Touch of Gospel § Pilsner Gospel Choir

About us

Gospel …

According to various dictionaries and encyclopaedias, this word may mean many a thing, from being the synonym to Evangels (in fact, a crank of the expression Good Spell (Good News), or God’s Spell (the Word of God), to the title of the 2005 Rob Hardy’s movie.

For the members of the Touch of Gospel Choir, the word has, first and foremost, the taste of a music explosion, melting in its pot the solemnity of the early Christian Anglo-Saxon hymns, covert messages of the traditional slave spirituals and work songs, musical influence of both New Orleans and Memphis, rhythms of the Caribbean isles and the African savannah, unostentatiousness of the Irish folk songs, as well as the precise arrangements of the VIPs of the modern gospel, to name just a few. Nevertheless, the core that makes gospel music what it is consists not only (and definitely not mainly) in the diversity of paths, but first and foremost in the unity as to the landmark that all these paths lead to – to the celebration and praise of the God’s Greatness, Love, and Mercy with which He generously endows this world, and to expressing of the gratefulness for the fact that this is the way things are set up.

The Touch of Gospel Choir developed eventually, in a peacefully non-turbulent way from the schola (in Catholic Churches this means a small choir to support the sung liturgy, sometimes with a small band) of Sts Martin and Prokop Church belonging to the Salesian parish of Pilsen’s borough Lobzy. At some hazy point in the history, this schola started to appear also outside the church walls (at different festivals and choir meetings); it appeared necessary to invent some sort of “marketing” name more suitable and less descriptive than the “Sts Martin and Prokop Church Schola”, whose members were popularly called “the Bark-Bugs” anyway (the Czech words for “bark” and “choir gallery” sound very much the same...)

It was then that the name Touch of Gospel first appeared, a bit descriptive again of the contemporary state of things: We wanted to make clear that there is now, apart from the songs traditional to the Central European church practice, a touch or a pinch of something new in our repertoire, such as the songs I’m So Glad (Jesus Lifted me), Sing Out the News, Swing Low Sweet Chariot and that we enjoy singing them (at that time still very humbly and “non-gospel-like”). For evolution details, children’s diseases and growth problems see the History section.

Today, though, the meaning of our choir’s name has shifted to another level: we try to express by our name and everything we do that this music touches our hearts and that we are ready to pass this touch to everyone who is willing to open their hearts to it; to everyone who come to listen to our music. And also (and maybe first and foremost) because the world around us bears marks and traces obvious for us of the ancient and yet lasting loving touch, for which we want to thank and give praises to God by doing something that we are gifted for: singing music that comes from our hearts.

If you know what gospel means, you need no more explanations. If you are a tabula rasa in this respect, you may visit the web pages of the Czech non-profit group Gospeltrain to learn more. And if you happen to become hooked (as much as we all are) and you find out that you are close to us not only in terms of music preferences but also as to the distance on the map, come to see us and listen to us in one (or more!) of our concerts.

Or better still - try to sing this music; it definitely is worth the effort. In Pilsen, Czechia, you may try it with our choir.


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