Despite the fact that all music is related, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Gospel music and orchestral music would be 6th cousins, 18 times removed.
Gospel music is an unbrindled group expression of joy and religious conviction whereas orchestral music is elaborate and controlled and a composer employs an orchestra to demonstrate his mastery of aesthetic convention to simultaneously respect and break with tradition through compositional innovation.
At least that’s what Andrew Craig wrote in his programming notes for the 2007 NAC Christmas with the National Arts Center Orchestra concert.
I agree with him wholeheartedly. And since Andrew was a classmate of my mine at the Saint Michael’s Choir School two years ahead of me, I was really keen to see what he had been up to when I discovered he was Gospel Christmas Project creator, arranger, producer, music director, pianist and vocalist. That’s a lot of titles but he pulled them off marvelously and his groups’s encore rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus was fantastic.