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Mkpanang bags 2024 Commonwealth Choral Festival Award in England

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It was all cheers and thumbs-up for Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State during the Grand Concert Night at the just-concluded 2024 Edition of the 4-day Commonwealth Choral Festival.

In the remarkable ceremony held at the imposing Church of Christ, the Cornerstone in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England, Aniekpeno Mkpanamg, the highly esteemed, recently retired, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Akwa Ibom State, and the Progenitor and immediate-past Coordinator of the Akwa Ibom Christmas Carols Festival, was honoured with the Commonwealth Choral Music Festival Award, for what the organisers recognised as his ‘tenacious dedication to organising Gospel and Choral Music events in Africa and around the World’.

The Award was graciously presented by Mrs. Clare Head, the former Mayor of Richmond upon Thames, in recognition of Mr. Mkpanang’s significant contributions to choral music; notably, the impeccable organisation of what has come to become the annual Akwa Ibom Christmas Carols Festival.

In his speech at the Awards Ceremony, the Director of the Festival, Monsieur Jean Amah Lonloye Dogbe, the Togolese-born, London-based maestro, who is also the President of Africa Sings Festival and Team Lead of Soprano Events, the licensed organisers of the Festival, commended Mr. Mkpanang for his audacious efforts over the years as Coordinator of AKCAROLSFEST, at involving Choirs from the Commonwealth.

He recalled the past appearances of National Choirs and Choral Groups from Kenya, South Africa, Jamaica, Ghana, St Kitts & Nevis, Barbados and even other non-Commonwealth African Nations like the Congo, the Cameroons and Togo, at the Akwa Ibom event and added that Mkpanang deserved to be specially recognised and celebrated, hence the Award.

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The Ceremony was witnessed by an august global audience which included His Grace, the Most Rev. Daniel Okoh, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and wife Ngozi, the Rev. Susie Tsekpo, Europe EP Director, the Hon. Mrs. Lois Adura, the first and female Nigerian elected Councillor of the Milton Keynes Council among other dignitaries.

The event was further illuminated by a Command Performance and special presentations by specially-invited and competing choral groups from across the Commonwealth.

Most notable was the star performance by the 40-voice, all-female choir from Asaba, Nigeria, who performed alongside the the Christian Centre, London and Special Choral Groups from Uganda and Togo.

The all Female Choir from Asaba captivated the audience with their harmonious renditions and commendable cheorography steeped in delectable African dance moves.

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Aniekpeno Mkpanang dedicated the prize to the thousands of youths of Akwa Ibom State who over a 15-year period, enthusiastically and selflessly gave of themselves, to build the choral legacy and global identity that has today become a World-Class Award-Winning event.

Aniekpeno Mkpanang who is currently on a global volunteering mission across the United Kingdom, has been a beacon of tourism excellence, fostering the growth and appreciation of Choral music and Christian within Nigeria and beyond.

His leadership in organizing the Akwa Ibom Carols Festival has left an indelible mark on the spiritual tourism landscape, clearly elevating the status of the State in the global community.

This current accolade serves not only as a testament to Mr. Mkpanang’s dedication and passion for the arts but also as an inspiration to the vibrant cultural tapestry of Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria as a whole.

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