“To advance the awareness, education and impact of gospel music in the community by providing an environment for members to learn, create and present authentic gospel performances while expressing their Christian faith.”
Waterloo Region Mass Choir (WRMC) is a 25-voice multicultural, interdenominational and intergenerational community gospel choir based in Kitchener, Ontario and is comprised of members from the Waterloo Region and surrounding areas.
Founded in 2018 by Artistic Director, Darren Hamilton, the choir's mission is "to advance the awareness, education and impact of gospel music in the community". WRMC aims to function as a professional group that creates and offers high energy, superior quality gospel music performances while providing an environment for members to foster and develop their musicianship skills within the gospel music idiom. The choir also endeavours to produce high quality gospel music recordings in an effort to expand the access and presence of gospel music in Canada.
Most recently, WRMC participated in the "Hymn To Freedom Waterloo" live recording project and has shared the stage with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and the Grand Philharmonic Choir adding a gospel flare to the 2019 Yuletide Spectacular event. "Back by popular demand"*, the choir is scheduled to collaborate and perform again with these groups at the 2020 Yuletide Spectacular event. The choir has also performed at local churches, community events and is striving to share its gospel music repertoire at music festivals, concerts and other events both within and outside of the Waterloo Region. The choir performs with a 5-piece gospel rhythm section.
Through its musical encounters with the community, WRMC aspires to display sincere expressions of praise and worship to God, while sharing the inspiring messages of faith, hope, determination, resilience and joy founded upon the “good news” of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy!” - Psalm 33:3 NIV
* As announced at the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony’s 2020-2021 Season Launch Event on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - https://www.facebook.com/kwsymphony/videos/782903302219749/ (33:25)
The Artistic Director
Darren Hamilton is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Waterloo Region Mass Choir. He is a musician, vocalist, arranger, songwriter, music educator, workshop clinician and music consultant whose musical journey encompasses a wide range of experiences in community and educational settings spanning over 20+ years. Darren is an Ontario Certified Teacher (OCT) with Specialist qualifications in Music and Business and has been teaching high school music full-time for the past 12 years with the Peel District School Board. In January 2018, he joined the part-time faculty roster in the Faculty of Music at Wilfrid Laurier University where he taught an undergraduate course in secondary music teaching methods.
Darren has been an active community music member and gospel music enthusiast for most of his life. He has held numerous local church music ministry roles including Worship Leader, Music Director and Brass Band Director. He recently concluded an eight-year tenure as Regional Music and Worship Director for the Church of God of Prophecy - Eastern Canada. He has also served as a member of the Juno Award-nominated Youth Outreach Mass Choir (appearing on their 1997 CD release, “Just Look”) and as a member of the Juno Award-winning Toronto Mass Choir (appearing on their 2018 CD release, “By Special Request”). In 2017, he joined Toronto Mass Choir’s annual PowerUP Gospel Music Workshop clinician lineup as the director of the PowerUP Chorale which rehearses and performs several times during the conference weekend. Under his direction, the PowerUp Chorale recorded and contributed two songs to the 15th anniversary PowerUp Gospel Live album released in November 2019. Darren has also facilitated gospel music workshops at the annual Ontario Music Educators’ Association (OMEA) conference and for Long and McQuade’s March Break Learning Clinic Series. In the fall of 2019, Darren became the Course Director of the University of Toronto Gospel Choir credit course, the first gospel music credit offering in the history of the Faculty of Music at the institution.
Darren holds a music diploma in contemporary vocal performance and composition from Grant MacEwan University, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music from York University, a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto, a Master of Music in Music Education from the University of Western Ontario and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education at the University of Toronto where his research interests lie in formal gospel music teaching pedagogy and issues of equity, diversity and social justice in music curriculum.
The Leadership Team
Born and raised in London, England, Dean Bridgewater has always had a love for music. He was given a set of bongo drums at the age of 3, a guitar at 11, used to sing all the current ads on TV, played the trombone and violin, and was part of his high school band. But his real passion was birthed after immigrating to Canada in 1990 and connecting with members of Kingdom Community International (KCI), formerly known as Kitchener Church of God.
After giving his life to Christ, Dean began using his gift a lot more - he has recorded with several Gospel artists, including Toronto Mass Choir and Faith Chorale, as well doing many wedding engagements and special events.
Dean released his own debut CD project entitled Beginnings in 2013 and continues to serve in music ministry at his local church (KCI) as music director with his wife, Kareen and their 3 children Isaiah, Ebony and Noah.
Born in Kitchener, Ontario and raised in a musical family, Nicholas was immersed in Gospel music from an early age. It was often said he could not sit still, but it was just the constant rhythm and musical ideas forming in its infant state. Growing up in the church provided the opportunities to enhance his musical skills.
Nicholas has had the opportunity to gain experience in singing, touring and recording for such artists like Heart To Heart, Sharon Riley & Faith Chorale and Marvia Providence to name a few.
Currently a passionate worship leader at Kingdom Community International, Nicholas continues to write and arrange for his personal project in the near future.
Vanessa has a deep passion for music and from a very young age has always found joy in using it to encourage and uplift others, believing that coupled with the Word of God music has the power to heal and positively transform people's lives.
Over the years, Vanessa has served in music ministry as a worship lead and national praise and worship team member for the Church of God of Prophecy organization. She has also had a variety of musical experiences such as: being a choir member at the Kingdom Covenant Centre, a member of the female gospel group "Encouraged" and is currently a member of the Juno-Award winning Toronto Mass Choir. She is also a songwriter and her work has appeared on the "Let The Praise Begin" album by Heart To Heart Ministries. Vanessa resides in Kitchener and currently attends Waterloo Pentecostal Assembly.