The first ever singing competition among choirs in Ikeduru Anglican Diocese was held last weekend amidst joy and spiritual fulfillment by the faithful in the Diocese.
Fourteen churches in the Diocese participated in the competition which took place at St. Paul's Anglican Church, Umuhu Atta, in the Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State.
At the end of the event, groups emerged as overall winners and went home with trophies and other prizes.
Our reporter who witnessed the event said there was large turnout at the occasion.
Addressing the participants, the Bishop of the Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Emmanuel C. Maduwike, JP, expressed joy at the large turnout of participants, describing it as encouraging and a step in the right direction.
He said that music has a special place in the worship of God, and that music was also part of Anglican liturgy.
The prelate, who said that music originated from God, enjoined all to take interest in singing and listening to music, especially Christian lyrics.
Bishop Maduwike, who is also a gifted singer and seasoned chorister, said that music opens the heavens and brings down the power of God, adding that every other form of worship could seize but music will not.
He expressed his disgust that they world is today losing its value because it has not given music its pride of place, especially in the service of God.
The Diocesan, who spoke extensively on the scriptural and spiritual implications of music, keeps the choir alive, ignites the power of worship and brings people to the presence of God.
He enjoined the choristers, especially the younger ones, to take to music as a career so that the entire world could be reached through music as a form of evangelism. He thanked the organizers of the event and prayed God to reward them abundantly.
The competition was presided over by external judges. They included, Rev. Vinson, Music Director, Diocese of Mbaise, Ven. Emma Anyiam, Diocese of Isi-Mbano, Dame Nkem Opara, Diocese of Owerri, and Director Imo State Council of Arts and Culture and Brother Chima Umunna of Diocese of Oru.
The 14 choir groups were in three grades and were drilled on different areas of music with acceptable criteria, including hymns, psalms and anthem.
St Michael's Church Amatta choir emerged the overall winners in the Grade 1 category and lifted the giant trophy and other prizes, while Christ's Church Umuonyeukwu Umudim emerged the overall winners in the Grade 11 category and lifted the second trophy and other prizes.
St. Luke's Church Amaku Akabo emerged the overall winners in the Grade 111 category and clinched the third trophy and other prizes.
The highpoint of the event was the presentations of trophies and other prizes to the winners of the competition.
Before the official presentation, Bishop Maduwike told the elated crowd that the competition was made possible by two sons of Ikeduru Diocese, Sir Bon Unachukwu and Mr Emeka Okerego, who sponsored the event. He prayed for them and enjoined others to emulate them.
Speaking to Christian Voice after the event, the Director of Music, Ikeduru Diocese, Ven. John Akahara, expressed joy at the impressive outing. He said that the competition was designed to resonate and revive the choir which for sometime now was almost inactive.
He said that the present winners would be prepared for the provincial singing competition which would take place any moment from now.
Also speaking, the Director of Arts and Culture, Imo State, Dame Nkem Opara, said that without music, worship is nothing, adding that there is no alternative to music as far as worship of God is concerned.
On the youths and social media in the worship of God, Dame Opara said that the youths could be brought to God through programmes and activities like singing competition.
The occasion was graced by prominent personalities, including Knights and ladies.
(c) Christian Voice Newspaper