The choir began in April 1999 when Preston Council and the Guild Hall wanted to promote a choral project. It was intended to be a 6 month initiative but was much too successful. From very small beginnings, mainly rehearsing at County Hall, it has grown to having about 60 members at any one time all under the leadership of Tyndale Thomas MBE, our truly inspirational director.
By 2002 we had begun on a host of engagements including performing at Liverpool Empire and Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall. During the summer of 2002 Preston gained city status and One Voice were delighted to be asked to sing, on a specially erected stage on Preston Flag Market with Lancashire Sinfonietta, to entertain Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh...Such excitement !
We formed a committee, began to accept requests to sing at weddings and many charity events, and got a £4000 grant with which we bought a new keyboard and performance equipment. 2005 was a very busy year with the launch of the One Voice website, a recording weekend at Abbey Road Studios in June, recording a double album, The Best Gospel Album in the World … Ever! with other singers from around the country which was an amazing experience, and then in September of that year we had our first overseas choir trip to Norway.
By this time, the choir were singing at lots of charitible events around the area and raising our own funds from singing at weddings. We were also delighted to sing at the weddings of our own choir members and their families. All wonderful occasions. In 2008 we sang at Manchester Cathedral again with Chethams School of music, were a choir in the TV series 'All the Small Things’ (with Sarah Lancashire) and enjoyed a Carols by Candlelight service at The Minster.
More excitement in March 2009. The choir was selected to perform at Westminster Abbey, at Commonwealth Observance Day in front of the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and Heads of State of the Commonwealth. We also received a congratulatory letter from David Millibrand MP. (Photo 2009-2011) An amazing exciting experience for all. In July that year we held our 10th Anniversary Concert at the Guild Hall, hard work but so rewarding. Another highlight was performing on the bill with Britain's got Talent winners Diversity at Blackpool Winter Gardens in a Michael Jackson tribute concert.
In March 2011 one of our choir family suddenly died. Such a tragedy but many of us were able to sing at her wonderful funeral. We continued to sing at many weddings, baptisms, birthday parties and in September that year we organised a Soul Food concert along with the Salvation Army, with admission by food donation to massively boost dwindling food stocks in our local food banks. That year culminated with our Carol Service in Preston's historic St Walburge’s church.
2012 was Preston Guild Year and of course we had afabulous musical float in the Torchlight Procession, singing as we were driven all around the city. December 2012 saw the launch of our own album "How Excellent". What a year!
May 2013 saw us in London again to join London Community Gospel Choir at their 30th year anniversary celebrations. July saw us winning through to the finals of the BBC Gospel Choir of the Year competition. After much work and a horrendous coach journey we got fantastic reviews and commendations from the judges Basil Meade. Ruby Turner and 2014 was an incredibly busy year for us, with many school concerts, charity events, festivals, weddings and rehearsals which were to prepare for the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen in July.
2015 continued with so many bookings and in July the choir travelled to Whitby for the Street Choir Festival and perform in a small but memorable concert in St. Stephens' Church on the hill above Robin Hood's Bay. We had many great weekends away at The Inn on the Prom in St Annes, just for fun! We also performed at ‘Penwortham Live’ and at a gospel concert at the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall.
Christmas is always a busy time for the choir (book us early !) and this year saw us perform with Alesha Dixon at the Preston Christmas Lights switch on as well as at Ulverston with M-People's Heather Small, and our charity Christmas concert at Preston Minster.
Over the years we’ve done so many local events including radio interviews and live songs, performed at Preston's Caribbean Carnival, sung carols in the council chambers, shopping centres and railway stations, sung both inside and outside the Harris Museum many times, and we now have a large Youtube presence.
September 2016 saw us in Germany again for our third Gospelkirchentag in Braunschweig. Our ‘on tour’ trips to Germany have always been a favourite of everyone in the choir. Needless to say a great time was had by all. 2017 saw us winning the St George’s Day Festival Choir competition in Lytham We also had another fantastic choir trip to Whitby and have enjoyed performing at The Platform, Morecambe with both Dana and our close freinds the New Orleans jazz outfit Tipitina at The Grand, Clitheroe.
2018 saw us perform at the re-opening of Preston’s re-furbished market hall, being in concert at the Guild Hall with Gareth Malone and our very own Concert for Peace at the Gujarat Society. 2019 was the year of an amazing event for us, performing with Hugh Jackman in four concerts at Manchester Arena, as well as another TV appearance on the Songs of Praise Gospel Choir of the Year.
In January 2020 we were privileged to sing at the funeral of another very special choir member. It was wonderful to be able to honour her in this way. March 2020 saw us on BBC TV again singing at Sport Relief with Sam Tutty from the West End cast of Dear Evan Hansen, the anthemic ‘You will be found’.
The next week LOCKDOWN happened and our choir virtually disappeared for a long time. We're so pleased to say that we are now back up and running, with many new members, though sadly missing some others, Weve re-started with two great gigs towards the end of 2022 supporting Gareth Malone on tour at The Lowry, Manchester and The Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.
We like to think we've done pretty well from our beginnings as a small arts project in what was then the Northern town of Preston. Like most community arts and creative groups we've had to dig deep at times, and have grown stronger as a choral family. Happily, Tyndale is creating fresh and inspired arragements and the choir is hungry to add to our list of inspired, inspiring performances, experiences and accolades.
We're a work hard-play hard kind of choir that continues to embrace challenges and experiences of all kinds. Locally or abroad, to audiences of 20 or 20,000 In creativity, in rehearsal, and in production we love to ask one question....