BWW Review: LONDON COMMUNITY GOSPEL CHOIR AT CHRISTMAS, Royal Albert Hall
Two towering Christmas trees dominate the stage of the Royal Albert Hall. Pillars of festive spirit, they were an ample backdrop for the London Community Gospel Choir's (LCGC) Christmas concert, which was a magical evening of love and worship.
Host Angie Greaves began the evening with only one rule: the Royal Albert Hall was to be a space where no one talked about politics. Instead, it was to be a chamber of dance, singing, and having fun. And damn did the LCGC achieve just that - across two and a half hours, stunning musical performances of songs both festive and not abounded.
Opening with a haunting rendition of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" before moving to other beautiful songs such as "O Holy Night" and "Mary, Did You Know", this truly was a concert to remember. Though perhaps one could have wished for one or two more Christmas songs, the riotously good "Oh Happy Day" and "Faith" were sublime tonics.
Individual members of the choir sang solos, with "Silent Night", "All I Want for Christmas Is You" and "Let It Snow" particular stand-outs, and Rebecca Thomas' generous direction of the choir meant there was never a dull moment. Moving between fast and slow songs, the pace of the evening flowed incredibly well and Bazil Meade, founder of the LCGC, proved a warm host and performer alongside Greaves and the choir respectively.
The choir were accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, which were obviously of the highest quality, and Drew Bristow's lighting was sensational.
Terri Walker ended the first act with a joyous rendition of "Oh Happy Day", but it was Annette Bowen concluding the concert with "Faith" that upped what was already thought to be an unsurpassable level of dedication, prayer and vocal dexterity.
It's actually difficult to write of the atmosphere experienced in the Royal Albert Hall during this concert - such was the indescribable power of the evening. However, it truly resonated to see 5,500 people laughing, singing and enjoying themselves and it was an experience I'll take with me for a long time. The LCGC should be very proud of the work and performances they put on stage and I hope that this concert will become one of my own Christmas traditions for many, many years.