Gospel Music

Sunday Matinee Gospel Music Series • Series Alumni • Music Recordings • Gospel Singing Workshops & Concerts • Concerts & Festival Events • Ken Whiteley’s Touring Gospel All Stars • Artist Bios

Ken’s 21st Anniversary Sunday Gospel Concert Series 2023-2024

Back by Popular Demand! Ken Whiteley’s Sunday Gospel Matinee returns on Sunday, March 19 at 2 p.m. along with soulful singers Ciceal Levy, David Wall and Pat Patrick, and bassist Gord Mowat. Ken and his friends will take the stage at the Revival (College & Shaw) marking the 21st anniversary of Sunday Gospel Matinees at Hugh’s Room Live

After hosting gospel workshops at folk festivals for decades, Ken was excited by the unique, dynamic chemistry when artists shared a stage together. Something very special happened. So in late March of 2002, as George Bush was saber rattling to start the Iraq war, the first Ken Whiteley Sunday Gospel Matinee was held. It quickly became a Hugh’s Room tradition until cut short in March 2020.  During that span of 18 years over a hundred different singers and musicians participated, representing an incredible range of musical styles and spiritual perspectives. Ken created the initial series to record an album that would become “Gospel Music Makes Me Feel Alright!”.  Among the participants on that album are the singers joining Ken for the March 19 concert.

David Wall is a fabulous singer who came to prominence singing with the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir and later the Flying Bulgur Klezmer Band.  He has two outstanding solo albums and his musical relationship with Ken goes back to the end of the 1970’s when he played spoons in the Spectrum Jug Band at the grade 7/8 alternative school where Ken taught music.

I first met Ciceal Levy when she was still finishing high school and sang with the Youth Outreach Mass Choir, which her dearly missed sister Amoy Levy led for many years.  They were featured on an album I produced in the 1990’s called “Thank You, Lord”. She and Amoy sang and recorded with me regularly since that time until her sister’s passing at the end of 2020.  Ciceal’s beautiful alto voice brings to mind comparisons with Mavis Staples.

Pat Patrick is that rarest of great singers, a true bass.  With rich, mellifluous tones, Pat has sung in a variety of quartets and choirs and recorded and performed with Ken on many occasions. Listen to the recording “No Ways Tired” that appears on Gospel Music Makes Me Feel Alright! and you will hear the spontaneous applause as the audience hears Pat take the lead. Check out the video of “No Ways Tired” from this LINK.

CONCERT TICKETS are $30 (+ tax + fee) and available at https://hughsroomlive.com/tickets
Doors open at 1 p.m. Open seating so come early. 

