Kenneth Ekhuemelo, the inaugural winner of Hymnodia, has been presented with a brand-newcar, the star prize of the triple ‘E’ (entertainment, education and edification) reality television show created around hymns and worship.
The presentation, which attracted jubilant worshippers, took place at the All Saints (Army Headquarter) Cathedral, Abalti Barracks, Surulere, Lagos, on Sunday, where Ekhuemelo is an organist.
Hymnodia organisers had promised the winner of the competition a brand new car, in addition to the ASAPH, the main prize specially designed and named after King David’s chief musician, as well as N5 million.
Hymnodia was a keenly contested show as Ekhuemelo battled with Olumide Dada, another brilliant and leading performer at the grand finale. But a winner had to emerge, and that was Ekhuemelo, the bassofundo.
The hymncert ended the 14-week show piece that was aimed at reigniting the almost-forgotten hymn culture among young Nigerians.
Explaining the rationale for the presentation at the church, KufreEkanem, Managing Director of Philosoville, initiator of Hymnodia said the reality show redefined the art of worship and that since hymn has its foundation in the church, it was wise to bring the car to worship with Ekhuemelo.
“Ekhuemelo is an organist in All Saints Cathedral, and this also shows that the members are part of his success story,” he explained.
On what inspired Hymnodia, Ekanem said “we had thought over the idea of Hymnodia for 10 years. This had to do with the concept itself and the rigours of how it would work, what would be the processes, the protocol of developing the content and sustaining its essence over a 14-week period and beyond. When we finally started on it last year, we were blessed with a group of fantastic people who put their efforts into Hymnodia as if they had the dream themselves. They were dream enablers and I appreciate their great works and sacrifices” he narrated.
Commending Hymnodia for the novel initiative, Rev. (Col.) Bante Kauche, Director, Chaplain Services, Nigerian Army, eulogised Ekanem for the initiative which was thoroughly planned and executed to an appreciable standard.
He said Hymnodia has tremendously enhanced the talent of the 14 hymntestants, including Ekhuemelo, as well as young Nigerians who watched the programme.
Also, Rev. (Major) Baba David, Vicar General of All Saints (Army Headquarter) Cathedral, said Ekanem has taken hymns rendition beyond the ordinary and prayed God to strengthen him in order to sustain the programme. “I am highly elated because a member of this church emerged the winner and prayed for him to be fortified with the Grace to continue in this stride,” he said.
Receiving the car prize with joy written all over him, the bassofundo thanked the initiator of Hymnodia for the opportunity to learn new skills on hymns writing and rendition at the Hymnstitute and for the fulfilment of the prize.
“I am very delighted to receive the car and it came as a surprise to me to see it being delivered at the church today. I see this as a divine blessing from God and I really appreciate Hymnodia. At the Hymnstitute, I boosted my talent through teachings on the fundamentals of hymns writing and singing,” he further said.
Hymnodia was flagged-off at a colourful event with a 30-member choir last December at the Ikeja City Mall, Lagos. Live audition for over 200 shortlisted candidates from over 1,500 applications was held at the Lagos Television (LTV8), where 14 hymntestants (contestants) were selected to the Hymnstitute for a 14-week show.
It culminated on April 24 with the grand finale at the MUSON centre where Ekhuemelo was declared the winner via a combination of public votes and a panel of credible judges. The judges included legendary musician, Onyeka Onwenu; singer, songwriter and voice coach, Dupe Ige Kachi (popularly known as Ige Sings);Sunday Olawuwo the Music Director of Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja and Nigeria Country Director of the Royal School of Church Music; and Seun Owoaje, the Music Director of Hymnodia.
Hymnodia was first aired on February 3, 2019, as a one-hour programme on Lagos Television (Channel 256 on DSTV, Channel 90 on GOtv and Channel 113 on Startimes) with a magazine show on same channels every Thursday.
It was streamed live online via the LTV App available on the app store and on the dedicated YouTube channel, Hymnodiahq. The show was also viewed on eight additional stations around the country for wider coverage. They included GITV, Kaduna; Anambra Broadcasting Service, Onitsha; Ondo State Radio/TV, Akure; ITV, Abuja and Cross River TV, Calabar.
Others were Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Corporation (AKBC); Kwara TV, Ilorin and Plateau Radio TV, Jos.