Elder Bidemi Oyesanya, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has said that hymns have the power to heal and to bring happiness. He made the disclosure after a delightful experience at the 400-man mega choral concert put together by Christ Apostolic Church Alagomeji, Yaba on Sunday, March 18, 2018.
“Gospel music, particularly hymns are therapeutic and I would advise our young people today to go back to the church. Most of the songs you hear today outside are music from the church that have been bastardised or turned around. There is nothing like the original that came from the church. When you listen to hymns in particular under inspiration, if you are ill, it can heal you. If you are sad it can make you happy, if you appropriate the words to yourself as you sing, look at the last hymn that was rendered, ‘In Christ Alone’ a popular hymn, it says ‘No power of hell can take me from His hands’.
“These are powerful words. When you are sad, when you are in trouble and you remember these words, they keep you going. That if you will sing when you are ill, you will be well just by singing from your heart and connecting to heaven. That is the power of gospel choral music because God resides in it. They are words of inspiration given to men by God Himself. ‘Amazing Grace, how sweet thy sound’, these are words given by God to people like you and me,” said Elder Bidemi Oyesanya, who was one of the performers at the concert.
He said further that the number of participants this year was inspiring. “There are more people this year than what we had last year. There are even people outside who cannot come in because the doors are locked and they have to listen from outside. We were hoping to do it outside this year like taking it to the MUSON Shell Hall or look for a bigger place but for some logistics reasons; we couldn’t do that this year. Hopefully, we get there next year,” he added.
The massive choir literally brought down the celestial city with their stellar renditions, enrapturing the congregation while repeatedly cheering on the choristers and soloists.
Initiated in 1998 at the instance of late Pastor Ayo Adeusi, 2018 was the 20th edition of rendering of soul-lifting musical entertainment to a crowd of people.
The organisers said the objective of the programme from the outset has remained to train choristers and their leaders from other churches to the reputable standard of the central church. This has been the focal point.
With an impressive attendance, the church auditorium was filled to overflowing and at some point, when it could no longer contain the influx, people were directed to stay outside. The restriction didn’t stop the enthusiastic crowd from catching a glimpse of what was happening on the glamorously adorned altar. Everyone sang along with the choir creating a heavenly ambience only the magnificent CAC Yaba Choir can conjure.
Some of the songs performed on the evening included: the Yoruba classical- ‘Erujeje’ (by Segun Akinloye), ‘Deep River’ (arranged by Alice Parker and Robert Shaw), ‘Ladugbo’ (by Bidemi Oyesanya), ‘Solo: Let the Bright Seraphim’ (by G.F, Handel) performed by the inimitable Titilope David; ‘How Can I Sing Your Majesty’ (Tune: Coefen); ‘Rejoice, the Lord is King’ (GHB 130) amongst other edifying hymns and solos.
For Deaconess Jumoke Odulaja (Vice Chairperson Organising Committee), the concert has remained an avenue for imbibing discipline and the fear of God in a predominantly corrupt world.
“When I was young, I was a member of the choir and I sang. Being a member of the choir entails imbibing discipline and when you are singing, it is a sort of ministration. And if you have 400 youths put together you see how much we are impacting the society. There is corruption and bad behaviour out there but in CAC we preach modesty with our boys and girls. In those days when you introduce yourself as a member of CAC, you would need no further identification. Automatically, you are believed to have a proper upbringing. I want to retire into singing for God. I want to sing towards the latter years of my life and if I cannot do that physically now, I will use my substance to support God’s work which is what we are doing,” she said.
Some of the significant differences in this 20th outing were the inclusion of an orchestra; the mass choir last year was 300 strong, which was raised to 400 voices this year; more people were also in attendance.