Rick and I had a treat last weekend. We attended a performance by the Coro Góspel Good News (Good News Gospel Choir) and were entertained by a great program.
A friend of ours invited us to drive to Villanueva del Duero to see their annual Velada Musicale. The town was lit by nearly 5000 candles and the Plaza Mayor was packed as the people waited for the sun to go down and the concert to begin. The pueblo has a population of about 1000 people and I think all of them were at the concert.
Spain doesn’t have a state religion and the people in general aren’t particularly religious. Still, over 75% identify as Catholic and traditions are hard to break. Old Negro Spirituals and American Style Gospel aren’t widely heard because there aren’t many Protestants here. The program began with a few familiar songs, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and God’s Not Through With Me Yet. Then they added in more pop, jazz and rock ‘n roll to illustrate the influence the Gospel sound has had on contemporary music. From Lean on Me, to Ain’t No Mountain High Enough to Queen’s Somebody to Love the group had the crowd enthralled.
I was reminded of singing in my high school and college choruses with all the energy the group had. They swayed, clapped and danced to the music and the nearly 2,000 people in the Plaza Mayor clapped and sang to the more familiar songs.
It’s difficult to sing in another language but they did a great job. I could understand most of the words and the accents only added to my enjoyment. The encore was O Happy Day, made popular by the Edwin Hawkins Singers among other groups. Earlier in the day the Coro held a seminar to go more in depth about Gospel music and those who attended were invited up on the stage to sing with them.
After the concert there was a great rush of people to get to one of the five bars available in Villanueva. We managed to snag a table on a terrace covered with grapevines and had a few pinchos washed down with some tinto de verano. That was almost as enjoyable as the concert!