United Tribulation Choir


United Tribulation Choir releases "Seasons Change"

Host: Elias Makos, CityTV Breakfast Television, March 1, 2016.

We've met these two inspirational brothers before: Gift and Paul Tshuma are brothers with muscular dystrophy. They founded the United Tribulation Choir and they are back to tell us about about their first album "Seasons Change" and upcoming Concert.

Video interview: http://www.btmontreal.ca/videos/4781267856001/

Montreal brothers with muscular dystrophy hope to inspire with new album

Paul Tshuma is seen on stage at the Oscar Peterson concert hall watching as musicians rehearse ahead of Saturday's launch. Sunday, March 6, 2016.

Annabelle Olivier, Global News March 6, 2016
Photograph by: Marc-Alain Trudeau, Global News.

MONTREAL – A special concert was held Saturday night at Concordia’s  Oscar Peterson Concert Hall.

The United Tribulation Choir, a Montreal-based R&B Gospel group, launched their  first album entitled Seasons Change.

“It’s pretty exciting,” founding member, Gift Tshuma, said of the launch.  “It’s the biggest project that we have ever put out.”

The group first came together nine years ago — the brainchild of two brothers –Paul and Gift Tshuma.

The siblings know a thing or two about tribulations, hence the name of the choir.

The Tshuma brothers were born in Zimbabwe and both suffer from muscular dystrophy, an incurable disease that causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass.

They moved to Montreal with their mother in search of a better quality of life, while the rest of the family remained in Zimbabwe.

Gift Tshuma overseeing rehearsals ahead of Saturday’s performance in Montreal on Saturday, March 5, 2016.
Photograph by: Marc-Alain Trudeau, Global News.

Although the Tshuma’s are both confined to wheelchairs, unable to move their limbs, they love to perform.
“Our music allows us to reach people in very special ways,” Gift Tshuma said.
Paul and Gift both write and sing. They hope the music on their new album will have a transformative impact on people’s lives.

“We hope people will be inspired and encouraged in whatever difficulties or challenges they might be encountering,” Paul Tshuma said. “We are hoping that nobody comes in here and leaves in the same way they came.”

According to the brothers, the name of the album is symbolic of life’s cycles.
“Whatever we go through in life is the changing of seasons,” Paul said. “The difficulties, sometimes the happy moments, the sad times, the good times,” because like the seasons, all those moments come to pass.

On the Web: www.utchoir.com

© Copyright (c) Global News

Facing trials and tribulations


When Paul and Gift Tshuma came to Canada from Zimbabwe, they were looking to improve their lives. Now, they inspire others by sharing their love of God and music through the choir they founded

By Mike Boone, The Gazette March 7, 2011

Gift and Paul

Gift (left) and Paul Tshuma are the founders of The United Tribulation Choir, which has performed at churches around the city, including the downtown Evangelical Pentecostal Church, where the brothers worship. They have applied to perform during the Montreal International Jazz Festival this summer.
Photograph by: ALLEN MCINNIS

The United Tribulation Choir may play the Montreal International Jazz Festival this summer, but it's a long shot.

The group is among many that have applied to participate in the prestigious festival. They're waiting to hear whether the choir will make the final cut.

Brothers Paul and Gift Tshuma, who are the founders of the United Tribulation Choir, are hoping for the best. And they're used to long odds.

Both Paul, who's 32, and Gift, 21, were born with muscular dystrophy. They were brought by their mother, Zibu, from Zimbabwe to Canada in 2001 because this country offered better technology for making their lives livable.

What they needed, specifically, was motorized wheelchairs, which were not available in their African homeland.

Paul and Gift cannot use their legs.

They have enough mobility in their hands to work the controls of their wheelchairs.

The derivation of the choir's name is obvious. Paul and Gift Tshuma have known their share of tribulations.

"Different disabilities, it's common that they'd occur in a family twice," Paul said. "But our condition is very rare."

The Tshumas's parents and grandparents do not have muscular dystrophy. Neither do their three siblings, who still live in Africa.

"In Zimbabwe, it was basically our family taking care of us," Paul said. There was no government assistance in the form of specialized transportation, etc.

"A lot changed when we got to Canada," Paul said. "Motorized chairs meant we could go wherever we wanted without waiting for someone to take us. We can also do our own things, with the help of technology."

The brothers have no speech impairment. They write using touchpads on their wheelchairs, which are decorated with prancing horse Ferrari decals.

Paul uses a computer notational program to compose music and a program that synthesizes sounds so he can orchestrate his pieces.

In a YouTube promotional video for the United Tribulation Choir, a member of the group talks about Paul's ability to vocally mimic the sounds of each instrument in the band as he lays out the musicians' parts in his compositions.

Paul has studied at Mc-Gill and Concordia. He has written five books of poetry and prose, and he composes the music and lyrics for the United Tribulation Choir.

Gift is taking pre-law courses at Dawson College and plans to study international development and law at university. He is an accomplished public speaker, which is how the Tshuma brothers came to the attention of Robert Soroka, who has become the choir's manager.

Soroka is a lawyer who teaches marketing at Dawson and at Concordia John Molson business school. He read a Gazette story about Gift's performance in a public speaking competition.

"Then I met Gift at Dawson," Soroka recalls, "and told him I'd be happy to talk to him about his career plans. We sat down to talk about law and it was like peeling an onion.

"One layer after another: he's into music, he has a band, his brother is a writer. We just talked and talked, and Gift invited me to a concert."

Soroka was skeptical because "every teenager has a band, right?" But hearing the United Tribulation Choir in a packed church and hearing Paul do a spoken-word segment persuaded Soroka the group was special and deserved to be heard.

"Every time I meet them," Soroka says, "there's some new revelation. It's great to be a part of it."

Gift has spoken at conferences organized by Soroka. The choir has performed at churches around the city, including the downtown Evangelical Pentecostal Church, where the brothers worship.

They are deeply religious. The younger brother's given name reflects the circumstances of his birth. He was born three months premature, two days before Christmas. Zibu Tshuma saw her son's survival as a gift from God.

Faith is a theme in Paul 's writing, and the brothers' belief led them into gospel music.

Paul's earliest inspiration, however, was a secular recording artist.

As Ray Charles had before him, Stevie Wonder transcended his disability to write and perform rhythm and blues and pop classics.

"When I was a little kid, I saw the video of I Just Called to Say I Love You," Paul recalls. "Stevie Wonder made me want to sing."

And his life experiences make Paul want to write. He is interested in "what people go through in life."

"My goal is to inspire and encourage people," he added. "My story, other people's stories show that life has a purpose and you don't have to give up."

On the Web: www.utchoir.com

mboone@montrealgazette.com © Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertainment/Facing+trials+tribulations/4393360/story.html#ixzz1OKL8FBkY