Probably the most famous Gospel choir is the Harlem Gospel Choir. They are known around the world for their excellent performances of African American Gospel music. But to my knowledge, their origins are not in any particular church. Their founder, Allen Bailey, is an entertainment industry veteran who "had noticed the great number of tourists lining up outside the many Harlem Churches to hear and see the church gospel choirs. Allen thought it might be a good idea to take the Harlem Church experience to the places where the tourists lived." Their website talks about the "inspirational power of black gospel music" and says their "harmonious songs of love and hope and inspiration will touch the depths of your soul, lift your spirit, and take your breath away!" But it doesn't seem to say anything about God or the gospel of the cross. Most of the charities it supports do not seem to be Christian based or run organisations (not that this is a problem, but in my experience Christian organisations have generally preferentially supported Christian charities).
I'm left with the impression of a secular choir that performs the songs of the church for the sake of the music rather than the sake of God or the church. (This is far from unique of course, and many choirs and bands do likewise for other traditions of Christian music.) Is this impression accurate?
Some questions which would clarify the nature of the Harlem Gospel Choir are these. Answers don't need to answer them all if they can provide a general overview!
- Are the personal religious convictions of Allen Bailey known?
- Does the HGC have any official ties to a church or denomination?
- Does it have a statement of faith?
- Are any requirements of personal faith put on members?
- Does it support through its charity any overtly Christian causes?