Heaven Bent turns 20
Heaven Bent may be a ‘‘gospel choir’’ but its members aren’t tied to just one belief.
The Ponsonby based 35-member group are this year celebrating 20 years of singing African American and southern gospel music.
First established in August 1996 by Kiwi gospel conductor Tony Backhouse, the choir specialises in a cappella, music without instrumental accompaniment.
Original member Tania Wilson says despite its name the group consists of atheists, Buddhists and Christians. ’’The main thing is to try and bring everyone together and sing with a full voice and heart for whatever the feeling or the message of the song is,’’ she says.
Despite the music having a blatant African-American feel, the Morningside resident says Heaven Bent have its own ’’Kiwi take’’ on the genre. ’’We love listening to the original music and that but we’re not going to be like the original singers. But at least we can carry on with the spirit and the true meaning.’’ Bryan Moore, who joined the group four years after its inception, says he was always drawn to gospel music’s euphoric and uplifting sound.
The Heaven Bent Gospel Choir perform their 20th anniversary concert on August 6 at 55 Amy
Contact Mike Tolhurst on 021 041 1925 for tickets.