Birmingham’s Town Hall Gospel Choir named the inaugural Songs of Praise Gospel Choir of the Year.
In Sunday night’s BBC1 programme, viewers saw the choir win the title on home ground, as the competition was staged at Birmingham Town Hall.
They beat off competition from five other choirs, from London, Nottingham, Preston and the Birmingham Community Gospel Choir.
The event took place in July but choir members have had to keep their victory a secret until now.
“We’ve been champing at the bit, wanting to share our good news,” said choir director Colin Anderson.
“I am very proud of our choir. It was a wonderful competition – at one point, all six choirs sang together in the square outside the Town Hall.”
The gospel choir sang two songs, televised over two weeks. After their performance of Blessed Assurance, judge Carrie Grant told them they needed to smile more.
“So for our second song, Jesus Paid It All, I told everyone to just let go and enjoy it,” said Colin, who travels from London to work with the choir.
“It was so uplifting. I could feel a wave of feeling move from the back of the hall and hit me in the back.
“Carrie said our performance was flawless.”
The choir has around 30 members from all backgrounds, including nurses, teachers, a pilot and a lawyer.
It was formed for a one-off concert to mark the reopening of the Town Hall in 2007, but was so good that it continued. The choir rehearses at the Town Hall and has performed everywhere from Birmingham’s Symphony Hall to the Royal Albert Hall.
“We strive for technical excellence and sing songs that other choirs wouldn’t tackle,” explained Colin.
“We want to get out and about and share our music, and we hope the exposure on Songs of Praise will help that.”