Gospel Music Series Alumni

Lance Anderson, Njacko Backo, The Barrel Boys (Kyle Kirkpatrick, Rob McLaren, Tim O’Reilly, Nathan Smith, Ben Wright), Lonnie “Big Ben” Bennett, Bucky Berger, Karen Michelle Bergmann, Gail Berry, Salome Bey, Diana Braithwaite, Alana Bridgewater, Danny Brooks, Nikki D. Brown & The Sisters of Thunder (Gloria Brown, Tomika Webb), Basia Bulat, Alphanso Burke Jr., Chuck Campbell, Rebecca Campbell, The Campbell Brothers, Linda Carvery, Aviva Chernick, Tristan Clark, Calvin Cooke, Grace Cooke, Andrew Craig, John T. Davis, Rosalyn Dennett, Melisa Devost, Kim Doolittle, Andrew Downing, Teresa Doyle, Nicole Edwards, Joan Elliott, Frank Evans, The Fabulous Levy Sisters, John Finley, Michael Fonfara, Galitcha (Chris MacLean & Kuljit Sodhi), Gathering Sparks (Eve Goldberg, Jane Lewis), Eve Goldberg, J.K. Gulley, Caitlin Hanford, Kim Harris, Reggie Harris, Mati Haskell, Ginny Hawker, Kevin Head, House of Doc, Jacob & Lily, Joe Jencks, Tabby Johnson, Rev. Robert B. Jones, Sister Bernice Jones, Hiram Joseph, George Koller, Penny Lang, Jani Lauzon, The Laws (Michele & John), Amoy Levy, Ciceal Levy, Colin Linden, Claire Lynch, Samantha Martin, John Mays, Ellen McIllwaine, Rob McLaren, Linda McRae, Geordie Millar, Jacob Moon, Linda Morrison, Gordon Mowat, Charlene Nafziger, Arnie Naiman, Helena Nash, Paul Novotny, Odetta, George Olliver, Marlene O’Neill, Ndidi Onukwulu, Original Sloth Band & The Honolulu Heartbreakers, Pat Patrick, Rhonelle Patrick, Dennis Pendrith, Fred Penner, Colina Phillips, Mighty Popo, Cheryl Prashker, Kathy Reid-Naiman, Betty Richardson, Jackie Richardson, Sharon Riley, Donné Roberts, Uncle Mike Rosteing, Mose Scarlett, Shakura S’Aida, Jane Sapp, Joel Schwartz, Joe Sealy, Jay Sewall, Jane Siberry, Tannis Slimmon, Jivaro Smith, The Sojourners (Marcus Mosely, Will Sanders, Khari McClelland), Soul Influence, Jeremiah Sparks, The Stacks (Tania Elizabeth & Andy Stack), Vicki St. Pierre, Dione Taylor, Len Udow, Suzie Vinnick, David Wall, Jackie Washington, Alastair Whitehead, Terry Wilkins, Michelle Willis, and a full compliment of Whiteleys ~ Ben, Chris, Dan, Jenny, Jesse and Ken.

Top Selling Recordings

Ken’s Incredible One-Day-Wonder Gospel Music Workshop & Concert Program

Ken loves to share his gospel singing workshop and concert program with choirs, congregations and singing groups both large and small. This program is for everyone who likes to sing and have fun.No choir experience is needed. It is for all ages, all voices. The one day workshop includes: (a) Gospel Workshop & Rehearsal with Ken and (b) Evening Concert Performance with YOU (The One-Day-Wonder Gospel Workshop Choir) and Ken. This program has run in welcoming communities of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. Don’t miss this fabulous opportunity to sing in Ken Whiteley’s incredible Gospel Workshop Choir. Amaze yourself, your family and friends too!

For bookings and additional information contact: shari (at) kenwhiteley (dot) com

“Ken picked us up by the spirit and got us to sing … really sing! There was a lot of smiling going on, I can tell you!”

~ The Reverend Brian E. Pearson, Saint Stephen’s Anglican Church, Calgary

“Emmanuel Howard Park United Church is always happy to welcome Ken Whiteley to our sanctuary! Whether it is the soul-stirring harmonies and uplifting gospel sound at our annual ‘Carols by Candlelight’ service on Christmas Eve, or Ken’s patient teaching and obvious knowledge and passion for gospel music at our recurring Gospel workshops and Ken’s Gospel concerts, we never fail to be reminded that “Gospel music makes US feel all right!”.

~ Joanna Mills, Gospel Choir Director, Emmanuel Howard Park United Church, Toronto

“Our congregation loves Ken Whiteley. The words to his songs express the faith that we live. The music is accomplished, lively and passionate, with a great blend of instruments and voices from his fellow musicians and friends. We always leave wanting more of his songs in church.”

~ The Reverend Gary van der Meer, St. John’s Anglican Church, West Toronto

“I hardly ever make these kind of introductions unless there is good reason to do so. Ken is a gifted performer and a wonderful person. He can hold a sacred space and is comfortable in a religious UU context. He is very good at helping the congregation sing together and is more than willing to work with others to develop music for the service. He is fun to work with too.”

~ The Reverend Wayne Walder, Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Toronto

Feel Good Music for Concerts of any size and Festival Events

Ken Whiteley & Friends with one or two vocalists and a bassist are available for smaller concerts, house concerts, workshops and music festivals.

