Stanborough Park, Watford, United Kingdom
Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams confessed, “It was so good it made me want to go to church.” He was talking to the audience on Saturday evening, April 13. All four judges were clearly moved by the audition that started with another judge, Simon Cowell, being a bit skeptical as a solitary individual, Patrick George, entered the stage claiming to be an entire gospel choir.
Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine the response we got. As a choir we are simply in awe.
However, as the music started and various choir members appeared on the right and left balconies and then bounced onto the stage the reaction to the Gospel Singers Incognito’s audition was overwhelmingly positive, with a standing ovation from the audience.
Seventh-day Adventist members from Luton and London make up half the choir, joined by others from a variety of churches. Co-director and co-founder Gail Windrass was overwhelmed by the reaction. “We can hardly take in all the positive feedback we have been getting, we are simply in awe over the entire experience.”
The choir is used to ‘singing gospel’ in unusual venues. It formed seven years ago from a group of friends that would come together in Luton to do ‘gospel in the pub’, singing hymns, praise songs and gospel songs.
Windress explained that every year she would post on her Facebook status and tell her friends that “we should go up [to the Britain’s Got Talent auditions] and sing some gospel songs.” This year the response was, “why not!” The choir, recognising that gospel choirs are an unusual act at talent shows, went in with little expectations. “We thought we would just go up there, see what happens, and hope that someone would be inspired,” said Windress. “Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine the response we got. As a choir we are simply in awe.”
It took the choir some time to choose songs and think through their performance, as members wanted to be true to themselves and to what they believe in. From their previous experience of doing Flashmobs at the Natural History Museum, Luton’s Arndale Shopping Centre, and weddings, Windress and Yvonne Sinclair thought it would be a good idea to add a different twist to the performance by starting in the balcony before moving onto the stage.
“It’s great just to go on such a big arena and sing gospel,” said Windress. “It isn’t going to happen very often, so we recognised it as a unique opportunity. Of course we were nervous, but we were able to spend a time of worship and singing backstage before we went on.
“You cannot underestimate the power of singing songs of worship beforehand. It really made a difference.”
The choir was not expecting the positive comments from the judging panel of how powerful, moving and soulful the performance was. “The choir was in awe at such a positive response to gospel on a major TV show,” explained Windress. “We are simply grateful that the judges saw something in us as a gospel choir because we know we are so different to other acts that audition.”
The choir is now awaiting the next stage after receiving four ‘yes’ votes from the Britain’s Got Talent judges.
While Simon Cowell called them one of the best choirs ever to be seen on the show, Windress said she was simply grateful that people found it to be inspiring and uplifting. “That is what we really want to do. We want to bring something different to people, as there is a lot of people hurting, and we as a gospel choir aim to bring hope into people’s lives with our music.”