BY IKECHUKWU AGADA AND VICTOR ARJIROMANUS
The annual African Praise Experience is arguably the most attended musical concert in Africa; congregating thousands of worshippers across the globe. The yearly event which holds at the House on the Rock (HOTR) church at Lekki Phase 1 Lagos, brings together a host of African gospel artistes to perform at the delight of the attendees and to the glory of God. This year’s TAPE was exceptionally thrilling, giving thousands of audience what they have never felt before.
The event took off with an opening prayer at about 9:00pm in an atmosphere filled with the glory of God. The Lagos Metropolitan Choir and Rock Cathedral Gospel Choir took turns to activate the worship and praise mood of the people.
Following the exhilarating worship, one of the pastors of HOTR, Pastor Flourish Peters took the congregation to another level of spiritual excitement, with words of exaltation that would prepare them for the following hours of a blissful moment with God. Activating the audience spirits to worship, the House on the Rock Choir was next to rendering glorious hymns of worship to God.
A prayer for Nigeria was said, after which a renowned gospel artiste, Slouchy stepped up to the stage to serenade the already prepared congregation in exultant worship and praise songs, after which budding comedian, Larry J stormed like hurricane to entertain the audience. A member of the church, Kikelomo Mudiago followed suit with some soul lifting songs.
In a rapturous moment, the sound of trumpet blared into the arena which followed the introduction and appearance of one of Nigeria’s finest saxophonists, BJ SAX, who made the people pull off their shoes to enable them dance wild with joy. As if to help reserve the audience energy for wilder moments that awaits them, ace comedian, Funny Bone was invited to turn the table with jokes.
Anointing the hearts of the congregation again, in resumption of fruitful praise, Bukola Bekes made them salivating for more, and then the unexpected petered out, when the, “Jesus I thank you wellu wellu” singer, Minister Sammie Okposo appeared on stage and dished out from his list of Isoko/Urhobo cultural renditions. At this point, the people were erratic with joy, and the roof was pulled off to allow easy passage of angels who came to hand gifts of miracles and blessings from God who was dancing on His throne.
When comedian MC Abbey appeared on set with marriage counseling jokes for two minutes, it was to bring the audience back to a temperate valley and prepare them for something angelic. After which, the songstress with sonorous voice, Mercy Chinwo emerged, and reconnected the heavens with the earth in a sealed bliss of worship.
The Convener, TAPE, Pastor Paul Adefarasin, took the sermon titled: “GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOU”. Preaching the homily from the Bible texts, Ephesians 1:11,Jeremiah 29:10-11, Acts 1:25; he explained that ‘ Every of God’s creature is built according to His plan. God is always intentional in everything He does. He uses the enemy to show off His power.’
He said: “Shut doors are not rejection, but divine redirection”. God is intentional about your troubles, and He wants to use them to bless you bigly”.
As it is usually said, “variety is the spice of life,” so was the event when the Creative Arts Department of the church, came with Multi-African Pageantry showcasing South African, Ghanian, Kenyan, and of course Nigeria’s three major ethnic groups, Igbo, Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba songs and dances.
Mike Aremu electrified the already charged atmosphere armed with his sax, blowing to the glory of God. He held the audience spellbound with mastery and creativity at its peak. Kenny Blaq was not left out as he alternated comedy with songs. Frank Edwards dished his hit gospel singles to the delight of his teaming fans. Ada immediately replicated the same feat with some arresting songs.
Eben seized the occasion of his ministration to trumpet testimonies and blessings awarded to faithfulness in serving God. Mike Abdul’s performance was the high point of the event as he introduced a new twist to the concert, when he brought clouds of gospel Fuji to the atmosphere. The event can easily pass for a massive success which the audience chorused in the affirmative when Weekend Vanguard had audience with some of them.