Story by Dili Utomi.
It was a very busy four-day period at the Caroline Adefioye Adebiyi Memorial Women Conference centre otherwise known as the City of God, Ipaja, Lagos as the first Church Music Convocation and Festival in Africa (CMCFA) took place. The event saw various Church Choirs from different West African Countries as well as those from Nigeria coming together to perform and give the audience a great time of it all with their singing and musical prowesses.
The programme which was the brainchild of Mr. Kelechi Nnamdi Agu of Nigeria and Mr. Newlove Kofi Annan of Ghana saw the eventual participation of Chouer la symphonie du Benin Republic, Chouer De L’unite from Togo, August Chorale from Abuja, Marval City Choir and Orchestra from Ibadan, Archbishop Vinning Memorial Cathedral Choir Ikeja, Imo City Chorale, Lagos City Chorale, St. Joseph Catholic Church Choir, Lagos and of course the host Choir, the Bishop Ajayi Crowther Memorial Anglican Communion (BACMAC) Choir.
The festival started with the arrival of the participants from the various places from the 24th of November while the following day, they were all taken to the ancient City of Badagry to see the Heritage Museum and the first storey building in Nigeria. It was the start to a spectacular festival as the various choir groups present took time to perform withing the canopy set in the compound of the first story building.
The highlight of this particular aspect of the festival was the performance by the local Badagry group which sang in the local dialect with dances depicting the rich cultural heritage of the people.
The main event took place on Saturday, the 26th with an opening speech by the Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West, Bishop James Olushola Odedeji who spoke about making the total Christian through Church Music. The Bishop encourages all and sundry to be the shinning lights in thoughts, words and action in order that we may showcase the very best that is in us all.
All the available Choral groups presented scintillating shows and of particular mention are the performances of the Chouer la symphonie du Benin, the August Chorale from Abuja and the Lagos City Chorale, but of most significance and memorable was the captivating performance by the Imo City Chorale who held everyone in the audience spell bound.
The vicar of the BACMAC, Rev. Taiwo Olupitan in an interview stated that he is elated with the idea of this festival as it provides the opportunity for the young people to showcase their God given talents through spirit lifting music that would help mold the right kind of individuals in our various societies.
The mastermind of this festival and the music director of the BACMAC Choir, Kelechi Agu also stated that he hopes that this festival contributes in fostering brotherly love and warm relationships among young Africans who should pick up the gauntlet to promote the great ideals that their parents have failed to provide.
The event also continued on Sunday with a Church service in the morning and a Choir concert in the evening. The concert also had classical renditions of different songs and tunes from the various Choral groups and it was highlighted by a performance by gospel music singer Prisca Agboh from France who thrilled the audience with so many different gospel songs.
The music director of the Chouer De L’unite and leader of the Togolese delegation, Mr. Kekeli Wossou who spoke with us hopes that the objectives of common unity among Africans as expoused by the organisers would be achieved. Other music directors like Chijindu Eke of the Imo City Chorale, Lamido Abraham Winzammang of the Abuja City Chorale and Zinou Zires of the Chouer la symphonie du Benin also expressed their heart felt hope for the objectives of the festival to be realised and that the festival which has been largely sponsored by the noble benefactor, Chief Ayo Jagun and his family would be completely sustained.
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