And the Hymnodia ASAPH Goes to…

Hymnodia winner Kenneth Ekhuemelo (middle)

Vanessa Obioha

After an intense 14 weeks of notes and hymns, Kenneth Ekhuemelo emerged winner of the first-ever reality TV show created around hymns and worship, Hymnodia.

The number six hymntestant was rewarded with the grand prize, the ASAPH, at a fiercely-contested show which saw other hymntestants painstakingly showcasing their talents in diverse dimensions of hymn rendition at the MUSON Centre Lagos where the grand finale held.

The duo of Kenneth and Olumide ‘the baritone’ Dada, had been sustaining their high tempo among the hymntestants in the closing stanzas of the Hymnodia competition, breaking away from the different twist of renditions in classical and contemporary hymns.

At the final concert, it came down to two of them despite the spirited renditions by the other top five finalists: Mobolanle Oladimeji (who came third), Abigael Nnadi and Rachael Darley. After Olumide had belted a superb rendition to a standing ovation by the judges and the audience, it seemed the prize was his for the taking. That was until Kenneth took the stage and splayed his own superlative rendition. The die was cast.

The race was tight and the decision depended on a combination of public votes and the judges’ scores and the night favoured Kenneth, the bazofundo who was almost hymnvicted (evicted) from the Hymnstitute twice on the admission day.

An enthusiastic Ekhuemelo said, “Firstly, l am grateful to God and have to really thank Him for this opportunity to showcase and enhance my talent. I commend Hymnodia for this great opportunity. I am also grateful to my family and those that appreciate me.”

Eulogising Ekhuemelo, Sunday Olawuwo, a music director and one of the judges said: “l must confess you added fuel to the stage that has already been set on fire.”

One of the highlights of the finale was the presentation of awards to hymntestants that had excelled during their time at the Hymnstitute.

Ekhuemelo received the award for Best in Arrangements, Uduakobong Akpan Jnr received the ‘Most Improved Male’ award, Jemine Edukugho ‘Most Improved Female,’ while Dada received two awards: the ‘Most Consistent in Performances’ and ‘Best Behaved Male’. Nnadi clinched the ‘Best Behaved Female’ while Oladimeji secured the ‘Most Prolific in Hymnwriting.’

The finale was enriched with superb ministrations from the Hymnodia Choir, the Mountain Top Chorale, the Lagos Archdiocesan Catholic Church Choir, the Cathedral Church Choir, Marina and the Royal School of Church Music choir for Nigeria. Perhaps the biggest draw of the night outside the hymntestants themselves was the Divine Symphony Orchestra from the Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministries that thrilled the audience with both fresh and popular hymns.

In addition to the ASAPH — a specially designed award named after David’s chief musician — the prize for Ekhuemelo included a cash reward of N5 million and a brand-new car.