To paraphrase MI Abaga, on his track Nobody, “Ask MI, ask Wande…”
Those are just two of Nigeria’s biggest stars whose careers started from being choristers. The list is as long as the choir tradition in Nigerian churches itself. Many youngsters first discovered their talent by being members of their local choirs. Not only are choirs good for spotting talent, the discipline and grooming budding musicians get from being there often stays with them for the rest of their lives. From the Catholic Church to Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, ECWA, CAC and so on, choirs have always been the bedrock of music.
In more recent times, however, that tradition is not been as important as it used to be. Perhaps it is the proliferation of modern Pentecostal churches or the fact that megachurches are more popular than local neighbourhood churches today. But one will be hard pressed to see youngsters get the same grooming available many years ago.
That precisely, is what Hymnodia seeks to revive with its forthcoming competition. Speaking at the flag off that caught Lagosians by surprise as a 30-person choir performed publicly at the Ikeja City Mall, the Managing Director of Philosoville Limited, Kufre Ekanem explained the initiative as a bid to reintroduce hymn writing and rendition to the populace. “It is designed to redefine the perception on hymns and reposition the minds of Nigerians on the almost forgotten art and value of hymn creation, writing and singing,”
To be a part of it, would-be contestants are required to log on to hymnodiahq.com, download the application form, fill and mail to email@example.com, as well as posting a 60-second video of them rendering a hymn of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Successful applicants will then be invited to an audition for a chance to compete for a whopping five million naira on the 13-week show
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