Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a renowned English poet, wrote the following poetic lines titled, The Singer.
“God sent his singers upon the earth.
With songs of sadness and of mirth.
That they might touch the hearts of men
And bring them back to heaven again.”
The above quotation by Henry W. Longfellow epitomizes God’s intention in having music in the church, and the establishment of choirs after the order of the biblical Levites who served in the Hebrew’s temple led by Aaron. Therefore, as an integral part of the church, music should uplift the hearts of men and bring the disconsolate back to God. Music is an important vehicle for evangelism as commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ, in Matthew 28:19. Music is so important that it appears 575 times in the whole of the bible with a whole book of 150 chapters of the Psalms or “Songs of David” dedicated to it. Therefore, a church without music is a dead church.
We thank God, that the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries is a living and a lively church, blessed with choristers, musicians and those burning with zeal to use their talents to serve the Lord and to propagate the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; the Gospel of Salvation.
From one solitary choir, a motley of vocalists and orchestral instrumentalists, the Music Ministry of MFM grew. In a spate of 25 years, it became a cynosure of all eyes, thanks to the vision, watchful eyes, love, understanding and knowledge of music by the General overseer of the church, Dr. D. K. Olukoya to whom the vision and mission were given by God, and naturally the provision to carry out the mission. The first Choir Master was Pastor Samuel Oloyede, who by the grace of God, laid a solid foundation. He is the current Regional Overseer of Music and the Chairman of the MFM Music Council. Sis. Banke Ademola, took over the baton of leadership of the choir from him around 1995.
The Music Ministry has a well-defined organogram, with carefully selected leaders, chosen for their musical knowledge, upright characters and above all spiritual maturity. MFM is a good catchment area for all those wanting to use their talent for God; those who are dedicated, committed and are willing to serve God selflessly. Choristers’ lives must reflect the light of God; holiness within and without. The zeal to serve and the calling must become “fire in their bones”. As a result, their spiritual lives are screened at the point of entry in addition to practical voice audition and deliverance sessions. A copy of the famous Music Ministries’ ‘Ten Commandments’ on behavioral expectations is given to each new chorister to read and sign as an undertaking of good behavior. In addition, choristers are expected to be fervent in prayers, knowledgeable in the words of God and above all, develop a Spirit of Excellence in all their endeavors.
As previously stated, the music ministry has spread its tentacles to other branches of MFM within Nigeria and the diaspora due to the growth of the church, and the tireless efforts of Dr. D. K. Olukoya and his wife, Pastor Mrs. Shade Olukoya. Being an organist, choir master and composer of music, Dr. Daniel Olukoya has a deep understanding of what it entails setting up a full Music Ministry. It is not only capital intensive but involves love, patience understanding of people and being a father to all, but one with zero tolerance for sin. He has created room for growth and expansion and accommodated various talents and tastes in music. Here, I must mention our Mummy in the Lord, who is a wonderful singer and was part of the foundational member of the choir of MFM.
At present, at the Headquarters level we have the following choirs: The Senior choir, The Eagles’ Choir, Gospel choir, Male choir, Female choir, Teenage choir, Youth choir, Guitar choir, Boys choir, Mountain Top Chorale, The charioteers, Senior Citizens choir (over 60 and above), French choir, Pastors’ wives choir, Ekiti choir, Akwa Ibom choir, Italian choir. All these groups are bonded by common practices such as monthly and quarterly (vigils) prayer meetings, and attendance at mass choir practices when called upon.
At the Headquarters level, we are blessed with a compliment of versatile Organists who have enhanced Choir Ministrations and are specialists in their own right. The group of 11 organists is led by Pastor Segun Olutunmida, a highly talented musician imbued with an excellent spirit from the Lord. He is a perfectionist to the core, yet patient and humble.
- The church organist cover the church services at the Headquarter level, train others in playing the keyboard, and they often extend their services abroad to cover Revival Crusade Programmes.
