The Montreal West Gospel Choir in a celebrating mood

Egbert GAYE

Up at the Montreal West Church of God Of Prophecy, they are preparing for a big celebration on the weekend of November 7-8.
You see, it has been 30 years since a small group of ladies, almost the entire Women’s Ministry at the time, banded together under the direction of Sister Bernice Gayle to form a choir.
Situated on Upper Lachine in N.D.G., the church was still in its formative phase, and the move was a way to foster bonding among the women in the congregation.
But the little choir soon took root and became an integral part of the church, performing at service every second Sunday and on special occasions, and it wasn’t long before they were singing at events in the community and around the city.Sister Bernice Gayle
Today, three decades later, The Montreal West Gospel Choir, 42-member strong, including three musicians, remains an integral part of the institution in which it was founded, and stands as one of the longest running choirs in the Eastern Canada Conference of the Church Of God Of Prophecy.
Keeping it going over the decades rested on the shoulders of Sister Gayle. Sometimes it hasn’t been easy.
“The choir is a multicultural melting pot,” she told the CONTACT. “A fairly large group of people coming from different backgrounds who sometimes bring different issues and concerns with them during rehearsals can be a problem.”
“But we’re able to overcome any obstacle with devotion and prayer, which we do before and after every rehearsal.”
To mark its 30th anniversary, the choir is planning what’s described by Sister Gayle as “a two-day celebration of the goodness of the Lord.”
The concert is on Saturday, November 7 at the church hall. The theme is  “Every Praise is to Our God”, and Sister Gayle promises abundant joy.
The choir will be joined by one of Jamaica’s most celebrated gospel-reggae artistes, 2nd Chance who, in the 17 years he has been on the scene, has produced eight well-received albums and copped several national and international awards.
His latest, I Cry To Jesus, released this year, promises music lovers a variety of musical styles to flavor the songs of worship and praise.
Another highlight of the concert will be the official launch of the Montreal West Gospel Choir’s first CD, titled “We Come This Far By Faith”, featuring 8 tracks of the group’s most cherished songs.
And they will take the opportunity to award a $1,000 scholarship to a deserving student in the community.
The celebration continues with a service and more activities on Sunday, November 8.
Several of the church’s past spiritual leaders, including Bishop Leroy Greenaway and wife Christine, and Pastor Trevor Reed and members who have since relocated, are expected to join the choir and the congregation for the weekend of activities.
The Montreal West Gospel Choir and 2nd Chance in a 30th Anniversary Celebration Concert on November 7 at The Montreal West Church Of God of Prophecy, 5255 De Sorel, TMR (Metro Namur).
Information on the concert and the $1,000 Scholarship at 514-484- 8271, or 514-781-2537.