ARTIST BIOS: WORSHIP
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
Originally founded in 1973 with eight members, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir is one of the most respected choirs in America. The Grammy-winning, 300-voice Gospel choir was born out of the historic Brooklyn Tabernacle in downtown Brooklyn, NY. The Choir, like the church, is a blend of ethnic and economic backgrounds. The ensemble is comprised of passionate and often musically-untrained church members ranging from lawyers and doctors to ex-crack addicts.
The Choir was founded by, and is directed by Carol Cymbala, wife of Senior Pastor Jim Cymbala and daughter of the church founder, the late Rev. Clair Hutchins. Although she cannot read or write music, Carol has been blessed with a special gift to direct and create from the heart through the power of the Holy Spirit. "I just want to see people drawn to Jesus Christ," she says. "I want the music to be the arrow that points them to Him."
And, although the majority of the choir members have no formal vocal training, they have been instrumental in presenting the love of God all over the world through live performances and through numerous audio and video recordings.
Says Pastor Cymbala, "The choir represents all different walks of life and every kind of sin. You name it and we have someone who has been saved out of it, standing next to another one who has grown up in the church."
"None of us would have met if it weren't for Christ," he continues. "Our backgrounds are just too diverse. But all of us have one thing in common: we have all been lifted up and saved. So the Choir sings—not about a theological position—but about what has happened to them. It's not a theory; it's a reality."
Starting each practice with a prayer session reinforces that principle. Even the rehearsals prior to Sunday services are all closed in prayer as the choir asks God to bless their music and anoint their songs for the service. "…I find that the choir greatly facilitates the ministry that goes on here," says Pastor Cymbala. In their own uniquely sincere and almost vulnerable way, some by not being trained singers, while others are coming from totally non-religious backgrounds, they are able to display an openness, a transparent 'heartfeltness' that opens up and triggers that same thing in other people."
Over the years, the choir has performed at major venues such as Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall and a sold-out performance at Madison Square Garden. Aside from their own moments in the spotlight, the ensemble has also backed major gospel artists such as CeCe Winans, Michael W. Smith and Larnelle Harris. The choir's latest CD, Declare Your Name, is the 28th album in an amazing repertoire that includes six Grammy Awards, nine Dove Awards, two No. 1 Billboard charting CDs and over four million albums sold.
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