As Trinity Chorale rallies music stars for ‘The Promise’
Trinity Chorale pulled classical music lovers from Lagos and beyond to UNILAG main auditorium recently to stage The Promise. INNOCENT ANORUO hazards a review of the show in which Guchi filled the audience and Olumide shone like Sirius.
BY popular demand and to re-enact the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Lagos-based Trinity Chorale, conducted by Nnamdi Amadi, assembled music stars in the Centre for Excellence to stage the musical, The Promise.
The Promise is a musical drama by Jan Dargatz (with additional dialogue by Chuck King) with music by various songwriters (many arranged by Gary Rhodes and Chuck King) based on Biblical texts. The musical follows the life of Jesus Christ, including his Passion, Resurrection and Ascension. The musical score is in Christian pop style. The piece is performed outdoors and originated in 1989 in Glen Rose, Texas, where it is performed on a large scale yearly.
In Lagos, Mr. Amadi, a Creative Arts graduate of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and experienced choir/orchestra conductor, obviously went for the best artists to make the shows memorable. He also went for the up-and-coming, including one of his biological sons, Jason, who played Little Yeshua.
That seven-year-old Jason sings to thrill is small wonder, as music runs in the family. His mother, Amaka, is also a beautiful soprano singer.
Guchi Egbunine and Olumide Dada, known as ‘Chief Tenor’ and ‘Olumide Baritone’ respectively in the entertainment circles are among Nigeria’s best male choral singers, who headlined the concert.
While Chief Tenor “filled the audience” in his rendition of the resurrection song ‘Arise’, according to the compere, Ben Ogbeiwi of Project Fame West Africa, Olumide Baritone glimmered like the brightest of the stars, Sirius, as he wowed the audience with the Arabian scale he was known for at Hymnodia (a reality TV show where he emerged first runner-up in 2019).
Despite the free show staged at Catholic Church of Visitation, Festac Town, the audience of the second show at the Main Auditorium of UNILAG was overwhelming.
Mr. Ogbeiwi kept the audience together with his compering skills, which he punctuated with jokes and innuendos that added to the thrill.
“Olumide proved, once again, that he is the most popular and sought-after soloist in the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos in his delivery of Pilate’s part during the ‘Judgement and Sentencing’ scene,” Amadi told The Guardian after the show.
The audience enjoyed Olumide’s rendition without knowing the trouble the singer was seeing. Like pressured Pilate while sentencing the Christ – he was reluctant to condemn an innocent man, but had to do it to remain Caesar’s friend – Olumide had to deliver the high pitches, which would have been more comfortable for a good tenor singer.
He told The Guardian after the show: “The role of Pilate, which I played, is a very tough one because it has a lot of high notes that not many baritone singers can pitch. But I hit those notes seamlessly.”
Olumide, a member of the famous Laz Ekwueme Chorale and International Orchestra, had made history by singing the Africanised version of You Raise Me Up, a song originally composed by the Norwegian-Irish duo, Secret Garden, and popularised by Westlife.
He is also a European Choir Games Medalist with the Lagos City Chorale at a competition in Magdeburg, Germany. The voice-over artiste had taken lead roles in several productions like Saro, The Musical.
On their part, Henry Nnaji and Jason Amadi held the audience spell-bound with their rendition of Gary Rhodes’ ‘Little Yeshua’ as arranged by Mark Hayes and orchestrated for strings and piano accompaniment by Amadi.
Female opera singer, Mrs. Rita Benedict, did duets of Luke Garret’s compositions: ‘Cross of Calvary’ with Chief Tenor and ‘Magnify’ with Jennifer Nwatu.
She had featured in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, Kakadu, The Musical by Peter Sculthorpe, The Magic of Disney by Bruce Healey and Barnette Ricci, among others.
According to some members of the audience, The Promise, which is a mixture of classical and contemporary music, is a show to watch any day, while others said the last show in Lagos ended in praise.