ADVENTIST VOCAL ENSEMBLE
THE ADVENTIST VOCAL ENSEMBLE is a bespoke broadcast choir, set up to do mostly television and radio broadcasts. It can be any shape or size it needs to be.
The concept for such a choir was conceived by its founder director Ken Burton, in 2002. Burton had been involved in a number of appearances on BBC1's flagship television programme Songs Of Praise with his Croydon SDA Gospel Choir, and when approached by a producer to do an episode decided to put an ensemble together of singers from Croydon SDA Gospel Choir together with singers past and present from his London Adventist Chorale. Whilst most singers who have sung with the ensemble come from those two choirs, singers from a number of other choirs have also sung with the ensemble.
The choir has performed over two hundred songs on UK television, either on its own, with other choirs as part of the annual Songs Of Praise Big Sing from Royal Albert Hall, and in collaboration with artists including Beverley Knight, Paul Carrack, Ruby Turner, Aled Jones, Ruthie Henshall and Laura Wright as well as a host of other international artists. It has been the sole artist for a number of Songs Of Praise special programmes; one of these programmes - Bicentenary Of The Abolition Of The Slave Trade - actually won a Christian television award.
The ensemble's repertoire is largely arrangements of hymns. The church hymn is an often misunderstood musical form, as many consider it to be outdated and unexciting. AVE has endeavoured to change this misconception by bringing interest and innovation to hymns, whilst maintaining the integrity of the original intention of the hymn-writer. The background behind the song would be researched, which would then inform the arrangements, which use vocal colours, rich and interesting harmonies, and different musical styles and types to bring the meaning of the hymns to life. For example, when filming for a Desmond Tutu special, the choir brought a touch of the Southern African style to such hymns as 'My Song Is Love Unknown' - with guitars and percussion. The singers have a wealth of musical experiences and bring them all together to create a truly colourful sound.
Being a bespoke broadcast choir, it was not the original intention to record, as the continual changing nature of the choir is such that a recording could not necessarily truly represent what the choir does. However, the television public had no intention of letting the ensemble get off lightly, and many letters and testimonials came in requesting the songs on CD. The requests could no longer be ignored, and in 2007 the ensemble recorded its eponymous album AVE, under a newly formed shareholding label AVE International (Ltd). Warner Music was putting a compilation CD together with artists including Aretha Franklin, and used a track from the AVE album.
The Ensemble appears frequently on BBC Radio 2's Good Morning , and is affectionately known as the Good Morning Sunday resident choir.