By Melanie Henderson
Music these days is often over-produced, with more of artist’s lives magnified than the sound itself. When the opportunity arises to be able to see something live, (my) excitement levels go through the roof. Even more so if it’s a singing show.
Saturday afternoon saw a beautiful blend of gospel and classical music styles in one show, with the Argentina Gospel Choir and some of Argentina’s finest opera and classical singers.
The show took place on Saturday afternoon at the Botanical gardens in Buenos Aires, in a luxurious one-off performance. Organised by Teatro Colon Foundation member Alejandro Cordero and gospel producer Franco Gandullo, the gorgeous green gardens witnessed a new and beautiful mixing of musical styles; allowing for music lovers’ appetites of gospel and classical genres to be satisfied.
What occurred was a bit of classical (and opera) and some Christmas carols meshed together with a smashing set of gospel songs. Happy days.
The classical set
The classical set saw some of Teatro Colon’s finest pro singers, and winners from Cordero’s annual classical singing competition perform. Laura Delogu and Marina Silva represented the sopranos, while Rocio Arbitzu and Florencia Machado sang mezzo. The male team included Santiago Ballerini singing tenor with Sebastian Angulegui covering the baritone lines.
With a repertoire tailored by the talented classical pianist Marcelo Ayub, the group sang a set of Christmas songs such as Oh Holy Night and the classic Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful).
Accompanied by Ayub, Silva’s performance of Charles Gounod and J. S. Bach’s Ave Maria was awe-inspiring adding a truly magical touch to the set list.
The gospel set
The Argentina Gospel Choir (BA’s newest gospel group) performed a varied and energetic gospel set on Saturday. Cordero specifically chose the choir after having been introduced to gospel music in Buenos Aires in October, when he went to see the end-of-week workshop concert put on by Markanthony Henry (top gospel director from New York City).
Led by Gerardo Flores and Gandullo, the 50-strong choral crew (normally 70) performed a whopping set of twelve songs, in the scorching summer evening heat. Rocking on and off the stage singing and dancing in huey yellow and red robes, the choir sang a mix of modern gospel songs such as Hezekiah Walker’s “Souled Out” and Donnie McClurkin’s “Church Medley” to classics such as Richard Smallwood’s “Total Praise” and Shirley Caesar’s “Jesus, I Love Calling Your Name.”
Seeing live gospel is always a “wow” experience, but the choir’s energy – despite the overwhelming heat – was amazing, as well as the overall choral sound, made even better by Flores’s stellar vocals.
A few surprises were thrown in too, when Flores brought on a new five-piece vocal group called 5pa! with Belen Cabrera, Maria Jaime, Berny Guarrochena and Marcos Ayala to sing some Christmas songs, including the ever-popular Carol of the Bells.
All in all, the show in its entirety was a delightful musical treat, lending a happy end to the Argentine gospel calendar. The classical and the gospel crew have officially been introduced; who knows what other surprises await.
To keep up with the Argentina Gospel Choir, check out their webpage and Facebook: –
For more information on gospel music in Argentina: –
All images for this article were published courtesy of Emma Johnson Photography: