According to a recent news release, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir will sponsor a holiday celebration for more than 1,500 homeless people at 3 p.m. Dec 18, 2010, at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, 17 Smith St. in Brooklyn, NY. The church that the choir is named for will rent buses and bring hundreds of men, women and children from eight different New York-area shelters to the historic church for a hot meal, a gift bag of toiletries, and a special performance of the choir‘s annual Christmas concert.
“We’re in the inner-city,” choir founder/director Carol Cymbala says of the church’s year-round outreach activities like their February benefit that raised $80,000 for Haitian relief efforts. “A lot of the people come from deprived neighborhoods. When they come in the church, it’s an oasis. It brings joy to their hearts. I think of that when we decorate the church for Christmas. The Word of God says we should reach out to the poor. When we go to prisons, Jesus is there to meet us. The poor are very special. We do a special Christmas production just for the people in the shelters and pack this place out with the homeless and they just love it.”
This year’s concert will feature songs from the choir‘s new CD, “A Brooklyn Tabernacle Christmas” (Integrity Music). The project consists of several tracks ranging from elegant Nelson Riddle-styled tunes such as “It’s Christmas Once Again” to festive pop tunes like “Amazing Love.”
The 300-voice troupe was founded by Cymbala (wife of The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir‘s Senior Pastor Jim Cymbala and daughter of the church founder, the late Rev. Clair Hutchins) with eight members in 1973. The ensemble is a blend of ethnic and economic backgrounds, with members ranging from lawyers and doctors to ex-drug addicts. Over the years, the choir has performed at major venues such as Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden. The ensemble has backed gospel artists such as CeCe Winans and Michael W. Smith. The choir’s musical legacy includes six Grammy Awards, seven Dove Awards, two #1 Billboard charting CDs and sold more than four million albums.