University of Toronto Gospel Choir
Founded in February 1995, the University of Toronto Gospel Choir was formed in celebration of Black History month. The Choir was initially created to unite students with a shared interest in praising the Lord through song. Soon, however, the weekly choir rehearsals became not only a meeting place, but also a refuge for those looking for a non-threatening and empowering environment. Over the years, the Choir has grown to include members from all races and Christian denominations and celebrates not only in the diversity of its members, but also its audiences.
Less than six weeks after its inception, UTGC had its first major performance at Toronto’s Hart House Theatre. The sold out concert also showcased some of the best college gospel choirs from the state of New York. Since that time, the powerhouse that is UTGC has burst onto the international scene, as well as continuing to serve the greater Toronto community in local concerts and university events held throughout the year. The Choir was provided with the unique experience of being the only Canadian choir to participate in Annual Gospel festivals in both, Stockholm, Sweden and Barbados, West Indies. In addition to these opportunities, in 2003 the Choir travelled to Tokyo, Japan where they participated in a gospel music festival, performed in local churches, and held their own concert for the mayor of Sagamihara. As UTGC continues to spread their ministry through song, they have been welcomed by groups in New York, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Germany.
The choir’s debut album ‘Send Me’ was released to the retail market in 2008 and has received critical acclaim. The project garnered 3 Maja awards including; Choir of the Year, Producer of the Year and the coveted Album of the Year. The Gospel Music Association of Canada has recognized this groups efforts with 3 Covenant Award wins including Gospel Album of the Year and New Artist of the Year.
Apart from these achievements, Choir Director, Lisa Toussaint believes that the power of UTGC lies in its people and their commitment to God. She states, "What makes our ministry so special is the combination of an adoring belief in our Lord and Saviour and the passion and willingness of the choir to usher in the presence of God through song and the spoken word.” Since its creation UTGC’s mission has never waned; as the Choir travels abroad and within Canada they remain dedicated to sharing the gospel with everyone they meet.