SNEAK PEEK :Winstone Antonio
EMERGING and exciting praise and worship music outfit, Spirit Praise Choir, recently launched its brand to corporates and stakeholders at a red carpet event held in Harare. Choir director Learnmore Tawengwa (LT) said the move was motivated by their endeavour to be effective preachers through music. NewsDay (ND) Life & Style reporter Winstone Antonio caught up with Tawengwa, who gave insights into the choir among other issues. Read on.
ND: How did you come up with the idea to assemble such a choir that has become popular on the gospel front?
LT: I can say God is the giver of gifts and also gives us purpose in life. It’s an evangelical gift which is manifesting in another dimension, that is ministering through music.
ND: You started with a few members and at present you are over 40. What has kept you strong?
LT: Understanding what you are called to do, seeing where you are going and knowing where you want to go will always give you strength to achieve something in life. If you don’t have a clear picture of what you want to do, you always find it hard to achieve anything because you always see things which other people are doing and abandon building your own.
ND: There are many choirs in Zimbabwe, what is unique about Spirit Praise?
LT: As Spirit Praise Choir we are not just a choir, but a family as we believe we are called not just to sing, but impart gifts through various projects we do as a team. We encourage members to be diverse and we don’t believe in competition, but we believe in uniqueness of gifts, hence we complement each other rather than compete.
ND: What do you intend to achieve with the choir?
LT: We aim to be the most reliable, innovative, inspiring and influential praise and worship choir locally, regionally and globally that brings together the Christian community and cerebrate the life of Jesus Christ through music dance and worship.
ND: What challenges have you faced and how have you managed to overcome them?
LT: The biggest challenge we have is funding for the choir. We have a lot of programmes which we are doing apart from singing. We have empowerment programmes through seminars and workshops and everything needs money. However, we have managed to soldier on with little savings from other side projects we do as brand leaders and we are inviting the corporate world to see what we are doing and we believe we have a brand that can also bring value to other brands.
ND: What are some of Spirit Praise Choir productions?
LT: We do One Voice series that has seen us recording two music albums, Yatokwana Nguva and Vatatu Mumwechete and two live DVDs, Worship Moments Series 1 and 2.
ND: You are also a pastor and modern preachers are being accused of dwelling much on the prosperity gospel. What’s your take on this one?
LT: This is based on my opinion. The gospel is for free and salvation is for free, the only challenge is taking the gospel out, this is a major problem because it requires money. Now if God ordains me to be a pastor, he always gives seasons and in those seasons there are dry and wealthy seasons so it depends which season the Lord allows you to go in and because of that, most fellow pastors who might not have a clue of what to do, so they turn to major on prosperity preaching. A lot of people will say it’s good to talk about prosperity, but we feel it’s no longer God speaking about it, but it’s now the stomach speaking. Prosperity is part of the gospel, but not the main issue.
ND: Tell us more about the One Voice Concert Season 4 you are hosting in a fortnight?
LT: One Voice Concert is an inter-denominational concert that was launched three years ago. It’s a Spirit Praise platform, which we share with church praise teams and invite some renowned gospel gurus to help the church with some depth in worship and praise. This year we have decided to make it a two-day event because we will have a seminar on the first day where we will be teaching under the power of the spirit about the champion in a person, with the theme Gathering of Champions, and Apostle Batsirai Java will later officially open the concert with a teaching. The second day starts with a choir festival from church praise teams, then we will close with a live DVD from Spirit Praise Choir, Martin PK from South Africa, Osinachi Nwachukwu from Nigeria and Minister Takesure Zama will support.
ND: Your parting words?
LT: To the church, Spirit Praise family is ready to make your church services and conferences memorable. To corporates, come and partner in a Christian environment where we give you value for your products at our well-attended events while you help us usher people into the presence of God by financing our efforts to make a
better world through worship and praise.