Troupe set to play in three major cities and be broadcast on CCTV
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/07/2013 -- Hong Kong is literally be on the other side of the earth from Hong Kong. That being said, the popularity of the gospel choir from the African-American neighborhood within New York knows no bounds, and the group visited Hong Kong for the first time since the troupe was formed over a quarter-century ago.
Fifteen singers from the Harlem Gospel Choir are set to perform two shows in Hong Kong. The group will tour three of the mainland's major cities, and perform on CCTV's New Year's Eve gala special in Beijing.
Allen Bailey, who founded the choir, stated that many of the Chinese tourists that visit New York stop by on Sunday's in order to hear the choir. Bailey had established the choir in memory of U.S. Civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Bailey described the choir as lively, with people who typically danced and stomped about, even jumping on stage on occasion.
"Gospel music is about people who have suffered, so it's very inspirational music. You see a lot of crying and emotion," he said. "We toured Japan a few years ago, and even though many couldn't understand the language, the feeling came through."
Bailey even recalls a particular moment in 1986, when he decided to form a group while attending a commemoration of King at the famous Harlem's Cotton Club.
"I saw a replay of Dr King receiving the Nobel Peace Prize (in 1964), and he said we can all be great because we can all serve," said Bailey. "So the choir was founded on the principle of Dr King: bringing people and nations together and giving something back."
Since 1986, Bailey's 60-member troupe has performed in 156 countries for the likes of President Obama, Nelson Mandela, and the Vatican. They have even performed in mosques, synagogues, and Buddhist temples.
Gospel music is having a reawakening in Hong Kong, where 10% of the population currently lists themselves as Christian.
Says part-time musician and full-time Lawyer, Henry Chung, "Gospel music … is heavenly. Gospel music is a foundation for all music - jazz, soul, blues and R&B all have gospel roots."
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