The group left here on Tuesday night and following a long lay-over in London on Wednesday, will be making its way to the African continent arriving in Lagos on Thursday before transferring to their stop in Akwa Ibom.
This is the sixth edition of Akwa Ibom Government Christmas Carol Night featuring 9,999 choristers and is known to be the biggest assembly of carol singers on earth.
Music stars of national and international reckoning are also billed to perform during the carol night. For instance, Israel Houghton, a US internationally recognized worship leader, recording artiste, song writer, producer and a five-time Grammy Award winner and Lionel Peterson, a world renowned South African Gospel legend, famous for mega gospel hit -’Jabulani Africa’ will sing at the event.
According to an article in the Daily Independent Newspaper in Nigeria, other artistes are Sinach, an international worship leader of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s Believers Love-World Incorporated, also known as Christ Embassy International, notable for over 200 songs such as Awesome God, More of You, and From Glory to Glory, among others; Frank Edwards, a Nigerian exceptional, versatile and multiple award-winning gospel rock artiste and one of the music ambassadors of Christ Embassy International Church, known for such hit singles as ‘‘You too dey bless me” and “Omemma”, among others as well as St. Kitts and Nevis National Mass Choir.
The St. Kitts and Nevis choir was invited by, and is being sponsored by, the Government of the State of Akwa Ibom in Nigeria, who are responsible for this trip; including funding it and hosting the delegation, said the Minister of Culture, Marcella Liburd, who was at the airport Tuesday to bid the group farewell.
The participation of the choir is viewed as an opportunity to share our culture on an international world stage. The group is being led by Ambassador Astona Browne, and is under the directorship of Mr Clyde Richardson, while Etsu Bradshaw-Caines is serving as Liaison Officer.
Director of the St. Kitts-Nevis Combined Choir, Mr Clyde Richardson, explained that after an invitation from the Executive Governor of the State of Akwa Ibom was extended to the government in St. Kitts-Nevis, a group of 33 persons from both St. Kitts and Nevis was put together for the performance. It had been meeting primarily at the Anglican Church for the last eight weeks to get ready.
“We are doing music that is definitely Caribbean,” said Mr Richardson when asked what the group would be presenting when in Nigeria. “We have some very good musicians that can put over the rhythms of the Caribbean from soca to calypso to reggae; we will be doing that kind of feel for the music.”
A Ministry of Culture official said they are very happy for the exposure that this would give to our nationals who will be proud when they perform and would come back and be able to share with us their experiences.
The carol night which forms a common platform in bringing different choir groups, gospel artistes, preachers and tourists both locally and internationally is a signature tune to commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ during the yuletide season and thanking God Almighty for His Love and mercy to Akwa Ibom people and government over the year.
A pet child of Akwa Ibom Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, the event offers a blend of unique vocal and digital rendition of medley and lyrics as well as a repository of colourful visual decorations, dances, costumes and lighting effects. It creates ambience and solemnity among the audience. The governor visited St. Kitts and Nevis in September this year as a guest of the government, during the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of independence.
The group returns to the Federation on Tuesday 24th December and according to the choir director, the majority of them are going to Africa for the very first time.