Westport might seem an unlikely place for a gospel choir concert, but there’s good news.
As in, the Good News Gospel Choir.
Based in Weston — a place even less gospelly than Westport — the group has performed often here, since their founding in 1982. They’ll do so again tomorrow (Sunday, January 12, 4 p.m.) at Green’s Farms Congregational Church.
Good News will also appear (ecumenically) on Martin Luther King weekend. They’ll be at Temple Israel on Friday evening (January 17), and St. Luke’s on Sunday the 19th.
That’s good news for the choir’s many local fans, who don’t have much to shout about on most Sundays.
GNGC was founded by Chris Coogan, a Weston native and jazz pianist. He went to Amherst College to study jazz, but fell in love with gospel. The group performs his arrangements of traditional gospel standards, as well as Coogan’s original, jazz-influenced compositions.
Good News is “a family,” says longtime choir member Marcy Juran of Westport.
“Music touches us all in a way that is profound, that transcends but also connects us as a community. As a group we support each other, through our music and through life events.”
After each rehearsal, members share significant events in their lives.
Choir members bring their children to rehearsals. The youngsters often sing with the group too, sometimes moving into solo roles.
Notable Good News alum include Justin Paul — recently nominated for a Tony Award, at age 28 — plus his brother Tyler and mother Rhonda. Sally Eidman and Mia Gentile — both making their way on Broadway — are former choir members too.
Tomorrow’s concert is a benefit for a former member of both Good News and BASIC, a Norwalk gospel group that will also perform. The singer suffers from a catastrophic illness, and health insurance does not cover enormous hospital bills.
Out of that bad news, comes Good News indeed.