Good Tidings! A Christmas gospel special

Maureen Washington, jazz singer.| Photo by Paul Jacobs.

This December, for the 15th consecutive year, the Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir will light up the holiday season with their annual Good Tidings! A Good Noise Gospel Christmas concert.

Joined once again by award-winning jazz singer and B.C. native Maureen Washington, Good Noise will ring in the holiday season with several vibrant, nearly sold out performances.

A night of fun

A volunteer community choir, Good Noise stands out with its dedicated and professional approach to honing their vocal and performance skills. It’s that mindset that drew in Andre Baron, a Good Noise choir member for the last fourteen years, when he returned to Canada after living abroad in France.

“I’ve been in some other choirs where the meetings were just gatherings,” says Baron, “where we might sing every once in a while. This one, we’re there to sing, to prepare for concerts, and we’ve been getting better and better every year. Being in a group that continues to progress and gets better – that’s what I want out of a choir.”

That commitment to continuously improve is preached by Good Noise’s artistic director Gail Suderman, who Baron credits as one of the necessary drivers of the group’s success.

“Gail has continuously expected more out of the group,” he says, “One of the things she has reiterated a number of times is that she doesn’t believe a group can stay the same. It can improve, or if it stays the same then it is really declining.”

As for the music itself, Good Tidings, according to Baron, is lively and energetic Gospel with an element of fun.

“We’re out there to put joy in Christmas,” he says. “We’re going to encourage you to get up and move, we’re going to encourage you to clap along and sing along. We’re not there to just expect you to sit in the seats, we want you to be there and be part of the music as well.”

The Good Noise choir will start off the evening with a few numbers, Washington will take the stage for some solo pieces before being joined by the choir and they will finish the night together. Baron relishes the opportunity to work with guest artists as he feels they enhance the performance.

“It’s a full-on experience,” he says, “seeing a group like us who are pouring energy into it, and the musicians that we sing with are quite high-level.”

Vocal support

Andre Baron, Good Noise choir member.| Photo by Martin Knowles.

Washington, the Good Tidings guest artist for the second year in a row, hails from Prince George. Named “Best Jazz and Soul Artist” by the Black Canadian Awards and three-time winner of Victoria’s Monday Magazine’s “Jazz and Blues Artist of the Year,” Washington is excited to be a part of Good Noise’s holidays celebration once again.

“It’s great to hear Christmas music sung with great lively tempo and emotion and this full voice choir,” she says. “To have a wall of sound, of voices, it just does something inside the soul. It brings joy and happiness and you feel you can take on Christmas now.”

It seems that the public is excited as well, as Good Noise has recently added a fourth show for Dec. 17, after the three concerts scheduled for the 14th and 15th sold out weeks in advance. Washington was happily stunned when she heard the news and appreciates the loud message of support it sends.

“It’s super encouraging,”she says, “because when you’re a performing musician, it’s great to see the community supporting it and saying yes, I want to see live music played. It’s just fantastic for the musicians.”

Both Washington and Good Noise hope to repay this support with a powerful concert that will captivate and invigorate those who attend.

“In the time of the concert I want [the audience] to have a break from whatever’s going on in their lives,”she says. “I want them to take a break, take a breath, and then leave renewed, revived and encouraged to continue on wherever their lives may take them.”

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