York’s Gospel Choir raises the roof with special guest Carvin Winans

The York University Gospel Choir directed by music Professor Karen Burke will raise the roof of the Tribute Community Recital Hall at York’s Keele campus on March 28 as part of the third annual York Fine Arts Festival.

Be prepared for a foot-stomping, hand-clapping gospel extravaganza when special guest, multiple-Grammy Award-winner Carvin Winans joins the 100-voice ensemble in rousing choral anthems and passionate songs of praise by contemporary gospel greats such as John P. Kee, Richard Smallwood and Israel Houghton.

Left: Karen Burke

An authority on the history and performance practices of gospel music, Burke is a prolific composer and arranger and the principal conductor of the Juno Award-winning Toronto Mass Choir. She is the founding director of the York U Gospel Choir and also teaches jazz vocals in York’s Music Department.

Carvin Winans hails from “gospel’s first family”. He made his musical debut in 1981 with his brothers Marvin, Michael and Ronald in the Grammy-nominated album Introducing The Winans. In 1985 he won a Grammy for the album Tomorrow, for which he wrote the title track. The Winans brothers went on to win four Grammys for recordings on Quincy Jones’ Qwest label, including Live at Carnegie Hall and The Winans Return, which was certified gold. The Winans brothers have also received several NAACP image, Soul Train, Dove and Stellar awards. They were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn., in 2007.

Right: Carvin Winans

Winans’ composition credits include Regina Belle’s Make it Like it Was, Whitney Houston’s Love Is, and Peabo Bryson’s Life Goes On, among others. His background vocal credits include Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror, Kenny Loggins’ Imaginary Life and Michael McDonald’s Love Has No Color.

The York Gospel Choir will reprise its spirited concert for its off-campus debut on March 30 at the Christian Centre Church, 4545 Jane St, presented by Burke’s own recording label, Micah Records.

The York Fine Arts Festival running March 11-31 spotlights the resident talent in the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University. Also featured in the festival are free midday performances by the Rhythm & Blues Ensemble directed by Mike Cadó, March 27, and ragtime pianists studying with Catherine Wilson on March 28.

For a full schedule of events, visit the Fine Arts Festival Web site.