The music department is the formation of choir groups in Christ Apostolic Church and dates back to the beginning of the church. Members were endowed with insight by the Holy Spirit to compose lyrics and native airs that inspired and ministered to people’s needs.
The earliest forms of music in CAC were accompanied with drums, gongs and other percussion instruments being the most readily available at the time. These simplest forms of instruments were used in traditional religious ceremonies as known to the Yoruba nation among which the church originated. There were no notations or formal writing of the music. Its sounds can only be extrapolated from the music of the indigenous Africans that strictly adhered to some of the ancient religious practices.
Without formal choir groupings, our ancestors were inspired by the Holy Spirit during their revivals and crusades to compose songs. Among them were Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola, Prophet D.O. Babajide, Pastor J.B. Esinsinade (formerly Sadare); Prophet Isaiah Sakpo, Prophet J. Ade Aina, Prophet John Ajilore, Prophet Emmanuel Omotunde, Prophet David Fakunmi, Pastor J.A. Medaiyese, Prophet Emmanuel Omotunde, Prophetess Sophia Odunlami (later Mrs.Ajayi), Prophetess Comfort Bolajoko, Mrs. Pearce, Prophetess Joannah Ogunranti (later Oluranti), and Prophet J. T. Durojaiye.
The second generation of musicians in CAC include the following: Elder James Babalola (aka Oloriire), Mr John Babafemi (Aduralere), Mr E.A. Adetunji, Mr Mathew Dada Mogaji (later pastor), Mr Merry Adurojah (later pastor), Pa Oshun, Dr. J.O. Ogunranti (later pastor), Prince A. Adeosun, Prophet Fesojaiye Adedeji, Pa Oyebadejo, among others. In the mind of a CAC member, singing is very important to spreading the gospel and it is highly celebrated in the church. Most of the contemporary CAC members would be indisputably surprised to know that their church and its founders once used their hands to clap and hand bells to form effective accompaniment to songs of all categories. No doubt the place of the Holy Spirit in the history of singing in CAC mission cannot be underestimated. “I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also” (I Corinthians 14:15).
The third generation of choir leaders in CAC introduced the basic level of instrumental music, especially the harmonium and accordion. The use of instrumental music, a relatively modern addition to christian worship with local drums and bells was typical of CAC in the early stage. It was our belief that christian worship helped to foster evangelism especially in the south western part of Nigeria. The introduction of standard set and acappella type of music was noticed among some choirs in Lagos city and the educated youth choirs, especially in Akure, Ondo State. These third generation of choir leaders in CAC include the following among others: Pastor C.O. Oyesanya, Pa Christopher, Elder G.N. Nebo, Pastor Gabriel O.E. Okafor, Pastor M.O. Babayomi, Elder P.O. Oyeyemi, Pastor Stephen Obisesan, Pastor Oluyemi Ajayi, Pastor Ayo Dakobiri, Mr. J.A. Akinpelu, Mr. Jossy O. Mogaji, Mr. Jide Oloriire, Elder Odumosu, Pastor S.O. Olukunle, Pastor Babs Mala (Late), Pastor C.O.W. Awolaja, Pastor S.O. Gbadebo, Pastor Professor Bunmi Oshun, Pastor Tope Dada, Pastor Professor Femi Adedeji, Pastor Dr Moses Awojobi, Deacon Sampson Anan, Pastor Ayo Adeusi (late), Elder M.A. Adeniji, Elder Leke Adegbaju, Elder Bidemi Oyesanya (SAN), among others. This group brought significant changes to Christ Apostolic Church music. Central choir performance, meetings, training and conferences across districts ministering in local assemblies, and conferences were introduced. The formation of the defunct United Association of CAC Choirs was a significant landmark in the history of CAC choir and one major achievement of this group.
