Profile

The history of Afro-Canadians in Nova Scotia goes back well over two centuries. One of Canada's premier gospel groups, the Nova Scotia based Gospel Heirs, formed in 1976 as a four piece group and later expanded to eight members. They have taken the gospel music of their roots, mixed it with the rhythm and blues sounds of the '60s and '70s and added an element of '90s dance music to produce a modern gospel sound that is overwhelming. Their presentation of contemporary gospel music reflects the group's unique identity and their strong commitment to a great Nova Scotian musical heritage.

When the group started performing they were known as the Gospelaires but this was later changed to The Gospel Heirs. With roots going back 200 years, they follow the fine Nova Scotia tradition of family bands. The group is comprised of two father and son pairs, a husband and wife team, a cousin and a family friend. Each of the members of the group has a musical background in the church or in secular bands. As a group they believe that their coming together represents a wonderful opportunity to fully share the excitement of gospel music with audiences everywhere. All members reside in North Preston, Canada's largest black community, and all attend St. Thomas United Baptist Church in their community. The Gospel Heirs commitment to their faith gives them the temperament and drive to maintain their focus on performing gospel music to audiences worldwide.


Wallace Smith Sr.
plays lead guitar and is a lead vocalist.

Levi Smith Sr.
performs lead and background vocals and plays percussion.

Rose Fraser
performs lead and background vocals and plays piano and synthesizer.

Alexander Fraser
performs lead and background vocals.

Wally Smith Jr.
performs lead vocals and plays saxophone.

Levi Smith Jr.
is a background vocalist and principal percussionist.

Burton Simmonds
plays bass guitar and performs background vocals.

Reggie Coward
plays keyboards.




Annual Highlights

1984

Opened for U.S. born gospel singer Jesse Dixon in concert at the Rebecca Cohn auditorium in Halifax, Nova Scotia

1986

Chosen to represent Nova Scotia for the Folklife and Canada Pavilions at Expo '86 in Vancouver, British Columbia

Performed in Themes Multifest - Quebec City and The Gospel Heirs In Concert at The Orford Arts Center

Recorded and released first album The Gospel Heirs - Free At Last 1987: Television appearance on Follow the Son - Missionary Alliance Church Ministries

1988

Performed at the International Tattoo - Halifax Metro Center Performed during the Association of Gospel Music Ministries annual awards banquet in Toronto, Ontario

Nominated for the A.G.M.M. "Golden Note Award" as Best Gospel Group - Canada

Performance at the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival '88 - recorded live by CBC

1989

Winners of the A.G.M.M. "Golden Note Award" for Best Gospel Group - Canada

Performance at Africville Lives - Mount Saint Vincent University's tribute to the former residents of Africville

1990

Repeat performance at the International Tattoo - Halifax Metro Center

Sang at the Canadian Christian Festival III recorded at the Halifax Metro Center for television broadcast

1992

Performed in Halifax's International Gospel Fest '92 featuring the Winans, Sissy Houston and Almeta Speaks

Production, recording and release of The Gospel Heirs first feature video

1993

Accepted to perform at Contact '93 in Toronto, Ontario and Alberta Showcase '93 in Edmonton, Alberta

1994

Featured performers on the CBC television special Anne Murray In Nova Scotia

Performed a sold out summer concert at The National Arts Centre in Ottawa

Provincial tour of The Arts and Culture Centres of Newfoundland and Labrador

1995

Featured performers at Nova Scotia's Septemberfest '95

Accepted for inclusion on a four CD boxed set of Canadian artists marking the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations to be released worldwide in December

1996

Selected for two headline performances at Quebec's prestigious Festival International de L'art Vocal in Trois Rivieres, Quebec

Performed four SRO shows on the opening day of the world class Festival International de Jazz de Montreal

The Gospel Heirs celebrate their twentieth year as one of the most repected names in Canadian gospel music

1997

Featured performers at the Ottawa International Jazz Festival





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