Blog July 13th “The Portsmouth University Gospel Choir”

Portsmouth Uni Gospel Choir after a Risen! rehearsal

Portsmouth Uni Gospel Choir with London Touring Cast

Well I am not sure if you saw on Saturday, July 8th the fantastic Portsmouth University Gospel Choir on BBC 1s “Pitch Battle” with judges that included Gareth Malone and Seal but if you did not then I strongly suggest you watch on I Player” because they were absolutely brilliant. The clip featured today shows them being chosen by Seal after their rendition of “Kissed By A Rose.”

One reason was I was so very pleased with their success is that I knew most of the choir including their leader, Heavilyn Sarpong as they had sang with the London Touring Cast in the first production of Risen! The Musical at the New Theatre Royal.

They deserve every possible success as they are such lovely people. I will never forget how welcoming they were when I first went to their rehearsals for Risen! and how hard they all worked. I remember so well almost being in tears when I first heard them sing “Jesus Oh, Oh” a clip of which I will try and post next week. I also treasure the friendships they fostered with the London Touring Cast and how moving it was when they prayed for the cast with us all in a circle on the stage of the New Theatre Royal just before the first performance.

Afterwards I could not get the Gospel Choir out of their dressing room as they were all singing “Jesus Is My Lord” at the top of their voices. I am sure one of the reasons why Seal chose them as winners of that “Pitch Battle” episode and why they will continue to do well is because they convey such love and joy. Although the cameras quickly switched when some of them got down on their knees to thank God – their obvious love of Jesus just shone through- although the performances of the others in the programme were excellent they just could not match the Portsmouth University Gospel Choir’s exuberance which I believe was Spirit led.