Activities And Functions
During his tenure as music director, Pastor S.O. Olukunle worked assiduously on the compilation of the various editions of the hymnbook. He employed the services of Mrs. Olaitan Akande who typed all the hymns ready for the press. He also engaged the services of notable musicians from the church to set the staff notation to each hymn. At various stages between 1996 and 2013, subcommittees were constituted to work on the various combinations of the hymnbook which include the English and Yoruba editions and the church’s order of service booklet. Among the committee members are:
Pastor Samuel O. Olukunle (Music Director, retired).
Pastor Yinka Oyesanya (now late).
Pastor Babs Mala (now late).
Pastor G.O.E. Okafor.
Pastor Tope Dada.
Pastor J.F. Omitinde.
Pastor Moses Awojobi.
Pastor Ayo Adeusi (now late).
Pastor Adeola Amudipe.
Elder P.O. Oyeyemi.
Pastor Z.O. Ajayi (now late).
Deacon S.M.O. Anan.
Elder Bidemi Oyesanya.
Pastor S.O. Gbadebo.
Pastor Philip Ayeni.
Elder M.A. Adeniji.
Elder Leke Adegbaju.
Elder Sesan Taiwo.
Elder Tope Amudipe.
Brother Ayo Ajayi.
Pastor (Professor) Femi Adedeji.
Pastor Samuel Oladele.
Pastor Lanre Adekunle.
Pastor Christian Holm.
Pastor Paul O. Taye Bankole, among others.
The current music director, Pastor Tope Dada, was first appointed CAC national choirmaster in year 2000 and led the first 5,000-strong member choir and orchestra of the church to minister at the church’s millennium activities across the country. He was later appointed as assistant music director in 2009.
Upon the retirement of Pastor S.O. Olukunle in December 2016, Pastor Tope Dada was appointed the second music director with Pastor Paul Bankole as assistant music director. The team has since brought notable transformation into the music ministry of the church. Music in CAC entered a new phase with new initiatives and significant progress in growth, geographical expansion, founding of regional structures, increase in the work of music, and the development of remarkably successful plan for music knowledge from the grassroot to advanced levels. Musical work has since expanded massively by the numerical growth of members of music literate choristers even in the rural areas of the church.
The music directorate under the leadership of Pastor Tope Dada which formally took off on the 1May 2017 in consultation with the regional superintendents has appointed notable and committed musicians in the church as regional music coordinators/assistant music directors from each of the 12 regions of the church. Also, technical subcommittees were put in place across the spectrum of the church to commence operations. Preparation for the pastors’ conference started in earnest with 500 all male choristers raised among CAC pastors across the country with new innovations to the pastors’ conference including the introduction of evening of hymns and teaching of hymns at the conference.
Recognition Of Choir Department
In June, 1997, Pastor S.O. Olukunle the erstwhile personal assistant to the then retired president of the church was appointed pioneer music secretary because of his flair and love for music. In 2002. he was appointed the first music director of the church. Pastor Olukunle had earlier served as assembly choirmaster/organist of CAC Kaduna. It is of note that Pastor S.O. Olukunle worked assiduously until his retirement in December 2016.
The current leadership of the choir took over from Pastor S.O. Olukunle with the appointment of Pastor Tope Dada as the second substantive director of music in 2017. The phase of music in the church has since taken a new focus. The music unit was recognised as a functional directorate with appropriate organisational structure from assembly, districts, zones, districts coordinating councils, regions to national levels with assigned specific roles, programs and activities mapped out for the various levels.
The directorate of music is saddled with standardisation of music in every segment of the church from the children to the adult church choir and every arm of the church that has to do with music which include: the youth fellowship conference choir, good women conference choir, and the pastors’ conference choir in order to boost good singing production and maintain high quality standard of worship in the church.
Objectives Of The Directorate
- To improve the quality of singing in all CAC assemblies through well defined training curriculum and good exposures to quality music ministration apposite with contemporary church growth and development.
- Regularly conduct seminars, lectures and provide musical/instrumental training support for choristers in all regions.
