The highly anticipated inter-schools liturgical music competition was held at St. Jerome Secondary School Ndama in Rukungiri district on Sunday, July 7, 2024. Eight schools – St. Mark’s, S.S Nyakibale, St. Paul’s Vocational S.S Buyanja, St. Joseph’s S.S Rushasha, St. Gerald’s S.S Nyakibale, Immaculate Hearts Girls Nyakibale, St. Raphael S.S Nyakanyinya, St. Athanasius SS Rubanga and St. Jerome S.S Ndama gathered to showcase their musical talents. The participation was big with 605 students in attendance.

Fr. Denis Magara, chief guest together with adjudicators (Mr. Musekura Anthony and Mr. Bazilio Arinda)

The Assistant Diocesan Education Secretary for Kabale Diocese Rev. Fr. Denis Magara, graced the event as the chief guest. In his opening remarks, he emphasized the significance of liturgical music in fostering spiritual growth and community building.

He who sings well, prays twice and he who prays alone before the communal prayers prays well – St. Augustine of Hippo.

The schools competed in set piece of Sanctus followed by Gloria in excelsis Deo competition with a lively performance with energetic dance moves. Each school also presented its own song of choice ranging from Runyankore – Rukiga, Kifumbira, Kiswahili, Latin and English. At the end of the competitions, the adjudicators presented results and the schools were ranked in performance as follows:

1. Immaculate Heart Girls Nyakibale – 327 points.
2. St. Jerome Secondary School Ndama -319.5 points.
3. St. Paul’s vocational Secondary School Buyanja – 317 points.
4. St. Mark Secondary School Nyakibale – 309 points.
5. St. Athanasius Secondary School Rubanga – 278 points.
6. St. Raphael Secondary School Nyakanyinya – 276.5 points.
7. St. Joseph’s Secondary School Rushasha – 252 points.
8. St. Gerald’s Secondary School Nyakibale – 221 points.

Students dancing a thanksgiving song.

While announcing the results of the competition, Mr. Musekura Anthony together with Mr. Bazilio Arinda, both music instructors and composers in Kabale Diocese noted that different areas were considered while grading e.g tone, accuracy, diction, phrasing, rhythm and general effect. Immaculate Heart Girls Nyakibale emerged as the overall winner, but the real victory was the joyful celebration of faith through music. All the 8 participating schools were each awarded a certificate of participation.

Mr. Mubiru Moses the chairperson organizing committee of the event thanked the head teachers of different schools for welcoming the idea and supporting their students to participate. He also appreciated the education department Kabale Diocese for gracing the occasion and requested that the completion be extended to all the districts in the Diocese and in future arrange for the Diocesan music festivals.

Mr. Alphonse Byamukama, head teacher of St. Jerome S.S Ndama which hosted the event thanked the Rukungiri Teacher Catechists Association (RUTCA) for giving him the opportunity to host this year’s music competitions. He thanked various Headteachers for sacrificing a lot in terms of training choirs, time transport to participate in the competitions. As the vice chairperson of the Association of Catholic Education Institutions (ACEI) in Kabale Diocese, Mr. Alphonse promised to raise a point in the Headteachers’ meeting so that these music festivals be embraced by all schools in all districts within Kabale Diocese.

Rev. Fr. Denis Magara, the Assistant Kabale Diocesan Education Secretary and religious advisor thanked the trainers of different choirs and appreciated their sacrifice. presented the awards, congratulating the participants on their outstanding performances. He encouraged the students to continue using their talents to glorify God and inspire others. As the religious education advisor in schools of Kabale Diocese, Fr. Magara promised to work with the education office and office of liturgy and catechesis so that teacher Catechists in schools could be trained and re-tooled for better performance. He ended by requesting head teachers to always support the teacher Catechists and their programs/activities in schools.

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