A new Gospel Music Academy will be launched in St Albans from next year.

The group, currently 25-strong, are being trained by the renowned Rev. Bazil Meade, one of the UK’s leading Gospel Musicians and Founding Director of the London Community Gospel Choir (LCGC).

Reverend Mead has a wide musical experience, performing with artistes such as Andrea Crouch, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Madonna, Elton John, Jessie J and many others.

The Bazil Meade Gospel Music Academy (BMGMA) aims to offer a unique experience for both budding vocalists and musicians and will be officially launched at the St. Albans Gospel Festival taking place on Sunday, March 16 at the Alban Arena.

These first BMGMA students have only just started their rehearsals, but are already tuning up for an historic performance alongside LCGC at the Gospel Festival’s evening Charity Fundraising Concert.

LCGC Trustee Lionel Wallace said: "We decided that there was probably no better place to launch the Academy than St Albans - the heart of British Christian witness."

LCGC has chosen St Albans charity, The Living Room project as a beneficiary of the Gospel Festival. The Living Room provides recovery services for people with the illness of addiction. Chief Executive Janis Feely MBE said "We are very happy to receive such great support from the planned St Albans Gospel Festival, I am sure it is going to be a tremendously uplifting occasion".

The mayor of St Albans, Annie Brewster, also expressed her support.

She said: "I have no experience in gospel singing but I am really looking forward to joining the Choir and performing at the St Albans Gospel Festival next March. I am so grateful that the world renowned LCGC led by Rev Bazil Meade has chosen St Albans to launch its Academy which will raise funds for my charity, The Living Room."

Registration for the BMGMA pilot remains open until January 14 next year. Anyone interested in joining the choir should email: admin@bmgma.org.