Lorraine King is founder of the University Gospel Choir of the Year (UGCY) competition. Now in its fifth year, UCGY is taking place at the Hippodrome, Golders Green, north London on March 14. Lorraine spoke with Keep The Faith about the event, how she got it off the ground, and her plans for its future.
KTF: What inspired you to set up the University Gospel Choir of the Year competition?
LK: During my time at University, I was part of my university gospel choir. Whilst there, I realised that, as a choir, we needed opportunities to perform outside the walls of our university, and to use our talents to spread the Gospel and inspire others. This idea sparked a desire to research further, and I discovered other university choirs had the same passion to spread the message far and wide. The vision was solidified at Christmas 2009, as I watched the final scenes of the Whoopi Goldberg classic, Sister Act 2, when it dawned on me: ‘Why not recreate this in the UK?’
KTF: How did you go about getting the UGCY competition off the ground?
LK: It was not easy! I remember crying to a friend, telling him that the Lord had a laid a big vision on my heart, but I did not know how to make it happen. He told me: “Write down the vision and make it plain” (Habakkuk 2), which I did! Two influential mentors of mine really helped, as they believed in the idea: Andrea Encinas (British Gospel Arts) and Muyiwa (Muyiwa & Riversongz). I owe them and the UGCY team the credit for where UGCY is today.
KTF: What do you recall about the very first UGCY competition?
LK: It was an incredible launch night and a buzzing atmosphere. The culmination of two years of planning brought most of us to tears. In 2011, over 20 universities entered in the first round; we were amazed – especially as there was no precedent. To see our efforts all come together, it was nothing short of a miracle and a testimony.
KTF: UGCY is now in its fifth year. What have been the three standout moments for you in all the years the competition has been going?
LK: In 2012, Manchester Harmony Gospel Choir (an all-White choir) sang an amazing rendition of ‘Imela’. This took the show to another level, and the audience was taken by surprise! X Factor 2012 runner-up, Jahméne Douglas, did an amazing job leading our mass choir in 2013! We followed his journey in X Factor, and for him to come and sing ‘We are blessed’ for the finale, it was amazing. Last year’s winning choir – Nottingham – has to top the best moment. Their performance ended with a rendition of Matthew 28. We believe their performance to have been the best of all time!
KTF: What are your future plans where UGCY is concerned?
LK: We’re trusting God that UGCY will be ‘setting up shop’ in other countries. To see choirs from other nations taking part in a God-given dream will definitely be an accomplishment. UGCY is also looking to further develop its presence in the UK. We want to make a mark at every university nationwide, with a focus on helping students develop choirs, and much more!
KTF: Describe yourself in five words.
LK: Driven. Passionate. God-fearing. Supportive. Tenacious.
VISIT UGCY.CO.UK FOR MORE DETAILS