Barbados Gospelfest Mass Choir

The Barbados Gospelfest Mass Choir originated with the creation of the very first Mass Choir that was established as part of the inaugural Barbados Gospelfest staged in 1993. The original choir was directed by Sam Taitt with assistance from Shelton Perkins who took over the full responsibility of directing the choir after 1994.

In those early years there were many more Gospel choirs functioning in Barbados and, therefore, the concept of a Barbados Mass choir was practical. This choir primarily functioned at the events of Barbados Gospelfest with one notable exception — when it turned out in support of the BBC’s “Songs of Praise” programme recorded live at Accra Beach Barbados.

It was directly after this live recording for the BBC that Adrian Agard, now Executive Producer of Barbados Gospelfest, had the idea to use the songs which were performed, along with some other popular choir songs, to create the first full-length album which was subsequently recorded at the River Road New Testament Church of God. One of the notable songs in that recording was the collaboration with the legendary Joseph Niles, creating a vibrant choir-backed rendition of some of his most popular songs. This recording still holds its own as a quality local product, which continues to enjoy regular airplay.

Amongst the notable members of the choir in those early days were Paula Hinds, Leary Nurse and Mya Daniel. As the Gospel music scene changed in Barbados there was a clear lessening of activity involving choirs and the decision was taken to rename the choir as the Barbados Gospelfest Mass Choir. By this time Shelton Perkins had moved on and his understudy, current Musical Director, Lester Welch, took over the responsibility of directing the choir.

The Barbados Gospelfest Mass Choir and individuals drawn from the choir have provided support for such noted artistes as Tramaine Hawkins, Alvin Slaughter and Stephen Hurd, and have opened for most of the major acts ministering at Barbados Gospelfest over its 27-year existence. The choir is currently made up of persons who have reached pensionable age and who have been with it from its inception, as well as many others who are of school age who were not even born in the early years of the festival. They come together to make up a vibrant, exciting and enthusiastic group who just love every opportunity to praise God. In 2010 they created a live video and audio recording, a first for a choir at the festival.