The 21st Annual Choir Festival of the Church of Resurrection (Anglican Communion)
Choral festivals have become a centuries-long tradition, starting out as far back as the 18th century with the Three Choirs Festival. This is an annual event, which rotates among the cathedrals of the three counties in England – Hereford, Gloucester and Worcester. It has held continually since the first time in 1719, only observing a break during the First and Second World Wars.
Ever since then, so many choral festivals have sprung up across the globe, with some countries having as many as ten or more festivals in a particular year. Notable amongst them are the Brandenburg Choral Festival of London that features around 70 choirs every year; the London International Choral Festival; the InterVarsity Choral Festival in Australia; the FICU International University Choir Festival, Spain and the China International Choral Festival.
The overwhelming significance of these choral festivals is very apparent. All over the world, they have proven to be more than just platforms for choirs to entertain their different audiences. Beyond the entertainment value that they hold, they have also proven to be huge opportunities for discovering new talents and instigating the quest for excellence among choirs. The latter owes a whole lot to the competitive nature of such festivals and the need for choral groups to always put their best foot forward. This makes them commit so many hours to rehearsals, thereby improving their skills in the process.
Without a doubt, the effect of such festivals on choral groups has directly influenced modern music culture as we have it. This is based on the fact that many of the big names in modern music culture have their roots in church choirs. One cannot imagine what music would have looked like globally without the impact of people like R&B artists Marvin Gaye, Prince, R. Kelly, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Beyoncé Knowles. Beyoncé herself was reputedly known to have been a soloist with St. John’s United Methodist Church Choir for a space of two years. Similar experiences apply to these other artists earlier mentioned and so many others we may not be able to mention.
It is widely argued that some music genres like R&B and Soul were largely influenced by Christian music. Elvis Presley who was regarded as the king of Rock ‘n’ Roll and one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, learned to sing in church. It is therefore not surprising that his songs were largely influenced by gospel music.
In Nigeria, the situation is not any different. We have so many instances of secular artists who can trace their roots to the church. It is believed that one of the biggest names we know today even has parents that are members of the clergy. The strong influence of church music on their art can therefore not be denied.
On a general note, we can therefore conclude that choral festivals find their relevance in the effects they have on church choirs and which further in turn, trickle down to modern music culture. By implication, we can say that choral festivals shape modern music culture.
It is in the light of the above that the 21st Annual Choir Festival of the Church of Resurrection (Anglican Communion) finds its significance. Coming up on the 16th of October, 2016, the event will feature special numbers by the choir and band, choir accompanied by the orchestra, guest appearances, scholarship and trust fund appeal, banquet and awards to outstanding choir members.
Rightly themed “Praising God with a Faithful Heart”, the festival promises to be a spectacular experience which will draw attendance across the entire city of Lagos. It will highlight a blend of mellifluous voices combining beautifully with wind, stringed and percussion instruments to produce rapturous melodies that will definitely bring healing to the soul.