[intro]Toronto Mass Choir perform SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2014, 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm on the Bell Main Stage. This is a free concert.[/intro]
The Toronto Mass Choir (TMC) continues to be on the cutting edge of the Canadian gospel music scene bringing their distinct gospel sound to the world stage.
TMC’s music incorporates contemporary gospel, traditional gospel and Caribbean music influences. In particular TMC’s combination of gospel lyrics with a variety of musical styles has resulted in a style unique in Canada.
Seeds of this traveling ministry were sown during the choir’s initial recording session in October 1988. The choir’s debut album, Great Is Thy Glory, released in April 1990 on the Micah Communications label was re-released as The Early Years. TMC’s second live recording, God is our Hope was released in 1994, followed in April 1998 by its Juno nominated album, Follow Him.
In February 2002, Instrument of Praise was released. That year the Gospel Music Association Canada (GMAC) awarded TMC a Covenant Award for Best Urban/Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year. In 2003, they picked up a Juno Award for Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year; the Vibe Award for Urban/Soul Album of the Year, and the Urban Music Association of Canada Award for Gospel Recording of the Year.
In November 2005, the choir broke new ground, using a 20-piece orchestra on The Live Experience, which also garnered a GMAC, Covenant Award in 2006 for Traditional Gospel Album of the Year. A Shai Award, the gospel music people’s choice prize, for Urban/Soul album of the year followed in 2007.
The September 2007 release of Going Home, a full Caribbean gospel album, showcased the choir’s soulful style of reggae, calypso, ska and new sounds with the fusion of jazz and reggae.
The release of their seventh album in 2010, A Christmas Gift marked the first Contemporary Gospel Choir Christmas CD release in Canada and showcases TMC at its best. A Christmas Gift also won 2 Covenant Music awards including ‘Seasonal Album of the Year’.
In 2012, as they entered their 25th performance season, Toronto Mass Choir released ‘25’, a CD featuring highlights from over their recording career as well as 4 previously unreleased songs from their early years. That same year, TMC was also awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gospel Music Association of Canada.
In 2014, TMC Made For Worship, their first CD/DVD live recording which includes 14 new songs and arrangements and a full-length HD quality concert.
(Biography continues after the video.)
Karen Burke, a graduate of McMaster University, the Royal Conservatory of Music and a Professor of music at York University, is the director of the diversified group of singers and musicians along with her husband, Oswald Burke, who is their Executive Producer. “Toronto Mass Choir is proof that Gospel music is alive and well in Canada and it is has been our privilege to share the Good News of the Gospel for over 25 years,” said Burke. Burke also conducts numerous gospel music workshops in Canada and internationally.
Now 35-strong plus a five-piece band, the not for profit choir consists of adult members who are from various local church denominations including Baptist, Church of God, Wesleyan, Missionary and Pentecostal.
Toronto Mass Choir continues its busy concert schedule, appearing on many radio and television broadcasts for stations such as CTS, CBC Radio One, CITY-TV, FLOW 93.5 FM and been the focus of several television documentaries.
TMC’s travels abroad have taken them to several different countries including Poland, Romania, Italy and Barbados.
TMC has also been a special guest at countless church services, festivals, award shows and venues such as The Ottawa Bluesfest, Quebec’s La Festival de Musique Sacree de Saint-Roch, the Toronto Jazz Festival, the Canadian National Exhibition, Missionfest, the Empire Club of Canada, Roy Thompson Hall with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Hamilton Place with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and at the Gospel Music Workshop of America conventions in Washington, DC, Atlanta and Detroit. The choir has also appeared with well-known Gospel singers such as Tramaine Hawkins, Alvin Slaughter and Take 6, Canadian recording giants such as Michael Burgess and Jane Bunnett and jazz legend, Jon Hendricks. (07/14)