For almost three decades, the Toronto Mass Choir (TMC) has eloquently translated traditional gospel, contemporary gospel and Caribbean-influenced songs from the music page to hand-clapping, soul-inspiring and life-changing concert experiences. The recently-released 10th CD is, in part, a re-release of its May 2014, Covenant Award-winning limited edition CD/DVD – with new content, arrangements.
Re-release or new, Made for Worship shines. Recorded live, the CD captures the effervescent spirit of the TMC from the rousing “Anthem of Praise” that opens the CD, to the “happy-clappy” (as described by TMC artistic director Karen Burke in an upcoming Arts Connection interview) traditional gospel medley titled “Havin’ Church” to the reggae version of Chris Tomlin’s and Lou Giglio’s “Holy is the Lord.”
Made for Worship captures the effervescent spirit of the Toronto Mass Choir
The CD follows the typical musical peaks and valleys of a traditional gospel concert, with slower tempo numbers like “You Are,” “Your Name,” “Tribute to the King” and “Made to Worship” surrounded by more up-tempo songs. This is where a choir’s energy can flag (something I’ve experienced playing with and listening to brass bands). To the choir’s credit, even at the slower tempos, the TMC members focus as much energy on these numbers as they do the rest.
Rounding out the excellence of the CD are: 1) top-notch musicians including Snarky Puppy’s drummer Larnelle Lewis (who also plays with the Mike Janzen Trio); and 2) excellent production by Corey Butler.
In the liner notes, TMC artistic director Karen Burke states: “We made a very intentional decision to name this project Made for Worship and not Made to Worship. It may seem a subtle change but when we remember that worship is not just something that we do, it was what we were created for…Everything else falls into place.”
With Made for Worship the listener is reminded that we were created for worship through every note and word the TMC sings.
For more information on the Toronto Mass Choir check: http://tmc.ca/