of all her work. “It’s quite humbling to receive an award as a thank you from the community and from my peers.” The awards are dedicated to celebrating unsung heroes from across the local area, organised by BBC Radio Sussex.
The Brighton Goes Gospel choir have also been working hard on recording their own version of “With A Little Help From My Friends”.
“We have created joy in a pandemic and still fighting to spread love and this is what the song is about.”
Recording the song during a pandemic definitely had its challenges as you could imagine. As a choir of vast age range, getting people to record their parts of the songs was difficult. “What we did was set up support groups on Facebook live so we can explain to people what we needed them to do. At times we have gone to their house, filmed for them or used our devices if they did not have a smartphone.
“The brave thing about the choir is they are normally together with 120-140 people and singing in a group, but asking people to sing a solo is the scariest thing ever and the wonderful thing is a lot of people stepped out of their comfort zone and nobody bowed out.”
The track will have guest features from renowned gospel artists including; Michelle John, Ken Burton, Paul Lee, Annette Bowen, Nathaniel Morrison, Sharlene Hector, Vula Malinga, Ladonna Harley- Peters and many more. “It’s been about five months in the making, we chose the track back in January and it is a COVID anthem for me.”