29 December 2023

Music and fellowship: this is how you could summarise the people profiled in nac.today in 2023. Owen and Anna bridged continents. Brandon studied with the aim of giving something back to the Church and became famous. And the students on the university campus in Winneba, Ghana, share their faith with others.

Bassoon instead of football

Brandon Phillips’s career as principal bassoonist and resident conductor of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) began when he received a recorder from his father at the age of nine. Brandon actually would rather have played football with his friends instead of going to recorder lessons every Saturday. But it wasn’t long before he caught the music bug and his supporters in the church recognised and encouraged his talent. With the aim of giving something back to the church, the South African studied bassoon, among other things, and eventually ended up with Cape Town’s famous orchestra. Since then, he has spent every day making music and also travelling overseas to do so. But it is always a great pleasure for him when he conducts in the New Apostolic Church.

The whole story: “Pray while you play”

Music knows no boundaries

Anna Lapwood is a famous British organist, Owen Kasonda is a taxi driver in Zambia. Videos of the two have received thousands of Likes on TikTok, which shows once again that the love of music transcends skin colour, cultures, and borders. Owen was inspired by a friend to sing countertenor and taught himself with YouTube videos. Anna became aware of him through TikTok. They met in the New Apostolic Church in Ndola in Zambia to make music together. Anna also met with organists for an organ workshop while in Zambia, teaching musicianship and giving a few tips on how to become a good organist. Who knows, maybe these young talents will soon be as successful as Anna.

The whole story: “Music overcomes borders”

A congregation on campus

New Apostolic students established a congregation on the campus of the University of Education Winneba in Ghana. Why? There is already a congregation in town. In Ghana it is common for the various denominations to establish congregations on university campuses. The campus congregations see to the spiritual and social needs of their members who enrol to study. They help the young believers with specific problems during their studies. Ernest Kyeremeh Sarpong is a Priest and co-founder of the congregation on the campus. He wanted his young brothers and sisters to be offered the same kind of opportunities by their church. On Sundays, the students join the main congregation in town for divine service. That way, everyone benefits: the young people help to fill the pews in the main congregation and if one of them needs something, other members help out. The different denominational associations on campus also benefit from each other. The students get together regularly for church services, because they are sure that they are all united by their faith in Jesus, who leads His church—and to which they all belong.

The whole story: “Bringing spiritual life to the campus”