Ken Whiteley’s Gospel All-Stars features Ken with up to 4 additional vocalists (Amoy Levy, Ciceal Levy, Pat Patrick, David Wall), bassist (Ben Whiteley, George Koller, Dennis Pendrith, Daniel Koulack) and drummer (Bucky Berger). Horns and keys may also be added.

To book Ken Whiteley & Friends or Ken Whiteley’s Gospel All-Stars contact: shari (at) kenwhiteley (dot) com

A bit more about Ken’s Touring Gospel All-Stars

Ken Whiteley is the founder and host of the Toronto Sunday Gospel music series at Hugh’s Room. He is a prolific songwriter, a gifted and versatile guitarist and mandolinist, and a powerful singer. His musical peers affectionately refer to him as a “playing encyclopedia” for his depth and range of styles, covering everything from folk to blues, gospel and swing. Nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award, his newest recording Another Day’s Journey covers a lot of ground, old and new, with depth, soul and originality. Ken is the proud recipient of the Estelle Klein Lifetime Achievement Award, Mariposa Folk Hall of Fame and has been nominated for numerous Juno and Maple Blues Awards. Gospel Makes Me Feel Alright! which is a live recording from the very first gospel series in 2003, continues to be a best seller at the concerts and online.

Ciceal Levy and her late sister Amoy are highly respected for their groundbreaking work within the gospel community in Toronto. They have been singing with Ken for over 15 years and have also performed with people as diverse as Pete Seeger, Celine Dion and Kirk Franklin. Amoy’s gorgeous soprano and Ciceal’s rich alto have graced many of Ken’s recordings. Ciceal is always an audience favourites wherever she sings with Ken.

David Wall is a composer, lyricist, singer and vocal coach. As lead vocalist of the much revered rhythm and blues band the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, David toured Canada Extensively, appearing regularly on television and radio. He has performed and recorded with an impressive cross-section of artists including Big Sugar, The Barenaked Ladies, Lorraine Segato and Ken Whiteley. His most recent musical journey as a singer had been into the world of Jewish tradition where he has achieved success recording and touring internationally as lead voice of Toronto’s Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band and Winnipeg’s From Both Ends of the Earth.

Pat Patrick is “one of Toronto’s, and possibly the country’s, deepest bass vocalists.” He has an incredibly rich bass voice, which is infused with sincerity and musical skills. Whether singing harmonies or a solo, Pat is always an engaging performer and an audience favourite. He is a member of Ken Whiteley’s touring Gospel Revue band and can be heard singing on many of Ken’s cds, including Thank You Lord!, Gospel Makes Me Feel Alright! and One World Dance.

Bucky Berger is the drummer for the Juno Award winning Blues ensemble Fathead.Originally from Montreal, Bucky emerged on the Toronto music scene in the seventies and has played and recorded with Chilliwack, Rough Trade, Mr. Dressup, Danny Brooks, The Whiteley Brothers, Maria Muldaur and many others. Ken is always delighted to have Bucky join him on the gospel shows.

Ben Whiteley is a highly sought after bassist who plays with Basia Bulat, Old Man Luedecke, The Good Lovelies, The Weather Station, to name only a few. After a number of years of stellar work holding down the “bottom end”, Ben now brings his winning stage presence and superb musicianship to what has become a somewhat infrequent treat of seeing father and son perform together.

Named National Jazz Awards Bassist of the Year 2007, few people know that George Koller also plays a variety of instruments including cello, sitar, sarode, mandolin, diruba; many featured on his award-winning solo CD, Music for Plants, Animals, and Humans. He has also accumulated hundreds of widely diverse performing and recording credits in his expansive musical career working with The Shuffle Demons, Phil Woods, Peter Gabriel, Loreena McKennitt, Bruce Cockburn, Holly Cole, Ian Tyson, Joe Sealy, and many, many others. George has shared many a stage with Ken across the country. He also co-produced Ken’s Listening CD and he has played on many of Ken’s recordings including Gospel Music Makes Me Feel Alright!