Big Soul Project Community Choir (BSP) is Ottawa’s largest community choir, whose 100+ members share songs of hope, love and peace to promote a sense of joy and empowerment. BSP fuses the vocal energy of a large choir with the smooth sound of its talented house band, Deep Groove.
Our motto, “Lifting you Higher”, applies to both choir members and audiences, who feel lifted spiritually and emotionally by our fresh, upbeat brand of choral music with inspiration from R&B, Gospel, Soul, Motown, Rock and Folk music.
Established in 1997, BSP has lived through several chapters already. We recently said a sad goodbye to our charismatic Music Director of 13 wonderful years, Roxanne Goodman, who has been instrumental to BSP’s growth and public reach. Over the years, BSP has gained a reputation for its ability to entertain and inspire, leading to audiences singing in their seats and dancing in the aisles.
We are now embarking on a new chapter of our 25-year history, after two years of online rehearsals due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are delighted and eager to prepare for concerts again, under the creative leadership of our new and accomplished Music Director, Elise Letourneau. We look forward to singing and dancing with you in our next concerts!
Big Soul Project’s Accomplishments
BSP opened for the Blind Boys of Alabama when they performed at Dominion-Chalmers United Church in 2004, and we performed at Bluesfest 2010 on the Gospel Stage with Lady Tramaine Hawkins. BSP has sung at many venues in the National Capital Region including the Rainbow Bistro and the Black Sheep Inn, and at festivals such as Westfest and Grass Roots. In 2012 we sang with Barbra Streisand during her Back to Brooklyn Tour and in 2013 we sang on Parliament Hill for the Christmas Lights ceremony. BSP has performed on CBC Radio as well as CTV and Rogers TV. On New Year's Eve 2016, a small group of BSP members participated in the Ottawa 2017 "Friendship of Fire" festivities at City Hall. BSP was especially honoured to have sung three times with Coco Love Alcorn in 2017, at a BSP fundraiser for Grammas to Ambuyas, at Coco's own concert at St Brigid's Centre for the Performing Arts, and at our Christmas concert in December.
Every December we routinely sell out our acclaimed Christmas concert at Dominion-Chalmers Church. We also sing at a variety of fund-raisers and charitable events across Ottawa and Gatineau throughout the rest of the year. And every summer since 2015 we have given free public outdoor concerts at Lansdowne Park.
If your organization is interested in booking BSP for your function, please refer to the Book a Gig page where you can learn about the process and start your application.
What is the essence of Big Soul Project? Here is a sampling from among our members:
“Uplifting melodies and heartfelt lyrics, coupled with gospel and R&B rhythms and a soulful groove, all learned within an inclusive community environment and shared enthusiastically through performances offered in a variety of venues.”
“We love spontaneity, fun, life and emotion…to connect with our audience …Gospel music is so moving, because it’s simple and truly heartfelt. People can relate to it and join in and sing along.”
“As a band member…I really enjoy the musical interaction between the voices and instruments that make our BSP sound unique and whole. I enjoy being able to provide the pulse and drive necessary to keep the feet moving and the bodies swaying. I love how BSP crosses from gospel to soul to R&B to rock and jazz. I love the musical tour we provide to our choir members at each rehearsal and to our audience at each concert.”
“I come on Monday evenings for the friendship, the strong sense of community and to sing my heart out.”
“We may arrive at a choir practice feeling tired from all of life’s troubles…yet we leave feeling uplifted and full of joy.”
“We love the band, love the beat [and] we are blessed with many talents. A great joy is hearing the many choir members who step up to try a solo piece.”
“Joyful…soulful…groovin’…foot tappin’…hand clappin’…body movin’…thankful.”
1997: Stephanie Coward of First United Church established the Ottawa Community Gospel Choir with a membership of six.
2001: With a membership of 60, the choir bid farewell to Stephanie.
2003: Michael MacDonald was hired as Music Director after two years of interim directors.
2004: Michael invited musicians to join the group.
December 2004: We changed our name to Big Soul Project to
reflect our expanding musical goals and inspiration.
2006: Michael left Ottawa to pursue graduate studies following a CD release concert.
2007: Elise Letourneau hired as Music Director, replacing interim director Kim Kaskiw.
2008: Roxanne Goodman was welcomed as Music Director
2022: Elise Letourneau was welcomed as Music Director and continues in this role today.