Beyond the vogue and trends of the moment, Gospel music is certainly an “unconventional” genre to European culture. It was born from an enslaved African community as an instinctive and spontaneous expression of spirituality, faith, hope and gratitude for life and a distinctive cry for freedom from the ravages of slavery and the Slave Trade.
These origins, seemingly so distant from our everyday reality, are driven by principles and values of life that are unexpectedly common and very close to our cultural and religious roots, even if expressed through formulas and rituals that are unusual to the majority.
Gospel music is undoubtedly spiritual in nature, an expression of faith, uniting body, mind and soul. It is an uplifting form of prayer and art at the same time, which everyone can share in regardless of age, ethnicity, religious beliefs and ability.
Gospel@Valenza, established in 2008, was born under these inspirational principles. For three days every year, the City of Valenza is transformed into an international forum for those to whom Gospel Music is an important part of their lifestyle and for those who want to be part of this experience.
We believe that opportunities like this for getting together, exchanging knowledge, sharing mutual experiences and emotions should be promoted. As a form of art and culture, Gospel Music, with the significance of its contents, the immediacy of its message and the huge potential for sharing of the human journey, will continue to grow through the years with Gospel@Valenza becoming a firm reference point of the musical and spiritual culture of Europe.
The Joy Singers Choir & British Gospel Arts
Gospel@Valenza is a cultural festival open to Italian and international choirs and individuals, from beginners to established singers, who want to sing Gospel.
2008 saw the birth of Gospel@Valenza, a collaboration between Joy Singers Choir, London Community Gospel Choir and British Gospel Arts, with the support of the city of Valenza, its Mayor and local businesses. The festival grew out of annual workshops hosted by the Joy Singers Choir who, in 2006, invited British Gospel Arts and the London Community Gospel Choir to engage in development work with them culminating in performances at the main concert halls in Alessandria (2006) and Valenza (2007).
Gospel@Valenza broadened the spectrum of this work to include educational workshops and performances for choirs from other towns and cities in Italy and abroad, as well as for the community district of Alessandria. Participants have grown from 1,300 local people in 2006 to over 2000 people in 2012 – some of who travelled from far afield in Northern Italy, UK and Norway.
In 2013, we celebrated LCGC 30th anniversary with a special edition which took G@V to another level.
In 2017, we celebrate our 10th anniversary with a taste of the Caribbean. We also pay tribute to our festival host, the Joy Singers Choir, who celebrate their 25th anniversary.
This is the history and future of Gospel@Valenza: a festival for the family of gospel music lovers and practitioners, a place to find your voice and your groove.