Old Mutual Choir Festival pays tribute to Nicodemus Dantago//Hoabeb
By Linda Machinga.
Old Mutual recently hosted its annual National Gospel Choir Festival (NGCF) Grand Finale in Windhoek.
This year’s event paid tribute to the late Nicodemus Dantago//Hoabeb former executive of Old Mutual and the brainchild behind the festival who passed away in April this year.
He was a graduate economist with a Master of Science in economics but someone who very interestingly excelled in studying music, with trumpet and choir conducting as majors. His remaining band members, the Ugly Creatures celebrated the multi-talented musician’s life at the Grand Finale, as a support live band.
The life insurer’s Executive Marketing, Transformation and Customer Strategy Ndangi Katoma during his opening speech said the journey of the Old Mutual festival is one that create a musical enriching environment that provide contestants with the necessary skills and motivation needed to champion their exceptional best.
The 21 gospel choir finalists consisted of two main categories: Mature Age and Youth choir sets, who contended for their share of N$200,000 in total prize money.
The first part of the competition allowed the 21 choirs to showcase their creativity and skill with a song of their choice, while the final part of the competition required the Mature Age and Youth choirs to do a prescribed song, authored by the late Nicodemus Dantago//Hoabeb.
The contestants in the Grand Finale denoted the new visual personality of the Old Mutual and the true spirit of the African continent with the vibrancy of their attire and song selections to a captive and audience.
“This Gospel Choir Festival represent Old Mutual’s understanding that as Africans, we interact and relay our life stories by means of Music and Dance. Moreover, singing in groups as a social activity existed on the African continent, long before colonial establishment,” added Katoma.
Old Mutual partnered with the Gospel Music Trust to ensure that the participating choirs had the necessary technical skills to enhance their performance, they had conducting and coaching workshops at regional level to allow participants learn from the best in the choral music industry. 50 conductors took part, of which half were new conductors that emerged from their local communities since the last auditions was held in 2017.
A total of 1,500 individuals turned out in support of their favourite choirs at the ELCIN Hosianna Parish in Katutura while some watched the live performance by means of livestream on the Old Mutual Namibia Facebook page.
Since its launch in 2016, the festival has become a popular event on the calendars of various church denominations across the regions. A total of 37 choirs in various formats turned out at this year’s regional auditions that were hosted from 7 July to 9 August in Otjiwarongo, Oshakati, Swakopmund, Keetmanshoop and Windhoek.
Caption: From left to right: Esme Katjikura, Director of Ceremonies; Ndangi Katoma, Old Mutual; Cedric /Howoaeb, Choir Conductor, Sion Youth Choir.