Presenting, The Kingdom Choir: The Christian Gospel Group That Lit Up The Royal Wedding With The Most Soul-Satisfying Singing British Royals Have Ever Heard
Applause is due to the group of predominantly African-British singers well-versed in jazz, gospel, and pop who gave a performance of a lifetime that no royal wedding has ever seen before.
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Directed by veteran choir master and Kingdom choir founder Karen Gibson, the group of 20 singers delivered their rendition of American singer Ben E. King's 60s classic, "Stand By Me." The song preceded Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's exchange of vows led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The soulful performance immediately brought smiles to the wedding's worldwide audience who, like us, was fascinated by the inclusion of a gospel choir in an event as quintessentially British as a royal wedding.
As far as history allows us to recall, royal weddings have always been dominated by classic chorale performances and traditional hymns, but this ceremony was intended to be reflective of the modernity of the couple being wed. Their two countries, and therefore two cultures, were being united after all, and the couple was eager to have both fairly represented.
More so, just like most details of their wedding that held a lot of symbolism, The Kingdom Choir was handpicked by the now Duke and Duchess of Sussex themselves to send a message of inclusivity and progressiveness in the monarchy. They join American Bishop Michael Curry and 19-year-old musical prodigy Sheku Kanneh-Mason in diversifying this royal wedding.
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For those wondering how The Kingdom Choir executed their piece so flawlessly, it's because the Southeast London-based group is no greenhorn. They've been delighting audiences for at least two decades now, entertaining some of the world's most influential political, religious, and social leaders including Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Pope Benedict XVI, former US President Bill Clinton, and even the Queen and Prince Charles.
Still ecstatic over their history-making moment at the royal wedding, Karen took the time to look back at the beginnings of the Kingdom Choir, and how she now knows that nothing ever happens by chance.
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“Love recognises no barriers.— Elton John (@eltonofficial) May 19, 2018
It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination, full of hope.” - Maya Angelou#RoyalWedding #HarryandMeghan pic.twitter.com/llDX1dNaaU
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It turns out that the multi-awarded group was put together because the BBC had requested her to help them with entertainment for one of their programs. When the project was over, Karen recalls how The Kingdom Choir simply never disbanded, and instead, grew to become one of Britain's most popular gospel groups.
Proving that Prince Harry and Meghan made the right choice in making them one of their wedding highlights is the dramatic increase of the group's Instagram followers after the wedding. Beginning with less than a thousand followers before the ceremony, they now have over 8,830 followers, as of this writing. Their website even crashed because of the thousands of people trying to access it to learn more about the group after their performance.
Meghan and Prince Harry were shown to be holding hands throughout the choir's four-minute performance.
Now that we've gotten to know them a little better, we look forward to hearing more from The Kingdom Choir! Bravo!
Cover and content image from @thekingdomchoir