In July of 1988, history was made in Toronto. The founding members of the Association of Gospel Music Ministries decided to tap into one of the fastest growing gospel music phenomena's of the day, the Gospel Choir. After many brain storming sessions, it was decided that open auditions be held for those who were interested in forming a mass gospel choir. The response was overwhelming.
Over one hundred people committed their summer to the task of completing a live recording at the association's gospel music convention in that fall. The initial recording session in October 1988 was very successful. Nobody wanted to quit. So after much prayer and discussion, the members and directors decided that the choir would continue, and as a result the seeds of the Toronto Mass Choir were sown. The choir's debut album, "Great Is Thy Glory", was released in April 1990 on the Micah Records label. Their second live recording "God is our Hope" was released in 1994 and in April 1998 the choir's JUNO nominated album, 'Follow Him' was released.
Karen Burke, a graduate of McMaster University and the Royal Conservatory of Music, and now the Music Teacher at Toronto District Christian High School was called upon to lead this diversified group of singers and musicians. She continues to serve as the choir's principal director. Now thirty members strong, including a five-piece band, the choir consists of people from various local church denominations including Baptist, Church of God,Wesleyan, Missionary, and Pentecostal, with an average age range of 25-30 years.
The choir's songs contain a lyrical theme of praise, hope and encouragement, simple yet profound. The vocal delivery is dynamic. The message is clear. The music is compelling. The influences of Jazz, gospel, reggae and Caribbean folk genres are evident The Toronto Mass Choir continues a busy concert schedule, which takes them throughout Canada, the United States and the Caribbean. TMC has appeared in many church services, festivals, radio and television broadcasts such as CITY-TV's "Breakfast Television", the Toronto Jazz Festival, Harbourfront's Gospelfest, WOMAD,VISION TV, CBC TV's "Afterhours", the Empire Club of Canada, Roy Thompson Hall with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Massey Hall with Tramaine Hawkins, and in Washington, DC and Atlanta, Georgia at the Gospel Music Workshop of America conventions.
"A superb singing ensemble that is a delight to hear and see with solid spiritual impact", says David Williams, former Minister of Music at the internationally renowned People's Church in Toronto.