Talk of the Town Music: The Kingdom Gospel Choir

A gospel choir that became known worldwide for its performance at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding is taking off on a UK-wide tour.

The Kingdom Choir performed at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding last summer, as two billion people watched on, and their performance catapulted them to fame.

An album release, titled Stand By Me, followed the royal wedding performance, and in the last nine months they have performed as far away as Australia and the USA.

Mum-of-three Collette Watson-Blythe, from West Norwood, was one of 31 singers to perform Ben E King’s Stand By Me during the wedding.

Collette said: “We’re very excited, it’s a great opportunity for us. Not even a year ago people didn’t know who we were.

“It’s been a crazy nine months, we’ve been abroad quite a lot and signed to Sony last year to release the album. “The album is a real mix of genres. I think people were surprised by how diverse it is.”

The tour will be heading to 18 cities around the UK before jetting off to Australia and the USA again where they have a big fan base.

The choir will also make an appearance at the Royal Albert Hall for the first anniversary of the Royal Wedding.

Collette said: “I’m really excited to go to Edinburgh and Glasgow because I’ve never been to Scotland before, but coming back to London halfway through the tour to perform at the Royal Albert Hall for the first wedding anniversary of Meghan and Harry will be really special.”

Conductor Karen Gibson (centre left) and members of the Kingdom Choir, who performed Stand By Me at the royal wedding, perform outside Kensington Palace following their signing of a record deal with Sony Music.

Speaking about the performance at the royal wedding, Collette is still in awe of the performance and the opportunity given to her and the Kingdom Choir.

“I had no idea there would be two billion people watching. I knew we would be on the world stage but I had absolutely no idea it would be that many. “I’m just thankful to God and to the Duke and Duchess for giving us the opportunity, and to Prince Charles.

Few people know that it was actually his idea to have a gospel choir for the wedding. It was a memorable, moving and touching performance.

My mum was a royalist, she came from Jamaica and loved the royal family.

She would have loved it, she would have been so proud.” Collette had been working at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital as a senior health manager whilst juggling her music career and three kids.

She has recently finished her work for the NHS to pursue her music career, which she has dreamed of since she was seven years old.

“It feels amazing, I’ve known the choir director since I was seven and we’ve been singing in some way or another since then.

The discipline we had even then was so serious. We didn’t mess around and the effort we put in was a great foundation for us, an experience of over 20 years.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity and the privilege to help people’s lives with music. There’s nothing like getting to do this, the power of music affecting people in a positive way. It’s priceless. It’s brilliant.”

The Kingdom Choir tour runs from April 30 to May 30 with their Royal Albert Hall performance taking place on April 19.

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