Ace musician, Onyeka Onwenu, has applauded hymntestants (contestants) for their outstanding performances during the Hymnodia music reality show, where six have been placed on probation for next week episode.
Onwenu, who is one of the judges of the programme, commended the commitment of the Hymntestants, saying each effort would contribute towards reviving the culture of hymns rendition in the country.
Other judges on the panel of Hymnodia (Stanza 5) included singer, songwriter and voice coach, Dupe Ige Kachi; pianist, composer and former music lecturer, Seun Owoaje; music director of Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja, Lagos, Sunday Olawuwo, and Benneth Ogbewi, Dean of the Hymnstitute.
Onwenu, who had earlier interacted with the hymntestants during the Valentine’s Day, affirmed that the confidence displayed during the show could be attributed to what was taught at the Hymnstitute.
After the performances, the judges voted for Abigail Nnadi and Olumide Dada as having the top two performances on the night and listed six hymntestants for probation.
Those on probation are Rachael Darley, Olulode David Ayodeji, Edukugho Jemine, Uduakobong Akpan, Rioja “Rio” Peter Opia, and Onwukwe David.
Incidentally, two of the hymntestants on probation, Rioja and David, were the outstanding performers of the preceding week
The theme for the stanza was Halleluyah and hymns rendered included The Stife is O’er, Man of Sorrows, Lord Enthroned in Heavenly Splendour, Halleluyah Halleluyah Halleluyah, Low in The Grave He Lay, etc.
Commenting on the hymn, Low in the Grave He Lay by Mobolanle Oladimeji, Olawuwo said it was fantastic, commending her improvisation and style in the second verse, while Onwenu noted that her voice trailed the hymn to the end as evident in a good performance.
However, before the commencement of the night’s performance, Agu Blessing Ulunma and Abiodun Aribo, who would have been hymnvicted (eliminated) following their probation, battled for a slot to remain at the Hymnstitute. Blessing outwitted Aribo in a performance adjudged as excellent. The two combatants had the least votes for the week but had a lifeline because Enenche (hymntestant number 1) had his admission into the contest deferred for one year to enable him write his final exams in medicine at University of Abuja.
Winner of Hymnodia will emerge at the grand finale in April to receive the Asaph (a specially designed award named after David’s chief musician), a brand-new car and cash prize of N5 million.