- The Choirs were formed to cater for various tastes, age groups and abilities. Along the line these large choirs are given sufficient training to perform their functions efficiently and effectively.
Training takes many forms and are achieved through the Choral School for those who, at the initial stage cannot read music. More so, Remedial classes are provided where necessary. Choristers are encouraged to undergo various training programs, particularly in Theory of Music and Practical, and to attend examinations of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) not only to have a sense of achievement but the ability to read music at sight. Many have passed the ABRSM exams with distinction through self-improvement, assistance of group leaders or at the Mountain Top International Music School, led by Pastor (Mrs) Oyinkansola Akinselure.
A Cursory glance at some of these choirs.
Entry into the Senior Choir is by application, an audition follows to assess the ability of the applicants to read music with good intonation; their spiritual and moral lives are also assessed. The choir comprises 300 people (a mixture of professionals, and mostly amateur, singers) who are versatile and can minister in different genre of music: Classical, Gospel, Negro spiritual, African Gospel and contemporary music. The team of leaders led by the Director of music, Sis Banke Ademola are Pastor Femi Ashekun, Bro. Ayodeji Oluwafemi and Bro. Oluwatosin Olaniran. The standard of music in this choir is given the necessary fillip by the part leaders. The Senior Choir ministers on Sundays and Wednesday, Power must change hands, wedding ceremonies and any other assignment given by the General Overseer.
THE EAGLES’ CHOIR
Within the Senior Choir is a vanguard of singers (a selected group) known as the “Eagles Choir”, capable of learning complex songs at a very short notice. The appellation “Eagle” is derived from an evangelistic Outreach programme by our father in the Lord, Dr. D.K. Olukoya. In this choir you must not only have the ability to work on your own, but also be a rapid sight reader with a retentive memory to perform without musical scores.
The Gospel Choir was set up in 2010. It has accomplished much in a short time since its inception. The Choir is about 450 strong. It enjoys much patronage of membership as musical knowledge is not its primary criteria, nor the pressure imposed upon it, unlike its sister the Senior Choir. The age range is between 20-75. The choir has made tremendous progress in the short time of its existence, singing to the glory of God, and ministering in church services, Power Must Change Hands, Wake-keeps service and other assignments as given by the Church. The choir is coordinated by the following individuals: Bro Oluwatosin Olaniran, Bro. Noah Olugbami, Sis. Seun Agbelusi, Bro. Lekan Eniagbagbe and Sis. Folaranmi Oluwaloju.
The Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries Male choir was established by our father in the Lord, Dr. D. K. Olukoya in March 2009; it is presently directed by Dr. Olayemi Olumakinwa. Made up of men who are willing to serve the Lord with their voices irrespective of their musical background, the group now comprises about 400 members and also serves as the music arm of “Men of Valour”.
When it comes to the things of God you can count on our women to be there. And so in the short time of its existence the female choir has been craving to be in the centre of activities, grown to 435 members, although, it’s the last to be formed barely one year ago. Ironically, the female choir is led by a man – Bro Nathaniel Seyi Oluyale, but has a female secretary – Sis. Funke Inegbenose. The aim of the choir is to utilize the female members of the church who are willing to serve God through singing and in the effective worship of God.
THE BOYS CHOIR
This choir might be regarded as our own “Vienna Boys’ Choir of Austria”. It is one of Dr D. K. Olukoya’s strategy of catching them young. The Choir comprises 157 members. The Boys’ choir came into being 3 years ago under the tutelage of Bro. Segun Enitilo whose dream is to make it one of the foremost well projected choirs across the globe. These young ones have ministered severally at the Headquarters, and at the Power Must Change Hands singing complex classical music. They are highly motivated and are being trained to read music at sight. In addition they are encouraged to take up other musical instruments.
The list of choirs above gives an idea of the available choirs at the Headquarters level which will eventually be emulated by various regions pending the availability of capable hands and resources. May the Lord continue to uphold and strengthen us all for His service in Jesus name.
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