Heaven Bent turns 20

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - HUGH COLLINS

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

Street, Eller­slie.

Con­tact Mike Tol­hurst on 021 041 1925 for tick­ets.

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