- Organise music conferences to strengthen the spiritual life of all categories of our choristers and improve the quality of our music performances with focus on voice training, instrument training, music composition and scores, choristers’ ethics, and so on.
- Hold talent development sourcing concerts to discover and bring to fore young talents.
- Encourage every choir to develop their team to sight sing through conscious efforts.
- Encourage assemblies to promote community hymn singing programs to develop and train their congregation new tunes and improve quality singing in the church.
- Give musical support to all the arms of the church.
- Develop mass choir at every level of the church organisation to minister at national, regional, and other programs of the church.
- Persuade church leaders to support regular choir retreat at the local assemblies.
CAC National Choir And Orchestra
The national choir is directed by Pastor Tope Dada, a veteran music minister and conductor with several compositions in his repertoire. The choir is drawn from all regions of the church to minister at national programmes, concerts, revivals, and crusades known with our mission from inception. Indigenous music composed by members and other musical arrangements make up a major part of its ministrations. The choir make boast in the Lord’s goodness and continue to yearn for His grace and guidance. The choir seeks to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness and make His praise known in the earth such that burdens are lifted and souls are saved to a wholesome life in Christ Jesus is its utmost desire. In order to improve the musical prowess of the church at grassroot level, regular visit to districts, zones, and DCCs are scheduled for training and development. Today, the directorate has brought a new live to the music ministry in the church.
The directorate has worked on further corrections and updates of both the English and Yoruba editions of our hymnbook. Work is ongoing with the Hausa, Igbo, Efik, Isoko and French languages. The android mobile app edition is developed and updated with the support of our dynamic brethren which include Pastor Deola Amudipe, Pastor Samuel Oladele, Brother Ifeoluwa Adediran, Brother Isaac Lebi, Brother Joshua Kupoluyi, and Brother Tolutope Dada, among others. The android app is already in the public domain with commendations from various quarters within and outside the church. Also, the directorate has concluded the centenary edition of the combined Christ Apostolic Church bible and hymn book (English and Yoruba).
It is worthy of note that the musical notations have gone through many musicians and professionals in and out of the church over the years. However, the consolidation of music in the church would not be complete without a mention of the activities of the team that voluntarily worked on the final editing and settings of the musical edition of our hymnbook to meet the contemporary and acceptable global standard. They include:
- Pastor Tope Dada.
- Pastor Phillip Ayeni.
- Pastor Deola Amudipe.
- Brother Ayo Ajayi.
- Brother Sola Osanyiluyi.
- Pastor Samuel Oladele.
- Elder Sesan Taiwo.
- Elder Samuel Akinyele.
- Elder Bidemi Oyesanya.
- Pastor Paul Bankole.
- Brother Tolutope Dada.
- Brother Austine Ehime.
Sincere credits must also be given to various choir leaders and professionals who had at various stages contributed to the primary work of this project under the leadership of Pastor S.O. Olukunle without which the current and final editing could have been very tedious if not totally impossible.
Going forward, the directorate held the maiden edition of CAC music ministers’ conference at Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Ikeji Arakeji from 10 to 15 September 2018 with participants drawn from all assemblies of the church. It was a conference with a difference as focus was on practical training on various musical instruments, voice production, Christian ethics, ministerial character and commitment, leadership and people management, practical music performance, compositions, harmony and musical settings, among others. Veterans and experienced Christian musicians facilitated technical workshops and seminars with 80% practice and 20% theory ratio, make presentations and led technical sessions. The conference closed with a grand life performance in a mega concert. Subsequent edition of this conference is open to all believers of the Christian faith who wish to improve their musical skills.
To be better equipped, every assembly, district, zone, and DCC is encouraged to promote music ministry as tools for evangelism and church growth. Pastors and board of elders should encourage and practically support learning of musical instruments in every of our local assembly. As music ministers, we are committed to maintain good altar ethics and godly mannerism and minister with the consciousness of the guidance of the Holy Spirit.