New choir to debut in gospel extravaganza tonight

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Talent abounds among the youth of Antigua and Barbuda. Just ask music teacher and choir director Ian Hobson who spends a lot of time working with them. Hobson is the man behind the 268 SDA Children’s Choir which began showcasing its talent in thrilling concerts back in 2019, before Covid.

Now Hobson has formed a new choir of youth 13 and older – Azza Antigua. This inter-denominational ensemble is 50-strong with current members coming from the 268 SDA Children’s Choir (now older), various schools, and churches. 

Explaining his reason for forming the choir, Hobson said, “I want Antigua to be known around the world for our talent. Also it’s to spread God’s word and positive messages.”

Hobson adds, “I want to provide young people with something positive amidst all of the negativity involving youth. I want to give back.”

As such, there are several plans in the pipeline for Azza Antigua. These include yearly concerts, travel within the region and internationally and also studio recordings.  

In fact, the choir is set to make its debut tonight at Spring Gardens Moravian Church in a grand gospel production. The line-up features a range of groups and soloists including special guest, New York-based Omega, and Evidence from St John’s Seventh Day Adventist Church; both groups specialise in a cappella singing.

Also performing are Melodious Uplifters, SJPC Praise Dancers and a number of other artistes. Tickets for the concert can be purchased at various locations including Anjo Insurance, Veggie World and the Adventist Book Store on Nevis Street. Proceeds will go toward the development of Azza Antigua.

Hobson has a vested interest in Antigua Barbuda as he is a son of the soil himself. Although currently based in New York, he flies to Antigua frequently to train the country’s youth in the art of singing. It’s what he’s been doing for over 30 years, he said.

Hobson has a natural inclination to music and harmony, having grown up in a musical family. He has trained countless vocalists throughout schools and churches. He himself has practiced the art in a number of choirs and bands, among which is American music group Naturally Seven, known for its unique a cappella style.

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