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08 May 2013

Gospel's time to shine

Gospel's time to shine

The nation's favourite choir made its way into the Guinness World Records over the weekend as part of its 30th birthday celebrations.

Over the May bank holiday weekend, the London Community Gospel Choir hosted a spectacular 30 Choir Festival at the Southbank Centre.

Choirs from all over the world joined them for workshops, performances and a special birthday concert on Sunday at the Royal Festival Hall.

During the concert, the record was broken for the world's largest gospel choir singing together in concert conditions.

Nearly 1,200 people– including soul legend Jocelyn Brown and The X Factor's Jahmene Douglas – sang along to gospel greats including Oh Happy Day at the concert.

With 1,169 singers, the choir broke the previous record of 1,138.

The Alliance attended a special event earlier this month in which London Community Gospel Choir sang at the top of London's The Shard.

Rev Bazil Meade, who leads the choir, told the Alliance that they were committed to their Christian roots and that singers could not become members without being practising Christians.

Speaking of the increase in popularity of community choirs, he said: "I think that what choirs bring to religious expression or to musical expression is a sense of community. And it's a spirit that is evoked in people coming together.

"Gospel in particular brings the spirit of God to singing. People who are not of faith sometimes don't realise. But they tap into that. That's why it's so important for gospel choirs to get out of the church building and into the community where they can touch people."

As gospel music continues its resurgence, a new search is underway to find the best new talent.

Mainstream artists such as Kylie Minogue, Ellie Goulding, and Mariah Carey have all used gospel as part of their key performance work as have TV shows such as The X Factor.

And now it's time for gospel artists to take a leap into the mainstream and bring their music out of churches and onto the world stage.

So the Time 2 Shine competition is back for its third season, with an aim to empower aspiring artists.

It includes auditions, a boot camp and a live final in front of 3,000 people at the Indigo at the O2 hosted by presenter Diane Louise Jordan.

So if you are a talented yet unsigned or unmanaged musician, group or solo vocalist looking to establish a career as a gospel artist, while remaining true to your Christian faith, you are welcome to apply.

Time 2 Shine aims to seek out and nurture quality, faith-friendly musical talent. The winning contestant will receive a prize package valued at £100,000. This package includes a £10,000 cash prize, a management contract, a recording contract to include the production of an album and a performance at the Barbados Gospel Festival.

For more information, visit www.time2shine.tv