Canadian tenor Ben Heppner and the Toronto Mass Choir perform O Happy Day at the Living Arts Centre on Feb. 16 at 8 p.m.
Heppner’s love of gospel music started at a young age. When he was three, his family was asked to sing in a little country church. Despite being too young to join his family in the choir loft, young Heppner was belting the alto part from the pews.
“Gospel music is a thread that weaves through my entire life,” says Heppner. “Even though I took a detour through the world of opera for a few years, those songs of the church have held me together.”
In fact, throughout his career, his dressing room warm up consisted of either Great is Thy Faithfulness or Amazing Grace. Singing these songs would appear to be a perfect fit for both his vocal prowess and his personal history.
Heppner joins Canada’s leading gospel choir, The Toronto Mass Choir, for the show. The choir incorporates contemporary gospel, traditional gospel, as well as Caribbean music influences. Their combination of gospel lyrics with a variety of musical styles has resulted in a gospel sound that remains unique in Canada.
Audiences can expect rousing renditions of the aforementioned Amazing Grace, This Little Light of Mine, Ain’t Got Time to Die, and the show’s namesake O Happy Day.
Visit livingartscentre.ca for more details.
Photo: The Toronto Mass Choir and Ben Heppner perform O Happy Day on Feb. 16 at the Living Arts Centre.