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Nova Scotia and Toronto mass choirs come together in song in Halifax

Karen Burke (foreground), director of Toronto Mass Choir, and singers from the Nova Scotia Mass Choir and the Toronto Mass Choir, are shown in Halifax, Saturday, Aug.4, 2018 Two award-winning Canadian gospel choirs wowed unsuspecting pedestrians on a busy waterfront Saturday morning with an impromptu performance. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Cooke

Two award-winning Canadian gospel choirs wowed unsuspecting pedestrians on a busy waterfront Saturday morning with an impromptu performance.

The Toronto Mass Choir is in Halifax for the first time to perform a Saturday night show with the Nova Scotia Mass Choir, and members from both ensembles gathered on the Halifax waterfront to give onlookers a taste of what they do.

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Toronto director and conductor Karen Burke says the union of the two choirs is significant because there aren’t many gospel choirs left in Canada, and both of them have lasted for decades.

Though both choirs began with mostly black members, they now have a mix of people from all sorts of backgrounds, and Burke says coming together and singing is a great way to celebrate diversity in Canada.

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Despite the Saturday morning heat – 35 degrees with the humidex – dozens of choir members sang, clapped and swayed to the beat of traditional gospel songs like “This Little Light Of Mine” and “Amen.”

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The group seemed to be a hit with their audience, many of whom sang and clapped along.

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