Globally known for capturing billions of people with their breathtaking performance of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” at Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry's, Duke of Sussex, royal wedding, the Kingdom Choir is taking the stage at Stephens Auditorium this Monday for their “Stand By Me” tour.
The Kingdom Choir was founded over 20 years ago by one of the United Kingdom's most highly regarded award-winning choir conductors, Karen Gibson. Gibson’s extensive and high-quality work in the UK has given her the privilege to teach gospel music workshops across Europe, Guyana, Nigeria, Japan and the United States. Her work and impact have led her to be named one of the top 20 most influential black Christian women in “Keep The Faith” magazine.
The choir itself is made up of over 30 individual singers and performers based in the London area, which Gibson refers to as “gospel's best kept secret." The reputable choir has performed for many prominent figures, including Queen Elizabeth II, Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton and Desmond Tutu. Since then, the Christian gospel group has been touring the world, engaging crowds and spreading their message of love, hope and inspiration through their music.
In an interview with NPR news, Gibson described the overall impact the Kingdom Choir’s performance at the royal wedding had not only on the group, but the world.
“I do not remember a black gospel choir at a royal wedding," Gibson said.
The lack of racial diversity in the royal palace is not a foreign concept. But, with the Duchess of Sussex coming from a mixed heritage background and the Kingdom Choir being made up of almost all black individuals, this was a pivotal moment. The wedding felt more inclusive to a lot of people of color because they saw themselves reflected in a way they haven’t before.
“On the other side of it, black people have come up to me and told me that this felt like [their] wedding,” Gibson said.
The choir was surprised to have this much of an impact on the community with their performance. Still, they continue to uplift communities all over the world through Christian gospel music.
The Ames community can expect a soulful and uplifting performance from the Kingdom Choir. “Stand By Me” the album has a variety of songs ranging from pop hit “Halo” by Beyoncé to gospel song “Blinded By Your Grace Pt.2” by Stormzy.