PUBLISHED: 11:52 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 17:13 16 August 2010
AS the founder and driving force behind one of the country s top choirs, The London Community Gospel Choir (LCGC), Reverend Basil Meade has worked tirelessly to promote gospel music in the UK for over 20 years.
AS the founder and driving force behind one of the country's top choirs, The London Community Gospel Choir (LCGC), Reverend Basil Meade has worked tirelessly to promote gospel music in the UK for over 20 years.
The choir was formed in 1982 when the Reverend and three other choir leaders decided to pull together and form one large choir and, after a successful debut performance in London shortly after, they have worked their way to the top of the gospel tree.
After arriving in the UK aged nine from his native Montserrat Meade became interested in music when his older brother bought a guitar. He learnt a few chords from his sibling and saved up to buy an instrument of his own.
A few years later he was introduced to gospel music by a youth worker he met at church.
"I was going through a very difficult time in my life not knowing what direction I wanted to go in." he explains. "She invited me to her home. She had a piano and asked me if I was interested. She played a song and showed me the chords and asked me to sit down and play. By the time I left her home that evening I was accompanying her on the piano.
"She had a stock of gospel records which she gave me. I was attracted by the sheer passion and the spirit of the music and the soulfulness of the voices."
In addition to regular performances in churches and concert halls the choir also makes regular visits to schools to conduct workshops with youngsters. The Reverend says one of his primary aims has always been to take gospel music outside of the church to a wider audience. The music is much bigger than just the black church community and it should not be isolated or kept just for the black church worship or entertainment. We have ventured out of the black churches into other areas, such as night clubs, blues festivals and rock festivals were people can really see and hear that the music is a wonderful expression of spiritual music making."
l The London Community Gospel Choir appear at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon on July 26. Call the box office on 020 8688 9291.