Pioneering new choir for young people launched at Dundee Church
Published on 9 June 2023 3 minutes read
A Dundee church is pioneering a new type of children's choir that channels pop, rock, soul, R‘n'B and gospel music.
Young people are welcomed into Downfield Mains Church every Sunday afternoon to sing catchy faith fuelled contemporary songs that bring them closer to Jesus and channel "pure joy".
The Soul Children Choir movement was started in Oslo, the capital of Norway, in 2001 by a woman called Ragnhild Hiis Ånestad and aims to introduce children and young people to a lifelong relationship with Jesus through music and song they can relate to.
It expanded to Germany, England, Sweden, Denmark, Ecuador, and the Netherlands, and is now being pioneered in Dundee by Rev Dr Nathan McConnell as a mission tool to grow the Kingdom of God.
Nathan said: "What if every Church of Scotland congregation could pioneer a choir where children from the local community came together to sing to God?
"This is precisely what is happening weekly at Downfield Mains Church and the kids love it with one parent recently saying ‘there is nothing like this in the city'."
Expressions of faith
Nathan said he was inspired to introduce the choir at his church last October after seeing Soul Children Oslo perform at a Luis Palau Festival in Manchester, England a few months earlier.
"Watching the sheer joy of hundreds of children perform gospel songs was inspiring and I remember saying to myself, we could do that in Dundee," he recalled.
"Chip Kendall, director of Soul Children UK, painted a vision for Scotland and issued an invitation to join him in Oslo for their International Festival.
"What we witnessed there was beyond our wildest imagination.
"Three days filled with intense joy, praise, learning new music, expressions of faith, prayer and over 2,000 children from various small churches from Norway and around Scandinavia fill the Oslo Spektrum.
"The International Festival happens every two years and includes tutorial sessions, practice, performances, choir leader training, adult choir training, and a street performance near the King's Palace.
"It is the heart of every Soul Children choir to learn the same music so that coming together they can praise the Lord."
Nathan said Soul Children is a fantastic evangelism tool and has a transformative impact on young people, not least boosting their confidence, helping them develop music skills and teaching them how to work well together as a group.
"It also allows those who really love to sing to take solos," he added.
The minister, who is married with four daughters, said Soul Children is designed to be easy to run.
"One fear is an individual might not have enough experience to lead a choir and I thought the same thing," he explained.
"One doesn't have to be an expert at leading a choir, just a desire to see children grow in the three pillars of Soul Children - musical, social and spiritual.
"It is these pillars that guide the design of choir meetings, which ultimately glorify God while giving children skills of music in a safe environment with their friends."
Choir leaders gather at Downfield Mains Church on a Sunday afternoon and after a team prayer, the doors are opened for children to begin a one-hour practice, Nathan said.
"We set up coffees and teas, for parents and caregivers, have a wee game, share a Soul Story - a testimony of faith - then practice new songs through official Soul Children video tutorials produced by national choir director Tim Uffindell," he added.
"It is great fun and a tremendously uplifting experience for all involved."
Currently, Soul Children Dundee has 10-15 young people attending every week with plans to grow through a partnership with the city council's music programme.
For more information, contact Rev Dr Nathan McConnell, on 07979939092 or email@example.com