Since the plethora of choirs mushrooming up on the local gospel scene, it does not make business sense to form a new choir right now. Not in this climate. If gospel fans are not listening to Joyous Celebration then they are most probably hooked on the Soweto Gospel Choir.

If that is a bit too “urban” for them and they crave more traditional choral hymns, then the Ncandweni Christ Ambassadors are their best bet. So with those conditions in place it is surprising that Gospel Goes Beyond (GGB, pictured), a brand new youth choir, was formed early last year.

“We are a 20-member group that has 13 singers and seven band members. It was a big risk for us and we are aware of the competition, but we’re trying to accommodate everyone from the ZCC type of music fan to the Rhema kind, if that makes any sense,” said the group’s spokesman, Thabiso Lawrence.

“It is a traditional and modern sound. If it touches anyone in anyway then we’ll be happy,” he said.

After working behind the scenes for a music company for a few years, Lawrence and his business partners thought that forming a choir would provide a service for those in need of a group of new voices separate from the obvious material to be found.

“My partners Fezi, Tumi and another Thabiso, agreed to send out posters for auditions and we got a warm response. About 150 people came through to audition and we had the cumbersome task of trimming that figure down to only 20,” explained Lawrence.

For quality purposes, Lawrence and his partners roped in former Joyous Celebration member Nqobile Sibeko to produce their music.

“She always wanted to produce something different and we also needed a seasoned producer so we met half way,” Lawrence said.

The collaboration gave rise to a five-song introductory CD. It is not their official debut CD, but some- thing of a teaser for fans to get to know who they are.

“We just brought something to introduce ourselves to people last year so that come this year, we will start from somewhere as we release a full-length album,” he said.

The five-track compilation is a mix of funky youthful sounds from mature voices. Late last year, GGB staged their first show in Joburg, which was opened by legendary singer Ernie Smith and the funky group The Peanut Gallery.

The crowd that came to watch them in action seemed to get what GGB is all about and if their responses were anything to go by, then this choir has definitely found its niche market. This year will see them dropping the new CD, which includes the five tracks off the EP.

“Expect collaborations, change and new direction. We want to make this our bread and butter since most of our members are not employed. We are going to work hard at our product so that it becomes a means of sustenance,” Lawrence said.

The CD’s release date was set down for next month, but it will now be released on a date yet to be confirmed.