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Friday, June 14, 2024

Vancouver gospel choir has built its reputation by performing with some of music’s biggest stars

The Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir returns with its annual holiday concert, a tradition that has grown threefold since the choir began twelve years ago.

“Our Christmas concert has definitely evolved over the years,” says the choir’s artistic director Gail Suderman. “It is so wonderful to see how our audiences have embraced this concert. It has become a big tradition for us and a tradition for a lot of our audience members who come back year after year.”

A big reason for the choir’s popularity is the reputation Suderman and her choir have built over the years, including high-profile concerts with some of music’s biggest stars, including Holly Cole, David Foster, and Josh Groban. For Suderman though, despite those other big names, it was the choir’s performance with Barbra Streisand that remains the most memorable.

“It was definitely one of those ‘oh my goodness moments’,” says Suderman. “We’ve done a lot of those types of concert, but this was a chance in a lifetime because she is so iconic.”

Originally approached after having been found through the choir’s online videos, it took only a little sleuthing for Suderman to figure out that it was Streisand’s people that were inquiring.

“I received an email from a producer at Live Nation who asked me if the choir would be available to sing with ‘a significant artist’,” she says. “They didn’t tell me who it was, but they did give me a date, so I did a little Googling and had a pretty good idea who it was.”

Singing with music superstars aside, for Suderman the real joy for her comes from the choir’s public performances, and her ongoing love affair with gospel music.

“My favourite moments are our concert moments because of the interaction with the audience,” she says. “It is always such an exciting time for both me and the choir.”

Discovering a love for gospel music in her teens, Suderman’s formal music training actually began at the age of five when she started taking piano lessons. An accomplished classical pianist, she balances her love for the two musical styles by teaching classic voice and opera at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, while working as the Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir’s artistic director. It also helps to explain why Suderman singled out Stevie Wonder and Johannes Brahms in our twenty questions piece earlier this year.

“I listened to a ton of music, but I was really interested in piano players initially,” she says. “People like Elton John and Stevie Wonder. But it was Wonder’s songs that really caught my attention because they were filled with a gospel style and gospel energy.”

Her love for Brahms comes from a passion for the romantic era of music. “Brahms music has such depth and passion. I could listen to it all the time.”

The Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir presents Celebrate! A Good Noise Christmas at the Fraserview MB Church (1295 Mellis Drive, Richmond) on December 13. Tickets are available online. For more information on the choir visit

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