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Debut U.S. Tour of Renowned Denmark Gospel Music Ensemble Hans Christian and the Gospel Fellowship


Emmanuel Baptist Church (EBC) in Brooklyn, NY (Reverend Anthony L. Trufant, senior pastor) and EBC’s Sacred Arts Ministry present the debut U.S. tour of Hans Christian and the Gospel Fellowship, an exciting and much-lauded gospel ensemble from Denmark. The ensemble will bring its powerful and unique brand of music to the New York City area September 24 through September 30, 2013, during Gospel Heritage Month. The Gospel Fellowship will present a concert at EBC, among other live performances, and will also participate in various media and promotional activities in New York City and throughout the Northeast region.

The Gospel Fellowship ensemble is part of the 20-member Opstand Gospel Choir, one of Denmark’s most renowned professional gospel choirs. They specialize in urban gospel music, and are best known for their high energy and tight harmonies, as well as their inspirational message about the power and love of God. The choir already claims two American gospel superstars as fans. They performed as the opening act for nine-time GRAMMY® Award winner Kirk Franklin in three concerts in Denmark in 2008 and 2009. Franklin says that when he first heard the choir, he was “blown away by their harmonies and voices.” He adds, “Hans Christian is one of the most phenomenal talents. His true passion for gospel music is displayed each and every time his choir performs.” Multiple GRAMMY® Award-wining gospel artist Fred Hammond is featured on two songs on the choir’s most recent album, You Are. “The songs are uplifting and the choir’s sound is amazing,” says Hammond. “Hans Christian and his group are putting out music that can touch the hearts and spirits of people all over the world.”

The Gospel Fellowship, which is comprised of seven of Opstand’s most talented members, serves as Opstand’s travelling ensemble, and has performed around Europe, including Germany, Italy and Norway. “I am very excited to be able to present my music in New York,” says Hans Christian Jochimsen, director of the Gospel Fellowship and the Opstand Gospel Choir. “It is a unique opportunity for us to share with our American brothers and sisters how much gospel music means to us in Europe.”

The choir first came to the attention of EBC’s senior pastor, Reverend Anthony L. Trufant, through Reverend Peter Dyhr, pastor of The Gospel Fellowship, Copenhagen and one of the driving forces behind the Gospel Church Movement in Denmark. The two pastors were introduced in October, 2011 at a Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, GA, by Dave Travis, a representative of the Dallas-based Leadership Network. “David made a modest introduction: ‘Peter and Anthony, I think two of you should talk—you have much in common,’ recalls Rev. Trufant. “I was both puzzled and curious.  I was puzzled because Peter and I could not be more different. He’s Danish, I’m African American; he pastors in Copenhagen, Denmark; I’m in Brooklyn, NY. He’s younger, I’m slight older and more handsome,” he quipped. “Yet, there was something about the way in which Dave introduced the two of us to each other that intrigued me. I intuited that this might be one of those providential, pivotal encounters—a Holy Spirit ‘hook up’.  As a consequence, I went with it and discovered Dave’s initial hunch was right.”

Last summer, at Rev. Dyhr’s invitation, Rev. Trufant, a nationally prominent expert on church growth, traveled to Copenhagen to present at the Gospel Church Planting Conference and to meet with, advise and encourage 15 teams from Eastern European countries who were seeking to start Gospel Fellowship churches.  Accompanying Rev. Trufant to Copenhagen were Raymond Johnson, director of the Sacred Arts Ministry, music minister Kevin Wheatley, and members of Sounds of Praise (SOP), a highly touted gospel music ensemble from EBC, which is led by Wheatley. The members of SOP participated in the International School of Gospel Music, a summer music program developed by Hans Christian, which was also in session. This program offers participants a unique opportunity to spend a week with top professional gospel singers, directors, and musicians learning or improving skills in areas such as chorale singing, lead singing, vocal technique, songwriting, choir leadership, gospel piano and “stomp,” a movement class. SOP members worked with members of the Gospel Fellowship ensemble and the Opstand Choir as they led and attended workshops and performed for program attendees. SOP will return to Denmark in August to participate in the final session of the International School of Gospel Music’s 2013 summer programs.

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Rev. Trufant was impressed with the excellence and universality of both the music and the ministry of Opstand and the Gospel Fellowship ensemble, and sought to bring them to New York. “Since our initial introduction and a subsequent trip to Copenhagen, I have learned that the Gospel Fellowship Church of Copenhagen and the Emmanuel Baptist Church of Brooklyn, despite our racial and national distinctions, share a common knack and passion for repacking and re-presenting the gospel to a public that is skeptical about and contemptuous of the value of the Christian faith in public life,” says Rev. Trufant. “More specifically, Peter and I believe that the dramatic arts in general, and music in particular,are siren songs to which the public—Danish and American— remains open to experiencing the magic and meaning of the gospel of Jesus Christ. After all, people may not come to church, but they will come to concerts that present hopeful, soulful, and dynamic music, which leaves them optimistic about the outcome of their personal and our corporate journeys, nationally and globally.  So, God appears to be using music not only to bind believers across geographical, cultural, and national boundaries, but also to attract a cynical public to entertain the value and validity of the Christian life.”

Performance and appearance schedules for the Hans Christian and the Gospel Fellowship tour are being finalized and will be available in the coming weeks.

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