Soweto Gospel Choir in concert Feb. 4


The Soweto Gospel Choir will return to Gainesville for a one-night only performance.

Special to the Guardian
Published: Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at 1:11 p.m.

Facts

IF YOU GO

What: A one-night only performance by the Soweto Gospel Choir.
Where: Phillips Center for the Performing Arts at the UF Cultural Plaza, 315 Hull Road.
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4.
Tickets: $20-$35 at the Phillips Center box office.
Information: Call (352) 392-2787.

The Soweto Gospel Choir will return to Gainesville for a one-night only performance.
Last year, the 26-member choir made its U.S. debut in Gainesville, then toured 30 U.S. cities and Canada. Additionally, the choir traveled around the world performing gospel renditions in five languages.
This year's performance will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 315 Hull Road, University of Florida. Gainesville will be one of 44 cities on the group's U.S. tour.
In addition to singing gospel in their own languages, the choir performs a variety of American gospel favorites, including "Amazing Grace" and "Oh Happy Day."
Michael Blachly, director of University of Florida Performing Arts, said it's a special and unique opportunity to have the Soweto Gospel Choir in Gainesville again.
"We presented them in their U.S. premiere. They were so wonderful, so engaging and so rich in talent that as soon as the performance ended, I immediately asked when we could bring them back."
Blachly said the choir's manager was present and told him the choir happened to have the date of Feb. 4 available. He said he responded, "Let's secure them now. They're tremendous. They're amazing and remarkable."
One of the Performing Arts center's sponsors was present and immediately agreed to sponsor the show for 2006, Blachly added.
Last year's performance sold out, he said.
The Soweto Gospel Choir is different than other groups that have performed at the Phillips Center because until recent years, the performers were people with no freedom.
"Up until apartheid they were controlled by a dictatorial government with no opportunity to spread the wealth of their art," Blachly said. "Through their newfound freedom there is an energy and innocence of sound in their performance that is pure and pristine while at the same time combustible."
The choir has two albums, "Voices from Heaven" and the just-released "Blessed."
Tickets are now on sale at the Phillips Center box office for $20-$35. The box office is open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday. For more information, call (352) 392-2787.
Teresa D. Southern can be reached at (352) 337-0373 or at southet@gvilleguardian.com.

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