Oluwanifemi Filani is a final year student of Birmingham City University on track to complete a degree in Economics. He started the BCU (Birmingham City University) Gospel choir with a close friend of his (Vice president - Sukura) in his 2nd year of study. They aim to create a platform for students to express their musical gifts for the glorification of God, to give students an opportunity to showcase their God-given gift on a larger scale.
Who inspired you to start BCU Choir?
I have always been a big fan of mass choirs in general, aside from the primary purpose being worship, there’s just something really special about beautiful voices blending together to create a pleasant melody. I have also learnt that just having a group of talented singers isn’t enough, these voices must be able to blend. However, even with all these things, it is important to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in making any major decision in life. This principle has really helped me in my walk on this earth. Making drastic decisions without consulting the Holy Spirit can lead to a life of regret and I definitely learnt that the hard way in the past. (Romans 8)
How have you been able to grow BCU Choir and also develop the passion in each of the members?
A lot of work has gone into our branding as we have a committee of dedicated people who perform their duties diligently, (Proverbs 22:29). From the social media rep to the treasurer and so on. The family atmosphere that has also been created has played a major role in terms of our growth as our members are very welcoming and loving. A happy and motivated group will always be very productive and successful in whatever they set their mind to achieve. We also have games occasionally which a lot of the members enjoy, this allows them to take their mind off things for a bit and just enjoy themselves
What does your BCU team look like currently?
President, VP (also head of Soprano) - Sukura Lamidi, Secretary (also head of alto) - Debra Tokini, Treasurer (Also head of Tenors) - Emmanuel Tsiga and we also have our social media rep.
Who can join the team?
The Choir is open to any member of the University. More information (here).
What happens in a BCU Choir rehearsal?
Opening prayer, you have to start everything with prayer, that’s important. From that we go straight to a worship session to show appreciation to the Father, just to thank Him for everything. Then we go straight into some games or some activities to get everyone going. Then there are the vocal warmups. Rehearsals usually start with the songs we already have planned. We start by splitting into groups alto, tenors and soprano. Each group has a team leader, and we practise separately for some days. During that time we record the sessions to know what we sound like and then work on it if we have to. We then practise as a team and when we are all done, we end the sessions with a closing prayer then we just hang out and get to know each other more.
Do you have any events planned for now and should we expect some online events soon?
Initially, we had a gospel jam event planned but due to the ongoing pandemic, by the Grace of God we believe will be over soon, we had to postpone until next year which I’m sure the new committee leaders will be happy to host. You should definitely stay tuned for that one and also, we plan to have some interesting events planned in the coming weeks.
Can you share with us how different your life has been since you start working on BCU Choir?
It’s been very interesting, to say the least, *laughs, by the Grace of God we have really grown as a group. It’s also been quite exciting getting to meet a lot of people with different personalities. However, as fun as it is working with a group of people you consider family, it has also been a bit of a challenge trying to balance being the president of a society and a final year student but, it is a challenge I have embraced and one that has really aided my growth as Christian and as a man.
What’s your advice to people who have been inspired by the Holy Spirit to start up something but still aren’t so sure about how to go about it?
My only advice is obedience, the Holy Spirit is there to guide us and it is important you allow the Holy Spirit to play His role. We also have ours to play and that is OBEDIENCE. (Exodus 19:5) Do not let the Spirit of fear stop you from achieving the plan God has set aside for you. The scripture says that the plans God has for us are of good and to prosper us (Jeremiah 29:11). So we must trust His word and pray for that eradication of fear in our lives. Trust God and everything else will fall in place.
You’re graduating soon, what plans have you put in place to ensure that BCU Choir continues after that?
The committee for the new year has been selected and I have full trust in them. Not just because of their musical gifts, but for their passion in serving God. It’s a lot easier to work with people who understand their service is to God and not myself or any other individual. Overall, I believe the team will continue to grow and God’s will shall be done.