Men’s choir to spread the word again

  • Lively: Members of the Mount Zion AME Male Voice Choir perform.

    Lively: Members of the Mount Zion AME Male Voice Choir perform.

For the last six years, the Mt Zion Male Voice Choir has been uplifting audiences at both Mt Zion AME Church in Southampton, as well as in concerts across Bermuda and the world.

The choir is now planning its annual “Across the Island” concert series, beginning on Thursday, July 5 at 7.30pm at the Clocktower in Dockyard.

“This year’s concert series will consist of both familiar favourites and some new selections that were specifically chosen to encourage those in attendance,” explained choir director, Brother Terry Henry.

“Songs will range from acapella spirituals, traditionals and contemporary gospel, to southern gospel and even a little secular flavour, re-written to reflect Christian based content. The men in the choir plan to bring lots of energy, testimonies and good news throughout the course of this year’s concert series.”

The Men’s Choir was originally founded some 19 years ago for the church’s annual men’s day services, but soon became an official church choir under the leadership of then-music director, Joseph Taylor. Its purpose was to provide music for the church service once every month.

“It was not until some six years ago that the choir fully blossomed into what it is known for today,” he said.

Born in Toronto and an accomplished musician, Terry Henry has challenged the men of the choir by encouraging them to learn complex harmonies, expand their repertoire and to create a stage presence, as well as establishing a Christ-centred ministry focus whereby, through the ministry of song, the men can share the Word of God to men, their families and the community as a witness to others.

“The choir has come a long way in a short period of time,” Bro. Henry said. “This is no longer the choir I began with in 2003. The choir has matured greatly in their sound, confidence level, expression and stage presence. The spiritual growth in the choir has made a visible difference in our ministry and the lyrical content of the songs they sing is coming across more and more convincingly every year as a result.”

“The Mt Zion Male Voice Choir is not your typical male voice choir sound. I often stretch the boundaries and have them sing songs that you probably wouldn’t expect to hear from an all-male choir in their age bracket. It’s something different that sets them apart from other similar groups.

“At the same time, I do teach them several songs that meet the expectations of what you might expect to hear from an all-male choir. The variety of styles goes over pretty well in our concerts and it helps us to reach a wider range of people.”

The choir consists mostly of gentlemen aged 50 and up, however, the group has recently had a ‘younger’ person join.

“He joined as a result of the choir going to White Hill Field to sing songs and pray for his healing, after sustaning an injury that could have taken his life, despite the fact that we had no personal affiliation with him... We have a genuine concern for men in our communities taking their rightful place and making wise choices.

“I believe that if we continue to be good witnesses that men will continue to be lead to Christ and join us in our ministry, ensuring a bright future for the Mt. Zion Male Voice Choir.”

The choir has strong ties to several community groups, and has partnered with groups like Wedco, the Corporations of Hamilton and St George, as well as the Government to offer concerts. It has also worked closely with different sports programmes, like the Somerset, St George’s and St David’s Cricket Clubs, the Leopard’s Club and the Warwick Workmen’s Club to assist these groups in fundraising, as well as ministering at West Gate and the prison farm.

Now 30-strong, the choir has also been regularly making tours overseas since 2007, when they visited the Dayton and Columbus areas of Ohio. They have also performed in Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Georgia, as well as on The Word Network with Rev Dr Tyrell Brown of Morning Star Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, opening for jazz artist Najee, and at the Bobby Jones Gospel Fest held here in Bermuda last year.

To date, thre concerts have been planned. In addition to the one at Dockyard, others are planned for Albuoy’s Point on July 19 and St. George’s Towne Square on July 26, both beginning at 7.30pm.

“I’m so excited about the choir’s potential. They have come so far in such a short space of time, and we still have a lot of growth to make as a choir. I can only imagine how God can use this choir if we just continue to strive to grow in this ministry and just be vessels of honour that God can use at His will.”

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Published Jun 30, 2012 at 7:48 am (Updated Jun 30, 2012 at 7:48 am)

Men’s choir to spread the word again

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