By MCPHILIPS NWACHUKWU
15 track gospel compact disc titled; Song of Unity from the porch of St. Michael Catholic Choir, Enyigogu Mbaise is a worthy re-invention of the dwindling Catholic Church music being continually threatened by modern day Pentecostal church songs.
Led by very creative Choir Master, Ambrose Njoku under the excellent supervision of the church’s parish priest, Rev. Fr. Anthony Ibechinwuba, the St. Michael’s Catholic Choir through the well arranged songs in the disc has helped to extend the borders of catholic ministration and liturgical immersion.
Arranged in the classical order of catholic mass celebration, the songs as offered by the amiable choir captures the four parts of the mass vis-à-vis the introduction, liturgy of the word, liturgy of the Eucharist and the conclusion.
In a very simple term, every good catholic, who understands the pattern of catholic missal celebration, will no doubt fall in love with the songs so beautifully arranged and delivered in such a way that the celebration becomes one lineal thread of musical deification.
In another way, it can be said that through the effort of these younger singers and their leaders, both the liturgy of the text and liturgy of the Eucharist; the two most important parts of catholic missal celebration are beautifully reduced to what can be described as the liturgy of sound and music.
The songs rendered in Igbo, English, Yoruba and Ijaw are used to praise, explore and to seek the forgiveness of God in the same way that the missal orderings prepare the lectern through the confession of sin, readings of the psalms and the gospel acclamation followed by the explication of the word.
Through such songs like ; Ka Mbiri, Sachaanu mu and Holy, Holy, which serve as sanctification songs, the choir draws the listener through the mystery of missal celebration with such gift presentation songs like; singing and dancing, Onye Chineke Goziri, Father Accept the Gift and Nara Onyinye Gozie Umu Gi, which usher in the liturgy of the Eucharist.
The depth and participatory nature of the songs are strictly in line with Article 114 of Vatican 11, Constitution on the liturgy which states that:
“The treasury of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with great care. Choirs must be diligently promoted, especially in cathedral churches; but bishops and other pastors of souls must be at pains to ensure that, whenever the sacred action is to be celebrated with song, the whole body of the faithful may be able to contribute that active participation which is rightly theirs.”
Interestingly, despite which ever language a song is composed and rendered, there is an unbelievable tendency that members of the lectern and other ordinary listeners are drawn in to in the singing and clapping of hands as their own consensual validation of the choral effort.
It is also important to commend the effort of the producers of the song. In producing the title, strong efforts are put in place to produce what amounts to clearly, a state of the art finished products by using professional technical studio hands who provide well edited sounds , sceneries and pictures, which in aesthetic combination harmonise with beautiful choreography and excellent interpretation of songs.
This is choral product is an original effort; and from all indication, the young singers and instrument players, who record this feat, given continued support are going to be great blessings to St Michael’s Parish Enyiogugu and the entire Catholic Church in Nigeria.