Ireland’s leading Gospel Choir – Gardiner St. Gospel Choir- will celebrate its 5th birthday this Sunday 8th May with their gospel mass and a free concert afterwards in the Jesuit church Gardiner St.
The choir was the brain child of Kevin Kelly its musical director who was former head chorister with the Palestrina Choir, lead singer in a rock group and organist in Gardiner St. Church. “And when we started off we had 2 keyboards 16 singers and a congregation the same size!!” says Kevin, “but with perseverance and hard work we just got bigger and better and the word got out.” Fr. Edmond Grace SJ- co-founder with Kevin says that the original idea was a simple one-just a gospel choir singing at mass “but it developed gradually and powerfully like any good idea and enabled all kinds of talent to emerge. And at the heart of it all from the very beginning there was friendship and faith.”
Five years on there are 40 singers in the choir accompanied by a 9 piece gospel band. Its members are young people from nearby or those who have strong links with Gardiner St .and the Choir also reflects today’s Ireland with people from diverse backgrounds and other part of the world all in the mix.
Over 1000 people most of them under 35 years gather for the 7.30 evening mass every Sunday from all over Dublin and as far away as Wicklow, Meath, and Kildare. According to recent research conducted by the Choir 8 out of 10 are regular or semi-regular attendees the rest are 1st timers. A large proportion says that the Gospel mass has brought them back to the Church and describe it as ‘fun mass that lifts the spirits.’ It’s also the mass that is affectionately known as “the Gig at God’s Gaff!” According to choir member Róisín O Gorman “People gather to celebrate their faith with an energy that inspires those still searching to come and join in. At a time when young adults are deserting organized religion the church is full to capacity – it bucks the trend”..
The Gardiner Street Gospel Choir has won numerous awards and has appeared on local and national radio and television.It is currently managed by Slí Eile , the Jesuit initiative for young adults looking for creative ways of exploring faith. Committee member James Hutchinson says “Sunday night will be one long celebration with everyone and anyone welcome to join the party!”.