19 years later, Union United Men’s Gospel Choir is Here By Faith

Egbert Gaye

The way Colin Forde sees it, the group is glued together by the love and camaraderie that exist among members, and that’s why 19 years after they were formed, The Men’s Gospel Choir is still a force for good in the church in the community.
The guys, many of whom are in their golden years, also share an un-abiding passion for music, performing at Union at least once per month, as well as at other churches and at events across Montreal several times a year.
And because their every performance is colored by their enthusiasm and their passion, every time they take to the stage, excitement is in free flow.
In the 19 years that the choir has been part of the Union United family, they have helped to bolster the church through their work with the Men’s Fellowship Group and with their fundraising initiatives.
And Forde, who has been with the group for the past ten years, says it’s important that the men continue to be an anchoring force at Union, in the face of the climate of uncertainty that’s facing all religious institutions.
“I think the music ministry is a vital part of any church,” he says. “And that is especially true at Union where so many great musicians have made their mark, men such Oscar Peterson and Oliver Jones.”
Mervyn McLeod who is one of the foundational members of the choir when it was launched 19 years ago, is heartened by the role that the men have continued to play a significant role at the church, which houses the oldest Black congregation in Quebec.
He says recent conversations around naming of a street after the venerable music teacher Ms. Daisy Sweeney have thrust Union and its long and illustrious history back into the spotlight.
Also that it’s important that we continue to recognize our deep roots and much music that has been part of our history, and that the Men’s Choir is a continuation of that glorious past.
And as many of the core members face the reality of Mother Time, there’s renewed urgency in bringing young members into the group. McLeod says they are looking forward to welcoming anyone who wants to be part of a choir with strong historical roots.
On September 29th the Men are calling on their supporters and music lovers in Montreal to join them for an evening of praise, worship and fun at their annual concert, which will be held at Union United church hall, 3007 rue Delisle in St. Henri.
The theme of this year’s event is an apt reflection of the resilience and the staying power of a group of men committed to their church and the joy that their voices bring to others: “Here By Faith,” as they continue to value the support that have been shown to them over the past 19 years.
For this year’s concert The Men has put together a wonderful line-up of local performers to add to the glory of the evening, including the renowned Sylvie DesGroseilliers, The Fitz-Patrick Sisters and Jared Warden-Joseph.
Showtime is 7 PM. Admission $25 Info. at


Union United Men’s Gospel concert

Three exciting supporting Acts

Sylvie Des Groseilliers,

This year’s Union United Men’s Gospel concert will feature an illustrious line- up of accompanying acts, such as Sylvie Des Groseilliers, the Fitz-Patrick sisters and Jared Warden-Joseph.
Dubbed the Woman Of Soul, Sylvie DesGroseilliers launched her professional career in 1998 with the musical review, “Du Rock à l’Opéra”, Belle et Bum, Génération Motown, lead singer in the musical review Esquire Show Bar and others. Hers has become a recognizable voice not only on the Gospel, but also the pop music circuit in Montreal and throughout the province.
DesGroseilliers has also performed with renowned artists such as Patti Labelle, Deborah Cox, The Neville Brothers, and The Four Tops.
She also sang with international world beat singer, Youssou N’Dour, and for the Queen (not Aretha) Elizabeth, Canadian prime ministers, and Governor General Michaelle Jean.
Her stellar professional background makes Sylvie DesGroseilliers a much sought-after artist. And she’s no stranger to Union United Church, having performed there on numerous occasions.

The Fitz-Patrick Sisters

Also on stage that evening will be rising stars, The Fitz-Patrick Sisters who have been making a sweet noise at venues around town. They have been playfully described as ‘Montreal’s version of the renowned Mary Mary.
Their captivating performances, top-tier vocal talent and sheer good looks are elevating these young women on both social media and Montreal’s music scene, in a short time span.
Over the last  two years, these show-stopping artists have garnered enormous attention, opening for Jamaican legend Papa San & Grammy-award winner Tasha Cobbs (ATL). The Fitz-Patrick Sisters have also performed at Jamaica Day at Parc Jean Drapeau this summer.

Jared Warden-Joseph

Also taking to the stage will be up-and-comer Jared Warden-Joseph. Jared was singing along with the Union united Church gospel choir at age three.
As he grew, he sang as part of the children’s choir and with time would later perform solos in church. Choir directors Kim Sherwood and Dany Eason welcomed Jared’s enthusiasm and provided coaching and training.
He began learning to play the violin at 5-years-old and added the piano at 13, under the tutelage of Sophie Drouin, at the Brossard School of Music.
At 16, Jared took his first singing lesson with Sabine Dieudonné also at the Brossard school of Music. Sabine fine-tuned his natural talent by increasing and facilitating his vocal range.
Over the years he has had the opportunity to sing at various community events and school concerts and presently sings at the worship service at Union United Church.
Audiences can look forward to mellifluous sounds, courtesy of Jared.
One thing is certain: this Men’s Fellowship Group Concert will be one for the ages.
The Men’s Fellowship Group Here By Faith Gospel Concert takes place on September 29 at the church, 3007 rue Delisle (metro Lionel Groulx). Showtime is 7 PM. Admission $25. Info. 514-932-8731, ext. 0, 450-676-7089.