Making melodies for God

Anatoli Kirigwajjo (2nd right), the music instructor of Voxanges choir during practice at St Matia Mulumba Church in Old Kampala. Photo by Abubaker Lubowa

What you need to know:

GIFTED VOICES. A week after Easter, some churches are still celebrating Christ’s resurrection. Lydia Ainomugisha met with a choir that is performing Carols today in this regard

Today, Voxanges, (translated as voice of angels); a youth choir will host Carols dubbed Carols of Divine Mercy at St Matia Mulumba Church in Old Kampala. Carols of divine mercy in the Catholic Church is celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter Sunday.
The choir is going to hold their second concert of a kind.

On meeting the choir early this week at their premises, they were practising for the concert. From a distance, the voices were flawlessly angelic. Drawing closer, they were singing Give Thanks by Don Moen. The ensemble of soprano, bass, tenor and alto was smooth soothing and alluring.

From their voices, it is almost unbelievable that this is only a group of 12.

Who they are
Anatoli Kirigwajjo, the music instructor, says the group started in 2009 but gained ground about two years ago. Then, praying and singing from Christ the King, he says, “I identified four members from St Matia Mulumba Church who were singing in the church youth choir.” These include; Renah Mutetsi, Emmanuel Kiwanuka, Joseph Kamya and Renah Karuhanga.

He had always prayed from St Matia Mulumba Church and so he knew the vocal strength of the people he zeroed on. Besides, they were outgrowing the youth choir age bracket.
On picking the members, he wanted a robust and more dedicated choir that would earn a living out of their talent.

“I wanted to form a semi-professional choir which would train themselves to sing music that can be bought, be invited to events and outreaches rather than just sing,” he says.

However, five people could not create the much needed sway. Even with a combination of soprano, bass, tenor and alto, Kirigwajjo says, they could hardly have any impact because they sang with no musical instruments.

“We had no money to hire musical instruments to accompany our voices. Our voices are beautiful but we felt we were not going to create the desired impact,” he says.

Releasing first album
To make some money, the group recruited seven more members and they released Yezu Lagila Fuga, their first audio album in 2013 . They produced 200 copies of CDs and have so far sold 140 of them. Each copy costs Shs10,000. The choir used some of the proceeds to organise their first concert in April last year. They also use the earnings to hire music accompaniments whenever they are asked to perform, at a wedding or a concert.

Friends of Voxanges
But income from the music CDs is not enough so they have had to look for external support. Currently, the choir has sponsors who give them support in cash or kind. For example, Naome Kenyegamo Kirunda, a fashion designer has designed a cream kitenge uniform for today’s concert.

Type of music
Although the choir comprises Catholics, it sings all gospel music, including their original compositions. They aim to entertain all Christians and youth. Mutetsi says they aim to create a vibrant gospel group which can cheer their audience.
“We embrace modern vibrant forms of worship and praise so as to attract the youth to church.”

Future plans
The choir leader says they aim to create a family of three components; help families of single parents, have designated friends of Voxanges and build an academy.

to train underprivileged talented children in singing gospel music. But that will be after they have fully established their structures.
At the moment, their energies are into building a strong melodic choir and strengthening their ties with their sponsors.